How Growth Hacking Can Help with Ecommerce Success


Here’s a sobering fact: 

About 20% of new businesses fail in the first year—and older businesses aren’t exempted from failure either. In fact, the chances of failure only get worse with time, with 48% of ecommerce businesses failing at the 5-year mark.

Shopify stats

Image source Shopify

Some of the top reasons for this failure include insufficient funding, an inadequate business model, and poor marketing coordination.

That said, if you’re keen on scaling your ecommerce business to the next level or improving your success rate, it wouldn’t hurt to consider adopting an outside-the-box marketing strategy. And this is where growth hacking for ecommerce success comes in.

Growth hacking is a data-driven marketing approach that combines creativity and fast-paced experimentation to supercharge business growth.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can use growth hacking for ecommerce success. We’ll look at some of the benefits and cover proven growth hacking strategies to help improve your marketing game.

Without taking any more time, let’s get started.

What Is Growth Hacking?

As the name suggests, growth hacking is a growth-focused ecommerce marketing technique that considers the most effective ways to increase conversion and sales using the fewest resources possible.

Unlike traditional marketing that casts a wide net, growth hackers use a more targeted method called the AARRR Framework. This framework focuses on getting maximum output by finding leverage points in five specific areas, namely:

The term “growth hacking” was first coined in 2010 by Dropbox entrepreneur Sean Ellis and was a popular growth technique among tech startups and SaaS companies. This explains why growth hackers relentlessly seek out lean and creative ways to record business growth by rigorously testing and optimizing ideas.

What works stays, and what doesn’t is immediately discontinued or optimized.

How to Use Growth Hacking for Ecommerce Success

Growth hacking takes a full-funnel approach to finding innovative ecommerce hacks that maximize sales and conversion. 

Here’s how to use growth hacking for ecommerce success:

Benefits of Growth Hacking for Ecommerce

There are a slew of benefits that come with using growth hacking for ecommerce success. Some of them include:

Growth Hacking for Ecommerce Success: Top 13 Strategies

At its core, growth hacking is pretty much A/B testing on steroids. The end goal is to optimize different elements of a buyer’s journey, from the first impression to post-sale.

Here are 13 powerful ways to implement growth hacking for ecommerce success:

1. Use Influencer Marketing

A personal favorite of leveraging growth hacking for ecommerce success is collaborating with influencers.

Influencer marketing isn’t just a growth hack; it’s an absolute essential in today’s market. With nearly 54% of the world’s population using social media for an average of 151 minutes daily, collaborating with influencers is a great way to get your products discovered.

If the Statista chart below is anything to go by, this number is likely going to keep increasing over the coming years.

Statista social media use

Image source Statista

The growth hack?
Identify micro- and nano-influencers in your niche with a hyper-engaged and loyal following. According to studies, micro- and nano-influencers have the highest levels of engagement on their posts—sponsored or otherwise.

Later data

Image source Later

As reviewed and elaborated in in the Attrock guide, the influencer marketing tools help you to make the whole collaboration process seamless. You can choose any one as per your requirements.

However, it’s not enough to simply engage influencers; work closely with them to ensure brand consistency and optimal yield.

2. Spark FOMO

You can capitalize on the innate human psychological fear of missing out (FOMO) by artificially creating a perceived sense of scarcity and exclusivity around your offerings. This triggers urgency and impulse purchases.

To achieve the FOMO effect, consider:

Take a look at how this Collin Street Bakery email tries to spark FOMO.


Image source Really Good Emails

3. Decrease Website Loading Time

If your website takes forever to load, you’re basically killing your conversion rates before people even have a chance to see your products. According to Portent, the optimal website loading time is between 1 and 4 seconds. Anything slower than that, and your conversions could suffer.

Portent data

Image source Portent

As such, you’d want to do everything you can to hack your site’s speed to lightning-fast levels. 

A few ways you can achieve this involve:

4. Capture Leaving Visitors with Exit-Intent Pop-Ups

Another great way to use growth hacking for ecommerce success is to not let website visitors slip away empty-handed or without converting.

Use on-exit intent technology to trigger a pop-up message when visitors move to abandon your site. For instance, you can offer a limited-time discount code or free shipping for anyone who opts into your email list.

This Death Wish Coffee popup jumps at you once you try to leave the page.

Deathwish coffee popup

Image source Death Wish Coffee

5. Leverage User-Generated Content

If people don’t trust your marketing messaging, they’ll never turn into buyers. Growth hacking for ecommerce success mandates that you entice potential customers with user-generated content (UGC) instead.

A Dixa study found that 93% of buyers are more likely to purchase a product after coming across a positive review.

That said, growth hackers incentivize customers to promote their products freely across social media. Some ways include running regular photo or video contests, offering rewards for reviews and ratings, and creating branded hashtags.

Once customer testimonials start pouring in, display them everywhere throughout your funnel—from your homepage to product pages. This proves that real people get value from your offerings, which builds powerful social proof that growth hacks your conversion rates.

For instance, Edloe Finch has a section on its website where it displays customer reviews and images of its furniture.

testimonial sample

Image source Edloe Finch

6. Radically Simplify the Checkout Process 

One of the biggest killers of ecommerce conversion is complicated checkout flows.

Statista data shows that checkout-related issues, such as account creation requests and a long or complicated checkout process, were the main causes of cart abandonment.

