Guide to Klaviyo Transactional Email and SMS Flows

Everything you need to know about Klaviyo's transactional email and SMS flows for Shopify and Shopify Plus

Shipping Notifications2

A Guide to Klaviyo’s Transactional Email and SMS Flows for Shopify and Shopify Plus

Transactional emails are a type of email sent to an individual based on a specific action they have taken, such as making a purchase or signing up for an account. These emails typically have high open rates because they contain information that the recipient is expecting or finds valuable.

Klaviyo's transactional emails can be customized and automated based on triggers such as purchases, account creations, password resets, shipping notifications, order confirmations, and more. The most important thing to note is that transactional email flows bypass the subscribed feature. Because these are operational emails that are sent based on a critical action, they’ll be sent to the recipient regardless of whether they are subscribed to your emails or not.

Some common examples of Klaviyo transactional emails include:

  • Order confirmation emails: Sent immediately after a customer completes a purchase, confirming the details of their order.

  • Shipping notification emails: Sent when an order has been shipped, including tracking information if applicable.

  • Account creation emails: Sent when a user signs up for an account, welcoming them to the platform or service.

  • Double-opt-in emails, which is related to account creation.

  • Password reset emails: Sent when a user requests a password reset for their account.

  • Receipt emails: Sent as a receipt for a purchase, often including details such as the items purchased, prices, and order total.


What is NOT considered a transactional email:

  • Welcome series

  • Abandoned cart

  • Product reviews

  • Surveys or quizzes

  • Replenishments or order renewal reminders

  • Back in stock notifications

Even though a customer may have taken an action to receive these emails, they aren’t transactional because the email is primarily marketing-focused vs. administrative. Shopify covers many of the transactional emails natively in the platform but brands eventually grow out of those notifications and want something more robust, like what Klaviyo and other ESPs can provide.


Which Pre-Built Transactional Flows are Available in Klaviyo?

Klaviyo provides several pre-built transactional email and SMS flows that businesses can use to automate their communication with customers based on specific events or actions. Below are some of the common transactional flows available in Klaviyo today. These fall into their new “Shopify Order Update” category.

The Klaviyo transactional email flows currently available are:

  1. Order confirmation: please note you must be on Shopify Plus to turn off the Shopify order confirmation emails, otherwise your customers will receive this one and the Shopify notification

  2. Full shipping confirmation (standard or ignoring partial orders)

  3. Partial shipping confirmation (standard or excluding partial fulfillment)

  4. Delayed fulfillment


The Klaviyo transactional SMS flows currently available are:

  1. Order confirmed (SMS only)

  2. Shipment confirmed (SMS only)

  3. Order fully processed (SMS only)

  4. Order partially processed (SMS only)

  5. Shipment out for delivery (SMS only)

  6. Shipment delivered (SMS only)

  7. Order refunded (SMS only)

  8. Order canceled (SMS only)


As you know, Shopify provides notifications for many of these actions. When you’re just getting started, think through which notifications you want to send from Shopify vs Klaviyo and also consider your plan level with Shopify because that could impact which notifications can or can’t be turned off inside of Shopify. Your customers may not want notifications from both Shopify & Klaviyo for the same action. Also consider which notifications are sent via email vs SMS vs both.


Sample Order Update Frameworks Combining Email and SMS

Suggested Notification Framework For Shopify Plus Brands

  1. Order Confirmation: email only

  2. Order Processed: email only

  3. Shipping Soon: email flow available with Malomo for packages in the pre-transit state

  4. Shipment Confirmation: SMS only

  5. Shipment Out For Delivery: SMS only

  6. Shipment Delivered: email & SMS

  7. Other optional email flows available with Malomo:
    1. Available for pickup

    2. Return to sender


In step 5, we recommend both email and SMS because you can create a short but exciting SMS message but having the final delivered email available can assist greatly in reducing tickets related to returns and exchanges. Additionally, if you’re using tools like Malomo and Loop the return process can be deep-linked in your emails and on your branded order tracking page to make this easy for your customers. Additionally, this is the perfect email to include tips and insights on how to use your product effectively.


Suggested Notification Framework For non-Shopify Plus Brands

  1. Order Confirmation: email only (sent through Shopify because this email cannot be disabled)

  2. Shipment Confirmation: SMS only (emails are sent through Shopify because this email cannot be disabled)

  3. Order Processed: email only

  4. Shipment Out For Delivery: SMS only (consider turning off this email notification in Shopify)

  5. Shipment Delivered: email & SMS (turn off this email notification in Shopify)


Keep in mind, some brands are OK sending the operational Shopify email plus and branded one if they are using branded order tracking because of the ability to send their customers to a branded tracking page where they can remarket to them.


Where to Start with Transactional Email Flows and How to Get Them Marked as Transactional


When you’re just getting started with transactional emails, it’s important to identify which email flows to start with because it can be overwhelming. And don’t forget, when you’re done building the flows you must have your email service provider (ESP) mark each individual email as transactional so they bypass the subscriber requirement and get through to anyone who took the related actions. Because you can add on any type of email you want to various flows, such as product review requests or cross-selling emails, your ESP will only mark individual emails as transactional to avoid marketing emails getting through as transactional emails. Keep this in mind when building your transactional emails too. If you include marketing information or marketing sections in your shipping or order update emails, your ESP might not approve the email as transactional!

