Client Ask: When a user clicks on a social ad about a product or products, we want the user to land directly on their cart page with specific products related to the ad populated within the cart.

My concern is that this is not a common practice, and I am unable to locate any UX best practices that are for or against this type of experience. My gut tells me that this can create an unexpected experience where the customer feels tricked or will take more time to understand what actions were taken without their direct actions (add to bag from PDP or bundle landing page), leading to lower conversion, return visits, brand positivity, etc.

Does anyone know of any research or documentation that covers this scenario?

  • "we want the user to land directly on their cart" ...This means the person who clicks on the ad (external to the sales page) already has a user account in the online store. This is quite unlikely or almost impossible to predict.
    – Danielillo
    Feb 6 at 15:26
  • @Danielillo I disagree. Plenty of sites allow anonymous users to build up a shopping cart without an account. It's only when they proceed to the check-out process that account information comes into play (and even then not all the time). Not that I'm condoning the approach of OPs Client (I really don't!) but shopping cart and checkout are two distinct parts of eCommerce process - one is shop-side and open to all, the other is the secure part where account and payment is handled.
    – JonW
    Feb 6 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


This is clearly one of the deceptive patterns (aka dark patterns) called Preselection.

Deceptive.design defines Preselection as:

The user is presented with a default option that has already been selected for them, in order to influence their decision-making.

Shopping cart is explicitly mentioned as one the cases (emphasis mine):

A common approach is to show a pre-ticked checkbox, though there are various other ways of doing this, including putting items in the user's shopping cart, or pre-selecting items in a series of steps.

But you could also make it worse by not taking users to the shopping cart after they click on the ad. Just put the items in the cart and never tell the user. They only find out and hopefully notice when they actually go the shopping cart view.

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