Email Marketing Tools

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp (2024): Which is the Better Choice for Ecommerce Email Marketing?

Sarah BaxterInka Wibowo

By Sarah & Inka

mailchimp vs klaviyo

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Sometimes the hardest decisions to make are between two good options.

Both Klaviyo and Mailchimp are solid email service providers. They both go beyond the basics, offering marketing automation, A/B testing, and landing pages. For ecommerce store owners, this means tools like dynamic product recommendations and transactional email capabilities are at your fingertips.

That’s not to say that Mailchimp and Klaviyo are exactly equal, however. Each has its pros and cons, and picking the best one for you might come down to a specific feature or function – especially if you're looking to optimize your ecommerce store's email marketing strategy.

We’ve thoroughly tested Klaviyo vs Mailchimp, focusing on those crucial details that can make or break your decision. Keep reading to learn which one we’d recommend for online store owners. The answer might surprise you!

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp: Main Differences

Based on our research, the most significant differences between Klaviyo vs Mailchimp are:

1. What’s available on the free plan

On Klaviyo’s free plan, you can use all the email features available on the platform. Your only limit is send volume. With Mailchimp, you’re limited by send volume and many features are locked behind paid plans. Even with a paid plan, access to certain features may require a more expensive subscription tier.

2. Customer support quality

In our test, we found Klaviyo to provide faster support with higher quality responses. However, neither Klaviyo nor Mailchimp provide support for customers on the free plan. New users receive just 30 days of support from Mailchimp and 60 days from Klaviyo. After that, you have to upgrade to contact support via email or chat.

3. Contact Management

The way an email service provider (ESP) counts your contacts can directly impact how much you pay. With Mailchimp, a single person on three sending lists (“audiences”) would be counted as three contacts. Klaviyo would only count them as one.

We’ll talk about each of these in more depth throughout the article.

Mailchimp paid plan features

Everywhere I looked, features were locked behind paid plans on Mailchimp.

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp: Pros and Cons

Before we dive into the details, here’s a quick summary of each platform’s pros and cons.

Klaviyo

klaviyo homepage

Klaviyo Pros:

  • Generous free plan which allows access to all email features
  • Predictive analytics can help you create highly personalized campaigns
  • Dynamic, automated segmentation

Klaviyo Cons:

  • Account dashboard could use an update
  • Email and chat support is limited to paid plans after 60 days

Mailchimp

mailchimp homepage

Mailchimp Pros:

  • Integration with useful apps like Canva, Vimeo, and Google Analytics
  • Clean, intuitive dashboard and email editor

Mailchimp Cons:

  • Expensive- and many features locked behind paid plans
  • Double-charging for contacts on multiple audience lists
  • Email and chat support is limited to paid plans after 30 days

Email Editor

Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes feel overwhelmed on the backend of an email editor. Unclear navigation, infinite buttons, and cluttered menus can really slow down my workflow.

Ideally, an email editor’s user interface should reflect the aesthetic of a well-designed email.

For example, which of these designs do you prefer?

Mailchimp dashboard

Klaviyo dashboard

If you (like me) choose option A, you might find Mailchimp has a more user-friendly interface.

Mailchimp’s dashboard is intuitive and easy to navigate. I love the prominent “Create” button for a quick, uncomplicated start. You simply select what you’d like to work on- a classic email, an automation, or a landing page. From there, you’re able to start designing right away.

In contrast, Klaviyo's dashboard feels less inviting with its drab gray lists and drop-down menus. Getting to the actual email editor requires many more clicks, as Klaviyo asks you to assign a contact list, campaign name, and tags before even getting started. Personally, I prefer to make those decisions at the end to avoid decision fatigue when starting on a creative project.

Once we get past the dashboard and into the editor itself, Klaviyo and Mailchimp both look pretty good. They both feature drag-and-drop tools and it’s easy to add and edit content blocks. Both platforms allow you to preview how your email will look on mobile and desktop.

What’s more, Mailchimp and Klaviyo both make it easy to include products from your ecommerce store in your emails. You can build an email where every recipient sees the same products, or you can use dynamic content to personalize what products they see based on browsing or purchase history. (Note: dynamic content is only available on Mailchimp’s Standard Plan.)