Important note: You must have a paid subscription with Klaviyo to reach their support team and have emails marked as transactional.

When reaching out to Klaviyo's support team, this can easily be handled using their chat feature with the command "need emails marked as transactional." It will begin an automated workflow and then you'll need to be ready with the exact names of the flows in your account that you want reviewed and marked transactional. Drop those into the chat function and the process will begin on their side. They will chat or email you to confirm when the process is completed or if they ran into issues.

When an email is marked as transactional, you’ll see it when you click into the "email details." It's not a box that you can check or uncheck but you can see whether Klaviyo has completed the task.


Which transactional email flows you should start with

Order and shipping emails are the transactional emails that most brands start with and can easily be configured out of the box with your Klaviyo and Shopify integration in place. Other types of transactional emails might require using an open API.

To navigate to these flows in Klaviyo, go to “create new flow,” browse by goal and view the “Send order updates” grouping which currently contains 14 flows, but only some are email while others are SMS only.

We recommend starting with these transactional emails:

  1. Shipping confirmation (if on Shopify Plus)

  2. Shipment out for delivery

  3. Shipment delivered


These represent the most exciting times in a customer’s buying journey so it makes sense to elevate that experience first. However, the downside is that the Klaviyo default flows primarily focus on SMS. And, buyers check order tracking emails 4.6 times so you’re losing a massive opportunity for a branded, engaged experience.

So you’ll need to add an email branch for each of these flows and determine if you want the default to be email, SMS or both. Once you’ve added the email, you can begin designing your page and adding the elements. This can be a ton of work, so we’ve put together some materials to help you move faster. Additionally, keep in mind that if you’re partnered with an Order Tracking provider like Malomo, their flows come with pre-built email templates that are vetted by hundreds of brands.


Steal them now: Our best cheat sheets for designing and implementing order tracking emails

  1. How to use Klaviyo to design your Shopify Order Confirmation emails
  2. Post-purchase email flow examples
  3. Order tracking email design examples
  4. How to design your order delivered email
  5. Crafting order shipped emails


When to elevate post-purchase experiences with Malomo

On average, buyers check tracking emails 4.6 times for each purchase, so you want to make those interactions stand out with branded order tracking. Leveraging this high engagement rate is a breeze with applications like Malomo, which help you elevate ecommerce post-purchase.

Why do brands use Klaviyo + Malomo for transactional emails instead of just Klaviyo?

  • We provide deep linking to branded tracking pages in your Shopify theme instead of sending your customers to a carrier tracking page. This can be up to 20% of your web traffic being sent somewhere else! Instead you can remarket to your customer on their branded tracking page.

  • You can include problem order notifications, which drastically reduces support tickets. Send notifications based on specific delay lengths, exceptions, stalls, lost packages or other customizations.

  • Malomo offers more supported carriers and events. Klaviyo’s email flows will work great if you’re buying labels through Shopify, but once you graduate to using more carriers, 3PLs, etc. you’ll likely need a more robust solution.

We typically see brands graduate to branded order tracking with a solution like Malomo at 1,000 orders per month. This is typically the point at which you get tired of all of the “Where is my order” (WISMO) tickets and you have enough traffic to drive solid, reliable ROI from a branded order tracking page.


Order Tracking Transactional Flows Provided by Malomo

Building flows and creating all of the emails for the order tracking journey can be exhausting. This is why Malomo has built our 6 pre-built flows with vetted, high-performing email templates included for our customers. The following transactional flows are provided:

  • Order confirmation

  • Fulfillment confirmation (shipment created)

  • Shipping soon (pre-transit)

  • Just shipped (in transit)

  • Out for delivery

  • Delivered

  • Available for pickup

  • Return to sender


Order Tracking Events Supported by Malomo

  • Order Placed: When Shopify records a new order placed by a customer.

  • Shipment Created: When Shopify records a new shipment on an order and that shipment registers in the Malomo platform.

  • Delayed / Stalled in Fulfillment: An order that has been created but has not been fulfilled in the specified time frame.

  • Pre Transit: A shipping label was created but the carrier has not yet taken possession of the shipment.

  • In Transit: The shipment is in the carrier’s possession and is en route to its destination. For each in-transit scan the package has.

  • Delayed / Stalled in Transit: An order that has been fulfilled or is in transit and has not received a scan update in the specified time frame.

  • Out for Delivery: The shipment is currently on its last mile and is en route to the destination address.

  • Delivery Attempted: The shipment could not be delivered.

  • Available for Pickup: The shipment is available for pickup from the carrier’s facility such as a post office.

  • Delivered: The local delivery vehicle has reported the package was delivered.

  • Return to Sender: The shipment was not successfully delivered and is en route back to sender.

  • Canceled: The delivery has been canceled typically by either the seller or recipient.

  • Error: An unknown delivery error occurred.

  • Unknown: The carrier doesn’t know the current status of the shipment.


If you're ready to take your transactional marketing to the next level, request a demo with our team or request a free branded tracking page and notification mockup.


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