The phrase “growth hacking” has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity in the past few years, since Sean Ellis coined it in 2010. The concept of growth hacking is simple; design an astute strategy, employ smart tactics or initiate promotional gimmicks that revolve around driving business growth.

Furthermore, growth hacking is not limited to tech-savvy businesses or leading media marketing enterprises anymore. It has seeped into the core of various marketing campaigns and is adopted by almost all kinds of companies regardless of their size or type, including e-commerce startups.

For an e-commerce business, growth hacking is implemented to leverage the available resources and online channels to procure business scalability. Consequently, the business experiences increased conversion and better revenue generation.

Due to the absence of a physical presence in the form of a brick-and-mortar store, e-commerce businesses strive to make their digital presence felt. To do this and to witness exponential business growth, you can employ the following actionable growth hacking tips:

Uncomplicate your homepage

A customer’s first encounter with your website is often the homepage, making it one of your most important web pages. Every element of your homepage has a marked influence on your conversion rate because if the homepage is not attractive, the users will not go beyond it.

Therefore, make your homepage appealing, yet uncluttered and straightforward. Moreover, it should include everything in an orderly manner. The users should be able to navigate seamlessly from the homepage to other sections of your website.

Furthermore, make your social proof noticeable, display your contact details clearly, feature the ongoing deals prominently and highlight your unique selling point on the main page. Make it easy for the customers to purchase from you within seconds of visiting your homepage.

If they have to jump through unnecessary hoops to buy a product or if they are distracted with ill-placed links, they will not be able to convert and generate revenues quickly.

Provide strong social proof

As mentioned above, e-commerce businesses do not have a tangible presence. People cannot physically see customers in your shop, and it is a fact that stores brimming with customers cause intrigue.

Social proof provides concrete evidence that other people interacted with your business and liked your products or services, thereby influencing potential customers to purchase from you. It is a powerful tool to convert visitors into customers, if done right. Social proof can be in the form of testimonials, customer reviews, case studies or social media engagements.

ConversionXL researched to determine the most effective social proof technique and concluded that testimonials featuring pictures perform the best. However, it also depends on the product or service you are marketing.

BuzzSumo’s customer testimonials narrate how their product provided value to users and organizations. They feature the customers’ photos with the testimonials, which further add authenticity to their claims.

You can also take a leaf out of GoPro’s Instagram account. GoPro prerogative is that they make the Most Versatile Cameras and their Instagram feed is an ode to this claim. They feature a plethora of mesmerizing customer-supplied photos, which highlights their social following and the proficiency of their product.

Take advantage of FOMO

A great way to direct people to the end of the buying cycle is to create a sense of urgency. It could be done by creating a limited time offer, availability of the deal for the first few customers or sale price until stocks last. You can induce the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) by displaying the number of people currently online and perusing the website, or a particular product or service.

This elevates the allure of an item for potential buyers. You can also display recent purchases by your previous customers. These gimmicks compel the users to make a snap decision, often in favor of the purchase. Moreover, you can promote your offer with a visual countdown timer, and phrases like Hurry!, Time is Running Out, Just for Today or Only 1 Left.

Peep Laja, tested two versions of a landing page; one featured a countdown timer communicating urgency while the other did not. Can you guess which page performed better in terms of conversion?

Of course, the one with the countdown timer signifying the time left to avail the deal, and it helped increase sales by more than 30% compared to its counterpart.

Create a loyalty scheme

Customer acquisition is a tricky business but retaining those consumers requires similar efforts, if not more. From profits’ point-of-view, new customers do not generate as many revenue as loyal customers.

In fact, research shows that repeat customers spend 67% more than new consumers.

Therefore, you need to establish a customer loyalty scheme or a reward program that makes your customers feel valued and appreciated. Their sense of entitlement towards your brand will influence them to keep returning to you for more business.

However, the reward program can also backfire if you propose insignificant deals or cheapskate offers. Such maneuvers can lower your credibility and tarnish your brand’s reputation. Most of the loyalty programs revolve around “spend money to earn money” mantra. Unfortunately, 77% of the transactional-based loyalty schemes failed in the first couple of years.

Conversely, you can implement a successful loyalty program based on generating redeemable points, earning loyalty card, gaining rewards according to different levels and more.

In addition, due to increasing popularity of the loyalty programs, customers are seeking versatility and diversity in the rewards. You can leverage your e-commerce by collaborating with other brands to provide more opportunities in the reward program.

Collinson Latitude concluded that 82% of the researched customers preferred coalition loyalty programs.

Matas, a Danish online beauty store, has partnered with more than fifteen brands to create a reward scheme that allows its customers to accumulate points when shopping at any of its coalition partners.