Mailchimp has a few features that Klaviyo lacks. We like that you can use a pre-built content block to send product review requests. With Klaviyo, you can only create review requests if you use Shopify. If you use another ecommerce platform, you’ll have to use a review app.

Mailchimp also allows you to embed video into your emails. We all know that short-form video content drives ecommerce sales, so this seems like a good feature to have.

And finally, Mailchimp has a pre-built content block to include surveys in your emails. This can make your emails more engaging, and help you collect customer data.

Again, with Klaviyo, you’d need an app to add surveys or videos to your emails.

Here’s what you’ll find behind the scenes of both email builders:

Mailchimp Email Builder:

Mailchimp Email Builder

Klaviyo Email Builder:

Klaviyo Email Builder

In this round, Mailchimp leads with its quick, fuss-free email setup and visually appealing dashboard.

Klaviyo 0 – Mailchimp 1

Templates

Mailchimp vs Klaviyo email templates

Both Klaviyo and Mailchimp have extensive template libraries with similar quantity and quality.

Both platforms offer two main types of templates:

  1. Layouts: Mostly blank with defined content blocks.
  2. Pre-designed templates (‘themes' in Mailchimp): These include pre-set content, photos, colors, and fonts.

To maintain a consistent brand aesthetic, automatically integrating brand elements into email templates is essential. The most important difference between Mailchimp and Klaviyo templates is their approach to branding.

Mailchimp’s Creative Assistant effortlessly compiles a brand kit by pulling colors, fonts, images, and logos from your website. However, this tool is only available as part of Mailchimp’s paid Standard Plan.

In contrast, Klaviyo requires you to manually add these elements to the Images & Brand tab in your account. However, once set up, Klaviyo lets you apply your branding across templates, even on its free plan.

This round was a close call, but with its automated branding and user-friendly interface, Mailchimp earns another point.

Klaviyo 0 – Mailchimp 2

Contact Management and Segmentation

When it comes to managing contacts, both Mailchimp and Klaviyo offer excellent tools for targeted segmentation, but they differ in how you’re billed for contacts.

Mailchimp's separate “Audiences” make it expensive to manage different groups because you're charged more for having the same contact on multiple lists. Mailchimp also makes it cumbersome to move subscribers between these audiences.

Klaviyo offers a more straightforward and cost-effective approach. They charge per contact rather than per list placement. That way you can segment a contact into multiple lists without inflating your costs.

In terms of segmentation, both platforms offer the ability to group contacts based on tags, email engagement, purchase history, and more.

Mailchimp allows segments based on 5 conditions, while Klaviyo doesn’t limit conditions at all. This means that with Klaviyo, you can get really granular with your segments and send hyper-specific emails to small groups.

We like that both Klaviyo and Mailchimp provide handy pre-built segments which are easy to customize.

In Mailchimp, these include:

  • New Subscribers
  • Engaged Subscribers
  • Disengaged Subscribers
  • Potential Customers
  • Repeat Customers
  • Lapsed Customers
  • Recent Customers
  • First-time Customers

Klaviyo offers a more limited selection, with only engaged, disengaged, new subscribers, and newsletter subscribers as the pre-built segment choices.

Despite fewer pre-built segments, Klaviyo goes a step further than Mailchimp with dynamic, real-time updating segmentation. Unlike Mailchimp's static lists, Klaviyo's segments automatically adjust as contacts meet specific criteria.

Klaviyo clearly outperforms Mailchimp in this round, with fairer contact counting and unlimited, dynamic segmentation.

Klaviyo 1 – Mailchimp 2

Marketing Automation

Klaviyo and Mailchimp both offer robust marketing automation capabilities, but we like them for different reasons.

Klaviyo boasts a library of over 70 marketing automation templates which are easy to customize in the flow builder.

Initially, I didn’t love Klaviyo’s marketing automation builder, but it has improved a lot with the addition of a “new flows experience” feature that can be toggled on at the top of the page.

Klaviyo new flows experience

Klaviyo also has a great feature which automatically skips sending to recently emailed contacts. This avoids bombarding customers in multiple segments with too many automated marketing emails.

On the other hand, Mailchimp provides about 75 pre-built marketing automation templates called “Journeys”. There are a solid range of options here, including abandoned cart reminders, price drop alerts, and more.

Mailchimp also offers omnichannel marketing automation for social media and digital ad automations.

