Sending the right message to the right audience at the right time generates business and helps you convince potential customers to take the next step.
The essence of a successful e-commerce sales strategy lies in knowing your potential customers well. Some of the questions you should ask are:
- Where are your target customers in their buyer’s journey?
- What are their main pain points?
- How can your product or service solve those problems for them?
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel consists of the complete sales process from beginning to end. At the top of the funnel, a large number of potential customers are reduced to a fewer number of prospects. The middle of the sales funnel has this number further reduced to a handful of customers. After the decision-making stage at the end of the funnel, the sales process ends with a closed-won or closed-lost deal.
There are four primary Sales Funnel stages:
We will expand on these in detail later.
Why Create a Sales Funnel?
Building an e-commerce sales funnel for your store helps you map the buyer’s journey and identify what you need to do at each stage for your prospective customers.
According to Smart Insights, on average, 43.8% of your site visitors view a product page, but only 3.3% of them end up making a purchase.
Your sales funnel maps out the path your prospective customers take. By understanding and building the funnel, you figure out the places why prospects decide to buy from you, why they drop out and why they never convert.
Stages of the Sales Funnel
As mentioned above, there are four stages of the sales funnel – AIDA or Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action. Each stage requires different approaches and careful consideration on sending the right message at the right time. You don’t want to be showing content for decision-making to someone who is in the awareness stage.
Let’s have a look at each of these stages in more detail:
In the awareness stage, we have people who have some kind of problem and are in need of a solution for that. Maybe they just discovered the problem and are doing their research on the solutions for that problem.
While doing their research, they become aware that your online store has potential solutions for their particular problem. Now they are at the awareness stage.
At this stage, you need to persuade them that you are the best possible solution for their needs. As this is the first point of contact, you have with your potential customers, it’s important to make the best impression.
These top-of-funnel prospects are aware of their problem and your brand providing the solution, either through social media, a referral, a Google search, or simply by chance.
Your goal is to draw as many users into this stage as possible. But more specifically, you need visitors who are interested in your product or service so they can be convinced to move to the next stage.
And there are two ways to attract targeted traffic to your eCommerce site – Paid and Organic.
Now that your prospect is aware of the solutions you provide, it’s time to get them interested in you. Prospects at this stage are now considering buying from you. Your goal at this stage is to move them down the funnel and convince them to take the next action.
At this stage, you need to remove any doubts your visitors might have and make things easy for them so they can make a decision. Promote your content and products subtly with email marketing and persuade site visitors with compelling copy. Focus more on the benefits the customers will be getting from your services.
Add social proof on your website and social media. Share customer testimonials to show what your customers are saying about your products and services.
The decision stage of the sales funnel is when the customer is ready to make a purchase. They are now considering two or three options – including your store.
This is the time to convince them to make a decision to go with your eCommerce store. At this stage, you need to make your best offer. Whether it’s free shipping, a welcome bonus, a discount code, or something else, you need to make sure your prospective customer doesn’t go with your competitor. On-site messages and emails will be your favorite tools at this stage.
The last stage of the sales funnel involves a lead taking action. They purchase your product or service and become part of your eCommerce business’s ecosystem.
One important thing to remember is that getting your customers at the bottom of your funnel is not the end goal. It’s imperative that the customer comes back to your brand again and again. You want your customers to turn this one purchase into ten and then ten into a hundred.
Focus on customer retention. Show your customers that you are grateful for their purchases. Tell them you are open to their invaluable feedback and suggestions.
Building a Sales Funnel for eCommerce store
Now that we have covered the different stages of a sales funnel, let’s talk about building one. One thing to note is that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to the eCommerce sales funnel. It depends on your product, target audience, buyer persona, and the various paths your customers will take throughout the eCommerce funnel.
Determine your ideal buyer persona
The first step is to determine your ideal persona. Figure out answers to the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is their demographic?
- What social media platforms do they engage on?
- What’s their pain points?
Understanding your ideal prospect is the first stage in building a robust sales funnel.
Capture your prospects’ attention
The only way to make an effective sales funnel is to lure people into the funnel process. For that purpose, you need to put the right content in front of the right audience.
Create informational content and post across all of your platforms. Don’t just stick with blogs and articles. Diversify with infographics, videos, eBooks, cheat sheets, and other types of content.
You should also run a few ads to land your content right in front of the target audience. Ads reinforce your content better and put your online store in front of prospective customers.
Build a landing page
Whatever content you are creating has to take your prospects somewhere. The ideal situation is to direct them to a landing page that has an offer they can’t miss.
At this point, your prospects are still low in the sales funnel. So you need to focus on capturing leads rather than pushing them to make a purchase. By being sales-y and forcing them to buy your products might harm your chances of closing the prospects.
A landing page will help steer the visitors toward the next step. Place a call-to-action (CTA) on the page that tells them what to do moving forward.
Create Email Drip Sequences
You can compel your prospects to make a purchase through well-crafted and appealing email drip campaigns. Remember to not send emails too frequently. One or two emails per week should be enough.
Strategize your approach by carefully building up to the sale. Send educational material first. Talk about their pain points and problems. See what objections and obstacles they need to overcome to make a decision to buy?
End your drip campaign with an incredible offer they can’t refuse. That’s the content that will inspire them to act on their decision.
Test and tweak
Building your sales funnel isn’t the end. To make the most effective and result-oriented sales funnel, you need to test out different approaches and tweak your process to deliver maximum results.
Below are some things to test and tweak for optimum conversion:
- Landing page titles and description
- Landing page layout and format
- Automated email series
- Lead magnet
- Upsells and downsells
By continuously testing and tweaking your sales funnel, you will come up with the best system to keep generating sales for your eCommerce store.
Measuring your results
Without measuring the performance of your sales funnel, you won’t know what works and what doesn’t. Measuring your eCommerce store metrics is crucial to driving the best results. Some of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can track are:
Conversion rate: A sales funnel’s job is to increase the conversion rate of the visitors that land on your store. By measuring this, you will get to know if your sales funnel is working or not.
Average Order Value (AOV): With an effective sales funnel in place, the average amount your customers spend on your store should increase.
Bounce Rate: With sales funnels, the irresistible offers and exit-intent popups should decrease the bounce rate.
Cart Abandonment: Some of your prospects might add items to the cart but end up leaving without finishing their purchase. If your cart abandonment rate is increasing, you need to optimize your order page.
Keeping on top of these KPIs is as important as building the sales funnel in the first place. These performance metrics will help you in optimizing your sales funnel for the best results possible.
Best Practices for an Effective Sales Funnel
Your eCommerce sales funnel should be optimized for maximum conversion. Some of the best practices to keep in mind include:
Make sure the navigation of your eCommerce store is easy to follow and understand. Create easily comprehensible menus that take customers where they want to go. Optimize your site search to help visitors find the products they’re looking for.
Easy to Buy
Make it extremely easy for your customers to checkout. Eradicate unexpected shipping expenses, and offer consumers multiple payment options so they don’t face difficulties while paying and don’t abandon their cart.
Remove as many hurdles to purchase as possible. Try to offer free shipping and free returns. Make sure you have 24/7 support to answer questions and display security badges in a prominent location.
Take ample time to build out a sales funnel for your eCommerce store that represents what you want out of it and what your audience is looking for. Cultivate it over time, adjust your approach to various sales funnel stages, and keep on tweaking the process.
Building your sales funnel is not the end of the road for you. It’s important to keep on improving your funnel based on the metrics and KPIs discussed. Use this guide and get started with your eCommerce sales funnel.