Email Marketing Tools

Shopify Email vs Klaviyo: Which is better for your Shopify store?

Sarah BaxterInka Wibowo

By Sarah & Inka

shopify email vs klaviyo

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Finding the right email marketing tool is key for Shopify store owners looking to connect with their audience. In my Shopify store, I use Shopify Email for simple marketing and transactional email, but as my list has grown I’ve been considering other options. There’s been a lot of buzz about Klaviyo lately, so we decided to test it against Shopify’s built-in email marketing platform.

We were impressed with Klaviyo’s advanced features and sophisticated automated marketing. However, Shopify Email is still a good choice for budget-conscious ecommerce businesses, or those looking for easy set-up.

Let’s take a look at both Shopify Email and Klaviyo to find the best fit for your ecommerce store.

Shopify Email vs Klaviyo: Pros and Cons

Shopify Email

Pros:

  • 10,000 sends/month included in the price of your Shopify subscription
  • Automatic branding applied across email templates
  • Good selection of pre-built segmentation templates

Cons:

  • Dynamic products not available for email campaigns
  • Many features (like A/B testing) require apps or custom coding
  • Declining support quality

Klaviyo

Pros:

  • AI-powered predictive analytics
  • Tons of pre-built marketing automations
  • Advanced ecommerce features, like A/B testing, customer profiles, SMS campaigns, etc.

Cons:

  • AI-generated text only available in English
  • Free plan is limited to 500 sends/month
  • Setting up segments is complicated

Email Builders

At first glance, Klaviyo and Shopify Email both have similar email editors, but we found some important differences as well.

Email Content

Both Klaviyo and Shopify Email use pre-built content blocks that you can easily drag and drop into your emails. Since Klaviyo integrates with Shopify, you can sync your products and add them into emails with a single click. Of course, adding products in Shopify Email is also very easy, because you can access your store's catalog directly from the email editor.

Note: A lot of older articles have incorrect information regarding Klaviyo’s Shopify integration. We can confirm that Klaviyo does integrate with Shopify. This means that Klaviyo syncs data directly from your store. Shopify Email is built into your Shopify dashboard, but integrating Shopify with Klaviyo means it has access to all the same data.

One advantage of Klaviyo is that you can add dynamic product feeds to email campaigns. With Shopify Email, dynamic products are only available in automated marketing campaigns, such as abandoned cart emails. This means that in regular Shopify Email campaigns like newsletters and sales promotions, all customers will see the same products. With Klaviyo, however, you can display different products to different recipients based on conditions you set.

Klaviyo lacks a few ecommerce-specific content blocks that Shopify Email does have, including express checkout, discounts, and gift card purchases.

Shopify Email vs Klaviyo email builders

Both platforms feature drag and drop content blocks. Shopify Email (left) vs Klaviyo (right)

Templates

Klaviyo offers pre-built templates with colors and stock photos already in place, or “basic layouts” which are blank templates you can add your own branding and images to. You can also design your own templates and reuse them easily from your “saved templates” tab.

Shopify Email offers 46 templates, and is able to automatically apply your branding to them. This means that you’ll find your colors, fonts, and logos already set up within the email builder!

With Klaviyo, you have to manually add brand elements to the Images & Brand tab in your account, which is a bit of extra work.

klaviyo abandoned cart templates

Klaviyo’s “basic layouts”

Email Builder AI

We’re glad to see that both Klaviyo and Shopify Email are incorporating AI tools into their email builders. With both platforms you can automatically generate AI text for subject lines and email content. (You can also use ChatGPT for this.) Of course, all AI tools can make errors or sound awkward, so edit carefully to make sure your content follows best practices.

We love that Klaviyo’s Subject Line Assistant has built-in analytics that display your top performing subject lines in the last 90 days. The downside is, Klaviyo’s AI tools are only able to generate text in English.

Klaviyo subject line AI

Klaviyo AI seems to understand input in other languages, but the output is always English.

On the other hand, Shopify Email AI is available in:

  • English
  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Portuguese
  • Simplified Chinese

In order to generate AI content in a language other than your store’s default language, Shopify suggests using special instructions to tell the AI what language to use.