Statista checkout

Image source Statista

Simplify your checkout process to ensure that all the effort put into driving traffic and getting shoppers to hit that “Add to Cart” button yields the desired results.

Growth hackers simplify the checkout process by:

7. Relentlessly Cross-Sell and Upsell

What’s better than making a single sale to a customer? Making multiple sales from that same customer through upsells and cross-sells.

The whole aim is to strike while the iron is hot by promoting complementary product recommendations and higher-tier versions seamlessly throughout the shopping experience.

To leverage growth hacking for ecommerce success, growth hackers layer upsells on the cart page, within the post-purchase thank-you sequence and even on the shipping confirmation emails.

Meanwhile, cross-selling plays show up on the homepage, in product galleries, and anywhere else you can insert enticing merchandising.

8. Offer Generous Referral Programs

My eighth strategy for growth hacking for ecommerce success is referral marketing programs.

Why pay acquisition costs to attract new customers when you can get your existing buyers to do the marketing for you for free or with some incentives? 

Set up automated systems where people get rewarded with discounts, cash, or other perks whenever their unique referral link or code results in new paying customers. Apart from that, you’ll want to aggressively promote your referral program for maximum visibility.

For instance, take a look at this Airbnb referral campaign.


Referral email

Image source Really Good Emails

9. Leverage AI-Powered Solutions

Leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning so you can offer always-on, personalized assistance. For instance, you can use techniques like AI commenting to address common questions, provide product recommendations, initiate purchases, and resolve customer service issues promptly.

Or better yet, take advantage of AI-powered help desk ticketing software including Zendesk, Zoho Desk, and HubSpot Service Hub. These tools help you track and address support requests efficiently, keeping your customers satisfied.

To leverage AI solutions, be sure to choose a platform with robust natural language processing for natural conversational abilities to build rapport with users.

10. A/B Test Everything

One of the easiest ways to use growth hacking for ecommerce success is to regularly conduct A/B testing. From product pages and category navigation to email creative and checkout funnel steps, conduct extensive A/B testing.

A/B testing is more of a science than an art with a simple process pathway. Formulate data-driven hypotheses, run controlled split tests, analyze the results, and then double down on clear winners while abandoning low-impact ideas.

11. Write Guest Posts

Trying to convert cold traffic that knows nothing about your brand is an uphill battle.

The growth hack for ecommerce success?

Expand your content reach and brand awareness through guest posting on reputable industry publications and blogs within your niche. When people see your brand name pop up alongside trusted experts, it builds authority and credibility.

To secure guest posting slots with reputable publications, craft value-adding guest posts that teach readers about topics related to whatever you sell. While you’re at it, naturally weave in examples of your products as the ideal solution and use clear CTAs within each post to stimulate new leads.

12. Send Automated “Buy It Again” Emails

As we’ve seen, growth hacking for ecommerce success proposes that you maximize customer lifetime value and form an army of loyal and recurring buyers.

Once you acquire a paying customer, a smart growth hack is to put them on an automated reorder sequence to hack their lifetime value. This is especially potent if your business deals with replenishable or consumable goods.

It’s easy. Segment buyers into behavior groups, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly purchasers. Then, trigger “Buy It Again” reminder emails or SMS alerts at their typical reorder frequency.

Meanwhile, be sure to include 1-click reorder links or insert personalized cross-sell/upsell offers based on their previous purchases.

Take a look at this simple reorder email from Nuggs.

Reorder reminder

Image source Really Good Emails

13. Personalize With Real-Time Product Recommendations 

My final point on using growth hacking for ecommerce success is to give your shoppers a personalized experience, especially in your recommendations.

Generically recommending products to everyone who visits your store rarely grabs attention and could cost you sales and conversions. To optimize growth hacking for ecommerce success, personalize your marketing efforts by leveraging real-time customer data and behavior signals.

Instead of using blanket recommendations, serve up different product recommendation quizzes, persuasive upsell flows, hyper-relevant “Picked for You” recommendations, and homepages based on their onsite behavior and demographics.

Aggressively contextualize offers to each customer’s tastes and preferences and watch conversions soar.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Growth Hacking for Ecommerce Success

While growth hacking can turbocharge your ecommerce growth, it’s easy to get tripped up by common pitfalls. That said, to optimize growth hacking for ecommerce success, avoid these mistakes:

Wrapping Up

To get ahead in today’s crowded ecommerce landscape, consider using growth hacking for ecommerce success.

Relentlessly test data-backed acquisition channels coupled with conversion rate optimization and retention hacking throughout your entire funnel. 

Doing this can help you increase your chances of tapping into a consistent pipeline of wins that result in exponential revenue growth.

From leveraging influencer marketing and sparking FOMO to deploying AI-powered solutions, the possibilities of growth hacking for ecommerce success are virtually limitless. 

Continuously iterate and double down on your biggest winners, and let data objectively steer your path to ecommerce success.

Do you have other growth-hacking strategies that you use? Let me know in the comments.



This article is about:

Reena Aggarwal

Reena is Director of Operations and Sales at Attrock, a result-driven digital marketing company. With 10+ years of sales and operations experience in the field of e-commerce and digital marketing, she is quite an industry expert. She is a people person and considers the human resources as the most valuable asset of a company. In her free time, you would find her spending quality time with her brilliant, almost teenage daughter and watching her grow in this digital, fast-paced era.

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