Growth hacking for eCommerce has a “short-term” ring to it — growth is fast but unsustainable.
Growth hacking overrated and it demands more from you. Think of growth hacking for eCommerce as an intense sprint — good for short-term but hard to sustain for long-term.
It’s time to think about business for the long-term. Do all the growth hacking you want but you’d have to learn to aim for sustainable growth for your eCommerce business sooner or later.
By the time you read this, Global eCommerce is a necessity for businesses and individuals; it’s no longer optional.
According to Shopify’s global ecommerce statistics, the global eCommerce industry was worth at least US 4.89 trillion by the time 2021 drew to a close.
The eCommerce industry, according to Shopify and InsiderIntelligence, is expected to grow to US $6.38 trillion by 202.
eCommerce can be simple or complicated — depending on how you do it.
A few things are true though: eCommerce is truly global now; payment processes and cross-border requirements are complex and varied; B2B businesses will grow faster, and more than B2C businesses, and localization (languages, customer support, payments, and Geo-specific content will be crucial).
As such, if you have an eCommerce business, it’s never been more important to not lose sight of absolute basics.
eCommerce websites and stores: Powered by What?
From a marketing perspective (which meets design somewhere along the way), there are a few things that matter. Skip basics and no work related to growth hacking for eCommerce (or even good ol’ long-term work) will ever be fruitful.
How fast does your eCommerce store load?
How easy is it for you (or your team) to make changes to the store? Is it possible to follow digital marketing basics for your eCommerce store — such as blogging for leads and to build a pipeline for sales; social media management; email marketing, and more.
There are popular options (pick what you want): WooCommerce, Shopify, BigCommerce, and more.
If I were you, I’d not spend too much time trying to decide what or how my eCommerce website is powered by (at least not when I am just starting out or when I have a small brand).
Get on Social. Be social. Make it work
The craze — almost feverish –for growth hacking for eCommerce is making you treat this is as “do this, and get it done with”.
Won’t work that way.
Some businesses seem to think that social media is a media, like other types of media. It’s not the type of media where you just push your products and services on to peoples’ faces. That’s for sure.
Of course, you can use social media for social proof. You can use it to distribute and share your content. You can use social media to showcase your products and services.
You can use social media to get traffic. Use social media to generate leads and sales.
But before you get anywhere near all those, you have to ensure that you build a sustainable profile on social media networks. You have to build real connections with people.
You have to build your leadership and authority. You have to connect with people and learn from them. It’s almost as if you would have to actually know people on their first name basis, at scale.
Whatever you do, please don’t do social media flexing — that’s not strategy; it’s just insecurity.
Customer Support Is Profitable
Businesses think customer support is just another function in business. Holding a much lower ranking in terms of importance, customer support usually gets the Stepchild treatment. Did you know that you can turn your customer support function into a profit centre?
Did you know that you can automate customer support to a certain extent and spend all the time focusing on customers? Did you know that you can actually engage with your customers even before they become customers?
Did you know that most profitable brands have customer support as a real money maker? It’s not hard to see why, but many businesses actually make it harder for themselves to grow and make their entire customer service and support processes profitable.
Using Gorgias, for instance, you can not only build smarter workflows around customer support but also turn your customer support into a revenue-driver.
Email Marketing (Was, is, and will be) a Revenue-generating Channel
The actual email marketing tool you use is not what I’m concerned about. Email marketing, is, was and will be a revenue generating channel that you probably are not using even now despite all information out there and despite the fact that almost every single listicle like this one talks about email marketing and how profitable it really is.
Using email marketing doesn’t even have to be fancy.
You only need to generate leads by having people sign up for whatever it is that you gave away as a lead magnet. Then, start email marketing automation to help those who just signed up (to build a pipeline), so that they eventually buy from you.
Email marketing tools that I would definitely recommend:
eCommerce SEO is Not Just about SEO
Note: Not all eCommerce businesses are a great fit for SEO; but eCommerce SEO (despite all the noise, song, and dance) is still not as widely implemented (and implemented the right way) as you might think.
To do eCommerce well, you would have to have a content strategy in place. You have to move beyond writing SEO-specific product descriptions.
To have content marketing and strategy in place, your particular niche or your products must be around a cluster of topics or content pool that people are searching for. Use SEMrush to find keywords. Or use Google’s “People also ask”, or Google’s “Auto Suggest feature”
The content you create helps explain the solutions that your products and services provide — in a never-ending sequence, at a certain publishing velocity. This applies to both B2B and B2C businesses.
Chase all the tricks you want, stack up all the SEO tools you need.
You still won’t make it (or not as well as you thought) if you do what everyone does.
The usual approach to SEO-specific content strategy has to go beyond the usual tricks and tactics businesses use for SEO — such as just writing blog posts around topic clusters, keyword phrases, and approaching content rollout by using Top of Funnel, Middle of Funnel, and Bottom of Funnel strategies.
All those are a must. However, the days of just showing up in search for relevant keyphrases are long gone.
Pack your content with content that inspires, educates, and teaches your audience. Make your audience fall in love with your content even before they get anywhere near the checkout page.
PPC for eCommerce
Businesses already spend dollars on PPC ads across platforms such as Google, Facebook, Quora, LinkedIn, and more.
But did you ever stop to think why not all businesses are successful when it comes to PPC ads?
It goes back to the same, age-old practices of running business and to just push products enmasse.
Understand that people don’t just sit there with the credit cards in hand, waiting to swipe on your checkout page.
The way it works is this: PPC advertising should be used as a traffic generating strategy. Or as a way to boost your brand reach. You can also use it to sell directly (but that’s for another day).
First, run your ads for reach, exposure, and traffic. Generate leads on your site. Then, use marketing automation in a way that builds trust, informs, inspires, and keeps your brand on top of your potential customers’ mind.
Build a pipeline of leads. Customers will buy when they are ready (and convinced enough to buy).
Product Pages + Landing pages
By default, e-commerce stores will have product pages with few products and descriptions and seven other links associated with us with those products. Most e-commerce stores have only this and nothing more.
The right way to do it is to ensure that you do have well crafted product pages with excellent copywriting for your product descriptions.
When you run campaigns — be it organic or inorganic campaigns — that’s when landing pages come in.
Landing pages are ultra focused pages that help you boost your conversions.
Landing pages are designed for lead generation. While you can also directly sell on landing pages, I don’t recommend it (for the same reason as above – your audience is not ready to buy yet).
If you need to build landing pages for eCommerce, here are some popular landing page solutions to consider:
You are out of excuses.
Work on Optimized Checkout
The more optimized your checkout page is, the better your conversions are going to be.
Note: If you sell digital products and services, you’ll not need those extra form fields asking for addresses, phone numbers, and countries (unless you need to ask, which depends).
Most platforms such as Shopify already give you enough tools to optimise your checkout page. If you use WooCommerce, use tools like Elementor, Divi, and any other customisation plugin to help you optimise your checkout experience depending on the products and services that you sent.
Please don’t think that optimisation is something that only the pros have to do every single business of truth has to worry about it.
Growth Hacking is fancy; long-term growth for eCommerce is hard work with many moving parts.
Which way will you go? Are you going to aim for growth hacking for eCommerce or the anti growth hacking and some real growth for a change?