Here’s a piece of advice that you don’t usually hear – working your way up *only* with marketing is slow. And, that’s why you absolutely need growth hacking. So if you’ve been taking the usual route of using traditional marketing to grow your online store, you might want to consider some tried and tested eCommerce growth hacks to accelerate your growth.
Take a look at the numbers in the eCommerce industry. There are over 12 – 24 million online stores, as of today! However, only 650k out of them have an annual revenue higher than $1,000k.
What do these 5% crème de la crème out of the 12 – 24 million online stores do differently? Hacking their marketing.
Everyone’s running Facebook ads and paid social campaigns these days. So, that couldn’t possibly be the secret to scaling. Plus, ads aren’t really cost-effective. You’ll just end up adding more dollars to your advertising bill in an effort to reach bigger markets.
On the other hand, seeing its extremely slow pace, organic growth is a mug’s game. By the time you’d be able to optimize your product categories for search engines, your competition will already have tripled its sales. You’ve practically lost the game even before getting to the start line.
So, if you’re wondering how to grow eCommerce sales with your usual strategies slowing you down, we’ve got you covered. We dug into the top-grossing online stores across the world and the tactics they have been using to stay ahead. And let us tell you, they’re the ones you’ve been ignoring so far.
Supercharging your Sales with eCommerce Growth Hacks
Simply put, growth hacking puts a relentless focus on activities that will help you scale quickly. The idea is to ‘hack’ anything that is guaranteed to drive growth. From capitalizing on abandoned carts to leveraging social proof, eCommerce growth hacks can help you cut to the chase, helping you speed up and increase online sales.
1. Tap into the fear of missing out on trends
People don’t like being left out. With social media, this so-called, fear of missing out has multiplied manifolds. Here’s an instance.
A Facebook friend posts a story about sweating it out in the gym and it makes you want to join the league too. An Instagram follower flaunts their passes to the Coldplay concert. You want them too! It’s a game by marketers to attract more people, benefitting business owners in growing their customer base.
Some brands have taken FOMO a notch up by combining it with statistical social proof. For example, when a shopper is browsing a product online, he can see notifications that highlight the number of other users who have ‘just’ purchased those products that they are looking at.
Or, the notifications show live text about the number of items that are ‘in-stock’, creating urgency to purchase the product. Cabin Max Metz nails this eCommerce growth hack.
2. Provide a solution (and not just a title) with search engine optimization
We talked about how search engine optimization is a great factor in driving sales. But, let’s think about it for a minute and see how online stores have been using the tactic so far – sounds pretty weak, right? They simply have the product name and description in place but take nothing else into account. Now when the search engines take consumer behavior and relevancy as prime factors, why is that tactic not being used?
In your title, provide the benefit of the products that you are selling to stand out from the usual. This will helps consumers instantly know if your store is selling what they’re looking for and if they want to engage with it. The benefit and use case-driven copy will help you reach a targeted audience and drive them to your store to increase online sales. This way, you are getting sales and purchase ready visitors and not just mere clicks from online shoppers.
Take the following example. Most brands include only the keyword ‘women apparel’ or ‘women’s clothing’. However, Vajor makes intelligent use of keywords by considering the ‘intent’ of those shoppers searching for summer dresses.
Here are a few resources to nail eCommerce SEO:
3. Don’t let shoppers leave without holding on to their data
If you’ve been in the eCommerce industry for even a few months you’d know that the average conversion rates are just 1%-2%. This means only one or two out of every 100 shoppers that visit your store, actually buy something. The rest of them just vanish without a trace.
The secret to re-engaging with 98 of those shoppers is to not let them leave without that ‘trace’. Get them to open up about their intent of browsing, their interests, etc. before they leave the website.
This can be done in four ways:
I. Web push notifications
Not all shoppers are willing to leave their email address with your brand on their first visit. They want to stay in touch with your store but they don’t have the option to make a smaller commitment. That’s where web push notifications come in.
Web push notifications enable a shopper to subscribe to your store updates without sharing their contact details. This lower commitment makes shoppers willing to engage with your store and helps you establish a communication channel that keeps them in the loop at all times. After all, an engaged shopper is the one who converts.
Stores like Headphone Zone are driving 126X ROI with PushOwl web push notifications. They use push messages to recover carts, promote offers and keep their shoppers actively engaged with the brand, successfully making their customers come back for more. A true eCommerce growth hack!
Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Getting started with web push notifications on Shopify
- How to build a subscriber list for your online store (without asking for emails)
- 13 types of push notification campaigns that drive higher sales
- 7 tones of voice to craft stellar push notifications
II. Live chat
Some shoppers aren’t just surfing your store, they intend on making a purchase. However, your website might feel quite unintuitive to them, leaving them with no option but to look elsewhere. With a live chat feature, you can stop them from bouncing off just in time. An online support agent or automated chat can facilitate your shoppers search and ease their purchase process, converting them into a customer.
Did you know that 53% of US online adults won’t complete a purchase on-site if they don’t find quick answers right away? Not having live chat on your website could probably be the reason why your conversion rates are still hovering at 1%.
