Running an online store is not easy. You need to take note of many things before you even get to the point where you generate revenue.
That's why you need a strong eCommerce sales funnel to run a successful online store.
People don't just land on your online store and buy your products right away. It's not that easy. They undergo a process. A process where you can generate potential customers and maximize revenue.
But in that process, some will get lost along the way. It's a continuous cycle where a potential customer gets to know your brand up to the final stage. Until they buy your product and repeat the purchase.
And that process is what you call an eCommerce sales-to-funnel.
Today, we will cover everything you need to know about the eCommerce sales funnel...
- What is an eCommerce sales funnel?
- The importance of an optimized eCommerce conversion funnel
- The different stages of an eCommerce sales funnel
- How do the different stages of an eCommerce funnel work for your online store?
- 7 Surefire ways to optimize your eCommerce sales funnel
- KPIs you need to keep an eye on for eCommerce conversion funnel optimization
Let's get started...
What is an eCommerce sales funnel?
An eCommerce sales funnel is an illustration of the customer journey. From the moment they landed on your page up to the time they bought something from your store.
At each stage of the funnel, potential customers trickle down and become fewer. Until you get the final number that buys products and becomes a repeat customer.
Remember, it takes some consumers just a few clicks to go from lead to fan. Particularly if they see something they like, they buy it and become brand advocates.
Especially when they see something they like, they buy it and become advocates. While others take months or years before proceeding to your checkout page.
You're probably wondering which customer to target. The answer is both. All you have to do is carefully plan your eCommerce sales funnel.
And before you proceed to build it, let me share with you the...
The importance of an eCommerce conversion funnel
Did you know that, on average, online stores only convert at a rate of just over 2 percent?
So, for example, if you had 50 potential customers at the top of the funnel, you'd only convert one of them into a buyer. And just like the physical funnel, you want to collect as many customers and lead them down to the final stage.
Aside from this, let me share with you more reasons why you need an eCommerce conversion funnel:
1. An eCommerce funnel helps increase your conversion rates and profit margins. It presents the solution to your prospect's problems and directs them on a journey.
2. An eCommerce funnel can run on autopilot. It helps convert prospective customers to actual buyers at the end of the buyer's journey.
3. An eCommerce sales funnel makes your sales process more organized. It communicates the right message to the right prospects at the right time.
4. A sales funnel also helps you find which part of your sales process is working and what's not converting. It presents different metrics that you can use to improve your marketing efforts. It also helps you define what you need to improve in your process and where you are losing your prospective customers.
5. A sales funnel helps increase your revenue. It helps organize your sales and increase your revenue compared to none. You can also create a personalized buying process to retarget customers you lost.
With all these awesome benefits, a conversion funnel is necessary for your eCommerce site. Especially if you don't have one yet.
And if you already have a marketing funnel set up and it's not converting, you're not getting happy customers. That means there is something wrong.
Don't fret. We will teach you how to set up an optimized ecommerce conversion funnel that increases both your conversion rate and revenue.
But before we proceed, let's dig deeper into the different stages of an eCommerce funnel.
What are the different stages of an eCommerce Sales Funnel?
1. Awareness stage
It's where you make your customers aware of your online store brand. This stage is at the top of the funnel, and it is where your customer first interacts with your brand.
Your potential customer comes to your brand because they have a specific problem that your brand can solve.
That's why it’s important to draw as many visitors to your store as you can. Keep in mind that you need to target these visitors. You’re not just trying to draw in everybody and anybody. You're targeting people who show interest in the products you're selling.
For instance, your brand sells interior design items. You appeal to people who are looking for table lamps, throws, cushions, etc.
You don’t want to waste your marketing efforts on people looking for home garden tools. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time converting them into paying customers.
At this point, you’re trying to get potential customers through the door. Most are not fully convinced yet, so you will need to persuade them further down the funnel.
2. Consideration stage
You know you are in the middle of the funnel when customers are already aware of your brand. They are showing interest in your product. This is the point where your customers are considering buying your product. But may not have fully committed to it.
At this point, your goal is to remove any doubts your customer might have and move them down the funnel to make a purchase.
