4 Growth Hacking Strategies for eCommerce Businesses

growth hacking

eCommerce industry is dynamic and growing faster than ever. In this fierce competition, you need smart and creative marketing strategies to gain greater visibility and sustainable growth. Here, growth hacking plays an important role.

‘Growth Hacking’ the term was originally coined by Sean Ellis in the year 2010. Since then, growth hacking has become a marketing buzzword and every eCommerce store is trying different tips for growth hacking.

Before we discuss growth hacking tips for e-commerce businesses, first, let’s know what exactly growth hacking is. In simple words growth hacking is all about leveraging the resources at your disposal to experience exponential growth in terms of conversions, traffic and promotion.

So, here are 4 proven growth-hacking tips for your eCommerce business

  1. To Go Viral

Making your product or brand go viral is the best technique to pave your way to incredible growth. It is not simple though but you need to be creative and different from the herd to make your product or services go viral.

Shareability and freebies are two great attributes to make any thing go viral be it your content, product or services. Let’s dive deep how you can use shareability and freebies to promote your e-commerce business.

Power of Free- Let’s just agree that we all love freebies. So, when you give away a free product or service to consumers there are chances of getting it viral. But make sure the giveaway product or service is of high value to your consumers else it would do more harm than good. When people love your giveaways, it results in customer satisfaction and later customer acquisition. Many big companies have used this freemium technique successfully. Let me share an example of same.

For Example- MailChimp (an email marketing software platform) has used this growth hacking technique and they witnessed amazing results. MailChimp allows users to set up an account and send 12,000 emails/per month to a list of 2,000 subscribers for free. Users can enjoy basic features and later they need to upgrade to a paid plan to take benefit of premium features. MailChimp has tasted success with this freemium approach and is adding 30,000 free users and 4,000 paid users every month. So, think creative how you can utilize power of free.

Incentivize Sharing- Shareability is another powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal that can make your products go viral. But why would people share your content or product? Believing that you have created useful content or an amazing product and people will share. Well, this is far from reality. You need to give an extra push to people for sharing your content or product. Giving them some kind of reward or incentivize sharing can do wonders here.

For ExampleDropbox (a file hosting company) is a classic example who has used incentivize sharing brilliantly. Company allowed its users to save their photos and videos and share them with their friends for free.  And to encourage users to share their site they started incentivize sharing. With this, they started rewarding users with an additional free storage space when they shared their site with their colleagues, friends, peers or anyone. This resulted in huge promotion of their site and within only 15 months, their user base went from 100,000 to an astronomical 4 million.

  1. Referral Programs

Referral programs can do wonders for your e-commerce store. But for this, you need to come up with something fresh and engaging that can motivate users to refer your products to others. When done rightly referral programs can be so effective that they can increase your customer base manifold that too in a short time period.

There are mainly three main types of customer referral programs such as affiliate programs, customer referral programs and partner programs.

Uber (U.S based transportation company) is an excellent example of this. The company started offering 10 bucks to users who referred uber and users were allowed to refer upto 30 friends this way. With this referral program, both the parties were benefited. This helped them spread word about their services easily and company witnessed an increased customer base in a short span. And now-a-days, we all know, Uber enjoys a dominant position in the transportation industry.

Another brilliant example of this is Moo (a London based printing business card company). To encourage people to refer and share their products, they added a distribution mechanisms to their actual products and this worked like magic for them. Well, whenever you order a pack of business cards from Moo, they give you a mini ‘pass it on’ card you can give to your friends, peers, anyone so that they can receive discount on their first purchase with Moo. Another interesting thing they did to the distribution card is, they included a fun word game on it to further up the element of excitement. Besides these creative strategies company has garnered raving reviews for having a unique company logo. 

  1. Drip Email Campaigns

Email marketing is an effective marketing tool and when used strategically can give wonderful results. When we talk about email campaigns, drip email campaigns are an excellent growth hacks. Not convinced? Here are some statistics uncovered:

  • As per a study by ExactTarget, 77% of consumers still prefer emails for all marketing communications, promotions and other updates.
  • Besides that, 44% of email recipients made atleast one purchase on the basis of a promotional email.
  • According to, personalized promotional mailings had 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings.

Now let’s know what exactly is drip marketing?

It can be defined as a communication strategy to send pre-defined messages to your target audience over a period of time. Whenever someone signs up on your site,  you need to send them a series of mails on a pre-defined schedule and this is called drip campaign. It is referred as drip campaign as all the emails you send, consistently drip to your customers one at a time.  Such emails are more personalized, timely, and target-specific resulting in better open and click rates.

Drip email campaigns are incomplete without the mention of upsell drip campaigns.

Upsell drip campaign targets specific customer behavior and this works well especially in case of e-commerce or other retail businesses.

For instance- Consider this scenario, a user on your site is reviewing home cinema systems and spends good time on your site reviewing different models you offer. Eventually, he/ she adds one to the cart and leaves. After monitoring user search behavior, you need to trigger a series of mails to the user to convince them to purchase the product and it has been witnessed this often results in shopping cart abandonment recovery. Many popular e-commerce stores uses this email marketing strategy.

Amazon is an excellent example of upsell drip campaigns

Let’s take a quick overview of how a drip email campaign works:

  • The first email should reach in the customer’s inbox between 30-60 minutes of cart abandonment. Don’t make it late than this otherwise the user might have made a purchase somewhere else.

The mail should include complete information about the product including features, benefits etc and don’t forget to add a CTA button that easily takes them back to the site to complete the purchase without any hassle.

  • Second mail should be sent between 24 hours that generally includes an enticing offer or a discount coupon but valid for a limited time period so that the customer actively takes the action to complete the purchase. Generally, after this mail, there are bright chances that customer will be tempted to complete the purchase.
  • The third mail is your last chance of shopping cart abandonment recovery is to entice the customer with a bigger discount. If even after this mail customer does not completes its purchase then the chances are meager that he/she would return to your site for any purchase.

These series of mails target a specific user-behavior and does not follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Drip email campaigns are aimed at engaging the customer and prove an excellent growth hacker.  Have you tried any drip campaigns for your store yet?

  1. Retargeting or Remarketing

Retargeting is an effective growth hacking strategy as it acts as a powerful conversion optimization tool for online businesses. Remarketing refers to a form of online advertising that enables you to keep your brand in front of the bounced traffic (using display AdWords & other targeted display) even after they leave your website.

Retargeting results in better ROI as you are making advertising spend on people who have recently shown interest in your product or are familiar with your brand. It has been observed, majority of the users who visit your site don’t turn into conversions in the first visit. Here, retargeting comes into picture as it helps companies reach maximum users who didn’t convert right away.

However, to get best results out of your retargeting campaign, you need to be different from the herd. In the present scenario, users are flooded with retargeting ads and to stand out in this case you need to come up with fresh ideas that can drive conversions. For instance– Instead of using plain, text retargeting ads, you can use a compelling video, as it gives information in the most crisp form and that too in the shortest time. You can also show a customer testimonial video or anything that is different and engaging. Lastly, make sure that your retargeting ads have exclusive content and compelling call-to-action to drive maximum conversions.

Wrapping Up- There is no secret sauce to success, you need to come up with innovative ways to stay on top of the game. However, implementing the above mentioned growth hacks will surely help you experience phenomenal growth in less time. Keep growing!

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