Shopify store owners can start a conversation with shoppers using the new Shopify Chat app. But, to make this eCommerce growth hack work, you need to personalize. Take a cue from the following example on how to use Shopify Chat. Adding a hint of your personality to the messages, you can make the shopper feel like you are personally assisting them.
Another great alternative for live chat is Tidio. The Shopify app helps you set up automations for smart customer engagement to drive more conversions and sales.
A few resources to help you drive more sales with a live chat:
- Drive eCommerce sales with live chat without being trapped at your desk
- 15 live chat best practices to deliver superior customer service
III. Gamified email popup
The usual approach of getting a shopper to leave their email address is to offer them a coupon. This eCommerce hack focuses on making store interaction more interesting for both you and the shopper. A gamified popup, such as the one implemented using WooHoo, nudges the shopper to make an interaction with the game. In this case, they need to pay to win discounts, creating a positive stimulus around the interaction.
Store like Ikonick grew their email list 10x faster by simply nudging their shoppers to play a game of cards to win discount codes that would be sent to their email address. If that’s not growth hacking, we’re not sure what you call one!
Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Your Shopify popup is not dead. Your strategy is!
- How to write a popup copy that turns shoppers into customers
- 5 new ways to use popups to increase Shopify sales
IV. Messenger chat
No matter what your store’s target market is, the one platform they are most likely using actively is Facebook Messenger. With millions of daily active users, Messenger makes for a smart channel to nudge an interaction with the shopper before they leave your eCommerce store.
Considering that they’re already logged into their accounts, it is also easier for shoppers to just subscribe for store updates through Messenger, increasing your subscription rate in a matter of minutes. Apps like Octane AI and Flashchat further enable you to automate messages that can be used to keep the shoppers actively engaged with your store and even recover your abandoned carts.
Driving shoppers back to the store using a popular messaging platform, this eCommerce hack promises to get you more sales without too much effort.
Here are a few resources to give you a head start:
- The ultimate Messenger commerce guide
- Fuel your customer engagement with web push and Messenger marketing
4. Get word-of-mouth rolling and build on brand advocacy
Customer acquisition costs are increasing by the day. Driving results and conversions out of acquisition activities are uncertain. And, to add to this, you aren’t even sure how much time, money, and effort you’ll end up spending on retaining these newly acquired visitors.
That’s why you want to keep your acquisition budget limited. Seems like a sound strategy. But, should you stop focusing on acquisition altogether? No, not at all.
In fact, you start putting your existing visitors and customers at work to promote your brand actively. This popular eCommerce growth hack is just good old referral marketing. We all know that referred customers don’t just convert faster, but they also purchase more and have a longer lifetime value. Nearly 85% of consumers believe in online ratings, reviews and testimonials dropped by shoppers like them.
Brand advocates work in favor for marketers, acting like a trust seal or a mark of quality. Incentivizing these advocates further gives them all the more reason to spread good words around. Here’s how Modcloth uses referral marketing as an eCommerce growth hack to acquire more customers and at the same time keep their advocates encouraged.
Here are a few resources to get you started with a referral program:
- How to set up a referral program in record time
- How to promote your referral program to boost online sales
- 6 ways eCommerce stores are increasing customer loyalty
5. Retarget and re-market to shoppers always
When an online shopper has so many brands to choose from when making a purchase, you can’t blame them for having a low brand recall. That’s why once they visit your store or interact with it, you should be reminding them of the products they’ve left behind or recommend other products that your brand has to offer.
That’s where this eCommerce growth hack comes into play. Retargeting and re-marketing campaigns on social media and search engines have a single goal – to continually remind shoppers of the products they browse, offering them a discount or a bundle deal to drive them back to the store and make a purchase. Retargeting ads have a lower cost per click, decreasing your customer acquisition costs as well. So, it’s important that you have a budget to set up different marketing channels to reach more shoppers.
Here are a few resources to help you with retargeting:
If you’re not sure about how to set up these campaigns, you can use apps like Shoelace. It automates the process for you.
Putting eCommerce growth hacks to use
While the above eCommerce growth hacks are sure to put your customer acquisition and retention statistics on the fast track, here’s the one thing that is super important to make it all work – your website.
While you’re making sure that the product pages are well optimized for conversions and your checkout pages are smooth, it is important to regularly do a health check-up of your store. This includes making sure all banner images and calls to actions are leading to the right pages, the search and navigation are working well and more.
Let’s consider speed as an example.
Just a one-second delay in load time can reduce conversions by a massive 7%! You might have an exceptional website with 360-degree product viewing capability. But, if the image fails to load quickly, no one will ever bother to wait and see that beautiful 360-degree effect. As a rule of thumb, always check your website loading and element loading speed. Keep this to less than 3 seconds.
After all, every little change you make to your store adds or subtracts from the shopping experience of a consumer.
Tried an out-of-the-box eCommerce growth hack to increase your store’s sales? We’d love to learn all about them. Don’t forget to drop a comment and add to this post!
But while you’re at it, let’s first begin driving back your customers with the one growth hack that is sure to work and can be set up in minutes – web push notifications.