Pro Tip: Try our Subject Line Tester to see how your subject line and preview text will display on different devices.

Email Marketing Automation

Both Klaviyo and Shopify Email let you set your marketing on auto-pilot with automations.

Shopify Email offers 12 automation templates, but 3 of these require an additional app. The 9 core templates cover essentials such as abandoned cart reminders, welcome emails for new subscribers, and thank-you emails following a purchase.

When setting up an automation template in Shopify Email, you'll need to compose the email content separately. This process redirects you from the automation editor to the email editor, which means moving between two different editing areas. It’s a bit cumbersome, but not a deal breaker.

In Klaviyo, marketing automations are called “flows.” Klaviyo offers an impressive library of over 60 pre-built flows (automation templates). On top of the basics, Klaviyo offers more advanced marketing templates than Shopify Email. These include replenishment reminders, a sunset flow to remove unengaged subscribers, and customer birthday emails.

Pro Tip: If you haven’t connected your Shopify store to Klaviyo yet, you won’t see all of the automation templates. Many automations require customer data, and they’ll become visible once that data syncs.

One area where Klaviyo really shines is in its use of AI for marketing automation. This includes predictive AI, which can be used to optimize automations based on predicted customer behaviors.

For example, you can use Klaviyo’s predictive AI to automate personalized replenishment reminders. Instead of sending the same reminder to everyone at a fixed time, Klaviyo’s AI predicts individual shopping habits and automatically sends a replenishment reminder exactly when each customer is most likely to reorder.

Shopify is also incorporating a lot of AI tools into its ecommerce platform, but it’s behind Klaviyo in terms of what AI tools it currently offers for email marketing.

Klaviyo automated marketing

Segmentation

Klaviyo offers powerful segmentation features, but I feel like I’d need a computer science degree to set them up. Klaviyo uses advanced concepts like “dimensions” and “boolean” data types, which can present a steep learning curve if you’re not already familiar with this technical language.

Instead of pre-built templates like you’d find in Shopify Email, you’ll need to manually configure your segments in Klaviyo. However, if you’re willing to learn (or are already a segmentation guru), Klaviyo has incredible potential for targeted email campaigns. In fact, Klaviyo doesn’t put any limit on the number of conditions you can use for a segment. (As long as you know how to define Boolean data types! 😅)

Creating segments in Shopify Email is easier than in Klaviyo, but unfortunately, it isn't as straightforward as it could be. Instead of a segment builder directly within Shopify Email, you must go to the “Customers” section to set up your segment. Then, to email this segment, you navigate from the “Customers” section back to Shopify Email to send your campaign.

While this process may slow down your workflow, Shopify does offer a range of pre-built segmentation templates. By skipping the techy setup, Shopify Email makes sending a targeted campaign very easy. Some of the pre-built segments include:

  • Subscribers who open emails often but haven’t made a purchase recently
  • High-spend customers who purchased products with a specific tag
  • Customers who have recently viewed a collection
  • Customers in a specific city

And many more!

Overall, I think both Klaviyo and Shopify Email could both improve their segment builders. However, Klaviyo is a good option for ecommerce businesses who have the time and expertise to create highly targeted segments. Shopify Email might be better suited for smaller businesses looking for intuitive, pre-built segmentation templates and a quicker set-up.

Customer Support

Even though support is limited for users on the free plan, overall Klaviyo’s customer support is better.

On Klaviyo’s free plan, you’ll only get email and chat support for 60 days. If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can expect good quality support. In our test, Klaviyo’s email response time was just 2 hours and responses were generally helpful.

Shopify provides email and chat support for all its users, however I’ve been disappointed recently with declining Shopify support quality. I’ve found myself explaining basic email marketing concepts to agents who struggle to answer my queries. This is a shame because Shopify support used to be top-notch. Perhaps Shopify is betting on AI support in the future?

Poor Shopify customer support

Shopify support requires support.

Advanced Email Marketing Features

Klaviyo outperforms Shopify Email when it comes to advanced marketing features, including some that go beyond email.

With Shopify Email, you’d need to install an app or use custom coding to get many features that Klaviyo has already built in.

