“Growth hacking” is a term that emerged in 2010 and pertains to any strategy employed to stimulate business growth. Initially, growth hacking was associated with online services and tech startups, but its relevance also extends to the eCommerce sector.
When an eCommerce business prioritizes growth, it cultivates an “experimentation culture” focused on improving conversion rates and increasing sales. This approach has played a role in Amazon’s extraordinary development.
Today, leading eCommerce experts adopt a similar mindset. They continually experiment with fresh marketing channels, creative tactics, formats, and strategies in the quest for the winning formula for their business.
What is Growth Hacking?
Growth hacking, defined by GrowthRocks, is a data-driven marketing approach that uses rapid experimentation and cost-effective strategies to find the most efficient ways to grow a business. It was born out of the necessity faced by startups and SaaS companies because traditional digital marketing methods couldn’t meet their specific needs.
Simply put, when compared to digital marketing, growth hacking is more technical, involves a specific process, and requires a unique skill set. Additionally, it includes other factors like customer retention.
What is an E-Commerce Growth Hack?
A growth hack is any strategy to rapidly expand a business by improving an eCommerce company’s conversion rates and sales. This involves refining campaigns for potential customers, optimizing conversion rates, reallocating digital marketing budgets and referral programs, building email lists, maximizing the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts, and various other methods.
It’s important to understand that a growth hack is not a mere gimmick but should be a central component of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Growth Hacking Strategies for E-Commerce
1. Reduce Your Website’s Loading Time
Research indicates that website visitors expect pages to load within 3 seconds; if it takes longer, more than half of them will leave. Slower loading times not only result in higher bounce rates but also cause missed sales opportunities.
Enhancing website speed is a simple way to improve the overall customer experience, and its benefits extend beyond that. Google has considered site speed as a ranking factor since 2010, making it crucial for increasing your domain authority.
To evaluate your eCommerce site’s speed, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, which provides a detailed analysis of your site’s loading time and offers suggestions for improvement. If you lack the technical expertise, hiring a developer is a wise choice to optimize your site’s speed effectively.
2. Highlight Social Proof
No matter how attractive your ads and brand story may be, the most convincing marketing efforts often fall short compared to recommendations from other customers. Word-of-mouth communication, which includes ratings and testimonials, wields significant influence because it taps into the concept of social proof. This psychological phenomenon revolves around people assuming that the actions and beliefs of others are correct. Customers value learning about others’ experiences with a product before purchasing because it boosts their confidence in their buying decision – especially when they can’t physically inspect the product online.
Now that you comprehend the impact of social proof, it’s essential to recognize its common forms:
- Expert Social Proof: Who wouldn’t trust advice from an expert? They possess specialized knowledge and expertise.
- Celebrity Social Proof: Celebrity endorsements have been a marketing mainstay for a long time. Any form of influencer marketing also falls under this category.
- User Social Proof: Everyone has their own opinions. While the Average Joe may not be an expert or a celebrity, when a group of Average Joe shares their feedback, it becomes “common sense.” Their strength lies in their numbers.
Lastly, if your online store has garnered any media mentions, awards, or official recognition, don’t hesitate to prominently display them on your homepage.
3. Update Your Content Quality
Different pages on a website have unique copywriting requirements and goals. Your website typically consists of pages like the Homepage, About page, Service page, Product page (or multiple if it’s an online store), and others.
However, regardless of the specific page, universal principles can distinguish between effective and ineffective copywriting.
The importance of copywriting often exceeds initial perceptions. Here are some key points to consider for your next project:
- Simplicity is key: Just like editing, you write with your eraser in copywriting. Copywriting is all about persuasion; time is precious in the sales world. Your audience can sit through lengthy monologues; their attention span is limited.
- You have only seconds to capture your audience’s interest; losing it takes just a few seconds. Therefore, brevity, precision, and clarity are crucial. Remember, concise copy is more effective: it’s easier to skim, more memorable and encourages action.
- Shift the Focus Away from Yourself: While you may be eager to share your company’s history, brand, and personal details, the reality is that only some people are particularly interested. Their primary concern is understanding what your product or service can offer them.
- The same principle applies to product-oriented copywriting. Product pages are primarily about the product itself. This is the ideal space to provide the detailed information that customers want, from visual aspects to pricing details.
4. Incite FOMO
When understanding buyer psychology, there’s no more effective method than tapping into FOMO – the fear of missing out. By leveraging people’s inherent desire to be part of something, you can encourage them to purchase more.
One simple way to harness buyer FOMO is by infusing a sense of urgency into your product pages. Generate a feeling that compels your buyers to take immediate action by highlighting:
- Limited availability of inventory.
- The time remaining for a temporary store promotion.
- The time left for temporary free shipping.
These urgent notifications make buyers feel they are on the brink of missing out on a valuable shopping opportunity. With FOMO at play, buyers are motivated to complete their purchases.
5. Conduct A/B Testing on Your Product Pages
Running A/B tests stands out as one of the most common growth strategies. By experimenting and learning from the outcomes, you swiftly pinpoint what’s fueling your business’s growth and what’s holding it back.
As an eCommerce vendor, performing A/B testing on your product pages is crucial since this is where your sales occur. Test out minor alterations in design, text, and imagery on your pages to identify which tweaks positively impact your sales.
6. Illustrate Customer Activity to Promote Shopping
Motivating shoppers to complete purchases using social proof goes beyond merely collecting reviews and testimonials. You can also enhance shopper trust and increase sales by displaying the real-time activities of other customers on your online store.
By highlighting these live interactions, your business establishes credibility. Presenting live notifications of purchases and customer support interactions offers online buyers concrete proof of your business’s effectiveness and helpfulness.
