Using Flows to Send Transactional Emails

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Overview

Currently, this feature is only supported for managed accounts.

A transactional email is an essential, non-marketing email. Transactional emails are typically sent in response to a purchase or other direct interaction with your brand in which it is imperative that the customer receives a response. Additionally, customers expect these emails and will search for them in their inbox.

In Klaviyo, transactional emails are delivered through flows, as they must be sent in response to an action that the customer took. Additionally, transactional emails are marked on a per-email basis, not a per-flow basis. This means that you may have one email within a flow that is considered a transactional email, while the other emails in the series are considered marketing content. For example, you may have a post-purchase flow in which the first email is a transactional order confirmation, while the subsequent marketing emails are aimed at generating product reviews and cross-selling related products.

You cannot have an entire flow that is deemed transactional, though it is possible to create a flow in which all the emails are transactional. 

The Difference Between Transactional and Marketing Emails

While both transactional and marketing emails can be sent in response to an action a customer took, it is important to differentiate between the two. As a rule of thumb, a trigger-based email that is geared at relaying essential information to the customer rather than generating sales can be considered a transactional email. Common transactional emails include:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping confirmation
  • Account created confirmation

Triggered emails that are not considered transactional emails include:

  • Abandoned cart
  • Product review / cross sell
  • Browse abandonment

Another key distinction between marketing and transactional emails is the fact that transactional emails are not tied to whether or not someone has subscribed or otherwise opted-in to receive emails from you. Even if a customer has opted out of marketing emails, they would still expect to receive transactional messages around orders or administrative account activity. Because of this, emails marked as “transactional” in Klaviyo will still send to unsubscribed recipients.

Ability to Send Transactional Emails with Klaviyo

It is possible to send transactional emails with Klaviyo, but you must first contact your account manager. These emails are manually reviewed and monitored closely to ensure that no marketing content is sent out. 

Note

Support for transactional emails may vary by ecommerce integration. In all cases, you will want to turn off the corresponding transactional email in your ecommerce platform before beginning to send with Klaviyo. Otherwise, you may be double-emailing people. 

How to Create a Transactional Email

1. Create the flow

If you want to use a metric to trigger the flow that isn't synced through your ecommerce integration, you will need to create a new custom metric. Klaviyo has an open API that you can leverage to set this up. For example:

  • An order confirmation email could be triggered by the Placed Order metric
  • However, a password reset email would need a corresponding "Password Reset" event, which would need to be configured as a custom metric

2. Contact Klaviyo Support

Once you have configured all the content in your flow, you must contact your account manager to flag the email(s) as transactional. In your message, include:

  • URL link to the flow
  • Flow name
  • Subject line of the email(s) that are transactional

The internal review process for transactional emails is stringent. Because a transactional email will still send to unsubscribed recipients, it is important that only essential, non-marketing emails have this status enabled.

Once support verifies that your email is transactional, you will see a green badge on the email card. You will also see the transactional status enabled for a given email under the email’s Settings.

Note

We recommend turning Smart Sending off for transactional flow emails. This ensures that your customers will receive the transactional message, regardless of any other marketing or transactional messages they have received within your Smart Sending window.

On the main Flows page, you will notice a marker on each flow that contains a transactional email, with the count of how many emails are transactional.

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FAQ

1. Can transactional emails contain any marketing content?

No. The purpose of a transactional message is to convey required or requested information, not to attempt to generate website traffic or sales. Before a message is marked as transactional, it will be evaluated by a specialized Klaviyo team member. If a message appears to be focused on marketing or selling and not on conveying essential information, we will not approve it. If we detect that you have altered a transactional email to include marketing content after we approve it, this may result in account suspension.

In general, standard header/footer content is fine to include in a transactional message (i.e. footer links to your social media accounts or a header link to the sale section of your website). Information about specific social media posts, or highlighting current on-sale items, on the other hand, is not acceptable.

2. Will my recipients notice a difference between a regular marketing email and an email marked as transactional?

No. When a transactional email is delivered to your recipient’s inbox, there will be no indication that this message was marked differently by Klaviyo.

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