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Amazingly enough, before “growth hacking” was a thing, companies managed to grow and increase revenue and profitability all the time!
Ignore the hype around “hacks”, which everyone from interns to experienced marketing consultants are promoting (including myself, on occasion), and instead, focus on your aim of generating more eCommerce revenue.
eCommerce brands are increasingly reliant on Facebook Ads and Google AdWords to pull in traffic, but that approach is not only costly, it can also leave you too reliant on advertising spend and could result in too many costly first-time clicks, without enough actual buyers to make a profit.
No one in marketing has time for those sort of false positive metrics. It’s time to start generating some real returns, with the following underrated - but tried and tested - eCommerce growth “hacks”.
Taking this one step further, some brands use technology to show how many people are also viewing the same products/deals when other web visitors are online. Or they show items that have been recently purchased. Creating a sense of urgency through limited offers or visual time countdowns has been shown to convert more buyers. This is an excellent way to social proof your website and makes your store look like it has a thriving community.
Have you tried installing a FOMO plugin (fear of missing out) that prompts visitors every time a purchase is made through your eCommerce site or setting a pop-up with a time-limited offer code? If you have a customer on the fence, these could be effective ways to encourage a purchase.
Smart Insights found that visitors who use live chat convert at roughly 8x times the rate of non-chatting visitors!
You might be asking, “aren’t those live chat software expensive?”. Look, it doesn’t have to be an exclusive live chat product, you could easily integrate something like Facebook Messenger – just like Mustad Saddleworld (pictured below) or Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim).
In fact, according to the same study by Smart Insights, 63% of visitors are more likely to return to a website with live chat features, and 38% of those surveyed completed a purchase as a result of the help they received through a live chat channel.
Customers need to know that others buy/love/need your products or services. In fact, it’s quite possible that social proof online may play a larger role in converting visitors as buyers can’t physically see customers in your shop.
It is therefore far more important to be on top of your social proof as your visitors are far more likely to purchase an item if they can read and see other have already converted.
Out in the real world, that ‘social proof’ is easy to validate: We see other people in coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, we can see they are also buying, so why not treat ourselves?
We can’t do that online as easily. At least not without social proof such as testimonials, positive reviews, and online feedback. Make your social proof prominent. Ideally, on the homepage, around the product/service pages, and everywhere else you can display this information. Daniel Wellington does a great job of showcasing their products in a social context.
You could also improve your website’s social proof through displaying customer-supplied pictures and social posts about your products, clearly highlighting your social following to visitors or alternatively, drive traffic and focus to ‘best seller’ products.
Slow websites kill sales. New web visitors, especially those who aren’t familiar with your brand, don’t need an excuse to click back.
A delay of 1 second can reduce conversions by 7% - so anything as high as 3 seconds will have a massive impact on revenue. Increase your website loading speed to under 3 seconds, and you could generate a conversion bump of 21%.
Test your site using this tool by Google. It will give you pointers on how to improve performance through carrying out a series of extensive website speed checks.
- 11 Low-Hanging Fruits for Increasing Website Speed (and Conversions)
- The Ultimate Guide to Page Speed
eCommerce brands need testimonials to keep that social proof strong. Whereas, software (SaaS) companies, training and service providers need to go one step further.
Adding client logos alongside positive testimonials with the relevant social proof (e.g. names, job titles, headshots, logos, etc.) and in-depth case studies can help convert shoppers.
Don’t force visitors to other 3rd party websites to read your reviews! To further validate your social proof and trust, display third-party platform review integrations such as reviews.co.uk and Feefo reviews prominently throughout your website. If your budget is small, focus your effort to drive reviews through free channels such as Facebook and Google Reviews. These will all help to curb visitor doubts and convert more buyers.
If your budget is small, focus your effort to drive reviews through free channels such as Facebook and Google Reviews. These will all help to curb visitor doubts and convert more buyers.
- Customer Reviews: Why They Are a Deal-Breaker & 5 Simple Ways to Get Them
No matter which page a web visitor lands on, sooner or later they’re going to visit the homepage. Don’t over complicate this page. But at the same time, don’t miss anything. Keep things simple and help users navigate to where they want to go.
