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The ultimate guide to Klaviyo flows (2022)

Looking to brush up on your Klaviyo flows and improve conversion rates? You’ve come to the right place. With customer acquisition costs on the rise and tricky iOS updates making life harder, it’s becoming more and more important to work with the existing database you’ve got, rather than chase the new and shiny.

In this guide, we’re going to teach you the need-to-know information to engage, delight and convert your current customers with Klaviyo flows. Supported by expert insights from Klaviyo and Hawke Media, you’ll learn...

What are Klaviyo flows?

Klaviyo flows are a sequence of automated messages intended to nurture and engage customers. You may assume that a flow is another word for an email campaign, but there is a big distinction. Email and SMS flows differ from campaigns in the sense that campaigns are usually one-off activities - Boxing Day sales for example - whereas flows serve a longer purpose. Flows are automated, sequenced emails or SMS messages sent to particular lists and segments which are governed by rules and triggers.

Flows are designed to encourage the customer into making repeat purchases. However, not all flows are overtly transactional. For instance, you may want to create a brand awareness flow containing founder interviews and details about your mission and values. 

Wondering which Klaviyo flows are the best to prioritize in the short term to maximize effectiveness? Let’s take a look at a list of tried and trusted Klaviyo flows.

The best Klaviyo flows to set up

Welcome flows

An example of how Welcome Email 1 could look

Once a customer has placed their first order with you, it’s really important to keep your brand in their mind’s eye. Most Ecommerce businesses hold onto around 30% of their customers. Imagine the potential for growth if you held onto just an extra 5%. A welcome flow is a crucial place to start in building that retention strategy with initial customers so they’ll return and buy from you again. 

The good news is that the Welcome Flow is relatively simple to implement in terms of set up. They’re usually short in length and designed to greet the customer, communicate the brand value and offer a gratuitous discount code. Be wary of being overly ‘selly’ here though, as customers will see through it. 

Create a pitch perfect welcome flow

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Cross sell flows

An example of how Cross Sell email 1 could look

Cross-selling (or upselling), involves directing customers towards similar products to what they originally purchased with the aim of increasing lifetime value. On an Ecommerce website, this often takes the form of a ‘You may also like’ section, but this is usually a one-size-fits-all view and is unpersonalized to the individual. 

Creating cross-sell flows allows you to build a better rapport with the customer and gives you the opportunity to ramp up personalization. You may incentivise the customer with free delivery or offers. 

Hit the right note with cross-sell flows

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Replenishment flows

An example of how replenishment flow email 1 could look

Next on the list is the post-purchase and replenishment flow. This is your opportunity to upsell to the customer without overtly doing so. The post-purchase flow may include order confirmation emails, shipping confirmation emails, thank you emails, feedback emails and triggered replenishment emails, such as the example above. One of the main reasons that post-purchase email flows are so crucial is that they often see the highest open rates, as customers are keen to ensure their order is on the way. Jordan Bourchier-Lee, Partnerships Manager at Klavyio says “When executed well Klaviyo’s post-purchase flows see a 17% higher open rate than average email automations.”

You might be wondering how hygiene factor comms such as an order confirmation email can help you grow your dtc business. The trick is to squeeze small nuggets of brand awareness into the content. For instance, you can include your mission statement, compliment the customer or offer them a discount on their next purchase.

Create added value with Klaviyo replenishment flows

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Abandoned cart flows

An example of how Abandoned Cart email 1 could look

Did you know that according to Klaviyo data, 25% of users add an item to their Ecommerce cart, and never checkout? Perhaps they forgot, maybe there was a financial hurdle, or they simply changed their mind. Either way, the abandoned cart flow is your opportunity to remind them what they’ve left behind, and coax them back. Lowering the amount of abandoned cart users on your site by just 5% could increase your yearly revenue by hundreds of thousands of pounds, so it’s an essential Klaviyo flow to prioritize.

A few abandonment flow tactics you can use to entice users back to checkout include:

  • Limited stock - get it or regret it!
  • USPs - this product is the bee’s knees
  • Social proof - sharing what others think builds trust
  • Offers and discounts - everyone loves a bargain

Level up your abandoned cart flows

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Winback flows

An example of how Winback Flow email 1 could look

The winback flow series is a tactic employed by DTC brands when customers have been inactive around your brand for a while and are at risk of churning. It’s up to 7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to hold onto an existing one, so utilizing your current database is key to driving repeatable revenue. 