You have to find a way to keep your brand in the audience’s mind. If your brand comes to mind whenever they have a problem, then they’re more likely to seek solutions - and so products - from your online store.
So, you should use different ways to capture leads. Leads are the potential customers’ email addresses.
These will help you start your email marketing strategy. Where you lead potential customers to add items to their carts.
3. Decision stage
You've reached the point where you get customers to add products to their carts or wishlist. But it doesn't stop there.
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of work to do. You need to see the process through to the very end.
There are abundant distractions in the online shopping world. It isn’t uncommon for customers to abandon their online shopping for something else. 7 in 10 shopping carts remain uncleared in online stores.
So, just because you have several promising leads doesn’t mean they will always convert. You must keep your customer engaged. Make sure they clear their carts and complete the transaction.
4. Retention stage
You now need to focus on customer retention to grow your eCommerce business. In other words, you want them to come back and buy products from you again.
You also want them to act as advocates for your brand. It's when they pass on the word about your brand and products to their family, friends, etc.
Remember, people trust a brand recommended by friends or other people who have tried it.
Now that you know the different stages of the sales funnel. It's time to know...
How To Make The Different Stages Of An eCommerce Sales Funnel Work For You?
A. Ways to grab and hold your target market’s attention
Make use of social media
Social media ads are a great way of raising awareness of your brand. Especially since it's home to various demographics that you might be targeting.
Facebook alone has more than 2.5 billion active users as of 2020. Following behind is Instagram, with a billion users.
Your competitors are also checking these platforms looking for consumers to send to their online stores. So, you need to conduct significant market research. This will help you find the platforms where most of your target audience is.
Both platforms have millions of potential customers that you can add to the top of your funnel.
Create engaging content
Your goal in the awareness stage is to get your brand name out there. Above, we’ve talked about causing waves on social media platforms.
But you can also capture the audience's attention by creating engaging content. This is particularly effective when the content provides solutions to your target audience.
Blogging is one of the best ways of providing the content. Write material about your product range. Go a step further and craft content about other subjects in your niche and industry. Gives your potential customers the impression that you really know your stuff. And aren’t just pushing your products.
Additionally, great content improves your standing with search engines. When Google notices that its users find your content useful, it’ll recommend it to other users. As a result, more people become aware of your brand.
You can also use video content on your website or social media. Not only does this provide more engagement, but it also helps with search engine result page ranking.
Run paid ad campaigns
Getting enough organic traffic can take a long time. So, you should support your organic SEO content marketing strategy with paid ad campaigns.
These are usually in the form of pay-per-click campaigns. Websites like Google add your ad to their pages when you create a campaign. Potential customers always see these spots above the organic rankings.
You must optimize the ad to attract potential customers to your landing and product pages.
All this makes more people aware of your brand, increasing your chances of leading them down the eCommerce sales funnel.
Once you’ve generated enough buzz and awareness of your brand, you can move on to the next stage of the sales funnel.
B. Ways to capture leads for an effective eCommerce marketing funnel:
Craft killer landing pages
A landing page is a clean, decluttered page on your website that only serves one purpose. It should have a clear and compelling call to action that prompts visitors to go through with the desired action.
For this stage of the eCommerce sales funnel, the CTA should prompt users to leave their email addresses.
Of course, people won’t willingly give up their contact information. So, you need to sweeten the pie.
Offer a weekly newsletter, discounts, or free resources like eBooks in exchange for email addresses.
Write compelling calls to action
Before you craft a landing page to make one, you need to take a beat and think about what you want that page to do.
Everything on that page should point towards that purpose. The CTA brings it all together, getting the customers to perform the action.
You need to use compelling calls to action that engage the customer, encouraging them to click.
For example, instead of “Register”, you can say “Get Your Free Gift Now”.
Additionally, you need to make the CTA button stand out from all other features on the page to catch the reader’s attention. When they click the CTA, they can enter their email address to claim the gift.
Use powerful emails
You must engage your subscribers now that you’ve built an email list. Building a relationship between them and your brand.
It might take a while for customers to buy your product. But you can still hook them with a powerful email marketing strategy. This includes newsletters, a list of best-selling products, new products, and any discounts and offers.