The downside to Mailchimp is that marketing automation is locked behind the paid Essentials Plan. Previously, it was possible to create a limited number of automations for free on Mailchimp, but unfortunately it no longer is.

Abandoned Cart Campaigns

Abandoned cart reminders are essential for all ecommerce stores, so we tested these campaigns with both Mailchimp and Klaviyo.

With Klaviyo, you can access pre-built abandoned cart flows optimized for your ecommerce platform. If you haven’t integrated your ecommerce store with Klaviyo, you won’t see abandoned cart options in the flow library yet. After integrating, you can create abandoned cart emails with content such as dynamic product recommendations and personalized discounts.

To create an abandoned cart campaign on Mailchimp, you need to be on a paid plan. Once you’ve upgraded, you can send a single email or set up a series of emails, or even send a different email to customers with a high order value in their abandoned cart.

On Mailchimp’s Essentials Plan, you can create abandoned cart reminders with four journey points. The Standard Plan allows up to 100 journey points. Here’s an example of a basic abandoned cart email flow with 5 journey points which would require the Standard Plan:

mailchimp abandoned cart email flow

Pro tip: If your ecommerce platform has built-in abandoned cart emails, remember to deactivate them when using Mailchimp or Klaviyo for these campaigns to avoid double-mailing your customers.

We’re calling it a tie- both platforms offer dynamic, personalized abandoned cart campaigns. . Klaviyo is a great choice for those who love diving into data and fine-tuning their audience segments. Mailchimp suits those looking to manage various marketing channels (if you’re willing to pay).

Klaviyo 2 – Mailchimp 3

Reporting and Analytics

Mailchimp offers some excellent reporting and analytics features, but many of them are locked behind higher-priced plans. All users, even on the free plan, can access single email reports showing delivery success, opens, clicks, orders, average order value, and a click map.

However, to compare stats across multiple emails or campaigns, you'll need the Email Dashboard, exclusive to Standard Plan subscribers and higher.

One advantage that Mailchimp has over Klaviyo is a pre-built integration with Google Analytics. By adding Google Analytics tracking, you can access over 50 reports including page views, visitor engagement, and more. Once you integrate with Mailchimp, you’ll also find email campaign data right there on your Google Analytics dashboard.

Klaviyo's analytics give a detailed view of your campaign performance, allowing you to track conversions, revenue, and customer engagement across emails. Its dashboard lets you create reports with specific metrics and timeframes. You can even set up alerts to keep you informed of account issues, like high rates of spam reports or bounced emails.

One feature that we particularly like about Klaviyo is its predictive analytics. For ecommerce stores with enough sales and data, this tool can predict future spending (CLV), churn risk, and even the expected date of the next order. You can use these insights to create very specific campaigns for customers who meet the predicted criteria. For example, targeting customers who are expected to order soon with an exclusive sale.

Mailchimp’s predictive analytics are only available on the Standard Plan or higher.

Again, Klaviyo doesn’t lock any features behind paid plans. All reporting and analytics features are available to free plan users, you’re only limited by contacts and send volume.

This round is a tie. If you’re planning to subscribe to Mailchimp’s Standard Plan, you’ll find useful data reporting, especially if you’re already using Google Analytics. If you plan to stick with a free plan, Klaviyo’s access to predictive analytics provides excellent value.

Klaviyo 3 – Mailchimp 4

Integrations

Both Klaviyo and Mailchimp currently support over 300 integrations. For most users, this is more than enough to integrate an ecommerce store, connect their social channels, and perhaps add a couple apps for functionality.

So which platform is better? That depends on what kind of integrations you need.

There are two broad categories of integrations:

1. Integrations with your ecommerce store to pull shop data and subscribers. Unless you’re planning to manually import contact lists, this type of integration is critical.

2. Integrations with apps to add functionality to Klaviyo/Mailchimp themselves. For example, an integration that allows a restaurant owner to automate customer bookings within emails, or one that adds countdown timers to your campaigns.

In the first category, Klaviyo and Mailchimp are tied. They both integrate with all major and minor ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Ecwid, PrestaShop and more.

In the second category, Mailchimp pulls ahead slightly. Although numbers-wise Mailchimp and Klaviyo are equal, Mailchimp integrates with more well-known apps that might already be in your tech stack. For example, Mailchimp integrates with Google Analytics, Canva, Vimeo, and Quickbooks- Klaviyo does not.

