Growth Hacking E-Commerce: 7 Strategies for Boosting Website Conversions

8 mins read

Let’s face it: growth hacking e-commerce can seem intimidating. It’s hard enough to run an online store, much less make it grow. Finding time and energy for growth hacking – a process that requires rapid-fire marketing experimentation and data analysis – sounds about as easy as beating Amazon. To make your growth journey less daunting, we’ve rummaged through our shopping basket of marketing experiments to get you started.

Growth Hacking E-Commerce: E-Z Does IT

All it takes to start hacking your e-commerce business’s growth is an hour or two a day. And the payback for this small investment can be tremendous! If you’re not doing it, you are missing out on one of growth hacking’s most tried and true areas of application.


There is hope for all you e-commerce entrepreneurs who want their products to grow. To see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s essential to work across your whole funnel. Focusing all your efforts on just one stage can hinder your progress, or worse, break your business. The growth game is all or nothing. As such, it requires a holistic approach.


Growth Hacking E-Commerce Pirate Funnel_ Hackabu_Growth HackerA word to the beginners: if you are not familiar with the AARRR framework, or pirate funnel, don’t worry. Just sail yer schooner to our handy walkthrough of its phases in our beginner’s guide to growth hacking before reading this section.

Blog ho!

Hack #1: Down-selling Vs. Up-selling

AARRR Stages: Retention, Referral

This classic sales move is also a powerful e-commerce growth hack. Here’s how it works: you expose your customers to your lower-tier products first. Then you immediately encourage them to consider purchasing more expensive models. In other words, classic trading up.

The flip side of this coin is just as valuable: price anchoring. This technique involves showing the prospective customer your highest-priced product first. Starting at the top of the food chain, so to speak, has a powerful effect. It makes any price below it all the more compelling.

You can imagine what happens next: someone who was just offered a $40,000 Nappa leather couch sees a bonded leather loveseat priced at $30,000 and thinks: what a bargain!

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Price is relative.

Case in point: Amazon was selling different models of billiard tables for a variety of prices between $329 and $3,000. During the first week, customers were shown the low end of the line. The pricier models were added gradually over the course of the week. What do you think happened?

As a result, tables sold for an average of $550 the first week.

During the second week, Amazon instantly showed every potential buyer a $3,000 table, regardless of their buying history, search parameters, or filter settings. These users were then allowed to shop the rest of the line, with price and quality sorted from highest to lowest.

The results were astonishing: the average table sale rose to over $1,000.

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Hack #2: Create Urgency by Offering Targeted Users Time-Sensitive Deals

AARRR Stages: Acquisition, Retention, Referral

Make no mistake: the value of those “for a limited time only” offers is limitless. And there’s no limit to the amount of them you can offer;-)  As with your old friend the FOMO hack, you can create a sense of urgency for a product by putting it on sale and adding a countdown timer to the interface to make potential buyers an ultimatum: now or never!

The trick is to not offer these special deals to just anyone. Select your target users wisely. Generally, you should stick with people who have viewed a product page on your website at least 3 times, but who abandoned their shopping cart for whatever reason (price, shipping, availability, etc.).

With that in mind, now that you’ve found the ideal recipient for your special offer, it’s time to turn up the heat! Pressure these users to complete their purchase. Imagine an Amazon Lightning Deal that is available only to a select few. The pickier you are with regard to whom you target with your offer, the more bang you will get for your buck.

Growth-Hacking-E-Commerce-Sale_Customer Hands Scrolling Webshop

Hack #3: Offer One-Off Discounts from Shopping Basket

Funnel Stages: Acquisition, Retention, Referral

It happens all the time: someone visits your website and loads their shopping cart up with your products. Then for whatever reason – his or her phone rang, or perhaps he or she had second thoughts about the price – the transaction was never completed. Sometimes the user comes back after a good night’s sleep and completes his or her order. But more often than not, the cart is just abandoned, left to die like a pesky plot point in your favorite TV series.

