As an ecommerce merchant, one of your most challenging tasks and crucial ones is to grow your business. Creating growth via growth hacking (the fancy word for marketing that’s focused on growth) isn’t magic and it isn’t luck (although it does take a bit of that), rather a combination of innovation, knowing what your visitors want, and using different tactics to “connect” with your site’s visitors.
“Growth hacking is just GET USERS!” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Growth hacking for ecommerce sites is not just getting more consumers. Whatsmore, growth hacking for ecommerce has two sides: gaining new consumers and increasing the value of each and every one of you consumers.
I suggest you grab a cup of coffee and get ready to see how with some simple, yet effective growth hacks you can create rapid growth!
We all like to buy things that are marked-down from their original price, and hence you have to put your “thinking cap” on to see how you can capitalize on this fact.
How can you use coupons as a growth hack? According to tests that we ran here at StoreYa, offering a 10% discount is the “sweet spot” and converts better than bigger discount offers. What you need to do is use a variety of different deals for different goals.
Raw Generation saw a $28,000 increase in sales over a three week period, and gained another 1,900 email addresses by offering a huge and urgent offer.Read their story → How Raw Generation Used Urgency to Get Instant Sales. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d want?
2. Sell on Multiple Platforms
Even if you are first in search engine search results for every relevant keyword, there is still plenty of reason to sell your products on other platforms, such as eBay and Amazon. Why? These sites spend their money on bringing traffic to their sites, and as a result to your products.
You want to be seen by more people that have an interest in the types of products you sell → this is how you do just that.
How can cross-platform sales be a super growth hack? It’s quite simple. You already have product images, descriptions, prices, and everything else – all the heavy work has been done. What you can do is list a few products on different platforms, by selecting those products that will make the buyer want more (one part of a collection) so that after purchasing they got to your site to get another product. Did I mention that this is one of the things that helped Air BnB grow?
Think of the cross-platform distribution of products as your way of spreading your brand to as many people as possible just like McDonald’s has 70-Plus Locations in Manhattan.
Need a few marketplaces to add your list? Check out our list.
3. Optimize Images for Social Media
We are all addicted to social media. Not being able to use social media for a day is like being stranded on an isolated island. To the point: we upload and share more than 1.8 billion photos on different social media platforms every day! That is not a typo.
How can optimized images be an efficient growth hack? Optimized images get shared more than those that aren’t. I myself have chosen on occasion not to share content or to share something without an image, if the image size is not appropriate.
Optimization doesn’t end with the sizes. With your images being showcased everywhere, it is crucial to add a watermark to the image or photo you’ve worked hard on creating. Don’t you want people to know that you are the one they should buy their next phone cover, shirt, shoes, or other product from?
A bonus tip to create virality with your images is to run giveaways or contents that are possible to enter only if they person adds a picture of themselves wearing or using your product to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.
With Pinterest’s “Buyable Pins” great images become more crucial than ever.
4. Guest Blogging
Blogging is one of the best ways to grow your business (and a great growth hack). Not only does it give you another form of digital media that you can share with your own community, but it also helps you get in front of a huge number of potential buyers.
How can you guest blogging be an effective growth hack? Heard of Buffer? The company was able to acquire 100,000 new users within their first nine months just from guest blogging. No matter what you sell, there are people interested in reading more about it. Here’s more proof:
5. Create a Blog
Content is king – and that is not going to change. We humans enjoy viewing and reading content and the search engines love it too. I’ll ask you a question. What do you see get shared more often on social media platforms, an image, a product page, or some type of blog post? For the majority of us, the blog posts are the dominant types of content that we see getting shared.
How can I make my blog a successful growth hack? If you use the “5 C’s” formula you’ll start generating more sales from day one (discover the “5 C’s” here). You’ll generate sales from new visitors via improved SEO and from the newly generated content that you can now share with your current email subscribers and social followers as well as in different social media groups and forums.
Fiona, Director of Customer Service at Brayola:
“…Everyone says content is king, and it is, however it has to be good content. We have posts on our blog that are super successful (with great SEO) and others that are more informational, however both are as important as each other. Quality is the key, that will drive sales and also will create a good brand awareness. We are Brayola, we are a lingerie marketplace, but our brand awareness is so important to us, and this is one of the ways we can show our brand “personality”.”
6. Social Payments
What in the world do I mean by social payments? It’s a term for making certain types of content or products on your site “locked” until the person either shares it on a social media network of their choice. The most basic concept in getting more users is getting your brand in front of more people. Odds are that if you do that, then sales will rise.
How can you use social payments as a growth hack? Here are a couple of examples for which you could “lock” a certain something on your site:
- a new product that you will be selling
- blog posts
- video tutorials
- discounted products
This way the visitor gets what he/she wants and also spreads the word about your business. Social media has turned into a form of “word of mouth marketing”, which is still one of the most effective forms of marketing. Check out “Social Locker” (for WordPress) and “Pay with a Tweet”.
As rational people, we are more likely to buy something from an online site or retail store when someone we know shares a product from that store.
