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Sendlane is an up and coming email platform that has been making waves on DTC Twitter with their charismatic founder Jimmy Kim and David vs Goliath story in their fight against Klaviyo.
Like Klaviyo, it offers SMS and Email in a single offering. It currently trails Klaviyo in a couple of key dimensions: it lacks the complex automation capabilities of Klaviyo, it has fewer integrations, and has fewer pre-built email templates (useful for smaller teams), so we don't recommend it for most companies. Sendlane users rave about their world-class support which is especially evident in their white glove onboarding process for customers coming from other ESPs (especially larger customers). Pricing for Sendlane is based on email sends instead of contacts and will likely be cheaper than Klaviyo. We think once Sendlane reaches feature parity, it could become a true Klaviyo competitor, but we still recommend Klaviyo for most eCommerce companies.
Sendlane has been through multiple iterations to get to their current offering. The original idea for Sendlane came in 2013 (the year after Klaviyo was founded) when Jimmy Kim and his co-founders who were all email marketers themselves were frustrated by the current email marketing tools. Jimmy went full time on the idea when he exited two other companies in 2017. In late 2018 the company raised a seed round and in 2019 they pivoted to focus on eCommerce. The company raised a $20M series A led by Five Elms Capital in July, 2021.
Sendlane’s offering is geared towards Medium and Enterprise size customers. Typically merchants will start on more small business friendly options like Mailchimp, Shopify email, or Klaviyo (although steeper learning curve) and graduate to a Sendlane type offering as they scale. Like Klaviyo, Sendlane offers both email and SMS. While only ~15% of Klaviyo’s customers use their SMS offering, ~60% of Sendlane’s customers use their SMS offering. This is partially due to the size of their average customer, but it also shows that Sendlane’s unified email and SMS value prop is resonating with their customers.
Unlike Klaviyo, Sendlane has their own sending infrastructure whereas Klaviyo is built on top of SendGrid. We think the jury is still out on whether this leads to deliverability benefits but is something to consider.
Also their email builder is built on top of MJML, a modern open source framework, which will prevent email clipping (i.e. when the entire email isn't displayed).
Sendlane differentiates itself on its customer service. They have customer service available 24/7 365 days a year. For larger clients migrating from other ESPs there will be white glove migration support. Larger customers will also have a dedicated customer success manager and a personal Slack channel for problem solving and troubleshooting. Klaviyo’s support can be lacking at times and this is a meaningful differentiator especially for large brands.
Additionally, Sendlane’s UX is clean and slightly more intuitive than Klaviyo. Sendlane also supports multiple stores in a single account whereas Klaviyo will only support one Shopify store per account. This might come into play if you have a separate international Shopify store or multiple brands and you want to manage email centrally.
Sendlane pricing is based on the number of emails you send as opposed to the number of contacts you have.
Their cheapest plan starts at $100 per month (or $1,000 per year - 17% savings) for email only. This will support up to 50,000 email sends per month.
Plans scale up from there based on the number of email sends per month. 1.75M sends a month will run $1,500 per month (or $15,600 per year - 13% savings) for email only.
Text message plans are additional and based on usage. SMS plans start at $50 per month for 2,500 send credits (1 send credit = 1 SMS send or 3 MMS sends).
Sendlane reviews are included for free at all tiers.
SMB Tools - Small & Medium Size Businesses ($0-$50M+ annual revenue)
Note: Don’t consider these options unless you have reached enterprise level sales ($50M+) and have an in-house email team of 4-5+ people. They will come at a significant price premium to the SMB tools and will likely require enterprise-level agencies to support and implement. It will take a huge amount of implementation effort just for these tools to reach feature parity with the more advanced SMB tools. Many enterprise-size companies use or are considering using the SMB tools given the cost and complexity of the enterprise tools that outweigh any marginal benefits. Frankly, many of the enterprise tools don’t have more advanced features than the SMB tools.
Sendlane offers integrated SMS and email. Like Klaviyo, they also recently launched integrated reviews. Sendlane is known for world-class support. It also uses its own in house sending infrastructure and not a third-party (like Klaviyo with SendGrid).
What are the benefits of Sendlane?
In addition to world class customer service, Sendlane offers a couple of key benefits. They use their own sending infrastructure which they argue increases deliverability. They have a very clean UX. Their email builder is built on top of MJML, a modern open source framework, which will prevent email clipping (i.e. when the entire email isn't displayed). Finally, they support multiple storefronts in a single account which is good for those businesses with multiple brands or separate international stores that want to manage email centrally.
What is Sendlane used for?
Sendlane is primarily an email marketing tool. They also offer SMS and reviews on their platform.
What are the drawbacks to Sendlane?
It currently trails Klaviyo in a couple of key dimensions: it lacks the complex automation capabilities of Klaviyo, it has fewer integrations, and has fewer pre-built email templates (useful for smaller teams).
What size of company is Sendlane best for?
Sendlane is targeted towards medium and Enterprise sized clients. Typically, customers will start on an SMB focused platform (Mailchimp or Shopify email) and migrate to Sendlane as they scale.
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