Using Flows to Send Transactional Emails



Out of the box, the only transactional emails Klaviyo supports are Order and Shipping Confirmations. To configure other types of transactional emails, you can leverage Klaviyo's open API.

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 our Customer Success team. These emails are manually reviewed and monitored closely to ensure that no marketing content is sent out.

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 first contact our Customer Success team 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.

We strongly 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.



1. Can transactional emails contain any marketing content?

The main purpose of transactional emails is to notify your customers of a purchase or other interaction with your business. It’s important that the main focus of your email be a direct response to an action your customer performed on your site or with your business. If you want to include additional content for marketing or educational purposes, this content must be peripheral to the main transactional message.

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). As an example, we would not expect to see any marketing material on a password reset email or transactional emails similar in nature.

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.

3. Can I import transactional emails from my ecommerce platform into Klaviyo?

No. Because your ecommerce platform uses different dynamic tags than Klaviyo, you will not be able to import your transactional emails from your ecommerce platform into Klaviyo.

If you are using Shopify, you can leverage Klaviyo's pre-built Shopify transactional email templates within your Shopify account. This only works one-way -- these emails must be sent through Shopify, not Klaviyo.

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