7. Social Proof
Growth hacking for ecommerce means increasing the value of your current consumers. A highly successful trend being used by top merchants today is the use of social proof, or in other words using social media statuses, comments, and images to show what people think of your products.
How can social proof be used as a growth hack? Are you seeing high rates of cart abandonment or a low conversion rate on product pages? If so, the reason could very well be that even though someone likes the product, they have not been convinced that they should buy it from you. Using different social proof tactics such as embedded tweets or statuses from other social platforms showing happy customers does the trick.
Via the Heyoya blog:
“Adding a human element to reviews not only drives sales, but it increases engagement. People spend 100% more time on product pages with voice reviews and share across multiple social networks 50% more”.
Yes sending emails is a growth hack. Growth hacks don’t have to be something revolutionary. The only characteristic that has to be relevant in a technique to make it a growth hack is its ability to create growth. Email has that. What would you say if you could double the click-through rate you’re getting from your email marketing?
How can you harness email to function as a growth hack? You’ve got to be creative, and also straightforward with your emails. Here are a few types of emails that have proven time and time again that they work (just don’t use them every week).
- Number of Product Sold Email: It’s always convincing when thousands have already bought it.
- Urgency Email: the sale ends today or something else that has a very close expiration date.
- Freebies almost always get our attention
- Replenishment Email: remind people to re-order
See our successful post that has already helped merchants increase email open-rates.
9. Referral Program
One of the recurring themes to a handful of these growth hacks is their “social” aspect. Our list of growth hacks for ecommerce merchants would not be complete if we did not get into how referral programs stimulate growth.
People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend – Nielsen
The DropBox Story:
After launching their initial pay-per-click test showed that the cost for acquiring a new customer was in the range of $233-388. On the other hand, their life time value was $99. DropBox implemented their referral program – “invite a friend and both get extra free space”. The results speak for themselves: 100k registered users grew to 4M registered users in just 15 months.
DropBox’s story is relevant to you no matter what you sell!
How can you make a simple referral program a healthy growth hack? First of all know where you want referrals to work, as not every social media site will bring positive results or results as well as other ones (for instance, LinkedIn versus Facebook).
Then make a nice graphic for it so that it stands out – this is not meant to be a secret (“Greats” has added their referral program to all their pages, including the “about” page).
65% of new business comes from referrals – New York Times
A referred customer is 18% more loyal than a customer acquired through a different method – Journal of Marketing
Don’t forget to try StoreYa’s Refer a Friend.
Just as we like to get things at a discount, we also love giveaways. One of the things that attract people to participate in giveaways is the exclusive feeling of winning the giveaway. According to a study by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, 79% of those that had received a promotional product for free within the previous year would be likely to do business with the company again.
11. Exit-Intent Pop-Ups
You may think that they are annoying, however they can also be extremely powerful. For the site ConversionXL, these “exit pops”, as we call the, accounted for 30% more subscribers each month. If that hasn’t convinced you that exit-intent pop-ups are a godd idea then maybe this will: according to Conversific.com 30% of the Top 1000 US ecommerce sites uses popups – 22% are using entry popups, 14% are using exit popups, 6% are using both!
12. Importing your store to Facebook
This is a concept that is quite similar to listing your products on other platforms. In this case you have even less work to do, as StoreYa’s Facebook shop automatically imports your products and syncs with your inventory. With a Facebook Store you can engage and interact with your followers and have them purchase products without ever leaving Facebook.
13. Converse in forums, groups, and Quora
How does blogging and guest blogging act as a growth hack? By creating content that shows you as an authority on something, you buy people’s trust. You can achieve the same thing, maybe even in less time, by answering questions and being a part of conversations on sites like Reddit and Quora, as well as niche forums for your respected products.
One of the benefits of guest blogging is that you have the opportunity to acquire more consumers by using another site’s audience. Here too, by working with another store that sells products that could be of interest to your audience, and your products to their audience, you have a cost-free opportunity to help each other. Need an example? Each one can mention the other in their next email or offer discount points on the other person’s store.
15. Use Video
Why has Facebook added the automatic video feature? Because it gets people to interact more. How can you use videos? As tutorials on your latest products, to revive interest in an older product, as a video blog, to introduce new products, and even for tutorials.
Here are some statistics to exemplify the power of video and how they can help you grow. 90% of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions. Finally, 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions.
16. Money Back Guarantee
According to Quick Sprout, when stores added a money back guarantee to their products, they saw a 21% increase in sales was seen, and of those that purchased, only 12% of customers asked for their money back.
That’s the list for today. Are there more options? Yes there are and maybe I’ll share the rest of the list later :). In the meantime give these growth hacks a try and let me know in the comments if you have any success with these growth hacks or have any questions on implementing them successfully. Good luck!
Ty is a digital marketing enthusiast that can't get enough social media marketing and content marketing. He is the inbound marketing manager at StoreYa where he spends his days searching for the newest social marketing scoop and creating amazingly awesome content. If you’d like to chat with him, feel free to connect with him on any social platform.
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