What Is Shopping Cart Abandonment? The TikTok Trend Explained

Shopping Cart

Twitter A Twitter user's shopping cart.

Searches for the effects of shopping cart abandonment skyrocketed on Thursday when TikTok users challenged each other to shop on President Donald Trump’s online store and leave without completing the purchase. Many users of the popular social media platform posted videos of themselves with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise in their carts and then abandoning the purchase and leaving the items in the cart.

One user broke it down on Twitter:

He wrote: “Go to the trump merch store. Load up your digital cart with as much merch as you can fit. Now instead of checking out, take a little break (or a long one) and go read about the wonderful world of digital shopping cart abandonment and it’s negative effects on available inventory.”

This TikTok video showing the latest trend has been viewed over 2.5 million times:

Shopping Cart Abandonment Can Negatively Impact an E-Commerce Company

Shopping cart abandonment can affect online companies in a few different ways. Online retailers pay close attention to the shopping cart abandonment rate because it can affect their business by flagging a poor user experience or a flawed sales funnel. In 2016, Business Insider estimated that retailers would lose up to $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise due to abandoned carts.

One user posted:

However, the $4.6 trillion statistic is based on a company’s potential customers backing out of a purchase for various reasons and the company losing that possible revenue. Since the TikTok trend indicates that users were never intending to purchase the merchandise, the amount of money in the abandoned carts do not accurately reflect a lost sales opportunity.

According to many posts on Twitter, users are attempting to disrupt the merchandise store’s inventory:

However, according to Mark Irvine, director of strategic partnerships at search marketing agency WordStream, this tactic may not have a big impact on the inventory: “[Ecommerce platforms] hope that more people will add these items to their cart because they assume that most of those items won’t actually be purchased immediately. Things only become interesting if there are a lot more items in people’s carts than you have inventory because then they assume they’re going to sell some of those.”

The TikTok campaign may have an impact on the company’s data collection and digital campaign, on the other hand. When a lot of shoppers manipulate the data for cart abandonment, retailers won’t be able to tell the difference between “who’s a shopper that abandoned as part of this stunt and who’s a shopper that abandoned the cart because of some actual issue like user experience.” This can affect future demand for products and site analytics.

In terms of the effects on a company’s digital campaign, the retailer will often reach out to potential buyers who have abandoned their cart with a targeted campaign. “Overall, it creates a potentially expensive situation for an advertiser,” explained Clayton McLaughlin, senior vice president of media investments at digital marketing agency iCrossing.

TikTok Users Previously Claimed to Boost Registrations to Trump’s Rally in Tulsa Earlier This Month

In addition to TikTok users’ new trend of filling up shopping carts on Trump’s online merchandise store and then abandoning them, users of the social media platform also claimed credit for disrupting Trump’s Tulsa rally. The rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma drew roughly 6,200 people, well below the capacity at the BOK Center. This came after the campaign announced that over a million people had signed up.

The campaign had an overflow stage set up outside the grounds but it was dismantled shortly before the event due to the lower turnout. TikTok users and Korean pop fans took to social media to claim that they had falsely boosted the numbers by registering online without attending, Newsweek reported.

Trump’s campaign denied that these users had any effect on the rally attendance, however. According to the outlet, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said: “Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work. These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking.”

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