If a user left a full cart and didn’t re-visit the page to complete the transaction, email him/her on the following day notifying that he/she “forgot” something in their shopping cart. If the purchase still hasn’t been completed after two weeks, email him/her a 35% discount on the purchase along with a promo code that is valid for three days only. This gives a second-guessing user the sense of a one-time offer on a desired item. And no one wants to miss what is clearly an awesome opportunity.

Case study: The Honest Company was losing a lot of money through abandoned carts. Implementing this email sequence led to a sixfold increase in their conversion rate!

🎬 To see growth hacking in action for an e-commerce business, check out this client Growth Case! 🏨

Hack #4: Use “Receipt” Emails to Cross-Sell or Up-Sell

AARRR Stage: Revenue

“Receipt” emails, or order confirmation emails, are worth $0.25 on average. Not bad, right? You can drive  this number even higher by capitalizing (bad pun intended) on the dopamine burst that consumers get when making a purchase. Use this email to present them with a compelling offer that they simply can’t say no to! Cross-sell or upsell something that your new customer will be unable to resist.

Fun fact: statistics show that emails of this kind have sky-high open rates. After all, we all sleep better knowing that the order went through.

Message received? Great. Now go boost that revenue!

Hack #5: Make Idle or Churned Users Offers They Can’t Refuse

AARRR Stages: Revenue, Retention

The first step in this e-commerce growth hack is some classic data deep diving. Then gather up all the idle or churned users of your web shop. Next, segment them. Finally, create a custom email or notification for each segment. The point of this message is to show them whatever it is they were missing before.

Think of your users as former star-crossed lovers you want to woo back into your arms. Whisper sweet nothings in their ears. Once they give into your charms, tell them how sorry you were to see them leave or to not unlock all your product’s features.

For instance: rekindle their passion for your product by offering an additional, or an extended, free trial. Because if you play your cards right, you will re-activate their subscription in the process.

Alternatively, offer them 1 month of access to your product for just 1 dollar.

However you package this growth hack, you will be tapping into a well established fact: people who have bought from you in the past are more likely to buy from you in the future than anyone else. Furthermore, the return on investment for winning back lost customers consistently exceeds the payoff of pouring money into acquiring new ones.

Now get out there and help all of us creatures of habit get back in the habit of being your customers!

Hack #6: Funnel Stages: Trade Discounts for Tweets/Likes at End of Checkout

AARRR Stage: Revenue, Referral

We all love a discount, and some of us will go to great lengths to get one. For others, it’s a matter of convenience. Make it fairly easy for them to receive a discount and they are more than willing to do your bidding. But how to define “easy?” Well … easy: anything that can be done in one step or less.

At the final stage of the checkout process, you can get users to “Like” or “Tweet” to receive a special discount on their order.

If you’re sold on this idea, we’ll let you have it for free if you click that little share button below. ⬇️ Sharing is caring! 😉

Growth Hacking E-Commerce_Hands holding credit card and using laptop_View from above

Hack #7: Use Cart Casino to Drive Sales

AARRR Stages: Activation, Revenue, Retention

Last but not least, bolster your e-business’s bottom line with this simple growth hack: gamify your checkout process with the help of Cart Casino. Once you have activated this feature, customers who add an item to their carts will see a slot machine that offers a variety of rewards (discounts, vouchers, free items, exclusive access, etc.).

For a chance to win, they have to give you their email address. A sure bet, and you’ll have it set up faster than you can say Black Friday. Cha-ching! 🎰💰

The premise you’re gambling on with this growth hack is straightforward: gamification is good for both sales and sign-up rates. Why not get started growing your email list now?

Growth hacking E-Commerce Wrap Up

In conclusion, finding time for growth hacking your e-commerce enterprise is not always easy. However, the investment will be richly rewarded. Good luck, and may the growth be with you!

📊 Eager to learn more growth hacks? Check these 22 ways to grow your business. 😁 Or if you're just getting started and don't yet know what to call your company, learn the 6 steps to a brand name that would make Steve Jobs proud!

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