You can work around Klaviyo’s integration limitations by installing Zapier, but we’re giving a point to Mailchimp in this round for built-in integration with some of the most useful apps.

 Klaviyo 3 – Mailchimp 5

Customer Service

To get some first hand experience with both Mailchimp and Klaviyo customer service, I sent a couple of test emails. Using a methodology similar to our service ratings for ecommerce platforms, I evaluated both response time and quality.

To get a sense of customer service competence on a range of issues, I opened a support ticket with both Mailchimp and Klaviyo and asked the following questions:

  1. I'm thinking about migrating from another email service provider to yours. Can you guide me through the process or offer any tools to make this transition smoother?
  2. Can you guide me on setting up an abandoned cart automation sequence with a condition based on cart value?
  3. What security measures do you have in place to protect my email content and subscriber data? Are there any steps I can take to make sure this data is safe?
  4. If I schedule an email campaign to go out after I've hit my send limit for the month, will the additional emails result in extra charges, or will they just not be sent?
  5. If your pricing structure changes in the future, will my prices remain the same, or will they increase?

Support Answer Time

Mailchimp: about 5 hours

Klaviyo: about 2 hours

Both platforms responded promptly to my support request. Klaviyo was slightly quicker, but both were quick enough to meet my expectations for timely customer service.

Support Answer Quality

I’ve rated the answers to each question with a score: excellent (+2 points), OK (1 point) and bad (-2 points).

Platform Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Question 5 TOTAL
Mailchimp -2

Sent information about integrations and importing a contact list. I needed information about migrating from another ESP.

-2

Sent help articles about setting up an abandoned cart email, but did not explain how to add a condition.

2

Offered good suggestions like turning on reCAPTCHA and authenticating my email domain

1

I was told that emails would still be sent, but I would have “a small extra charge.” However, depending on the volume of extra emails sent, this charge could actually be huge.

2

Prices would change, but

they assured me that I would receive a 30-day notice prior to any changes.

1
Klaviyo – 2

Again, I received information about integrations, not migration.

2

Excellent guidance on filtering a flow by dollar value in the cart, with a help article on flow branching.

1

The agent linked the article to the legal terms of service and recommended 2 factor authentication. Acceptable but basic response.

2

Klaviyo offers a choice: it will cancel the campaign unless auto-upgrade is enabled. Well explained.

2

Straightforward answer- there are no plans to change pricing at the moment, but if there were I would be placed on the new pricing structure.

5

Overall, the quality of support I received was higher from Klaviyo. However, this is just one experience. Depending on your support needs and the agent who replies, your experience may vary.

Support Access

With Klaviyo, you lose access to email and chat support after 60 days unless you upgrade to a paid plan. With Mailchimp, you get just 30 days of email support on a free account. After that, you'll continue to have access to their chatbot, but frankly, that chatbot leaves a lot to be desired.

Mailchimp chatbot

Mailchimp’s supposedly “AI-powered” chatbot cannot compute

The winner in this round is Klaviyo, who provided slightly faster response times and more comprehensive answers, alongside better access to support for new users.

 Klaviyo 4 – Mailchimp 5

User Reviews

Mailchimp vs Klaviyo user reviews

Mailchimp and Klaviyo reviews on Trustpilot

We researched reviews from third-party sites like Trustpilot and the Shopify App Store to get a sense of what users are saying about Mailchimp and Klaviyo.

Please note that we can’t independently verify reviews, but we believe that presenting a wider range of opinions can help you make a more informed decision.

We found a few common themes worth highlighting.

For Klaviyo, positive reviews tended to mention:

  • Seamless Migration: As Klaviyo is a newer ESP, many users switch to it seeking better pricing or additional features. Reviewers report that the transition is smooth and worth the effort.
  • Good ROI: Users report that Klaviyo provides a good return on investment, with actionable data and smart segmentation.

Klaviyo negative reviews tended to mention:

  • Declining Support Quality Post-Onboarding: In our experience, Klaviyo provided excellent customer support for a new user. However, many reviewers claim that this good initial support goes downhill once you’re on a paid plan.
  • System Errors: We saw multiple reviews which mentioned account login errors and email send errors. Most concerningly, some reviewers mentioned that their campaigns were cut short due to send limits, when they had not in fact exceeded their quota.

