Driving sales and revenue are the primary goals for most of the online retailers. However, growing a business is no mean feat. There is no golden ticket to success – and anyone who thinks so is plain wrong. However, there are plenty of examples of businesses successfully applying growth hacks to their eCommerce stores and increased their revenues.
From trying to figure out better ways to leverage your customer data to using modern communication tools like live chat software to enhance customer engagement and grow leads, there are several growth hack opportunities that can help boost your conversion rate over time.
Today, creative and data-driven marketing strategies are helping businesses acquire more customers, increasing their visibility, and helping them achieve sustainable growth. Growth hacking is the new success mantra that every business is talking about, but with so many “gurus” out there, there are bundles of information. Confusing!
Let’s explore the top 5 eCommerce growth hacks an online retailer should try.
1. Website speed:
The amount of time it takes for a page to load is a very important part of any website’s user experience. The simplest growth hack that most businesses can conveniently implement is speeding up their website loading time. In most cases, doing so can increase conversions by up to 15-20 percent. According to latest studies, the ideal time for a page to load should be under two seconds. Studies reveal that customers are likely to visit a site less often if it’s slower than a close competitors’ by 250 milliseconds.
This simple growth hack can be implemented at a very reasonable cost and can make a world of a difference to your website visitors who care more about speed today than all other bells and whistles on your websites. No matter how good an offer may be or how visually appealing the site is, a site that takes forever to load is not going to keep users engaged. Moreover, page loading time is an important factor that most search engines (notably Google) take into consideration when it comes to search engine rankings.
If that still doesn’t convince you, here is some more food for thought for you that shows how much each second is worth when it comes to eCommerce sales:
- Reducing load time by just 3 seconds has shown to increase revenue by 7-12%
- An e-commerce site that makes roughly $100,000 a day, could lose up to $2.5 million in annual revenues if there’s an increase in the average site load time by 1 second.
- Sites that take 3 seconds or more to load, result in 22% fewer conversions as opposed to a site that loads in 1 second.
The bottom line is that website speed significantly impacts the bottom line and is an important growth hack strategy. Efforts to monitor and improve page load times should be made at regular intervals.
2. Social Proof:
Social proof should be an important part of any website that intends to make online transactions. Social proof is an extremely powerful tool for marketers, and when used effectively, can be used to persuade more customers to convert. According to Wikipedia:
“Social proof (also known as the informational social influence) is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour in a given situation.”
Social proof is meant to clearly demonstrate to a potential customer that other people have made a purchase or used product/service from you and were delighted enough to leave a review or a testimonial (or even a social share). A social proof makes a big positive impact on online customers, making them feel more comfortable buying from an eCommerce store. Social proofs — such as reviews, testimonials or social shares — should be an integral part of any conversion optimization strategy.
An example of a website using social proof effectively is Booking.com. You can find examples of social proof oozing everywhere on the website:
Above is a screenshot of one of its search pages. There are several indicators on the page that demonstrate how popular the hotels are, including the average review score, the number of people currently at that hotel, and the number of rooms available to book.
Proactive businesses are consistently employing positive social proof as a growth hack to optimize their conversions. If you have a glowing review of your business on any other website – or happen to receive a physical copy of it – proudly display it on your website at as many places as possible (without overdoing it, of course). Although it’s good to have a dedicated reviews page, it would be wise to showcase such testimonials on important pages like pricing and product features pages.
3. Capturing email signups:
eCommerce store owners consistently need to think about ways of acquiring new customers, retaining them, engaging them – and eventually doing everything possible to increase the average lifetime value of the customers. And this is important, considering over 40% of all online revenue comes from returning customers.
Email happens to be one of the biggest drivers for getting customers to come back for more. The fastest and the easiest way to connect with your users, as well as past customers, to announce new products, discounts, and offers is via emails. Having an on-page opt-in form on the website has always been a popular way to get a user onto your email list. If you aren’t doing so already, start by giving your customers a convenient way to opt-in at any time as they continue browsing through your website.