7. Launch Seasonal Marketing Campaigns
Special occasions like Christmas and Black Friday present tremendous opportunities for e-commerce enterprises. During these times, buyers are inclined to make significant purchases, underscoring the importance of preparing further to entice their shopping with targeted seasonal store campaigns. Being ready to seize these seasonal business prospects is pivotal.
While campaigns typically revolve around promotions, there are numerous other strategies your store can employ to attract seasonal shoppers. For example, you can kindle buyer excitement by incorporating holiday-themed packaging or introducing a new line of holiday-specific products.
Once you’ve solidified your seasonal concept, it’s time to initiate and promote your campaign. Here are some tips to kickstart your efforts:
- Establish a clearly defined timeline for your seasonal campaign.
Allocate a minimum of five weeks for preparation, encompassing the design, launch, and marketing phases.
- Promote your campaign through user-generated content (UGC).
Create an Instagram hashtag and launch a UGC initiative to enhance the celebration of your store’s seasonal offerings. For instance, Starbucks successfully implemented an Instagram #RedCupContest to promote their holiday beverages.
8. Create a Referral Program
An older yet remarkably effective growth tactic is implementing a referral system.
The benefits of introducing a program that rewards customers for bringing in new business are twofold:
- You obtain contact information to connect with potential new customers. By providing returning customers with shopping incentives, such as discounts, in exchange for referrals, you encourage them to make additional purchases.
For example, Gilt’s referral marketing program rewards referrers and their referred friends with a $25 gift card each. Referrers have several ways to invite others: they can share their referral link, use user-friendly share buttons, or have friends scan a customized QR code.
9. Remarketing and retargeting ads
Have you ever visited a website and noticed an ad in the corner of your screen displaying a product you had viewed on an entirely different site the day before? That’s what we refer to as a retargeting ad.
The effectiveness of retargeting ads stems from their familiarity. These ads target a warm rather than a cold audience, and the critical difference lies in how much easier it is to convert someone from the former into a new customer.
So, how do remarketing and retargeting ads function in practical terms? Here are a few examples:
- Showcase the products you know they’re interested in: This is the most common retargeting approach. For example, if your e-commerce store specializes in books, and a user has previously browsed titles like “Dune,” “The Art of XCOM2,” and “Street Fighter Swimsuit Special,” your ad will prominently feature these specific books.
- Offer discounts: Sweeten the deal with discount codes and coupons.
- Generate a sense of urgency: Limited-time offers and last-minute deals prove highly effective.
- Encourage cart abandoners to complete their purchase: According to calculations by Red Stag Fulfillment, if your abandonment rate is around 75%, reducing it by a third could double your completed sales percentage from 25% to 50%. That equates to a twofold increase in sales and revenue for your e-commerce business.
Hence, it is crucial to motivate these visitors to return to their shopping carts and finalize the checkout process.
10. Email Marketing Segmentation
Personalize Your Messages Email segmentation divides your email list based on specific criteria. Regardless of the type of ecommerce emails you send, there are always opportunities for message personalization.
The primary advantage of email segmentation is focus the more focused your messaging, the higher your conversion rates.
Imagine being a male subscriber to an ecommerce clothing store’s email list. Your interest would wane if those emails included jeans, ties, sweaters, skirts, dresses, and corsets.
Now, consider receiving a tailored email. In this scenario, you only receive content related to men’s clothing and accessories. Based on your shopping history, the email predominantly features shoes. It also suggests shoe polish cream and a brush, which would be helpful.
Various other segmentation examples exist, typically falling into four categories:
- Demographic segmentation
- Geographic segmentation
- Psychographic segmentation
- Behavioral segmentation
11. Promote Checkout Page Completion
Cart abandonment is a significant issue, with around 70% of shoppers, according to research from the Baymard Institute, leaving their shopping carts without completing their purchase. Most of these drop-offs occur during the initial checkout page, highlighting the importance of guiding buyers through the entire checkout process.
One effective way to incentivize buyers to complete their orders is by offering coupon codes that require entry on the final checkout page. When motivated by a discount, buyers are more likely to proceed to the last checkout page to redeem their code, increasing the likelihood of order completion.
Here are some tips for creating coupon codes that boost sales:
- Ensure that special offers are widely accessible. Utilize promotional emails, social media ads, and other strategies to make discount codes available to a broad range of shoppers. The more codes you distribute, the greater the number of users will reach the final checkout page.
- Attach a discount code to every sale, even for general store-wide promotions. This encourages buyers to progress to the final checkout page.
12. Utilize Cross-Selling and Upselling
When shoppers explore your online store, they might focus on just one item. However, you can still entice them to consider additional purchases.
Rather than settling for a single item order, implement two effective sales techniques:
- Cross-selling: Persuading customers to include complementary items with their purchase.
- Upselling: Encouraging buyers to upgrade their chosen product.
Customers ready to purchase are already intrigued by your product and brand. Therefore, the order stage presents the perfect opportunity to introduce cross-selling or upselling options. By illustrating to these eager customers how they can enhance the value of their order, you can inspire them to make a more substantial purchase.
13. Improving Your Top Menu
Your website’s top menu plays a crucial role in the shopping experience. Shoppers rely on it from when they start browsing to when they’re ready to purchase.
To optimize your menu, consider using tools like Google Optimize or Optimizely. Conduct A/B tests on the tabs that see the most use and prioritize those that perform the best. This simple adjustment can lead to a substantial increase in your conversion rate.
Achieving success in growth hacking doesn’t rely on sticking to a single, universal strategy. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. What may not work for one business could yield impressive results for another. You try various approaches to discover the most effective methods for boosting sales.