Everything on or around the homepage is important for increasing conversions, including the main menu and footer. Avoid overloading web visitors with huge blocks of text or too many videos, especially if they auto-play!
Make sure the navigation is simple so visitors can find what they want easily. Display your social proof early and make it easy enough for them to purchase/sign-up within seconds of visiting your homepage.
Things to consider when building your homepage:
- The Anatomy of The 'Perfect' eCommerce Site [Infographic]
Over-delivering is something every business that wants growth should strive to achieve. What does that look like for an eCommerce company?
Free shipping above a minimum order value is now the most common trick, however, what about offering a free bonus gift or exclusive downloadable content? Focus on consistently delivering great customer service - show you care, especially if there is a problem with an order - on social media, online, via email and every relevant channel.
Why not create a FREE easy returns policy? At the very least, make it so easy for your customers to contact you via live chat, ticketing, email or telephone that they can do it in their sleep and strive above all else, to respond quickly and professionally!
As an eCommerce business, the closest point to touching your customer is through your product packaging. Don’t forget about how you present and deliver your orders.
Strive to create a memorable unboxing experience that will leave your customers wanting it again and again. If you’re a small eCommerce site that is making a product, why not add a quick personalized hand-written thank you note to each order - it will make sure your customers feel super special.
Always reply to reviews whether they are good or bad. It’s a huge cliché, but you really do have to go that extra mile now social media has made the internet so transparent. If your reviews are not all 5 star, don’t worry, a few 3-4 star reviews are okay, it shows that you are a real business!
Most loyalty schemes need customers to make at least 8-10 purchases before they get something for free (or a discount). There is nothing worse than having to buy 10 things before you get one free - most customers simply won’t bother!
During a recent study at a local car wash, a set of customers were simply given a blank loyalty card that showed on the 9th visit they would receive a free car wash.
On the other side of the study a separate set of customers were given loyalty cards with two pre-stamped visits, they too also received a free car wash after 9 visits. The study highlighted that those customers who were given a pre-stamped card came back time and again, with repeat business increasing 178% compared to the customers with unstamped cards!
When creating your own loyalty scheme for your eCommerce business, focus on your users’ behavior and repeat purchase rate. There are many different types of eCommerce loyalty schemes for example; the point system and paid loyalty schemes, however, each type has its own merits.
However, if you have nothing else to offer your visitors or the product is a one-time purchase, don’t bother. Invest this time into over-delivering on every new order.
Customer data is power. It means you can sell more, target more accurately and feed data into drip email marketing campaigns. Asking customers or prospects for too much information is the quickest way to lose them - period. Think about optimising every form on your website and even at the checkout!
At the minimum, get a name and email address (and payment details, as needed) - but don't ask for more than necessary. Neil Patel shows us that removing don't ask for more than necessary. Neil Patel shows us that removing one input field can increase conversion rates 26%. It’s simple, ask less and your customer will buy more.
How do we know we are getting a good deal? One simple but effective way is to show what visitors would have paid before a discount is applied or automatically given.
It seems to too simple to miss but it’s surprising to see the number websites that miss this trick. Clearly stating how much the item would cost without the applied discount can drive conversions and show the true value of the discount.
If you’re not running any discounts, have you thought about offering a ‘price promise guarantee’ on all products? It’s an easy way to take the thought out of your customer's head about finding it cheaper elsewhere.
Another way to present discount value is to offer FREE delivery over a certain order value, however, don’t forget to tell the visitor how much they might be saving. You can implement this by adding the original delivery cost at checkout and then applying the discount.
Although there are many types of eCommerce discounts that can help drive sales, increase new customer acquisition and boost conversions, a business can quickly become too reliant on sales. Be careful not to damage your brand image, overly relying on ‘price-driven’ shoppers and decrease profitability.
Let’s quickly run through that list of underrated eCommerce ‘hacks’ again:
As you can see, there are many tactics to help drive revenue growth from your website.
As a bonus tip, you should also spend some time working on conversion optimization. Testing various parts of your website can have a huge impact on your conversion rates, and in turn, this improves your bottom line figures. The best thing about improving conversion rates is you don’t need to increase traffic - tiny percentage changes can make a huge difference in your website’s profitability!