Klaviyo vs. MailChimp: What’s the Best Fit for Your Business?

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Phil Grossman

30 Dec, 2019

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When it comes to email marketing platforms, there are two tools that lead the pack: MailChimp and Klaviyo. 

While MailChimp has been around since 2001, Klaviyo was founded in 2012, and has been using its youthful energy to shake up the email marketing space with a fresh, ecommerce-centric approach. 

Whether you’re looking to start building out your email marketing campaign from scratch or to switch to a new platform, you’re undoubtedly going to be looking pretty deeply into these two tools — that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? 

Well, you’re in the right place. For tonight’s fight, we’ve got the reigning heavyweight champ of email marketing, MailChimp, going face to face with the youngblood, Klaviyo. We’re going to have a clean fight here: a thorough comparison of pricing, features, UX design, customer service, and no punches below the belt. 

Get ready for the fight of the century: Mailchimp vs. Klaviyo. 

Klaviyo vs. MailChimp Pricing


So, let’s jump right into the stuff that makes the world go round — no, not conservation of angular momentum – in this case it’s all about the money. 

MailChimp’s pricing is determined by two things: features and number of contacts. It’s a bit of a confusing framework, but in a nutshell, MailChimp offers four plans with an increasing number of features and a higher starting price: Free, Essentials, Standard, and Premium. From there, the price will continue to increase for each plan depending on the number of contacts you have. 

Let’s break down the differences:


You guessed it: the free plan costs $0/mo. It’s a good place to start, but it only offers the most basic MailChimp features, doesn’t include any support, and only allows a list with up to 2,000 subscribers. If you’re new to email marketing, it’s a good way to start experimenting, but you’ll quickly need to move up to a more feature-rich plan in most cases. 


Starting at $9.99/mo for lists with up to 1,499 contacts and maxing out at $259/mo for lists with up to 50,000 contacts, MailChimp’s Essentials plan builds on the free plan with extra features like: 

  • A larger assortment of email templates
  • A/B testing capabilities
  • Email and chat support
  • More email branding features


Pricing for the Standard plan ranges from $14.99/mo to $499/mo for up to 2,499 and up to 100,000 contacts respectively. Upgrading to this plan brings with it the following features:

  • Retargeting ads
  • Event-based automation 
  • Expanded analytics tools
  • Custom email templates

Overall, this is the best starting point if you’re looking into MailChimp as it provides a solid set of features without breaking the bank. For just $5 more per month than the Essentials plan, we think it’s a worthwhile upgrade. 


While the Standard plan is only a mild upgrade from the Essentials plan as far as price itself is concerned, the Premium plan is in a league all its own: the lowest price is $299/mo for lists with up to 14,999 contacts and once you hit 200,000 contacts, you’ll be paying $1,099/mo. If your list is larger than that, you’ll need to contact MailChimp directly for pricing.

The Premium plan is built for Enterprises. While there are some useful features like multivariate testing and advanced segmentation tools, the real upgrade here is the unlimited seating and role-based access options. If these two features aren’t important to you, you’re best off looking at one of MailChimp’s other plans, or another platform that offers better testing and segmentation tools at a lower price point. 


Klaviyo pricing is somehow both simpler and more complicated than MailChimp’s. It’s simpler in that there’s only one plan, and pricing is based solely on how many contacts you have. However, the price you’ll pay increases pretty erratically, and there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason for some of Klaviyo’s pricing decisions — sometimes it will require 5,000 more subscribers to jump up in price, sometimes it’s just 500. MailChimp’s price-contact relationship is fairly easy to understand. But Klaviyo’s pricing is like a box of chocolates, you n-…I’ll show myself out. 

Unfortunately, this makes it hard to budget for Klaviyo as your list grows in size, and it also penalizes you for growth due to some of the incredibly small contact number increases that will bump your price up. For example: if you have 1,500 subscribers when you start and move up to 2,000, you’re going to see an increase from $45/mo to $60/mo. Then, you’ll see another $10/mo increase when you hit 3,000, a $30 increase when you hit 4,000…you get the idea. Like we said, it’s pretty erratic and hard to make sense of.

Pricing Winner: MailChimp

After the first round, MailChimp comes out swinging hard: its pricing is fair, pretty easy to understand, and it whoops Klaviyo when it comes to value. For a list with 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp costs a whopping $0-49.99/mo, while Klaviyo costs $60/mo. Granted, the features of Klaviyo and MailChimp are quite different, but on price alone, this round goes to MailChimp hands down. 

Klaviyo vs. MailChimp Sign up


Signing up for MailChimp is deceptively easy: the site asks you only for an email, username, and password, which makes it seem like that’s all they’ll need to get you started, but don’t be fooled! After inputting those first three bits of info, you’ll still need to put in all your usual personal info, just over the course of several input boxes — even for the free version. 

All in all, it’s about what you’d expect from a signup. The only problem is that since sign up happens over a sequence of different forms, you can’t autofill everything in one go, if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.

