Why I wrote this article
A few weeks ago, a client of ours asked me: “What are the 5 Growth Hacks that could skyrocket my eCommerce sales?”. As I’ve said before, there’s no golden ticket to success – and whoever says so is a goddamn liar; Nonetheless, there are pretty successful examples of people applying growth hacking on their eCommerce stores in ways that skyrocketed their conversion rate; things that you should definitely take under consideration testing by yourself.
I guess you’ve noticed that times have changed for those owning a store. That’s probably why you’re here reading this article. Until 10 years before, physical stores were thriving but as our lives needed to be faster – and also due to the rise of the Internet- we turned to eCommerce for our clothing, electronics and even our groceries. More and more, GrowthRocks receives inbound requests for eCommerce growth and optimization. Many of these cases are from people that previously owned physical stores that turned into digital. These people are well aware of who their customers are, and could be excellent on selling face to face.
However, they are unaware that going online takes a very different mindset (the foundation of a growth hacker) and approach for a bunch of reasons. For example, customers have access to hundreds of thousands of stores, instead of the little shop in their hometown, or the ability to say “no” on purchasing something that they don’t really like, in case they don’t find anything else to buy – I’ve been there.
In a previous post, I analyzed why Conversion Rate Optimization is a must when it comes to raising your sales. Last month, I joined Moosend for a webinar about eCommerce growth hacking so, I thought it would be cool if I write a brief but useful article about the 5+1 Growth Hacks That Could Skyrocket Your eCommerce’s Conversions.
Spending time on optimization brought to my attention one crucial thing:
Having bugs on your website, is a total Conversion Killer!
Many marketers and growth hackers get so departed trying to find traction channels and implementing A/B tests, that forget to test if the page is performing the way it was supposed to do in all browsers and devices.
So, first things first. You have to find in which browser and device your website underperforms. To do so, open up your Google Analytics and go to Audience -> Technology -> Browser & OS report.
Remember, you must look at one device category at a time (use segmentation for Desktop Only, Mobile Only and Tablet Only).
Drill down to a specific browser version (e.g. Firefox 36.0, 35.0 etc.) and look for browsers that seem to convert less than others. So, if for example Firefox 36.0 & Firefox 27.0 convert at 4.5% and Firefox 35.0 converts at 1.22%, it’s possible that version 35.0 has some cross-browser issues.
I would recommend summing the performance of each browser individually in a spreadsheet. The next thing you want to do is to find out how the number of conversions would be if Firefox 35.0 (converting currently at 1.22%) converted as Firefox 36.0 or Firefox 27.0 (currently converting at 4.5%). This is a good way to prioritize your efforts on fixing the bugs.
Now that you know where to search for the problem, it’s time to find what it is. You don’t need to have a ton of devices with every browser version installed. Thanks to services like BrowserStack, CrossBrowserTesting and Browserling these otherwise annoying tasks become a piece of cake 😉
If everything goes as planned, you’ll have in your hands all the bugs that need to be fixed. Note them down and start with fixing them (or give them to a developer!). If you have any doubt about the procedure and its effects on your business, I’m asking you to think this:
In a time frame of 6 months, considering that all bugs get fixed, how much more money will you get? Do the math, and if you still think that the result is not worth of doing it, move on to what you were about to do from the very start.
Is it better to know why people don’t purchase from your store or the reasons they do? Well, you have to know both. The real question is where, and more importantly when to ask for this information.
The easiest thing you’ve got to do in order to be sure about where to put your survey is by giving a look in your Google Analytics account. Seek for pages with high Exit or Bounce Rate; Period.
Whether you own a single-vendor, a multi store ecommerce platform, or any other eCommerce platform you should conduct surveys as they can give you some good insight about what you’re doing wrong (or right), but you should really use them as an opportunity to come closer with the users. There are a lot of great tools out there that you can use, such as Qualaroo and a new promising player, called Survicate. Instead of just asking questions, you can create question flows depending on the answers you get. It’s vital to empower you relationship with your potential customers in order to bring them one step closer to conversion.
When it comes to post-purchase surveys, I found that one of the best ways to ask people about their shopping experience is on their order confirmation page. The customer has already made his purchase, so the survey will not distract him/her. The same mindset applies on the receipt email. Many eCommerce stores include their surveys in their newsletter campaigns. If you’re asking me about what I think as the best strategy, I’ll answer that newsletters tend to have a much lower open rate than receipt emails.
Virality & Referrals
Let’s face it. You are here because you want to find a way to drive sales for your eCommerce.
Your store needs optimization, but it also needs customers. In other words, you need higher Conversion Rates and a wider Sales Funnel; And a great referral campaign can stretch your funnel’s entrance to its limits. Also, don’t forget about your growth funnel.
But why Referral Campaigns are such a success? It’s because of the trust bond between friends and family members. Think about it; You always ask your friends for any good movies they’ve seen lately, or ask your mother when it comes to house-cleaning products. Give your customers a chance to use these bonds in order to gain something and they will surely tell their friends about your business.
92% of people trust recommendations from friends.- Nielsen Global Trust In Advertising Survey
Do you want an example of a great Referral Campaign?
This is a recent campaign from Lemonstand. They published an ebook on eCommerce Growth Hacking, in which we contributed with a hack that I included later in this article. To get the ebook was a rather simple. You had to give your first name and email. After the submission, the subscriber was informed that he/she entered a queue, with the one on the first place winning an enormous prize.
