10 min read
May 19, 2021

Growth Hacking ECommerce Profits for Your Small Business

Learn how small and midsize businesses (SMBs) can make more money with the help of eCommerce growth hacking strategies.

John Lawson

About the author: John Lawson is the best-selling author of “Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-Preneurs” and CEO of ColderICE Media, a consulting agency helping small businesses with online sales, marketing, and content creation.

How do you make more money? That’s a question many small business owners have had to ask themselves during COVID-19 times. GetApp's 2021 U.S. SMB Post-COVID Changes Survey* shows that nearly half (44.7%) of SMB respondents made needed pivots to their sales strategy in 2020.

What pivots has your company made to maintain or increase sales during the pandemic?

More than 22.2% set up new online stores, and 27.9% said their pivots to online selling will be a permanent change. So what should you do with your eCommerce website for ongoing growth in the future? If the answer is "I don't know," then you should be focusing on growth hacking strategies.

Growth hacking is a hot topic these days. It's not hard to see why, either. Small business owners are looking for ways to increase their revenue without spending money on marketing or advertising, and growth hacking can help them do just that!

Many businesses spend far too much time trying to increase traffic to their websites but fail to increase revenue once the traffic gets there. This is a huge mistake. But don't worry, that's exactly what I used to do. Until I learned about "CRP Growth Hacking for eCommerce.”

CRP stands for customer, revenue, and profit. Pretty simple, yes? Linearly, it's easier to understand: more customers = more revenue = more profits. But let’s see how deep that rabbit hole can go to achieving greater eCommerce success for your small business.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss my CRP Growth Hacking strategy that small businesses can use to generate more profits for their business, more rapidly!

With CRP Growth Hacking, there are three levels of profit optimization. Each level is a path to increasing eCommerce revenue for your business.

Level 1: "C" level or customer optimization level

Leads x conversion rate = customers

This is where most businesses focus. And it makes sense, simply because customers are the most important aspect of any business, and that’s where most of the money is made for your eCommerce store.

Level 1 can be addressed by implementing strategies such as:

  • Getting more traffic (leads) to your website by using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media digital marketing platforms and/or paid advertisements. GetApp’s 2021 U.S. SMB Post-COVID Changes Survey shows that 48% of SMBs currently use Facebook or Instagram to sell their products or services.

Which online or social media platforms do you currently use to sell products or services?
  • Improving your eCommerce site by adding more content, better photos and videos, reviews, etc.

  • Optimizing your eCommerce store’s content for SEO purposes, so it’s easier for prospective customers to find you on Google or Bing. Yes, Bing still exists!

  • Increasing on-site conversions by making it easier for customers to purchase your products. Improve the checkout process, offer free shipping, and have a liberal returns policy, among others. Stitch Labs found that free shipping can help boost sales by up to 10% for retailers.

  • This level can also be addressed by improving the customer experience. Customer service is key and often overlooked. Even if you have great products, poor customer service will make it difficult for people to come back in the future.

Some tool/suggestions to get you started:

  • Lucky Orange: An all-in-one conversion optimization suite for businesses of all types and sizes. It helps website owners understand the reasons why some visitors aren’t converting. 

  • Hotjar: Hotjar provides behavior analytics software that makes it easy to go beyond traditional web analytics and visually understand what users are really doing on your site.

  • Recapture: A cloud-based eCommerce solution that sends personalized, responsive emails to customers and includes links to regenerate store sessions for abandoned carts.

Action item:

Use GetApp to search for SEO software solutions that can help you create optimized pages and content.

Level 2: "R" level or revenue optimization level

Customers x purchase frequency x average dollar sale = revenue

This is the second and, arguably, more difficult level of CRP Growth Hacking, but it’s where money is multiplied. Successful revenue optimization requires you to shift your focus to increasing revenue for your business. It takes a change in thinking because this doesn't just mean more customers but also includes increasing the purchase frequency and average order value (AOV).

Level 2 can be addressed by implementing strategies such as:

  • Increasing repeat sales. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and they should be nurtured to encourage repeat purchases. That’s because repeat customers cost less to serve than new ones. Offer discounts, loyalty rewards, etc., to encourage your customers to order again.

  • Upselling to help convince customers to spend more by adding on products or services that are related but not yet required.

  • Cross-selling, also known as upselling's sibling, to promote the sale of complementary goods and services when there’s an opportunity for it (like at the checkout).

Some tool/suggestions to get you started:

  • Omnisend: An omnichannel marketing automation platform tailored for eCommerce. It helps send shoppable emails and is easy to build and effortless to use.

  • Use sales forecasting technology to evaluate historical sales and create estimates of expected sales based on trends or pipeline sales.

  • Use One Click Upsell Funnel (for WooCommerce stores) or SellUp (for Shopify stores).

  • Every business must have a good customer relationship management (CRM) system to be successful. If you want customers to come back, get an outstanding CRM system to track the relationships you make with them. 

Develop trust with customers by providing them the excellent experience they deserve because without customer retention, your customer acquisition costs will really add up. And it won't matter how much revenue you generate in the short term if you aren’t achieving long-term success.

Level 3: "P" level or profit optimization level

Revenue x Margins = Profit

This is the bottom-line income level of CRP Growth Hacking and also where you can make the MOST impact for your business! Level 3 is all about optimizing profit. It can include lowering expenses or increasing the price of your product, but it typically means some combination of both to increase profits.

Revenue is not always the most important area, which is why I said earlier that SMBs spend too much time on Level 1 (the Customer level) while making Level 3 (the Profit level) an afterthought, with little ongoing strategic planning after establishing their business.

In business, it’s not just about how much revenue you generate; more important is how much you KEEP. As a small business owner, there’s no worse feeling than when you work hard to generate a profit, but you don't know where it went.

Level 3 can be addressed by implementing strategies such as:

  • Streamlining your operational processes.

  • Hiring a third-party certified public accountant (CPA) to manage your finances. (This is not an expense!) A CPA can help by implementing better financial reporting and monitoring systems.

  • Fostering vendor relationships to save expenses when sourcing.

  • Investing in marketing to generate brand affinity and elevate brand value. The reason brand names are expensive is because they allow companies to make more money. Let's face it—some people are willing to spend more on a product because they trust the brand.

Some tool/suggestions to get you started:

  • Fiverr and Upwork are great places to look for freelance workers. Outsourcing is often cheaper than hiring full-time staff, and you still get the job done by professionals.

  • Many small business owners think that their relationship with customers is the most important thing. It’s not! A good vendor or supplier can also make a company succeed. Show your vendors appreciation to ensure they’ll stick around for the long haul.

That's it. That’s my CRP Growth Hacking strategy. The levels are not set in stone, so revisit them often when looking at ways to grow profits. Remember the goal is not just making sales. The true goal, in business, is generating higher profits for your company. It's not how much money you make, it’s how much of it you keep that matters.

If you really want more customers (spoiler alert: you do!), then your goal should be Level E - EXECUTE. Now, take my CRP Growth Hacking strategy and start hacking your way to profits. And don't neglect any of the levels; each has its role and importance in the grand scheme of things.

Survey methodology

*GetApp conducted the U.S. SMB Post-COVID Changes Survey in May 2021 among 601 small business owners and leaders in the U.S. to learn how they are pivoting marketing, sales, and customer service following COVID-19. Respondents were screened for employment status, business size, and area of responsibility.

Note: The applications featured in this article are examples to show a product, service, or software category in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by GetApp. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

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