Winback flows are often incentivised with an offer, but you could also remind the customer of your mission and values, educate them on the provenance of products or even ask for feedback to check their absence isn’t down to poor customer service. With winback flows, it’s absolutely crucial to have catchy and engaging subject lines, as the customer won’t have opened your emails for some time. We explain more on this in our subsequent blog - see below.

Create kick-ass winback flows

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Personalizing your Klaviyo flows

An example of email personalization

We’ve spoken about a variety of the best Klaviyo flows to focus on, but it’s important to remember to personalize them. By going the extra mile and tailoring communication so it’s aligned to the customers needs and interests, you suddenly have an edge over competitors. For instance in this example from Plants for Planet, the user is invited to a cacti masterclass because they had told the brand this was their favourite plant variety. They are also told they will receive the class free for being a valued customer, and that there are only a few spaces, so there is an element of exclusivity.

Gathering data for personalization usually happens outside the flow (onboarding quizzes, feedback, purchasing habits etc), but it’s important to utilize that data and ensure it’s aligned with your communication for best in class results. We dive deeper into this below.

Personalization tactics for better Klaviyo flows

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The best time to send a Klaviyo email flow

Picture the scene: you pour your heart and soul into a brilliant, creative flow, do tonnes of research around personalization and segment perfectly, but you automate your flow for anti-social times. Suddenly, all your hard work will be undone as the user won’t even open the emails, let alone read them or convert.

Flows are triggered when a customer does something (such as browsing the website) or hitting a certain milestone (their 1 year anniversary or X number of days since their last purchase). However, it's important to consider the time delays between each step within the flow. The time between messages depends on the purpose of the flow. Keep in mind the customer experience and try not to overwhelm the customer with too many messages, too quickly. Testing different time delays using splits is a great way to optimize the effectiveness of your flows!

Klaviyo flow best practice with Jordan Bourchier-Lee

We could wax lyrical about Klaviyo flow best practice ourselves, but we thought this would be strongest coming from one of their in-house experts. 

Jordan Bourchier Lee, Partnerships Manager recommends the following best practice tips:

1. Build out our best practice flows, outlined here, as a starting point.

2. Create simple branches, such as purchaser/non-purchaser, and use these to personalize the messaging within flows.

3. Leverage pre-built Klaviyo integrations from your wider tech stack and make use of those Metrics (triggers) and customer properties.

4. Optimize flows periodically.

5. Think about multiple channels! Leverage channels like SMS, when customers aren't engaging off the back of email flows.

“Above all, avoid overcomplication. Keep the flows themselves nice and simple at the start. You can build complexity into Klaviyo flows as you start to optimize over time. Following our best practices on branching is a good starting point: focus on key groups like purchases/non-purchases, domestic/international shoppers, and category-based segments."

Jordan Bourchier-Lee, Strategic Partnerships Manager


How to measure the impact of your flows

Klaviyo flows are a work in progress, and it would be a mistake to set them and forget about them because you could be missing an opportunity to drastically improve conversion, open rates, click through rates, perform A/B tests etc. Once your first set of contacts have been targeted with a flow, it’s time to look at the email campaign flow analytics.  

We have Ashley Scorpio from Hawke Media with more...

"‍The most effective way to measure the efficacy of your email flows is to first hone the purpose of the emails and align that to the CTA in your subject line. In ecommerce and DTC, emails are clear-cut in their purpose. Your audience and customers need these emails. To see if they work, measure the metrics that track efficacy from the top of the funnel to the bottom. "

Ashley Scorpio, Senior Vice President

Hawke Media

These include: 

  • Email delivery rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Open rates 
  • Clickthrough rates 
  • Conversion rates  
  • Customer lifetime value 
  • Average order value 
  • Cart abandonment rate

Make sure to use proper link tracking embedded into every link and CTA so you have full visibility into the entirety of your lead flow, from the email landing in the subscriber's inbox, all the way to the order confirmation email and beyond. 


We hope our advice on Klaviyo flows has given you some food for thought on how to glow up your Klaviyo flows, engage more customers and increase email conversion rates. Although there will be an initial time investment in creating, sending and monitoring these flows, the pay off has the opportunity to be massive as you drive more revenue from your existing base.

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