The point here is not to be too salesy in your emails. That can be very annoying, and you might risk several customers unsubscribing from your email list.
C. Ways to influence your customer's decision-making process
Use analytics to help customers’ decision-making process
You can gather information about your customer's activity on your site. When customers visit your eCommerce store, they leave a mark.
You can start with your email list, tracking customers who have clicked the email link and leading them to your store. This enables you to find out what products they like. Furthermore, you can also track who has made it to the add-to-cart page.
Use this information to create targeted messages. You can do it in the form of emails and calls to action, etc.
Keep in mind that all your customers are at different stages in their decision-making. Some visit your store and buy something on their first visit.
Some like your products but haven’t yet made a firm decision. Others might be browsing through the store; they like your products and might come back for them.
Personalize your messages so that they address these respective groups.
Display pop-up notifications
You must remind customers that your product is necessary as they hover over their carts and wishlists. Use a pop-up call to action urging your customers to complete their purchases.
The notification can also offer customers a discount if they check the items out of their cart. Or you could entice them by covering their shipping and delivery costs.
You can also use this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Use the pop-up call to action to get customers to subscribe to your list and send the discount code to their email. Not only have you encouraged a potential customer to become a buyer. But you have also captured another lead.
This is particularly crucial because you need it for the final stage of an effective eCommerce sales funnel.
Offer free gifts and offers
Online shoppers love free gifts and discount offers. You can give customers the cheapest thing in your store when they buy more than five items. So a buy five get one free type of deal.
Your customer has now made the decision to buy your products. They’re at the checkout page but hesitating to complete the payment form.
Personal financial details are sensitive, and customers won’t give them over if they don’t trust your brand. After all, you’re just some online entity that they happened upon by chance. You need to assure them that all their private information is protected.
Display reputable security badges that vouch for the way you handle customers' personal financial data.
When your potential buyers are satisfied, they’ll fill in the information and complete the sale. You’ve reached your goal.
But you need to remember that it’s harder to market to new potential customers than it is to those who have already dealt with your brand.
So, you must find a way to keep your client's business. If you nail this bit, you’ve managed to effectively manage your eCommerce sales funnel.
D. Things you need to optimize to complete your eCommerce funnel
Create Loyalty And Referral Programs
After customers have clicked check out, give them a call to action to join your referral and loyalty program.
When they sign up, give them a unique code. Every person they refer uses this code. In return, depending on how many people used their code, give them discounts on their next purchase.
Or you can offer free gifts or early access to new products in the range.
Send Follow-Up Emails
When customers buy products, you usually display a thank-you page. You should also send them an email expressing gratitude. This makes them feel special, drawing them closer to your brand. Additionally, you can keep them updated on the shipping situation regarding their items.
When you notice a drop in activity, send an email with an offer or a selection of new products they might like based on what they have selected in the past.
You don’t want your customers to forget about you. Send a weekly newsletter to keep your subscribers aware of what’s going on in your niche and industry.
How to optimize your marketing funnel for your eCommerce site?
Now that you know how to use the different stages of the funnel to your advantage, let's talk about marketing strategy. You can optimize your site's conversion funnel by following these steps:
1. Understand your buyer's journey
To have an optimized eCommerce sales funnel, you first need to understand your customer’s journey.
You can use Google Analytics metrics and user flow to help you map out your buyer’s journey. Your knowledge about your customer’s journey doesn’t end with you knowing what they do once they arrive at your eCommerce store. After leaving your website, you need to know where they came from and their behavior.
To help you further, you may answer the following questions:
- Do you know which domains refer the most traffic to your eCommerce site?
- What is the average number of touchpoints your website visitor makes before completing the purchase?
- Do your website visitors behave differently when they land on your homepage than when they land on your product page?
2. Create an easy-to-navigate eCommerce Store
Your potential customers need a clear path to take from the moment they enter your conversion funnel to when they are aware of your brand until they convert.
Give them a great user experience, and move away from confusing layouts and complicated navigation. Make sure it's user-friendly and that there's an obvious way to go to the product category and its pages (wherever they are on your site).
Remember your visitors can abandon your eCommerce store at any stage of your funnel, especially if they are unsatisfied with their experience.