For Mailchimp, positive reviews tended to mention:

  • Ideal Free Plan for Charities: Not all ESP users are ecommerce owners. Mailchimp provides good services for small nonprofits to send newsletters for free.
  • Veteran ESP: Users appreciate that Mailchimp was one of the first email service providers, and therefore has pioneering experience in the now saturated market.

Mailchimp negative reviews tended to mention:

  • URL Redirects: If you’re on a free plan or haven’t met certain account criteria, Mailchimp will redirect links in your emails through their servers. Some users complain that this slows down page loading and decreases brand consistency. For example, your link might appear like https://track.mailchimp.com/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.example.com%2Fproduct rather than emailtooltester.com
  • Bait and Switch Pricing and Services: Since parent company Intuit took over Mailchimp in 2021, many users have noticed an increase in prices and a decrease in available features.
  • Account Suspension: Many negative reviews mention sudden account suspension. We assume that this is due to violations of Mailchimp’s terms of service, but we would expect Mailchimp to provide clear communication and post-suspension guidance.

I was alarmed to see that Mailchimp has a rating of 1.4 on Trustpilot, with nearly 700 reviews. For comparison, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, which is currently considered one of the most hated brands in America, beats Mailchimp with a Trustpilot rating of 1.6.

The winner here is Klaviyo. Although customers who have a positive experience are less likely to write a review, the overwhelming number of negative reviews for Mailchimp suggests a concerning trend.

Klaviyo 5 – Mailchimp 5

Pricing

Across the board, prices are going up and more features are being gated behind higher-priced plans. (Not just in the email marketing world- has anyone seen the price of eggs recently?!)

Here’s a breakdown of the pricing plans available on both Mailchimp and Klaviyo:

Contacts Mailchimp Klaviyo
500 Free Plan

Many features limited

Free Plan

All features available

1500 Essentials Plan: $26.50 / month

Standard Plan: $45 / month

Email: $45 / month

Email + SMS: $60 / month

5000 Essentials Plan: $75 / month

Standard Plan: $100 / month

Email: $110 / month

Email + SMS: $125 / month

10,000+ Essentials Plan: $110 / month

Standard Plan: $135 / month

Email: $200 / month

Email + SMS: $215 / month

As we’ve mentioned, one of the biggest differences between these platforms is that Klaviyo's free plan offers unrestricted access to all email features, only capping contacts and send volume. However, Mailchimp not only restricts send volume but also reserves many features for its paid tiers.

Even though Mailchimp might be more affordable for high volume senders, Klaviyo wins this round with a generous free plan. Mailchimp’s paywalls can be frustrating, especially for paid subscribers who are still unable to access all the features without upgrading to an even higher-priced plan.

Klaviyo 6 – Mailchimp 5

Klaviyo vs Mailchimp: Final Thoughts

In the face-off between Klaviyo vs Mailchimp, Klaviyo emerges as the winner, especially for ecommerce store owners.

Using an email service provider should provide value to your business, and Klaviyo’s tools are designed to drive sales. Plus, if you’re a small business owner just getting started with email marketing, you won’t run into restrictive limits on features while you’re building your campaigns on Klaviyo’s free plan.

While both platforms bring strong features and solid performance to the table, Klaviyo's dynamic segmentation, superior customer support, and generous free plan set it apart.

Although Mailchimp holds its ground with a user-friendly interface and robust integrations, Klaviyo is our preferred choice in this close competition.

> Try Klaviyo for free

> Try Mailchimp for free

Have you used either of these platforms? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

The authors

Learn more about us

Sarah Baxter

Hi there! I’m Sarah Baxter. I opened my first online shop way back in 2009, and have been developing my own ecommerce websites since then. I’ve had countless hours of first-hand experience using online tools to build my business. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and my goal is to share that knowledge with other small business owners here at EmailTooltester.

Inka Wibowo

Senior Content Manager

Hi, I'm Inka! I spent the earlier part of my career in agency land, helping businesses of all sizes get their email marketing campaigns up and running. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm using my experience to help businesses like yours find the best email marketing services for your needs.

Learn more about us

Our Methodology

This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

Our Methodology