Also, remember that if you exceed 200,000 contacts, you’ll need to contact MailChimp directly for pricing. 


Klaviyo’s signup is very straightforward, and, unlike MailChimp, it puts everything on one page so you can easily autofill all the fields. 

Signup Winner: Klaviyo

This one was tough: while Klaviyo’s signup process is definitely easier, MailChimp does offer a free version, which means you can sign up without a credit card. Now that’s tempting!

However, assuming you’ll be using a paid plan (and most businesses will), that part evens out, and the round goes to Klaviyo. 

Design and User Experience


When it comes to design, MailChimp is pretty unique among software platforms these days: it’s extremely minimalist, almost to a fault. The design team clearly drew their inspiration from office software like Microsoft Word, and the result is an aesthetic that straddles the line between elegance and boredom. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do think the MailChimp design and UI is well done, but it does lack pizzazz. It’s elegant, but uninspiring: everything is in black and white, save for green action buttons and the occasional splash of color in a graph. Take a look for yourself:

That said, MailChimp is very easy to use, so what it lacks in flair, it makes up for in navigability — and that’s what really matters anyway. MailChimp has been around since 2001, so that means they’ve had lots of time to get their UX down pat. 


Compared to MailChimp, Klaviyo’s UI is much more modern — and consequently more complex. However, that’s par for the course considering Klaviyo’s feature set is quite a bit more robust in many ways. 

Here’s what Klaviyo’s dashboard looks like: 

Clearly, there’s a lot going on. This makes for a steeper learning curve, but also more control over the platform once you learn what you’re doing. 

On a purely aesthetic front, Klaviyo is simply more colorful than MailChimp, which can have more than an impact than you’d think given the deep effects colors can have on us psychologically

Design Winner: Klaviyo

MailChimp’s UI is sleek, but Klaviyo’s is inspiring. While MailChimp is easier to use from the outset, Klaviyo’s isn’t particularly confusing, so you should be able to wrangle it into your control without too much trouble. Once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy a rich feature set. 

Features and Integrations


If it’s integrations you’re after, MailChimp has a whole slew of them — and that’s not surprising considering they are one of the most popular email marketing platforms around. When you’re number one, everyone wants to integrate with you. Pssst, we integrate with them too

Unfortunately, while their list of partners is impressive, Mailchimp is missing some pretty essential ones, like Shopify. They have a WooCommerce integration, but not having Shopify on their roster is a big hit to them. 

As far as features are concerned, MailChimp focuses on what they’re good at: building emails. The company started back in 2001 when newsletters were pretty much the only form of email marketing, and they’ve never strayed too far from their roots. Sure, they’ve added in some automation, but at its core, MailChimp is still all about sending newsletters, with some extra automation features thrown in for good measure. 


Klaviyo places a lot of importance on data. Unlike MailChimp, which seems to view analytics as something of an afterthought, Klaviyo’s platform seems to be built largely around the power of data science.

With tools that calculate the probability of churn, customer lifetime value calculations, and even customer gender predictions, Klaviyo takes data features to a whole new level. They also put a significant amount of effort on automation features, eclipsing MailChimp in that regard as well. 

And of course, they do have an email builder, so that base is covered too.

When it comes to integrations, Klaviyo has a long list that includes both WooCommerce and Shopify. 

Features & Integrations Winner: Klaviyo

Klaviyo’s really on a roll here. While MailChimp’s got a great email builder, Klaviyo has a great email builder and great automation and data tools. Add native Shopify integration into the mix, and it looks like the youngblood might beat out the old contender. Let’s see if MailChimp can make a comeback. 

Customer Service


As soon as you start paying for MailChimp, you’ll be able to enjoy access to 24/7 chat and email support. Unfortunately, if you want to phone support, you’re going to need to shell out some serious dough, as that’s only available on the Premium plan. 


If you’re paying for Klaviyo, you’ll have access to chat and email support, just like MailChimp. However, no matter how many contacts you have, Klaviyo doesn’t offer phone support.

Winner: MailChimp

It’s been a while since MailChimp won a round, but offering phone support really seals the deal when it comes to this category. 

By the way, if you’re looking for great customer support, you may want to try Ampjar. We’re a small business, so we offer personalized phone support to every one of our customers from the start. 

Winner: Klaviyo 🎉

In the upset of the century, Klaviyo appears to have dethroned the reigning champ of email marketing. While MailChimp still offers a robust marketing platform, Klaviyo’s forward thinking automation and data-centric feature set have positioned this newcomer to win the prized title. 

That said, Klaviyo isn’t right for everyone. If you’re looking for a simple email marketing platform and don’t think you’ll want to get so deep into analytics, MailChimp will suit your needs just fine — and at a better price. However, if you want some room to grow, and you don’t mind paying a premium, we recommend Klaviyo.

If you’d like to check out another option, take a look at Ampjar. Our platform makes sending emails fast, so you can spend less time marketing and more time running your business. Plus, we allow business to sell ad space in their emails, so you can earn passive revenue with all your promotions.

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