The Importance of Having a Winback Flow: Reignite Your Relationship with Existing Customers

What's the purpose of having a Winback flow? How effective is it? How to set it up in Klaviyo? Read on to learn...

Customers who have already bought from you in the past are a huge asset for your company and should not be disregarded.

Indeed, most companies will spend thousands of dollars on acquiring new customers instead of trying to retain the old ones.

According to Invesp, acquiring a new customer is 5x more expensive than retaining an existing customer, with 44% of companies focusing on customer acquisition and only 18% on retention.

If you’re still not convinced, then think about these numbers coming from the same report:

“The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%”. Which one would you want to sell more to?

The answer should be obvious, and therefore, it is vital that you have a great retention strategy at hand.

But what is the most effective digital marketing strategy for retention, then?

You guessed it: email marketing.

According to Invesp, the effectiveness of email marketing is 56% in retaining existing customers, with social media coming second with an effectiveness rate of only 37%.

Okay, how do I use email marketing then, you might be wondering.

The answer is the Winback flow – a sequence of automated emails that go out 60-100 days, depending on your niche, after the last purchase a customer made with you.

The aim: reminding existing customers about your company, promoting new products, offering discounts, and keeping clients up to date with your latest projects.

Read on to find out what the Winback flow is, how effective it is, how to set it up in Klaviyo, and what to expect overall.

What is a Winback flow?

As the name suggests, the Winback flow is meant to “win back” inactive customers who bought from you in the past. The idea is to encourage customers to make repeat purchases.

The Winback flow is a series of automated emails or flows, as they are called in Klaviyo, that aims to reignite your relationship with existing customers who, for some reason, have stopped buying from you.

That reason might be because they replaced your products with a competitor’s, they aren’t using them anymore, or they simply had a bad experience, making them inactive.

You can determine if a customer is inactive if they:

  • Haven’t opened or clicked any of your emails in the past 3-6 months
  • Haven’t made any purchases in the past 60-100 days (depending on your niche, as some products or services are not suited for frequent repeat purchases)

Think about it this way. If you’re selling laptops, you won’t think that someone is inactive after 100 days or even a year because your product is built to last longer than that.

But if you’re selling cosmetics, it’s highly likely that someone’s moisturizing morning cream will run out after 1-2 months, and you would want to target them again.

The idea behind the Winback flow is to “reactivate” customers and remind them about your brand, ensuring they order from you again.

What to expect from a Winback flow?

According to Klaviyo, the average open rate of Winback emails is 29%.

And while they don’t generate as much revenue as the Welcome series or Abandoned Cart flow, the Winback flow helps to increase your customer lifetime value (CLV), remind customers about your brand, and overall, test what customers want.

In addition, you want to try and “win back” some of those customers. It is better to try doing it this way than not doing anything at all, losing those clients forever.

The next section will dive into how to set up your Winback flow.

How to set up a Winback flow in Klaviyo?

If you’ve reached so far in this article, you are probably wondering how to set up your Winback flow in Klaviyo. Not to worry, we have you covered.

Before you start, you need to determine what the buying lifecycle of your customers is.

If you’ve been using Klaviyo for some time now, you can use their Predictive Analytics feature that will automatically tell you when a customer is due to buy again.

If you don’t have those numbers yet, start thinking as a customer:

  • When will you need that product again?
  • When would you want to order again?

Based on these answers, you can determine what the time delay of your Winback flow will be.

Having this information, you can begin setting up your Winback flow.

First, you need to create it:

Go to the flows tab, click Create Flow, and in the upper left corner, click Create From Scratch.

Once you name your flow, it is time to set up the trigger and the filters of the Winback flow.

Your trigger is Placed Order, and your filter is Placed Order zero times since starting this flow.

Your next step is to add a time delay and set up your first email. As mentioned, you need to determine when you would like to send your first Winback flow.

Remember: this flow will trigger when a customer has not made a purchase with you for a long time. In this example, we’ve put down 100 days, but you can make the time delay longer or shorter, depending on your business.

What content to include in the Winback flow?

After you make your initial set-up, it’s time to craft some content for your Winback flow.

Usually, when we set up the Winback flow for our clients, we would create 3 emails.

  • The initial email reminds customers about the brand, offers news, and promotes new products
  • The second email will offer a discount
  • The third one will create urgency for the customer to use that discount and make a purchase

Your time delays between the first and second emails should be between 7-14 days and between the second and third one – 10 days. This way, you give enough time for the customer to engage with your emails.

When it comes to content, you want to create visually appealing banners combined with either short or long copy, depending on what your idea is.

If you want to do more story-telling and engage reading customers, then long copy is the way to go.

On the flip side, if you want to grab attention immediately, then short copy and longer banners are what you need to aim for.

Don’t forget to add product blocks and call-to-action buttons in your emails to increase your click rates.

When should you set up the Winback flow?

If you’re starting out with Klaviyo today, it would be smart to start planning your Winback flow immediately.


Well, you want to build up your customer base from the start, and since it takes between 60-100 days for the Winback flow to kick in, you want to have customers going into that flow as soon as possible.

It’s better to start early than wait and potentially lose some customers along the way.

Strategies to include in your Winback series

Best practices for your WInback flow include:

  • Letting your customers know that they left and you’ve noticed that
  • Making your emails personal by using first and last names with Klaviyo’s template tags
  • Crafting engaging subject lines, such as: We’ve missed you; Where have you been; Don’t go yet; This discount is just for you…
  • Include discounts, free shipping, and bundle options as incentives
  • Don’t be afraid of giving out a bigger discount here – after all, you want to re-engage customers, not lose them, and if giving out a big discount is what it takes, then do it
  • Talk about your latest products and news around the brand
  • Allow customers the option to unsubscribe from your mailing lists if they don’t want to receive messages, thus organically cleaning your lists
  • Test plain text and drag-and-drop emails to see which performs better

While the above are best practices, you want to avoid doing the following when creating your Winback flow:

  • Sending to your entire list without segmenting who is inactive, as that will impact your deliverability, open and click rates
  • Overwhelm customers with too many emails – if they don’t open any of your 3 initial emails, then they’re probably not coming back
  • Not testing and optimizing your emails to get the best results

Final note

The Winback flow is a series of automated emails that aim to re-engage inactive customers.

You can set up the flow the moment you create your Klaviyo account so you can build up a base of customers that will go into it.

The Winback flow is one of the best ways to use your email marketing to retain existing customers, and using the information in this article, you can craft some incredible emails that will surely bring back some of your clients.

If you want to create a comprehensive email strategy that will get the most out of your email marketing, then Progs Agency is the place to start. You can contact us at office@progs.agency or book a call here, and we’ll take you through the whole process.

If you’d like to know how to get the most out of your email automation, you can read more in our guide to flow optimization.

Author: Philip Gyurov

Philip Gyurov

Account Manager
Philip has studied politics in the UK and Sweden and is a writer and poet. He has worked in the hospitality and catering industries, product promotions, and online sales, where his interest in email marketing sparked.
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