When you launch your business and open your shop, you most likely won’t have loads of money to invest in digital marketing. But, of course, you need to get traffic to your ecommerce to make sales and keep your project alive.
It’s like the snake biting its own tail: how can I get clients if I don’t have money to invest?
That’s where Growth Hacking comes in.
Or, more precisely, by following the 8 strategies that we explain in this post and that can help boost your sales without making a huge investment.
You don’t believe us? Tell us after you read the whole post. ;)
What is Growth Hacking?
Let’s start with the definition:
Growth Hacking is a set of techniques and tools used to quickly increase the number of users, income, or leads in a business that require little monetary investment and effort.
That’s to say, an e-commerce owner’s dream: working less and selling more.
But how can that be possible?
It’s often wrongly assumed that growth hackers are super creative people who come up with great ideas out of nowhere to boost their sales.
Growth hacking is based on analysis of a business’
- And so on and so on
These growth hackers analyze those things and measure everything because it’s during that process of looking at the data when great ideas start to pop up.
8 Growth Hacking strategies for online shops that you can implement immediately
In our blog we’ve already mentioned several techniques and while we didn’t specifically categorize them as growth hacking, that’s what they essentially are.
Bear in mind that the key to this strategy is creating a huge impact with extremely minimal investment, and in that category we could include:
Let’s see some of them in more detail.
1. Offering temporary discounts
A sense of urgency boosts the desire to buy.
This technique is as old as sales itself that continues to be scarily efficient. The fear that some people have of missing out on a sale (also well known as FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out) strengthens purchase intention.
It’s as easy as telling your clients that a discount comes with an “expiration date” so they have to buy it before it disappears.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be shown on your website – you can tell them through other channels like, for example, through an email or social media.
Even banks, ING Direct in this case, use this technique.
- Review which complementary products are normally sold together.
- Create an attractive limited offer with one of them.
- Offer them the second product a few days later.
2. Give away free trials
If there’s an infallible way of getting past one of the strongest sales objection in online sales, this is it.
Most customers are willing to try your products for free and start buying them if they are happy with it.
Let’s take a look at a few success cases with this strategy.
Loopas disposable contact lenses began sales in the Spanish market in 2018.
Their strategy was to give always daily contacts for 15 days and after those 2 weeks clients could choose to buy them or not.
In addition to their digital marketing investment, word of mouth worked in their favor and users started to share and recommend the product.
By the way, don’t bother rushing to the offer.
The free trial has run its course. They managed to gain visibility and capture their first clients. The goal was to make a huge initial impact to get the brand name out there.
Taking into account that they are now selling in other countries such as Italy and Portugal, we can certainly say Growth Hacking mission accomplished! ;)
Want to hear about another success, but on an international scale?
No doubt you’ve heard of this one.
Netflix blew the streaming platform market out of the water by offering a free 1-month trial (and still does). People sign in, they have access to TV series and movies for a month, and after 30 days, they decide whether to unregister or not.
After a month of having enjoyed the on-demand service, a lot of people decide to stay.
3. Ease the next purchase as much as you can
Let’s go back to Loopas, which has implemented a great system to maintain sales numbers and to foster client loyalty in the short and long term.
If you sell products that require repeat purchases, such as daily contacts, why don’t you offer them the option of sending them the product on a monthly basis?
That’s what we would call subscription purchases.
Loopas has two purchase options on their website:
- One-time sale: one order, one package sent, and the business relationship is over.
- Recurring sale: you know that you are going to need more contacts in a few weeks, so you can choose when you want to receive them again (in a month, 6 weeks, or 2 months, for example) and you even get an additional discount.
An easy option offered right in the customer’s shopping cart just guaranteed sales for the next few months without investing any additional money.
4. Create a feeling of urgency and a lack of stock
When you’re interested in a product but have doubts about buying it, the fear of losing it altogether may lead you to pull the trigger.
Booking uses this technique incredibly well; have a look at how much scarcity they show with just one image:
- In high demand
- Only 1 room left!
- 76% of properties reserved
Doesn’t it make you want to book right now? Then apply this strategy to your business! ;)
5. Offer irresistible discounts
In a market as global and competitive as the online business, there are times when offering a discount is just plain necessary. But be careful – you need to use them for more than just generating the occasional sale.
Here you have some ideas about discounts that can be quite useful.
A. Discounts when you subscribe to a newsletter
Easy idea: offer a discount in exchange for customers subscribing to your newsletter.
That’s what CurvySense does. They’re a fashion e-commerce specialized in plus sizes that offers a 25% discount on your first order if you subscribe.
This way they get the perfect 2×1:
- They incentivize sales thanks to the discount (even more effective if with an added expiration date).
- They gain a new subscriber to whom they can send their newsletters (if you don’t know how to do that, click here).
Be careful not to just send random emails. Before you write one, you need to define your email marketing strategy.
B. Accumulate discounts with each purchase
Another example of how to use discounts beyond just the sale can be found on this website from Bulevip, a nutrition and sports e-commerce.
For each purchase in the shop, users get X% of discount that is automatically applied to their next purchase.
This is a great way to increase client loyalty and (just as important) recurring sales along with it. ;)
6. Add a feeling of exclusivity
The idea is to make your clients feel like going to your e-commerce is like entering a VIP club. That’s to say, you can only gain access through an “exclusive” invitation or as a referral from a current member.
That’s the strategy behind Private Sport Shop, a sports products marketplace that works through private sales.
They call it “sponsorship” on their website. The idea is simple:
- You invite your friend to join the website.
- They accept your invitation and make a purchase (thus becoming a customer).
- You get a €10 voucher for your next purchase.
You get a new lead and create a new possible sale without spending a single euro on digital marketing.
By the way, if you don’t know what a marketplace is, have a look at this post.
7. Suggest related products
The idea is to offer products related to the one the customer has already added to their cart. You can see a clear example of this on the Ikea website.
You select a wardrobe and the shop immediately suggests hangers that fit the selected model.
This way, in addition to offering an extra service to the client, you are also increasing your average checkout price, which means you are increasing the profitability of a single sale.
8. Ask for comments, recommendations, and opinions
In this post, we already talked about the power of social proof.
As social beings, we seek validation from others to confirm that we are making the right decision. In marketing, that means offering potential customers proof that their purchase is the right one.
Amazon is the master of this strategy: users check reviews and comments there even if they aren’t planning to make the purchase from Amazon.
That’s why encouraging clients to leave their comments is a good growth hacking strategy.
And in exchange, you can offer them:
- Free shipping on their next purchase
- Access to a VIP community
- Participation in raffles
Another interesting option is to create an exclusive page where users can check other customers’ opinions. Here you can see the one from our client YPO in the UK.
If you’re already getting positive feedback from your clients, make the most of it!
How much Growth Hacking are you already doing?
As we mentioned at the beginning, you may already be using some of these strategies in your ecommerce shop.
You’re a growth hacker without even knowing it. ;)
The important thing is to understand that these ideas don’t just come out of nowhere, but rather as the result of analysis and measurement. Therefore, if you don’t have a control panel with the most important metrics, the first thing you need to do is to read this post about web analytics.
Measure and you shall triumph.