Simplify the conversion process

Do you know that you can lose almost 26% of the users if you ask them to register to buy?

Customers are looking to make swift, hassle-free purchases when they turn towards e-commerce businesses. If your conversion process is too complicated, customers will most likely abandon the conversion path, resulting in a loss of revenues.

Although acquiring valuable customer data can lead to successful drip email marketing campaigns and allows you to target your audience more accurately, asking prospective customers to fill in lengthy forms is also the fastest way to lose them.

Therefore, optimize every form on your website and take out the stress factor associated with lengthy registrations. Reduce the form size to the minimum number of necessary fields, ideally a name and an email address, and payment details if required.

Amazon is one of the leading e-commerce businesses with a multitude of products for sale and an astonishing number of 304 million active accounts. Moreover, a study from BloomReach in 2015 deduced that almost half of the online shoppers check out Amazon first before perusing any other site.

Have you wondered why many U.S. e-retailers are so successful? First, they offer free 2-day shipping. Second, they only ask new customers for their names and email addresses for registration, making the entire process extremely simple.

Offer live chat functionality

E-Stores can often lack the personal touch required to convert a hesitant yet interested prospect into a customer. Offering live chat services can alleviate any reservations harbored by the customers and provide answers to their questions with precision.

According to Smart Insights, visitors who utilized the live chat feature converted eight times more as compared to other non-chatting users. The same study also noted that 63% of the users are more likely to return to a website with live chat features, while 38% of the survey respondents said that, they completed a purchase due to the assistance received via live chat.

Furthermore, since not many online businesses are investing in live chat functionalities, offering this service can immediately provide you with an edge over your competition.

Employ referral marketing

Referral marketing is one of the most obvious and effective marketing tactics. If done right, it can increase your consumer base manifolds in a short span of time.

Studies show that people are four times more likely to make a purchase if referred by a friend. Moreover, social media posts of friends influence 81% of U.S. customers’ online shopping.

A referral reward program can deliver a two-fold advantage to your e-commerce business. In addition to connecting with prospective customers, it also compels previous customers to revisit your online store to avail their reward points.

However, to stand out from the crowd, you should focus on improvising a referral strategy that is distinctive and engaging. It should motivate the customers to send more business your way.

Uber sets an excellent example of referral marketing. The transportation company is highly successful with a net worth of $50 billion and a notable presence in 300 cities in the world. A major portion of its success can be attributed to it brilliant referral campaign.

Since its inception, Uber incentivized people, with free rides or cash credits, to recommend their app to others. Their tactics soon became a huge hit and transformed the company into a transportation giant that it is today.

Finally, even though incentives work, referral marketing is most effective when high-quality products or exceptional services back it. Otherwise, the marketing efforts will soon fizzle out without delivering the desired results.

Conduct a retargeting campaign

Retargeting ads are another effective growth hack, acting as a powerful conversion tool for online businesses. The retargeting campaign works by keeping your online brand on the forefront to attract the bounced traffic, even after they have exited your site.

In general, people do not purchase on their initial visit to the website. Remarketing aims to engage people who showed an organic interest in your brand or are aware of its presence. Therefore, they have a higher chance of conversion. These ads target each website visitor individually and promote products most likely to drive the prospect back to the website.

Currently, there are a plethora of e-commerce businesses resulting in a bombardment of online retargeting ads. You have to make your ad the most noticeable and attractive to command its presence in front of customers.

Moreover, the main objective of the ad is to address the customer’s inhabitation that prevented them from making a purchase. Therefore, stick to the main point and do not overcrowd the ads with generic descriptions.

HubSpot executed their retargeting campaign flawlessly. The most common issue raised by SMB about CRM tools is the time it takes to set up. HubSpot addressed the issue effectively without cluttering the ad with their logo or company’s mission statement.

Perform technical testing

Periodic technical testing ensures that your website is in top working condition and no variables are detracting the growth and sales of your company.

Amongst these, the loading speed of your website is one of the most fundamental factors because a 1-second delay in site load time can result in the loss of conversion by 7%. Ideally, your site should load within 3 seconds; otherwise, 40% people will abandon it!

Therefore, you need to carry out extensive speed check tests with regularity to ensure you are not losing valuable customers and are improving your website’s performance.

Another type of testing is A/B testing, which is probably one of the most common growth hacks.

In A/B testing, an equal amount of traffic is directed to alternate versions of the same page to determine which variation produces the most conversion. To incur the optimal amount of sales from a product page, you should experiment with the content of your product page to see which alternative is most productive and influences most sales.

Numerous tactics, including the tips mentioned above, expedite the scalability of an e-commerce business. It all depends on the efficient and innovative implementation of your growth hacks to acquire the most conversion in the shortest span of time, and to remain on top of your game.