Placing eye-catchy opt-in boxes on landing pages that receive the most traffic, or offering something of value to shoppers (like free shipping) in return for their email address is a good first step towards growing your email list. If you have implemented email retargeting, you can even send a discount coupon to users who abandoned their shopping cart.
4. Reclaim Abandoned Shopping Carts:
Any eCommerce store owner knows that once a website visitor adds a product to their online shopping cart the likelihood of making that purchase becomes extremely high. But there still are times when the customer may not follow the purchase process even after filling up their shopping cart. In fact, a Forrester research indicates that approximately 44% of online shoppers eventually abandon their carts (usually due to shipping and handling costs).
KISSmetrics has an infographic on the topic of shopping cart abandonment with some interesting statistics:
According to Neil Patel, Co-founder of Kissmetrics, a powerful growth hack strategy for online retailers is to start reclaiming abandoned shopping carts:
“For most eCommerce companies that I have worked with, shopping cart abandonment has been one of the biggest levers. From using re-marketing to email automation to even optimizing the flows for conversions, this is where you can drastically increase revenue.”
In order to reclaim these abandoned carts, you first need to start figuring out why customers abandoned them in the first place. There are typically a few common reasons for most such abandonments including, but not limited to, the price of the product, shipping costs, complex check-out process, unwanted surprises, distractions and so on.
A lot of times, people abandon their carts because of surprise costs further down the shopping funnel. As a business, even if you cannot afford to offer free shipping, you can still reduce cart abandonment due to shipping costs and other charges by simply mentioning the charges right from the beginning. Shoppers simply don’t like surprises. Make sure to have all additional costs clearly mentioned even before your website visitors add products to their cart.
A good chunk of online shoppers who abandon their shopping cart because they simply want to save their items for future consideration. So, if you want them to complete the purchase later, it is important to keep the shopping cart in clear view. Remember: out of sight is out of mind. This can be easily implemented by having an eye catching shopping cart icon (like the corner of the screen) and having it animate when you click or hover over it.
Once you have identified the reasons why the shopping carts were abandoned, try to think of all the things you could implement to persuade shoppers to complete the purchase. Retargeting and Email marketing are excellent choices from this point. You may also want to implement other attractive offers such as free shipping or coupon codes to bring your customers back.
5. Write attractive copy for conversion:
Copywriting is the language, or the choice of words, that businesses use to convey their product’s value proposition to their website visitors via their marketing pages. Good copywriting is critical to growth because it helps potential customers understand the value of the product and determine whether it’s something they really need to have. The science of growth hacking and marketing copywriting are closely interwoven together.
While copywriting sounds like an expensive skill to acquire (or hire), in reality, and with the correct approach, it’s possible for anyone come up with good conversion-oriented copy that engages people and drives sales. It’s all about knowing the right formulas.
If you are looking to overhaul the copy on your landing pages, you need to start with the product pages. Those are the best places to start tuning up your content with. In case you are wondering how to go about it, try exploring the journalistic approach that requires mapping out Who, Where, When, Why, and How around your product. Once you have nailed those, start putting down the benefits and USPs of your product. Try to answer questions like:
- What pain point does your product or service solve?
- What differentiates your products from similar products on the market?
- Is there a story behind this product that you can tell your customers?
Once you’ve figured out the appropriate answers to these questions, it’s time to wrap these ideas up into the tried and tested formula that has proven to be effective:
[Paragraph(s) of Text] + [Bulleted List of Specs or Features] = [Engaging Product Description]
When it comes to e-commerce, most businesses today have to deal with a highly competitive market and if you want to make progress, the ideas presented above are a great way to skyrocket your growth. Once again, keep in mind that there’s no golden ticket to success, but that doesn’t mean that you should overlook ideas that have proven to work. While the ideas presented in this article are a good way to start, there’s a lot more than can be achieved. Let me know of any other growth hacks that have worked for you.