Growth hacking is a mindset and skillset that is deeply rooted in a mix of engineering and marketing, where testing and experimenting is at the core. It is about getting new customers in a cost-efficient and scalable way. You build, you test and then evaluate, often with one key metric you are trying to optimise for. That key metric does not necessarily always have to be total sales or visitors. The point here is that you need to think about the factors that are associated with driving your growth, which may not always be: more traffic equals more sales. Some questions you could ask yourself are: How does your customer journey look and what are the main pain points your products are solving for the consumer? How quick are you to show your unique selling points and help the customer reaching their “aha” moment? How do make first time customers comfortable working with you?
Track your users from the first click to see how they behave on the website and use that data to experiment with how you can reach your targets. Often, testing might seem scary because you might be afraid to lose sales or break something. However, here I’d like to turn to a quote from Mark Zuckerberg saying:
“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
Tests should not be large projects running over months on end, but rather do many small changes over the course of a week, then measure and analyse the results vigorously. Growth comes from iterative improvements, and for this you need the data to help prioritise your work. It’s about testing, iterating, optimising and scaling, winning ideas or tactics.
Let me give you one example of where testing and one minor change led to a $300m increase in sales for a major online retailer.
When a customer added products to their cart and pressed “checkout”, you were given two alternatives – login or register – before finishing your purchase. When clicking the register button you were prompted to fill out your contact and delivery details before proceeding to the payment method. The designers assumed that returning users would remember their info, and that new users wouldn’t mind the small step of signing up for a new account as they’d probably return at some point and save lots of time.
As an experiment, they decided to replace the text of the “Register” button with “Continue” and a small message saying that you don’t need to register to checkout. Once clicking the button, the same form came up requiring the same details as the previous process, so the only change that was made was going from “Register” to “Continue”.
The result? The number of customers purchasing went up by 45%. These extra purchases resulted in an extra $300,000,000 in the first year.
This is an example where a very small change had a massive impact on the bottom line, and it’s among these lines you should think for your experiments too.
Set a goal, brainstorm ideas and then categorise each idea and experiment into Potential, Importance and Ease (PIE) and work your way forward from there. When you have decided which ideas to move forward with, quickly test them, then analyse and learn. The last part is important, so take your time to look into why the experiment had the outcome it had and draw conclusions from it. You will see that sometimes small changes can have a large impact on results.
To summarise, ecommerce is here to stay and is constantly evolving. The best way to keep up with the pace and even exceed it is to constantly be nimble and curious to try new things, as what worked today might not work tomorrow. Keep testing your way forward and work on adopting a growth hacker mindset to leverage your insights into opportunities for scaling in 2018.