Here are some things you can do to improve your site's navigation:
- Add breadcrumbs to help visitors orientate wherever they are on your site
- Product categories must be clearly separated
- You should have search bars with autosuggest features
3. Identify content types and map conversion triggers for each stage
As discussed previously, when defining each stage of your eCommerce funnel, you need to create a plan for guiding consumers as they go through each stage: awareness, interest/consideration, decision/conversion, and loyalty/retention.
Make sure that you define in advance the type of content you want to use at every stage and on the pages that prospects will visit.
In addition to on-site content, you can also use retargeting ads to target users who have already visited your shop. Email marketing is also effective, as are retargeting ads.
For customers to be captured, the following types of content marketing are effective:
- Consumers can gain valuable insight from relevant, informative, well-written blog posts
- Potential customers prefer videos because it relays the actual value and benefits of the product through action
- You can also provide case studies that show an in-depth analysis and value of the products
- And lastly, reviews and customer testimonials can relay product opinions and third-party impressions
4. Create a strategy that nurtures leads
Website visitors become leads when they give their personal information like email addresses and subscribe to your newsletters.
Once you get your leads, you need a lead strategy that nurtures them from being aware to interested and eventually converts them into a sale.''
This type of lead strategy includes sending out content that covers all potential stages they may go through during the customer journey.
In this content, you can give your leads a special offer that they may accept. Make the offer more enticing so it will be harder for them to say no.
Make sure you brainstorm, draft, and test your incentive ideas. Choose whichever is the most suitable for the situation, given the different stages of the buyer's journey.
Here are some lead nurturing strategies that you can try:
- Provide value to your clients through valuable content, copy, and high-resolution video and images
- Make your sales pages SEO optimized
- Utilize retargeting and search ads
- Offer benefits like coupon codes, store credits, and discounts
- Implement personalized email marketing strategies
- Establish communication with your clients through live chat
5. Optimize your main and product pages
As you sell more products, your "main" pages will increase, which means it will be harder for you to distinguish which is more important. So, remember this: landing, category, and product pages are very important for eCommerce websites.
You need to optimize all these pages since they can serve as landing pages for your potential customers and leads. This includes making sure the SEO of every page is in place. From its meta titles, meta descriptions, keywords, keyword density, and also image alt title tags. It would be best if you did this so Google can send traffic to your website.
Use only necessary copy that gives value and clarification to users. Make sure it's readable! You also need to ensure you don't clutter each page with content for the best user experience.
Don't forget each stage of your conversion funnel needs to provoke an action from the user. That's why aside from defining the action you want them to take. You must ensure that the page will not distract users from completing that action.
6. Optimize your forms
Capturing leads is the first step to increasing your conversion rates. You can do this through online forms that collect email subscribers.
That's why you need to optimize your forms. Because if they don't want to fill it out, you can lose potential quality leads. Make your documents short and make sure it has fewer fields.
Please keep it to a minimum and only ask for the essential information you need. Don't require them to input their phone number or location. Some people are hesitant to give personal information.
7. Optimize your checkout pages
Last but not least, you need to optimize your checkout pages.
Here's why. We all know cart abandonment rates are very high. This means the higher they are, the more customers are finding something they don't like about your checkout process.
You can conduct surveys online for your customers if you are unsure why they abandon their carts. You can ask them directly what they don't like about your checkout pages.
Here are some tips on how you can optimize your checkout pages:
- If you can, try to use single-page checkout instead of a multi-step checkout page. Use progress indicators like breadcrumbs to see how many steps remain until they complete the purchase.
- Provide as many payment methods as you can.
- Keep your page as minimalistic as possible and avoid adding any distractions.
- Try to not require user registration.
- Have proof of transactions' security to ease clients' potential concerns.
Now that you know how to optimize your eCommerce marketing funnel, it's time to...
Build your own eCommerce sales funnel!
A friendly reminder:
Your customers will go through all the stages of the funnel, some faster than others. It is important to keep engaging with them every step of the way to increase your site’s conversion rate.
To effectively manage your eCommerce sales funnel, you need to optimize your online store to retain potential customers. Debutify offers several premium add-ons that you can use at any stage of the funnel.