Here are a few Klaviyo features that ecommerce store owners find valuable:

A/B Testing

Klaviyo allows you to test different versions of your email campaigns to see which performs better. This feature is built into the platform, so you don’t have to manually randomize segments like you would in Shopify Email. Plus, Klaviyo’s analytics can help you interpret the results of your A/B test.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Klaviyo's CRM allows ecommerce owners to create detailed customer profiles based on purchase history, email engagement, and browsing behavior. Shopify doesn’t have a built-in CRM. Instead, you’d need to integrate external CRM software like HubSpot or Pipedrive.

SMS Campaigns

With Klaviyo you can easily integrate SMS marketing with your email campaigns. By purchasing SMS credits, you can build and send SMS campaigns from within Klaviyo. To launch an SMS campaign from Shopify, you’d need to download an app. The app store has over 400 SMS apps, but unfortunately most of them aren’t free

Email Sign-Up Forms

Klaviyo offers customizable sign-up forms to grow your subscriber list. These forms can be easily integrated into your Shopify store after you design them in Klaviyo. One of the best things about Klaviyo’s forms is the ability to target them to specific people. You can design several forms and customize their visibility based on criteria such as the visitor's location, type of device they are using, or items in their cart.

You can add a simple, static email sign-up form to your Shopify store using the theme editor. If you need pop-ups, multi-step, or targeted forms (like those available on Klaviyo), you’d need to install an app.

Pricing

Shopify Email for Ecommerce

Shopify Email is included with your Shopify subscription, with up to 10,000 email sends per month at no extra cost. If you go over this limit, you’ll pay $1 for every additional 1,000 sends. If you go over 300,000 sends, the rate drops to 65¢ per 1,000 sends.

Klaviyo offers a free plan which allows 500 email sends per month. After that, you’ll have to upgrade either to an email only plan, or email plus SMS plan.

We like that neither Shopify Email nor Klaviyo lock features behind a paywall– you’re only charged based on send volume. Unlike with some email service providers (we’re looking at you, Mailchimp), you don’t have to research every feature you might need when selecting a plan.

A major difference between Shopify Email and Klaviyo is that Shopify Email doesn't include transactional emails in your monthly limit, but Klaviyo does. This means you might reach your Klaviyo send limit faster because order confirmations, shipping notices, etc. add up quickly for ecommerce store owners.

Contact List Size / Send Volume Shopify Email Klaviyo
3,000 subscribers

30,000 sends/month

$20 $70
12,000 subscribers

120,000 sends/month

$110 $250
60,000 subscribers

600,000 sends/month

$485 $860

Is Klaviyo worth it?

It’s clear that Klaviyo is more expensive than Shopify Email. If your Shopify store is fairly small and you don’t have tons of subscribers, it might make sense financially to stick with Shopify Email.

However, getting started with Klaviyo early in your ecommerce journey offers a lot of benefits. If you wait until you start feeling growing pains, the transition might be more difficult.

Here are some scenarios where investing in Klaviyo might be worth it:

  • You're scaling and need more sophisticated segmentation and automation to match your growth
  • You need personalized product recommendations for different customer segments
  • You're aiming to increase customer lifetime value through advanced predictive analytics
  • You need multiple marketing channels, including SMS
  • You want to conduct A/B testing to optimize every aspect of your email campaigns

Shopify Email vs. Klaviyo: Which One is Right for You?

Deciding between Shopify Email and Klaviyo comes down to your specific needs, the size of your email list, and your budget.

Shopify Email is cost effective and easy to use. We love that it’s integrated directly into your Shopify dashboard, and that you get up to 10,000 sends per month at no additional cost. It's a solid choice for small to medium-sized businesses looking to get their email marketing off the ground quickly with pre-built automations and segments.

To get started, simply activate Shopify Email in your store and build your first campaign in a few minutes!

On the other hand, Klaviyo delivers more advanced email marketing strategies like limitless segmentation and robust automations. Despite the higher price tag, the investment could be worth it for growing businesses who can take advantage of Klaviyo’s many features.

Try Klaviyo for free to get a feel for all it has to offer.

If neither platform checks all your boxes, there are plenty of other email marketing solutions to consider, including many that are free!

The authors

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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.

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