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Growth Hacking for Ecommerce Apps: 6 Strategies to Improve User Engagement

Tanushree Shenvi Tanushree Shenvi is a data-driven marketer with 10+ years of experience in performance marketing and product analytics. She currently leads the Product Intelligence function at CleverTap.
Growth Hacking for Ecommerce Apps: 6 Strategies to Improve User Engagement

With over 230 million US consumers owning a smartphone and 79% of them making purchases using their mobile device, it’s safe to say the ecommerce industry is booming.1
Today, customers have no shortage of ecommerce apps and websites to choose from. The fight for users’ attention has led to sky-high acquisition costs — and uninstall rates that are just as high.
86% of shopping apps get uninstalled in the first 4 weeks of app install.
This is why the user experience is so important for your app. From the moment users install, you’re under the gun to deliver value as quickly as possible — and keep them coming back.
This post will help you turn new users into champions for your brand.

6 Steps to Boosting User Engagement

    1. Improve your user onboarding experience

      Onboarding is the first impression users experience upon downloading your app. If users don’t have a seamless experience when they first open your app, they won’t return. Here are some tips to improve your user onboarding:

      • Get user buy-in with an appealing welcome screen. Your welcome screen needs to provide information about your app’s capabilities. The user needs to clearly understand your USP. Check the image below to see ShowPo’s welcome screens.
        showpo onboarding
      • Request push notification opt-in. Ask the user to opt into push notifications by conveying the benefits. Give them early access to sales or information on new categories added.
      • Keep the sign-up process simple. Apps lose up to 56% shoppers at the signup stage*. A simple signup form with Google and Facebook allows users to log in from multiple devices without having to remember several passwords. You could also offer a guest checkout with a friendly reminder that the user will not have access to exclusive offers or earn reward points with these purchases.
      • Provide quick tips to help users get started. Too much content in the welcome screen can confuse users. Instead, have visual cues mark each step in the user journey.
      • Shorten the path to the first conversion with relevant offers. Provide users with easy access to the offers listing page so they can check out your best offers. This will help improve your time-to-conversion metric.
      • Send welcome emails to help onboard shoppers. A welcome email is a great way to educate users regarding new offers, launches, and more. Also, the open rates on welcome emails are 3x greater than the average email campaign*.

      If you’d like to read more onboarding tips, check out our previous blog.
      These tips help build an awesome first-time user experience (FTUE) that bridges the gap between acquisition and conversion.

    2. Don’t Neglect Unhappy Customers

      Unhappy customers are 2 to 3x more likely to share their feedback than happy customers*. They are more likely to tweet, comment on your social media posts, or write a blog about their poor experience. It’s in your best interest to engage with them proactively through DM, email, or a phone call.
      As a brand, it is imperative for you to engage these users and be apologetic about the bad experience. Understand their pain points and provide an immediate solution. A faster resolution turns your almost-lost user into a user who might just come back despite their bad experience.

    3. Personalize Messaging Campaigns

      Users expect personalized communication across all channels. And personalized messaging doesn’t just benefit the user — it’s proven that personalized experiences result in a 20% increase in sales*. Today users not only expect personalization in terms of marketing communication, emails, push notifications, and SMS, but also their experiences within the app.
      A user’s app journey should be contextual based on their preferences, actions, inactions within the app. With CleverTap, you can build personalized experiences at scale using the Journeys tool, that bridges context and personalization in the customer journey.
      Nykaa, India’s biggest multi-brand beauty retailer, runs highly targeted push notification campaigns to boost user engagement. Their push campaigns are personalized using the user’s:

      • Preferred category and brands
      • Previous orders
      • App usage patterns

nykaa discount

  1. Combat Cart Abandonment with Reminders

    Why do your users abandon their shopping cart?
    A few common reasons include:

