Feature Spotlight: Automated Flows

Klaviyo’s automated flows distinguish us from other ESPs, especially since many of our best practice flows are already built in and can be enabled right on the Getting Started page. Flows are extremely effective in generating revenue, so it’s important that you’re making the most out of them. Without further ado, here are some tips to optimize your flows.

Flows You Should Be Using

To start, let’s run through the basic flows all ecommerce stores should be using:

1. Welcome Series

Shopify Welcome Email

A welcome series should be sent once a customer registers for your newsletter, makes their first purchase, or opts in to your contact list in some way. Depending on the type of merchandise you sell, your welcome emails can include trending or bestselling products, and any information you think your customer will find useful. Since Shopify offers an ecommerce platform as opposed to an array of products, they fill their email with resources for new users. Regardless of the total number of emails in your welcome series, the first should be sent immediately.

2. Abandoned Carts


Fun fact: 73% of shopping carts are abandoned, and yet the majority of our customers cite abandoned cart flows as the largest drivers of revenue – they account for up to 40% of email marketing revenue for some. Clearly, customers are receptive to this type of marketing.

Successful abandoned cart flows include around three emails. The first email should be sent right away – we’re talking a couple of hours after an incomplete checkout. The second email should be sent around one day later, and the third, two days. For the final email, it may be useful to include a coupon code or a “last chance” message to create a sense of urgency and persuade your customers to take the final leap to purchase.

 3. Product Recommendations

Amazon Prime

As part of a post-purchase flow, you can include an email displaying other products that your customer might also like. Our product feeds make it incredibly simple to display product recommendations in any email. In that same vein, you can also cross-sell by showing customers products that go well with what they have already purchased.

If you’re a men’s fashion store, for example, you could send a post-purchase follow-up email with curated style suggestions based on a customer’s previous purchase. Alternatively, if you’re a vitamin company and you have two vitamin supplements that complement one another, you may want to set up a flow that automatically suggests the other and explains the benefit of taking the two supplements together.

4. Win-Backs

Rent the Runway

Win-back flows are used to re-engage customers who haven’t purchased or visited your site in a specified amount of time – usually around thirty days or so. After setting the flow’s parameters, you can set up a sequence of emails that updates customers on what has happen since they last purchased, or even offer them discounts to win them back, as the Rent the Runway email does.


Timing is crucial for both flows and emails within flows. To maximize revenue, you want to hit customers with the right emails at the right time in their purchase lifecycle. But, as we mentioned above, you don’t want to overflow their inboxes.

1. Flows

Generally, flows fall along the timeline of pre-purchase, active, and post-purchase. Pre-purchase emails include a welcome series, newsletters, and the like. Active, on the other hand, include mainly transactional flows, such as order and shipping confirmation, abandoned cart, and product reviews. Lastly, depending on how much time has passed since the last purchase, post-purchase emails are largely focused on re-engagement and should include win-backs.

2. Emails

There’s a careful balance between inundating your customers’ inboxes and keeping them up-to-date on what’s going on with your company. You don’t want to send customers emails in such short sequence that you irritate them, but you don’t want them to forget about you, either. Many Klaviyo users have found success in gradually tapering off the frequency of emails within their flows.

Take a welcome series, for example. By sending the first two or three emails within the initial week of signup, you keep new users engaged and make sure they’re exposed to information they will find useful and the tools they need to get started. If you’re sending out a weekly newsletter to your entire mailing list, too, this can quickly add up to several emails a week, or even a day. So, after the initial signup period, it’s best to decrease the frequency of your emails. You can also use Klaviyo’s smart sending feature to make sure you’re not bombarding your customers. 

A/B Testing

We recently discussed our A/B Testing feature, so all the best practice tips we mentioned in that post apply here, too. Testing readable label, subject line, and content can help you select the most effective emails. However, unlike campaigns, in which the tests run for a specified period of time (usually just a couple of hours), it’s important to keep in mind that flows are continuously-running emails. So, you have to manually choose your winner once you think the test has run for what you deem an appropriate amount of time. This, depending on how often you update your flows and how large your sample size is, could range anywhere from days to weeks.

One way to test your flows is to first set up a control email after determining the winner of your initial A/B test. By periodically testing different “B” emails, you can minimize the number of variables in play and arrive at the what is truly the most effective email.

What’s Next

We’re in the midst of updating our flows’ UI and adding new functionalities, so stay tuned – there’s more to come.

How many of these flows are you currently using? Are there any you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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