Building a burgeoning e-commerce business isn’t always an easy task. Sure, you may not have to deal with some of the headaches that brick-and-mortar stores deal with on a daily basis, but e-commerce is no walk in the park, either.
In fact, for many e-commerce executives, finding a way to increase web traffic and sales in the first place can feel like an insurmountable challenge. And achieving a high conversion rate? Forget about it!
Thankfully, things aren’t nearly as bleak as you might be tempted to believe. Even if your current conversion rate leaves a lot to be desired, there are a few simple steps you can take to hack your growth, up your conversions, and lay the foundation for a lasting (and successful) e-commerce business.
Without further ado, we’d like to present six key ways that you can improve your conversion rate and growth hack your e-commerce business.
1) Improve Site Loading Time
Improving your site speed may not sound like a traditional growth hacking method, but for an e-commerce site, it’s one of the most important things you can do to improve your conversion rate.
It really doesn’t matter how amazing your site is or how great of a product or service you have to offer — if your site is slow, people will not stick around to convert into paying customers. In fact, studies have found that nearly three-fourths of web users will bail out on your website if they have to wait five seconds or longer.
That’s not all, though. Even a one-second delay can drop your conversion rate by 7%.
In short, implementing basic changes to speed up your site’s loading time — like optimizing images and reducing plug-ins — can yield big-time benefits for your conversion rate.
2) A Simple Home Page
While many e-commerce businesses utilize a wide array of landing pages to snag their customers’ attention, many digital audiences don’t merely rely on the landing page to make their purchasing decision.
They want to learn more about what you have to offer. And for that, they’ll go to your home page.
Unfortunately, a complicated home page that is filled with videos, charts, text, and endless links can be an instant turnoff to any prospective customer.
In fact, studies have consistently found that a simple, whitespace-heavy home page is key to improving customer perception and driving conversions. A simple visual design is “scientifically easier to process” — and everything from your logo and typography to your images and menu options will affect that.
By implementing a home page design that only includes the most essential information, you create a more engaging platform for your customers, and make it much more likely that they’ll actually convert.
3) The Proof is in the Social
For many digital customers, social proof is an absolute must-have prior to making a purchasing decision. In fact, over half of all digital customers are influenced by online reviews when doing their e-commerce shopping.
So what does this mean for you? Essentially, your site needs to scream “social proof.” Logos from major clients (or well-known press outlets) are one of the most common methods of demonstrating social proof, but as a new startup, you may not necessarily have either of those yet.
That’s okay. You can still leverage social proof by asking your current customers for testimonials to be featured on your site, or by highlighting a case study of how your product helped a particular client. You can even include your user statistics!
The more social proof you can provide, the more confidence potential customers will have when they visit your site — and the more you’ll convert.
4) Stellar New User On Ramping
New customers are the lifeblood of any business. Unfortunately, they also tend to be the most critical of what you have to offer, and the most likely to jump ship if something goes wrong.
This is especially true of software products. Regardless of whether you offer a free trial period or some other perk, ensuring that your customers have a stellar experience during this initial period is an absolute must if you want to turn leads into conversions.
Focus on the unique needs your new customers may have. Do they need navigational assistance to figure out how to use your software? Would they benefit from a drip email campaign that provides valuable info while also pointing out the various features you have to offer?
When you help your new customers learn to navigate your software, as well as answer their questions and provide helpful information — essentially, treat them like the VIPs that they are — they’ll be far more likely to become loyal long-term customers.
5) Creating the ‘Viral Loop’
Creating a viral product or service is the dream of just about every e-commerce executive. In a perfect world, each of your customers would organically spread the word about what you have to offer, bringing in a steady supply of new customers.
It worked for Facebook. And Skype. And YouTube…
But the thing is, those examples are largely social platforms. Your product or service may not necessarily have vitality built into it.
That’s okay. You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
You can still create a viral loop for your business through other methods. Whether you integrate easy social sharing into your new app or create an incentivized referral campaign for your current clients, getting your customers to do some of your marketing for you is a surefire way to kickstart your growth.
6) Cross-Platform Integrations
There are already many highly successful online brands and platforms. So why not take advantage of that? With a bit of creative thinking, you can leverage the user platforms that already exist on Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, and other websites to drive growth to your own company.
Just take a look at how Airbnb rode Craigslist’s success all the way to the bank. Or how Spotify essentially built its groundwork for success by connecting with Facebook accounts.
Integrating your product or service with another pre-existing platform presents its own potential benefits and challenges. Each platform is unique — even the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store offer vastly different experiences for e-commerce.
You’ll need to consider your target users and choose carefully when integrating your service with another platform. But when you leverage other platforms in an engaging, user-friendly way, you can quickly find yourself on the fast track to success.
Now, we’ll be the first to admit that some of the above growth hacks will be easier for you to implement than others.
So if some of the growth hacks we’ve discussed today seem a bit out of reach, don’t get too down on yourself.
Make a long-term plan. Start with what you can do now to improve your user experience. As you take these steps, you’ll soon find yourself with happier customers and higher growth than ever before.
* Note: This post originally appeared (GIFs and all) on The DigiMar Blog.