Have you ever used ‘Abandoned Cart’ and ‘Abandoned Checkout’ interchangeably thinking they were just two different terms for the same automation (flow)?

You’re not alone.

There is a difference between an Abandoned Cart flow and an Abandoned Checkout flow. In this post we’re going to break it down, get into why you need both and how to set each up using Klaviyo email marketing flows for your online store so that you’re not leaving revenue on the table.


Let’s begin with some definitions

An Abandoned Cart flow is designed for subscribers who are on your email list and added an item to their cart but haven’t proceeded to the checkout.

An Abandoned Checkout flow is designed for any subscribers who have entered their email address at the first step of checkout without proceeding further.

What’s the difference between an email list subscriber and ‘any’ subscriber? 
Your email list subscribers have signed up to receive marketing emails. If someone has not yet opted in to receive your marketing emails, and has not made it to the first page of the checkout page to enter their email address, they are not contactable.

However, if someone has made it to the checkout and has input their email address, that data is captured by Shopify and then passed on to Klaviyo. This means that a reminder email can be sent to the customer about their abandoned items as it’s a transactional message based on their actions/intent. However, they will only receive marketing emails if they opt in to your newsletter list via a form, pop up, or tick box at checkout.


Is it beneficial to have two abandonment flows?

Yes, it is a good idea to have both the Abandoned Cart and Abandoned Checkout flows, as each is designed to target a different step in the customer buying process.

Take a moment to think about how your customers shop on your website. There is a different mindset between someone who is simply browsing your store and adding a few items to their cart, versus a person who goes one step further and starts the checkout process. Even if the checkout process is incomplete, these customers are a step closer to intentionally placing an order with you.

For this reason, you want to have both types of flows and tailor the messaging to suit each audience.

Shopping cart abandonment messaging should be highly personalised, focussing on reengaging a customer with what they were interested in and ease of completing their purchase (in one click), to nudge them over the line to buying.

Shoppers who abandon their checkout need all of that too; however, this could also be a bigger indicator that there are challenges with your checkout process that may need to be addressed as soon as possible. For example: too many steps, not enough payment options, or hidden shipping costs.

As a side note: there are actually more types of abandonment flows – Browser abandonment and Site abandonment – however, for simplicity, this post will focus on abandoned cart and checkout.


How does the revenue from an Abandoned Cart flow compare to an Abandoned Checkout flow?

Revenue can vary from business to business; however, generally speaking, Abandoned Checkout flows tend to outperform Abandoned Cart flows by 2:1 (or higher). This is because the closer a customer gets to completing their order, the more likely they are to convert due to their stronger purchasing intent.

It’s important to note that several variables can influence this ratio. Such as, the size of the business (smaller businesses may find Cart abandonment and Checkout abandonment revenue more evenly matched). Also, the revenue ratio can be affected by what discounts (if any) are offered, and at which point in each flow they are offered.


What flow triggers should you use in Klaviyo?

For the Abandoned Cart flow, the trigger is ‘Added to Cart’, and for the Abandoned Checkout Flow, the trigger is ‘Checkout Started’.

The best way to get set up quickly is to use the flow presets in Klaviyo. Not only will these have the correct triggers, but they will also have the correct event blocks and URLs set up. All you need to do is override the template with your branding and copy (note: it’s best to create your own copy in your brand voice rather than use the default copy).


How do you stop customers from receiving both the Abandoned Cart flow and Abandoned Checkout flow?

Each flow should be set to skip profiles using flow filters.

For the Abandoned Cart flow, skip profiles that have started a checkout AND have placed an order since starting the flow. The conditions in Klaviyo will look like this:

— What someone has done > Started Checkout > zero times since joining this flow
— What someone has done > Placed order > zero times since joining this flow

For the Abandoned Checkout flow, skip profiles that have placed an order since starting the flow. The condition in Klaviyo will look like this:

— What someone has done > Placed order > zero times since joining this flow

Additionally, adding in a flow filter to skip anyone who has been in each flow in the last 30 days will stop people who add multiple products to their cart, or start a checkout multiple times in a day, to receive duplicate emails.


Do these flows require custom code in the Shopify themes?

The ‘Checkout Started’ event is already shared as part of your Shopify integration.

However, the ‘Added to Cart’ event needs to be installed separately using a code snippet in your Shopify theme. You can find instructions on how to create an added to cart event in Shopify here >