Create a Winback Flow

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Winback flows are used to re-engage inactive customers and are a critical part of customer lifecycle marketing. They give you the opportunity to try to reach lapsed customers before they completely disengage with your brand. Klaviyo populates a default Winback flow in all new accounts, but you can also easily build your own.

After your winback flow is set up, you may want to consider back-populating it. This will ensure that anyone who purchased a long time ago but hasn't purchased since can receive your winback series in a timely fashion. Let's say, for example, your first winback email is set to send out six months after someone makes a purchase. Rather than wait six months until someone qualifies to receive this email, you can back-populate the flow so that everyone who placed an order six months ago but hasn't purchased since will receive the email right away.

Flow Trigger

A winback flow should be set in motion as soon as someone purchases because as soon as someone buys from you, you want to determine when they should buy again. Your business's buying cycle may be 30 days, or it may be 120 days, but for every business, there is usually an average time between purchases.

If someone places an order but then doesn't come back to buy again in a certain amount of time, this is when you should trigger a winback email. For this reason, this is how you should set up your flow:

  • Flow Trigger: Placed Order
  • Flow Filter: has Placed Order zero times since starting this flow

Make sure you add a Has Placed Order zero times since starting this flow filter to exclude customers who do make a purchase at any point during your series. If someone places a subsequent order, it wouldn't be appropriate for them to receive a winback email.

You may find it helpful to create different winback flows for different types of customers. For example, you might want to have a special winback flow for your VIP customers, or customers who have spent X amount of money at your store. Additionally, you can create separate branches within the same flow using any of the below properties in a Trigger Split. Here are a few additional filters you can add:

  • Customers who have spent X amount of money over Y amount of time
  • Customers who have made X number of purchases over Y amount of time
  • Customers who have been active on your site X number of days ago
  • Customers who have opened an email X number of days ago


Klaviyo's default Winback flow is set to send after 210 days (approximately six months). You should use your typical sales cycle to determine when to send your winback emails, as this can vary widely by industry. Some items, like cosmetics, have a shorter sales cycle, while others, like mattresses, have longer ones.

If you're not sure how long your typical sales cycle is, six months is a good rule of thumb.


Winback emails are a good opportunity to use discounts to incentivize customers to make a purchase. This is where creating different winback flows for different tiers of customers can come into play. For example, you might want to offer your higher-tier customers (your VIPs) a larger discount than the rest of your customers -- 20% off versus 10%, for example.

Winback flows are also a good opportunity to display new products, trending products, or recommendations that customers might have missed. Alternatively, you could use a plain text email to create a more personal feel. You might even want to A/B test these two types of emails and see which is more effective for your particular business.


Best Practices

Winback flows can be a great way to re-engage members of an older list that you might have migrated over from your previous ESP, but there are certain steps you should take before reaching out:

  1. Remove invalid email addresses
    This will help you eliminate any email addresses that are defunct, or worse, spam traps. There are several online tools that can help you accomplish this, including:
  2. Only send to those who were added to your account via double opt-in
    Emailing old subscribers that you acquired via a single opt-in signup method is very risky and will likely cause your emails to be marked as spam. Protect your deliverability by only contacting those who were added to your list via double opt-in.
  3. Use preview text to explain why a subscriber is receiving this email
    Remind subscribers that they opted in to receive notifications from your business and include an unsubscribe link clearly at the top of the email. This will reduce the chance that someone will make a spam complaint vs. unsubscribe if they're not interested.
  4. Make it clear that their preferences matter
    Explicitly ask these subscribers how often they want to hear from you moving forward. You can then use this information to segment your audience going forward.

Consider wiping those who don't engage by the end of your winback flow from your email list. This will ensure that you don't accidentally reach out to them again.

If you're interested in learning more about how to optimize your winback flow from a marketing perspective, we have a bunch of helpful articles on the Klaviyo blog:

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