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Strike the right balance with Klaviyo cross-sell flows (2022)

In our last blog, we discussed how to perfect the replenishment flow and get one-time customers to order from you again. Both replenishment flows and cross-sell flows form part of the wider post-purchase journey but we thought they deserved to be split into standalone pieces due to their differences. 

In this blog you’ll learn everything you need to get started with Klaviyo cross-sell flows with advice from Sarah from Swanky Agency, and Jordan from Klaviyo. Discover:

  • The difference between replenishment and cross-sell flows
  • Klaviyo cross-sell flow strategy
  • Klaviyo cross-sell example templates
  • Klaviyo cross-sell subject lines

Difference between replenishment flow and cross-sell flow

In a nutshell, replenishment flows are all about getting the customer to order the same item again, while cross-selling entails generating additional revenue from the customer.

An example of a cross sell flow

A good example of a cross-sell would be selling a customer a 250g bag of coffee, but asking if they needed any brewing equipment to go with it. Upselling is slightly different and could entail persuading the customer to upgrade from their usual replenishment coffee to a Limited Edition or premium range. These flows form part of the wider post-purchase journey, an essential piece of your growth puzzle which Jordan from Klaviyo estimates “delivers a 217% higher open rate, over 500% higher click rate, and 90% higher revenue per recipient than your average email campaign."

Klaviyo cross sell flow strategy

We asked Sarah Hanney from Swanky Agency to share her expertise on achieving Klaviyo cross sell flow success.

Strike while the iron is hot

Although you should wait until the customer has had the time to take their first product out of the box and try it out before hitting them with additional temptation, you don’t want to leave it too long. Sarah Hanney, Email Specialist at Swanky says,

“A customer is never more engaged with your brand than straight after they’ve made a purchase. Soon after they’ve received it, you can send them other relevant product recommendations.”

Sarah Hanney, Email Specialist

Swanky Agency

10 days - the sweet spot

The best time to start sending your customer cross-sell flows is around 10 days after the initial purchase. Sarah says, “You want to leave enough time for delivery delays and for them to experience the product, but not so much that they forget about your brand for good.”

Recommend similar products

When asked about high-performing cross-sell flows, Sarah references one of Swanky’s top clients.

“One of our clients has a very popular product that generates a high proportion of revenue. Once the customer has received the product, we send an automated flow 10 days later that recommends accessories to be used with the product.”

Sarah Hanney, Email Specialist

Swanky Agency

It’s simple advice but the results of this flow are staggering. Since introducing it, Swanky’s client have generated over $50,000 additional revenue, the engagement rates are well above the industry average - 60.2% open rate, 15.8% click-through rate and it continues to be the clients best performing flow month-on-month.


Increasing average order value and driving more recurring revenue from your existing customer base is the best way to grow your DTC business. If you have the opportunity to sell your customer a more expensive version of the product they already have, it makes sense to target them with an upsell. 

Jordan Bourchier-Lee from Klaviyo says,

“Upselling can mean different things for different businesses. For instance if you offer replenishable goods then upselling could be converting a habitual customer to a subscription. The important thing with any upsell flow is to make the benefits super clear for the customer. They should be able to understand the added value in seconds with an easy route to purchase.”

Brands often have tiered products and upsell accordingly

Implementing Klaviyo cross-sell flows

Klaviyo cross-sell flows are generated by flow triggers which allow you to select the number of days in-between purchases and segment your audience based on their purchasing habits. 

An example of a cross sell trigger

In the example above which is modelled on Klaviyo’s own cross-sell flow triggers, you will see that the flow is activated when you input the specific trigger and filters relating to purchase history and number. Klaviyo allows you to trigger by ‘fulfilled order’ (when the item has been shipped) and ‘placed order’ (when the item has been purchased.) Although you can trigger your cross-sell flow for either, we would recommend choosing ‘fulfilled order’ as you don’t want to bombard the customer with more things to buy straight away before they’ve even had a chance to try the first product out. Instead, use the time to nurture them on your brand, benefits and values as we set out in our Welcome Flow blog.

Klaviyo cross-sell subject lines

With any email flow you introduce, it’s important to pay special attention to the subject lines. Imagine spending hours agonizing over the perfect graphics, the size of the CTA button and the best offer just to write a slapdash subject line and have nobody open the email.

To help you perfect your cross-sell subject lines, we asked Jordan Bourchier-Lee from Klaviyo to share his expertise.

Klaviyo cross sell subject line examples

1. Keep it 30-40 characters

Once the character count goes over this number, it can be cut off on mobile. With an estimated 70% of users opening emails in a mobile app, it makes sense to stick to best practice. If you’re really struggling, Jordan recommends making use of the pre-header function to add more copy.

2. Avoid using ALL CAPS

While it might be tempting to try and stand out from all the other DTC brands vying for your customers' attention, using all caps tends to have a negative impact. Jordan estimates that emails which don’t use all caps perform around 12% better overall than those which do.

3. Use emojis sparingly

Using the odd emoji is absolutely fine, but be wary of going overboard, especially given the limited space you have. As with everything, emojis are subjective and the success of using them depends on your specific customers. If in doubt, A/B test using emojis vs. not using emojis.

Klaviyo cross sell subject line examples

4. Get personal

78% of customers are more likely to buy again from a brand that personalizes. Even the simplest tactics such as adding a customers first name can garner a 12% increase in open rates, but we suggest going deeper than this and checking out Klaviyo’s customer profile feature. This feature allows you to segment customers by likes, interests and purchase history around your brand, allowing better personalization opportunities.

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