Checkout abandonment and shopping cart abandonment are not the same thing.funnel 2

In an industry that’s built on research and testing, there’s no place for imprecise terminology. At UpSellit, we believe it’s important to clearly identify and label the problems we aim to fix so we’re dedicating this week’s article to the importance of the difference between checkout abandonment and cart abandonment.

If you do a quick Google search for “checkout abandonment,” you’ll get a deluge of information about “shopping cart abandonment.” We understand that Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant results for the average user, but as marketers we need to make a distinction between the two.

The Differences between Cart and Checkout Abandonment

Placing checkout abandonment under the cart abandonment umbrella is understandable. If a user has reached checkout then they’ve created a cart and are abandoning that cart when they abandon the checkout process.

However, when you’re working to reduce cart abandonment with optimization or a site abandonment solution, it’s very important to separate these two actions because the shopper intent, available information, and reasons for abandonment vary greatly.

Purchase Intent
One key difference between cart and checkout abandonment is the purchase intent demonstrated by visitors to each page. By the time a consumer gets to checkout, they’re usually ready to make a purchase. In fact, between cart and checkout, average abandonment rates drop by 19.69%.

Beginning checkout is a larger commitment than simply adding an item to the cart. Among those that abandon checkout, there’s a high likelihood that something disrupted the process rather than a simple change of heart.

Availability of Data
A conversion can mean a lot of things–a download, a “like,” a purchase. Regardless, as a user moves down the conversion funnel, they’re likely going to trade you some information for your product. Even simply placing items in the cart gives you important details about a consumer’s preferences and interests.

As a shopper moves on to checkout, they divulge much more concrete information. First and last name, location, shipping preferences, email address, and so on. This gives marketers the freedom to leverage personal details to create highly targeted, specific remarketing campaigns.
The Reasons for Cart & Checkout Abandonment
Abandonment emails, in general, need to address the motivation behind leaving in order to convince shoppers to return. As a consequence, you can’t approach all types of abandonment the same way. There are differences between cart and checkout reasons for abandonment.

Reasons for Cart Abandonment:
Cart Abandonment Reasons

    • 33.1% – Product/Shipping Cost Ratio.
      After a purchase is made, vendors need to ship those goods off to paying customers. Unfortunately, shipping isn’t free. As that shipping fee increases, so does visitor drop-off. Delivery policies are becoming more important as customers continue to demand free shipping.
    • 23.5% – Additional Charges.
      Shipping fees aren’t the only additional charges that turns away potential customers. Our studies have shown that any price bumps between product and cart pages can drive away shoppers. This includes taxes, any kind of protection plan, or any other cart addition.
    • 16.9% – Comparison Shopping.
      For many, the shopping cart is somewhere to get an idea of an order’s final price. By collecting products in the shopping cart, users can compare final pricing easily to other stores. It’s up to you to incentivize a purchase and get users to move forward onto checkout.

    Checkout Abandonment:
    Checkout Abandonment Reasons

    1. 23.9% – Additional Charges.
      As customers get nearer to spending money, they become (rightfully) sensitive to any changes in cost. Don’t try to hide any fees or taxes. Customers are observant and will notice. Even if the fee is legitimate, sneaking it into the final bill is a surefire way to break customer trust.
    2. 19.9% – Excessive Info Requested.
      One of the more common mistakes we see retailers make is asking for too much information at checkout. It’s safe to assume that all of your customers are skeptical (see next point) and in a hurry. Ask for only what you need to make the current conversion happen.
    3. 15.8% – Lack of Trust.
      As we mentioned above, customers are fairly skeptical in general. It’s up to you to make them trust your store enough to make a purchase. Design, security symbols, information requested, and stability are all factors of trust, so make your checkout clean, functioning, and brief.

    Strategies for Recovering Conversions

    Each type of abandonment stems from a different point in the conversion funnel and has very different characteristics. It should be no surprise that these two different types of abandonment have very different strategies for recovering conversions.

    Making Contact
    Contacting consumers who abandon checkout is fairly straightforward. Oftentimes, the first steps of checkout involve typing in an email address. Use this email address to make contact with shoppers and (politely) ask them to return!

    Messaging shopping cart abandoners, however, is a little trickier. At this point in the conversion flow, you may not yet have any email address to contact. To combat this, consider implementing an on-exit engagement that offers a purchasing incentive in exchange for an email address. It creates a “win-win” situation. The shopper gets a discount and, even if he or she decides against making an immediate purchase, you have an opportunity to remarket given a new email address.

    Abandons from checkout pages should nearly always lead to highly targeted, precisely segmented campaigns. Unless users are abandoning from the very beginning of checkout, each form field they fill should be another piece of information you use to personalize.

    Without these same form-fields in the cart, shopping cart abandonment simply doesn’t collect the information needed to have the same leverage. Campaigns designed around marketing to checkout abandoners should be built expecting a good amount of user input, whereas shopping cart abandonment emails may need to appeal widely to more shoppers.