How did successful startup companies like Dropbox and Airbnb have grown exponentially in such a short period of time? Why are they growing so fast? What can you learn from these companies that will benefit your eCommerce stores?

These fast-growing companies share a common denominator: growth hacking. The principle of growth hacking is to develop a marketing strategy that will help a business grow in scalable, measurable, and sustainable ways. Growth in most businesses can be equated by the increase in customers, market share, and profits.

Today, we will be exploring the concept of growth hacking for eCommerce. Growth hacking is particularly important for eCommerce stores that want to focus on low-cost but innovate alternatives to traditional marketing such as utilizing social media instead of print and television.

For eCommerce, the ability to hack growth is to do rapid experimentation across the full customer journey. So, we’ll be focusing on three important eCommerce metrics: acquisition, conversion, and retention.

Ready to rocket your eCommerce store’s growth? Let’s start hacking!

Acquisition Growth Hacks

1. Exit Intent Pop-Ups

An average of 60% visitors will abandon an eCommerce site and never return again. If you want to grow, you should stop the areas where you’re losing potential customers.

Retain abandoning visitors with exit-intent technology. This technology uses a popup form to capture visitors once it detected that they are about to leave your site without buying.

For eCommerce stores, it is recommended to display an exit-intent popup with an attractive last-second incentive such as discounts or freebies to encourage leaving visitors to stay and make a purchase. Below is how Gap’s exit-intent popup works. You can employ your own with Checkout Boost’s exit-intent feature.


Tool to use: Checkout Boost

2. Controversial Contents

The word ‘controversy’ has a bad connotation which is why most brands keep away from it. However, with careful planning, you can use controversies to upscale your online business. Controversy draws attention because it elicits an emotional response. This is vital in going viral and amassing a sizable engagement.

You can refurbish your content strategy by using or addressing controversial topics. The right way to be controversial is to stir debate by questioning ideas, norms, beliefs or behaviors. Say, for example, asking if there’s life after death. Then, create content out of that topic.

If you want a controversial content to work, you need to ask the following first:

  • Is my audience ready for a controversial topic? If yes, what controversial topics are they expecting? If not, would a controversy dip my traffic or the other way around?
  • Are my competitors doing controversial contents? If so, what sort of controversies have they stirred in the past? Did it work? If not, what are the things that I should avoid?
  • Will it be authentic? Don’t use controversial contents just for the shock value. Like any other contents, your online store should produce controversial contents that are relevant, succinct, and timely.

3. Giveaways

A giveaway campaign is a great starting point to get people talking about your eCommerce store. The idea is to use data to make an informed decision as to how you will launch your giveaways, what channels to use, and how you can promote it rapidly.

Here’s how to create a growth hacking giveaway campaign:

3.1. Identify your goals

Layout your goals or key performance indicators right away. You have to know what you want to achieve first. E.g. capture email addresses, generate user-generated contents, acquire new traffic, etc.

3.2. Choose a prize relevant to your audience

You can’t just give away a prize. You need to pick one that entices your target market to join. The whole point is to achieve your goal, so think of your prize as your investment toward reaching that objective.

3.3. Collaborate with an influencer

To expand your reach quickly without hurting your budget, look for social influencers to partner with. A good start is to look for local influencers because they don’t usually require a monetary reward. Product samples will be enough to cover the collaboration. For instance, King Of Christmas has partnered with Angela’s Cozy Home to giveaway a huge Christmas Tree on this holiday season:


3.4. Manage and measure your giveaways with a tool

It’s not advisable to launch a campaign if you can’t measure its ROI. It is best if you build your giveaway campaign using eCommerce tools such as Wishpond to help you create and implement it seamlessly. Plus, these tools will help you track your campaign performance to gain insights for improvement.

*Bonus: Here’s our exclusive material for you: 170 Growth-hacking Tools For Online Stores to start increasing sales today.

4. Video Marketing

With a forecasted explosion of 81% of all consumer web traffic by 2021, videos are one of the most viable marketing forms today.

The reason why video marketing works is because of its plausible virality and easy shareability. Audiences around the world seek videos because they are much easier to consume and absorb than written contents. Plus, it’s much more entertaining.

There are many types of contents that can be created using videos. The most popular one is how-to or instructional videos. Man Crates, for instance, has produced several DIY videos to engage with its audience. The best part is that the videos feature their real customers.  

Conversion growth hacks

Conversion Growth Hacks

5. Social Proofs

Reviews, actions, and statements from real people can be extremely powerful selling drivers. This is what social proof is all about. The idea is that displaying the number of social followers, fans, views, likes, and comments can positively affect how potential customers will perceive your online shop.

An online store with a million followers is perceived as more credible and reputable versus a similar shop with just a hundred followers. This results in even faster growth of followers, higher engagements, and quicker conversions.