    1. High shipping costs or too long for delivery
      Solution: Send a push notification with a “Free Shipping only for 24 hours” or “Express shipping available only for today” to create a sense of urgency. Use terms like “don’t miss the deal,” “only today,” and “last chance.”
    2. Account creation required
      Solution: Allow users to login using Facebook or Google so that the signup process is simplified and the user doesn’t have to remember multiple passwords.
    3. Payment or security concerns
      Solution: Explain the reasons behind the security measures and compliances to gain trust from your users. Educate the users of the multiple payment options that are available.
    4. They need some more time to check other options
      Solution: Embed deep links in the cart abandoned message so that the users can directly go to their carts. Send a push notification to the user with the image of the product that the user has abandoned as a friendly reminder that this is still in their cart. Show alternatives to the abandoned product, giving user’s more choices and encouraging them to make a purchase.

    nykaa cart abandonment

  2. Engage with users on significant days

    Sale reminders, birthdays, and anniversary discounts are a great way to make your users feel special. Birthday emails have a 481% higher transaction rate than promotional emails*.
    Shoppers love to self-indulge on these special occasions and even reminding them to pick your app over others will boost your LTV.
    showpo push notification

  3. Offer loyalty and referral programs

    Your loyal users often act as brand evangelists. Loyalty programs help engage and retain users for the long term and move them up the buying ladder. These programs help brands increase CLV and lower acquisition costs.
    Loyalty programs help you identify your best customers. Identifying qualities in your most valuable customers help you recognize those same attributes in new customers. Your champions are the ones you should encourage to leave reviews on the App Store or Play Store.

Event Strategy Based on Use Cases

Try out these tactics to improve your user engagement for different types of user segments.

User SegmentTactics

Onboarded but Non-Converted Users
Users who have successfully been onboarded, but haven’t made a purchase.

  • Use in-app notifications to nudge an onboarded user and provide recommendations based on the category or products they are most interested in.
  • Run personalized push notifications or email campaigns on days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21 from the day of activation that inform onboarded users of new categories, brands and offers.

First-Time Converted Users
Users who have placed the order for the first time and haven’t placed the order in the next month.

  • Use in-app notifications or emails to suggest relevant products based on the user’s previous order. For example, if the user has ordered a mobile phone, you can send a message with a recommendation for a phone cover or other accessories.
  • Run personalized push notifications or email campaigns to inform newly converted users of exclusive offers and discount coupons.
  • Use in-app notifications to encourage them to spend more to onboard users to the loyalty program.
  • Run in-app notifications or email campaigns on days 7, 10, and 15 after the conversion event asking for ratings and reviews.

Repeat Converted Users
Users who have completed multiple actions over a period of time, such placing multiple orders, adding products to favorites, etc.

  • Run personalized push notifications or email campaigns to inform repeat users of new categories or product lines.
  • Run in-app notifications or email campaigns on days 7, 10, and 15 after the user’s last in-app conversion requesting app ratings and reviews.
  • Run personalized push notifications or email campaigns on days 3, 5, 10, 17, and 30 after the user’s last conversion event informing him/her of this rewards balance update.


Quick Recap

User engagement is the foundation on which you can convert a casual window shopper into a buyer, and eventually a loyalist. The key is to show your users some love in a personalized, contextual, and timely manner.
Just to recap, here’s a quick rundown of the different ways in which you can keep shoppers on your app engaged, and get them to spend more!

  • Improve user onboarding experience and ensure users have an amazing FTUX
  • Engage with unhappy customers and provide them with an immediate solution
  • Personalize user experiences based on user actions and preferences
  • Send cart abandonment reminders to encourage users to complete their purchase
  • Wish users on their birthdays, anniversaries and other festivals with an incentive to purchase
  • Set up referral and loyalty programs to move users up the ladder and increase CLTV

For further reading, check out this post with additional strategies on retaining your users.

Industry Benchmarks for Ecommerce Apps

Industry Benchmarks for Ecommerce Apps

Fresh off the press! Industry Benchmarks for Ecommerce Apps – Insights gleaned by analysing 3.1 Billion data points.

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Last updated on March 29, 2024