A sales funnel visualizes the process shoppers go through on the way to a purchase. By mapping out the customer journey, you can see where you need to make changes to increase your conversion rate. This article will cover the fundamentals of eCommerce sales funnels so you can use them to optimize your marketing efforts.
What is an eCommerce Sales Funnel?
An eCommerce sales funnel (also known as a marketing funnel or a conversion funnel) maps out each interaction you’ll have with shoppers as they make their way along the Buyer’s Journey. It includes email marketing, digital advertising, website content, and anything under your control which influences the customer experience.
Understand the Buyer’s Journey
To build an eCommerce sales funnel, you first must understand the Buyer’s Journey. The Buyer’s Journey is an inbound marketing term that divides the purchase process into three stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
The Awareness Stage (Top of the Funnel)
You can think of the Awareness stage as the top of the funnel. First, the shopper is aware they have a problem (e.g., they want a new suit or need a formal dress for an event).
You need to understand what needs, problems, and concerns your shoppers have at this stage of the funnel so that you can develop relevant content and campaigns. For example, if you sell plus-size bathing suits, they might be wondering how to look their best in swimwear. By helping them figure that out, you’ll improve their perception of your brand so that when they’re ready to buy a swimsuit, they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
The Consideration Stage (Middle of the Funnel)
In the Consideration stage, the shopper is considering their options. For example, a man going to a formal event might consider buying a tuxedo in a brick and mortar store, renting one, or buying one online.
Just like the Awareness stage, you need to understand what needs, problems, and concerns your shoppers have in the Consideration stage of the funnel to develop relevant content and campaigns.
For example, if you sell clothes, people who don’t usually buy clothes online may be wondering if that’s a good idea. You can create content that explains the benefits of shopping online and how you make it easy to return unwanted items.
The Decision Stage (Bottom of the Funnel)
The shopper has decided whether they’ll rent or buy online or in a store. Finally, they’re ready to make a purchase decision. In this stage, you should explain why you’re better than your competitors and highlight specific items that meet the shopper’s needs.
Of course, some people will just be browsing, and the primary content they’ll be interested in is your product catalog. So make sure your website provides a great experience for them.
The Buyer’s Journey may look different for different customer segments. Customer segmentation divides your target market into groups with similar interests, needs, and problems so that you can personalize the approach you take for each segment. Since eCommerce personalization is critical to your success, this step shouldn’t be taken lightly.
You can divide your customers based on:
- Geography (where they live)
- Demographics (personal attributes)
- Website Behavior (e.g., what products are they interested in?)
- Psychographics (psychological attributes)
Then, determine what questions each shopper in each segment are likely to have at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
It would be best if you also determined what is most important to each segment. For example, do they value affordability over quality? Are they looking for deals or the latest in fashion? Then you can determine what offers and products to promote to them and when.
How to Build an eCommerce Sales Funnel
Once you understand what your customers are looking for, you need to give it to them. Here are four things to help you do that:
List and audience segmentation refer to dividing your email and advertising audiences into groups based on which customer segment they’re in and what stage of the Buyer’s journey stage they’re in.
You can use website visitor identification to collect an extensive amount of demographic data on your audience to determine which customer segment they’re in. Then, use behavioral targeting to estimate where they’re at in the Buyer’s Journey. For example, if they’re reading the article on how to look good in swimwear when you’re not the weight you want, you assign them to the Awareness stage.
Then develop email campaigns and advertising campaigns for each customer segment at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey. Marketing automation will enable you to trigger these campaigns for each shopper as they move through the buying process.
Increase Revenue with eCommerce Sales Funnels
Well-developed eCommerce sales funnels will enable you to increase sales by identifying gaps in your current marketing strategy. You’ll be able to see if you’re neglecting a critical customer segment or losing them halfway through the funnel. Then you can double down on what’s working and fix what’s not.