Display social proofs on your website to increase your store’s influence and reputation, especially to your first-time website visitors. Your homepage should capture social proofs such as testimonials, number of past customers served, or any user-generated contents.

You can also add real-time social proofs whenever a visitor browses your site. For example, Sales Pop has an exciting feature that allows you to create live social proofs by displaying a recent purchase (see sample below) to encourage visitors to complete a purchase.  


Tool to use: Sales Pop

6. A/B Test

In order to grow, one must identify the opportunities for growth first. A/B testing is a popular practice among eCommerce practitioners because it allows them to understand how certain changes to a minor element of an existing process can affect the overall performance.

A/B testing is used to assess how different versions of a campaign will perform against each other; for instance, two test groups will receive two different versions of an email campaign. While there are many ways to use A/B testing for eCommerce store’s advantage, here are three tests that you can use to hack growth:

6.1. Price Testing

Use A/B testing to ascertain the perfect price for your products. The first thing that you need to do is to set initial prices for test pricing. Theoretically, you have a suitable product price range in mind to test. But, the essence is to set a price range based on similar products in the market and also the value of your product. Once you determine a price range, say $10-$50 dollars, the next step is to test which exact price will maximize your revenue. Pro tip: Prices ending in 9 have been found out to perform better (e.g. 300 vs 299) and prices with without decimals and cents also perform better.

  • Product Recommendations Testing: Testing product recommendation means experimenting with how your display your product recommendations to increase average order value. For example, does presenting product recommendations on shopping carts have higher chance to be purchased than offering them on the product page? Personalized Recommendation has 5 types of recommendations that you can conveniently test.

Product Recommendations testing

Tool to use: Personalized Recommendation

  • CTA Testing: The call-to-action (CTA) is also a driver why people will click and continue to purchase. You should test how the difference in colors, shapes, and sizes will affect your conversions. Aside from that, your copy is a critical element. A single word can make a big difference. For example, using “my” instead of “your” has seen a 90% click-through improvement.

7. Scarcity and urgency

The two fundamentals of economics are supply and demand which is why applying scarcity and urgency techniques are essential for growth hacking. Scarcity is the psychology that a product is about to run out because of limited supply. While urgency is the psychology that a product is important enough that more people are demanding for it and anytime soon it will be sold out.

If you mix scarcity and urgency together, people will act quickly because they know that there’s a limited supply for a highly demanded product. To maximize your conversions, display messages such as “Only two items left” or “Sales last in one hour”.

For a pro technique, you can use countdown timers to your sales and promotions. Countdown Cart allows you to add a countdown timer on your product page to tell your customers how long your sales will last. Plus, the tool also enables you to display how many items are left in stock.

Countdown CartTool to use: Countdown Cart

Retention Growth Hacks

8. Funny email marketing

Email marketing is a time-proven marketing strategy that works amazingly because of its ROI of 4300%. But, this is why millions of emails are generated every day. The question is how will your email stand out from this crowded marketing channel?

If you have the same old boring email templates, it’s more likely that you won’t get noticed. Why not create a memorable and humorous email instead? Honestly, there’s a greater chance for your email to get opened when you don’t blend in with the rest of your competitors. Using humor can be effective because everyone loves a good laugh, it adds positivity to your brand, and it catches your audience’s attention quickly.

Adding humor to your email campaigns can be anything from your headline, copy, and graphics. For instance, the fun GIF in one of Postmates’ emails that’s not only delightful to watch but also makes you crave some delicious Chipotle.

Funny email marketing


9. Referral Program

A referral program is probably the most obvious growth hacking tactic on our list, but it’s so important not to miss it out. One of the reasons why people stay loyal to a brand and start referring it to their friends and family is because they can expect to get something in return. This is why setting up an effective referral program can help you grow by building more connections with your existing customers.

The reason why referral program works is that real people act as your brand ambassadors. Again, people are more inclined to word-of-mouth suggestions from people they know. Plus, it’s also a good way to keep your existing customer to keep on buying from you if you reward them with discounts from their successful referrals.

10. Members-only Perks

People love exclusivity, hence the term “VIP only”. Whether it’s first access to new products or special discounts, members will feel that they are important to you. This, in turn, will help you drive brand loyalty, customer retention, and satisfaction.

You can easily give away access to promotions and deals, but there’s a significant difference if you make them as members-only perks. It’s the same principle why popular bars employ member-only access and set up a long queue. Your promotions and deals will become more enticing and will arouse curiosity. For instance, you can specify sales as being members-only, and then block non-members from completing a purchase unless they sign up.


Growth hacking is about discovering new and creative solutions to market your brand and sell your products with the main principle of growth. While growth hacking can be many things, for eCommerce, it is focused on the overall customer journey. Our guide to eCommerce growth hacks will help you acquire, convert, and retain your customers innovatively.

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