If you operate a retail business, you are likely already familiar with the concept of the sales funnel, but does it differ from an eCommerce sales funnel? No, the sales funnel for eCommerce businesses is fundamentally the same. However, when it comes to optimizing the sales funnel, an eCommerce website will have different priorities than a brick-and-mortar retail store.
Since eCommerce websites make it easier for people to start their own businesses online, many new business owners might not be aware of the eCommerce sales funnel. This post will explain the sales funnel, the different stages involved in it, and a few ways your business can optimize its sales funnel to increase conversions.
What is the eCommerce Sales Funnel?
The eCommerce sales funnel, also known as the eCommerce conversion funnel, is a visualization that maps the online customer journey from initial awareness to final sale and customer retention. It is important to remember that your eCommerce website will not make a sale to every user that visits your website. Hence, the image of the funnel.
The top of the sales funnel is wide, and it represents all of the users that visit your eCommerce site. As you move through the typical customer journey, the sales funnel narrows until you reach the very bottom, which represents the final sale and customer retention portion of the funnel.
There are three broad areas of the conversion funnel that are of importance, the top, the middle, and the bottom. As you can see in the image above, there are multiple steps or potential actions within these broader areas. It is good to understand these broader sections because later, we will share some things your project management team can do to strengthen your efforts in each area of the eCommerce sales funnel.
You should know that the amount of time it will take a user to go through your conversion funnel will vary drastically. For example, some users might land on your eCommerce site, see something they really like, and immediately make a purchase. Other users might shop around and view several different eCommerce websites before ultimately choosing to buy a product from your website.
The Importance of the Sales Funnel
The sales funnel might just be a visual concept, but it is important for your eCommerce business to understand what your funnel looks like. When you understand your typical customer journey and can visualize their path through your sales funnel, your business can better target your marketing and sales efforts at users in different stages of your funnel.
Furthermore, understanding how your users move through your sales funnel can help you during the app development process. For example, if you notice that a lot of your users are getting stuck or lost in the middle of your funnel, you can likely attribute this to a poor or difficult UX/UI experience. By understanding your conversion funnel, your team can determine which features help move users along and which features or design elements are holding users back.
You can take the data you glean from visualizing the sales funnel and use it to make optimizations designed to make the experience of shopping on your eCommerce website or app smoother and more helpful for users.
Strengthening Your eCommerce Sales Funnel
Your users are in control of how far they move down your sales funnel, but there are steps that you can take to strengthen your efforts at every stage of the funnel. Remember the three broad areas of the funnel we highlighted earlier, the top, the middle, and the bottom? Now we will share some ways your business can strengthen its sales funnel in each of these areas.
Top of the Funnel
What you should be most concerned with at the top of the sales funnel is attracting users to your eCommerce site and building awareness around your brand. There are several ways you can go about doing this, but some of the most common and effective ways are:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Online advertising
- Creating content
- Social engagement
Most people find the things they are looking for by doing a Google search. To attract more users to your eCommerce website, you should focus on SEO. Following SEO best practices will help your website appear on the first page of Google search results. In turn, this will bring more interested users to your website.
You can also get active on social media and interact with your target users on the platforms they spend most of their time on. In addition to running Facebook ads, joining hobbyist groups and other online forums can give your brand a chance to demonstrate its expertise and value to users.
Middle of the Funnel
Once you get visitors to come to your eCommerce website, you need to encourage them to stay, browse, and ultimately buy your products. The middle of the funnel is about educating users on the benefits of shopping with you and showcasing your products. Some of the best ways to go about accomplishing this are:
- Optimizing the UX of your website
- Share customer reviews
- Offer a live chat feature
- Create content to educate shoppers about your products
The biggest impediment to the success of many eCommerce websites is their User Experience. A poor UX will drive users away from your website faster than anything else. Take the time to create a User Experience that will delight and satisfy your users. Their shopping experience should be hassle-free, and they should be able to seamlessly navigate around your products and website.
Once you have a great UX, focus on adding things like customer reviews and educational content to further demonstrate the value of your offerings to users. People like being able to see what other people think of your products. Reviews are important online because users cannot physically touch or interact with the products you are selling.
The End of the Funnel
At this part of the sales funnel, the goal is closing sales and retaining customers. Customers who drop out of the eCommerce sales funnel at the end likely could have been converted. If you notice that you are losing a lot of customers at this stage of the funnel, the first thing you should check is the mechanics of your check-out process.
Are you able to add items to your cart and successfully check out? You would be surprised to learn that many websites have technical issues with their check-out process, and as a result, they lose a lot of potential customers.
A few other things you can do to encourage users to make a final purchase and return to your website in the future are:
- Offer discounts
- Cross-sell and up-sell related items
- Remarketing Ads
- Rewards program
At the end of the funnel, it is important that you do everything you can to ensure users make a final purchase. Offering discounts and other promotions are a great way to incentivize users to make purchases. In addition, you might want to share related items to encourage them to add more stuff to their cart before they check out.
Remarketing ads can help you target users who almost converted but left your website before completing a purchase. Finally, keeping users coming back to your eCommerce site over and over is important. Establishing a rewards program or something similar is a great way to encourage users to return and shop again.
The eCommerce sales funnel is a valuable visualization tool for businesses to use. If you need help building or optimizing your eCommerce website, reach out to an app development partner. An experienced partner can help you optimize your eCommerce sales funnel and help you convert more of your users.