In order to win, the subscriber had to bring more people to download the ebook. That way the user would gain points for each new subscriber he/she brings in. Those points would sum up until the competition is over and the one with the most points would become the grand winner.
As you can see in the image above Lemonstand used for this cause Viral Loops, a tool we recently developed (currently in closed beta) and does exactly what its name says; It creates viral loops.
Are you aware of what successful referral campaigns, have in common?
They offer something super valuable to both the referrer and referee related to the product or service!
So, if you want to build a successful referral campaign do this. Learn who your customers are and what they are interested in. Find out what is the one thing they crave the most from your business. If you are troubled finding that kind of information, just ask them. When this kind of information comes in your hands, offer them what they want in exchange of referring their best friends.
There are literally no limits when it comes to referral prizes. From giving discount codes, to offering multiple entries for the newest contest you run. Use your data and the insights you gather from your surveys, and give people a reason to talk about you and your eCommerce store!
My personal favorite by far. Exclusive content is what defines a champion among all tons of thousands of stores out there. You see, people tend to buy from people they trust. The product is important but having the feeling that you can rely to a real person about your purchase, is priceless.
Let me give you an example of what I mean.
As you may have noticed, I have a beard. While I was growing my beard, I did a little research on YouTube about ways to fight itching. Then, I stumbled upon BeardBrand. Eric Bandholz blew my mind! At first, he seemed like a funny guy with an awesome beard giving tips.
Then it struck me! When I saw the view count, I rushed to see what is about with his channel. And finally, I landed onto BeardBrand’s eCommerce store and bought a beard oil and a soap.
I can understand content marketing at first sight, and that kind of content is a double win.
A bunch of beards men + targeted, genuine content = A happy bunch of beards men + $350k in Sales
Trying to find a general content recipe that applies anywhere, is like trying to do this:
It is much more easier to look straight to your target audience, eavesdrop their needs and create something exclusively for them. I guarantee that if you put the amount of effort needed, it will pay you off.
This strategy is not for the weak hearted. Unconventional PR can make you or break you. It will affect your reputation and may cost you in money; Big time. But there are also some great news. It may attract a great amount of awareness and customers for your store.
So, what does unconventional PR mean for your business? For me, it means doing anything necessary in order to create buzz about your business or product, even if a lot of people get very angry by your efforts. When I first read Ryan Holiday’s “Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions Of a Media Manipulator ”, I was blown away by the means he used in order to promote a movie using guerrilla tactics.
In a very few words he created controversy around a movie that he undertook to market by vandalizing his own billboards, taking pictures of his acts and spreading it around the web. This resulted to more than 2000 college students and editorials from Washington Post and Chicago Tribune railing against the movie.
Ryan has served as a Director of Marketing at American Apparel for many years. And I’m sure that American Apparel’s marketing team learned a lot of stuff by working with him. A few weeks ago I read an article that surely made me smile. You see, American Apparel had an advert banned for ‘too sexy’ photos of underage-looking model in thong bodysuit.
I’m more than sure that this whole story (covered by at least 3 major Web Publishers) created enough buzz to drive sales for American Apparel.
Oh, and note that anything you might read in Ryan’s book, could actually be one of his tactics. After all, lying is his job.
Bonus – The Facebook Stalker
Recently, LemonStand published a free ebook about eCommerce Growth Hacking called “50 Shades Of Growth Hacking”. We were happy to participate with the hack I’m going to talk about, here. I give you the hack, exactly as it was written in the book.
Data shows that many times people tend to research an item on their mobile device, and then purchase it through their desktop. So, wouldn’t be awesome to drive those sales faster and not lose any of them?
People love Facebook and you probably already run some ads there. All you need to do is to retarget those that visited your e-commerce website via mobile and did not convert. Remember that in sales, repetition and relevancy rules.
How To Implement It For Your eCommerce
The first thing you need to do is to put some of your marketing budget aside and design two kickass Facebook ads. One that will be served to mobile users only, and one for desktop retargeting. This is the most important part. Just be awesome.
- Create a Facebook Custom Audience for those who visited your website but did not purchase. In order to do so, build an audience using “People visiting specific web pages but not others.”
- Include the URL of your main page (e.g. product, category or offer page) and exclude your “Thank you” page so you don’t count visitors who did not buy. You will be asked to install a piece of code in your pages so the audience can be built properly.
- Now create the ads and, in case you use product images, add some photos with the product in focus in front of a blurry background. As for the bidding, oCPM rocks. With this bid, your ads are served to people who are more likely to convert. For this, you need to install another piece of code to your website. Just follow the instructions on Facebook.
- Start your campaign, and keep an eye on the results. Make sure to monitor your conversions and optimize your ads if needed.
eCommerce is here to stay – God knows what comes next, and growth hacking can give you the results you crave. Once again, keep in mind that there’s no golden recipe to success, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll overlook the ingredients. Work hard, test harder and be curious. I’d love to get back to me with results, thoughts or requests for a future post. In the meantime, keep being awesome!
Theodore has a 20-year experience in running successful and profitable software products. During his free time, he coaches and consults startups. His career includes managerial posts for companies both in Greece and abroad and he has significant skills on intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship.