What is an ecommerce conversion funnel and why do you need one? How can you create a winning ecommerce conversion funnel?
You will find all these answers and more in this post. But first, let’s understand what the current ecommerce landscape is like and why ecommerce conversion funnels are practically necessary if you hope to succeed in such a competitive market.
Ecommerce marketing is a $5.5 Trillion global industry and is growing at an unprecedented pace.
Image via Statista
While that may seem promising, you need to understand that most of this market is captured by ecommerce giants like Walmart and Amazon.
So, the rest of the millions of ecommerce companies are fighting for a fairly small share of this large pie. Needless to say, the level of competition in the ecommerce industry is extremely high.
So, how can an ecommerce conversion funnel help you?
An ecommerce conversion funnel can give you clarity on how to approach different prospects in the right way, at the right time, using the right marketing tactic.
Basically, an ecommerce conversion funnel provides a more organized and focused way of utilizing your marketing efforts to get better results.
In this post, you will learn:
So, let’s get started.
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A consumer goes through several stages in their decision-making process to buy a product or service. The path that an average consumer takes to make a purchase and become a customer is commonly referred to as a customer’s journey or a buyer’s journey.
Traditionally, a customer journey had three broad stages:
However, modern marketers believe that a customer’s journey doesn’t end there, and rightly so. Any marketer worth their salt would know that retaining customers and encouraging them to make repeat purchases is more beneficial than acquiring new customers.
That’s why smart marketers have added two more stages to a typical customer’s journey:
Well, that’s all theoretical. What does a customer journey actually look like?
Let’s understand through an example.
Have you ever seen an ad on social media, clicked on it, and ended up making a purchase?
Well, that was your journey as a customer from seeing a social media ad (awareness), checking out the product (consideration), and making a purchase. If you like the product, you’ll probably buy from the brand again (loyalty).
And if you remain loyal to the brand for a long time, you may even start recommending it to others (advocacy).
How does it matter to you?
You need to understand the stages of a customer journey to build your ecommerce conversion funnel. After all, an ecommerce conversion funnel has the same stages, along with marketing tactics to use at each stage of the funnel.
Here’s a smart checklist to help you speed up your ecommerce conversion funnel.
Now that you understand what the customer journey and ecommerce conversion funnel are, let’s discuss the various marketing tactics you can use to win customers at various stages.
Customers at different points in an ecommerce conversion funnel have different needs that you can tap into as a marketer. As an ecommerce marketer, your marketing goals would also differ at different stages of the ecommerce conversion funnel.
In this section, you will learn how to best engage a customer based on which stage they’re at in their journey or the ecommerce conversion funnel.
Let’s get started.
At the awareness stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel, your goal would be to attract potential customers by spreading awareness about your brand or products.
Your ecommerce marketing strategies for this stage of the funnel would be the ones that help you reach as many people as possible.
However, these ecommerce marketing strategies can be divided into two categories:
Let’s discuss the different ecommerce marketing strategies that fall under both these categories.
Here are some of the targeted ecommerce marketing strategies that you can use to attract customers to your ecommerce site.
SEO (Money Keywords)
Target high purchase intent keywords through your ecommerce SEO efforts to attract potential customers who are likely to convert.
This would entail:
Please note that this is different from your broader SEO efforts as it targeted specific high-volume keywords (money keywords).
This also makes it much harder. So, opt for professional SEO services to boost your ROI and target money keywords realistically
PPC (Search and Retargeting)
Paid search ads are one of the best ways to attract relevant leads to your website. All you need to do is choose the right keywords that:
For example, let’s say that you sell sports shoes. A high-purchase-intent keyword for you would be “buy white sneakers”.
Here’s an example of PPC ads for this keyword. You’d notice that all these ads lead to the relevant product pages on different ecommerce sites.
Image via Google
You can use Google Keyword Planner to find the right keywords to target through your PPC search ads.
Another way to quickly find and engage the right leads at the awareness stage of the funnel is to run a retargeting PPC campaign.
It involves showing your ads to people who have already interacted with your brand before but may or may not have made a purchase.
Send emails to your subscribers informing them about your new products and offers. You should personalize these emails using email marketing platforms to deliver more value to the readers and increase their chances of clicking on your emails and checking out your offer.
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to build awareness about your new products among people who have already interacted with your business.
Hire industry experts and popular influencers in your niche to create great content about your products. Some examples of the type of sponsored content that works well at the awareness stage are:
Start an affiliate program and enroll influential people in your niche to promote your brand and products in exchange for a commission on every sale they help make.
It’s a win-win partnership that many influencers would be interested in. Choose your affiliates wisely and ask them to promote your products on multiple platforms.
This is a quick-turnaround strategy that will get you tons of leads and conversions.
These are strategies that take time to show results and are not hyper-targeted to attract a specific audience. While these don’t deliver quick results, these should still be a part of your ecommerce conversion funnel.
Collaborate with influencers to promote your products to their audience, review them, and create content that spreads awareness about your brand.
A simple mention from a trusted influencer can make people aware of your brand and even get to try your products. An honest product review and do even more to boost your brand image and credibility.
Here’s an example of an influencer reviewing a product on social media.
Image via Instagram
Online PR is one of the most popular marketing tactics to create brand awareness and improve brand reputation.
Online PR includes a mix of various digital marketing techniques like influencer marketing. social media marketing, content marketing, etc.
As an ecommerce marketer, your goal would be to create awareness about your brand and products. So, focus on creating share worthy content around your products. Also, participate in interviews & panel discussions, build relationships with news & media companies, and more.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is the best place to reach your target audience and engage them on platforms where they’re most active.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are a boon for ecommerce marketers as these are visual platforms where you can showcase your products.
In fact, Instagram can practically act as a virtual product catalog or even an alternative store.
However, don’t be too promotional and try to build a community on social media. The key to successful social media marketing is to connect with your audience and engage them instead of shoving products on them.
Focus on creating targeted, relevant, and engaging social media content that provides value to your audience, while also promoting your products.
Check out this video, for example, where Amazon engages its audience by giving them some spring fashion inspiration while also promoting its products.
Image via Instagram
Display advertising is one of the best ways to attract prospective customers’ attention using high-quality images. And it works especially well at this stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel.
Sometimes, product images can tempt someone into buying, even if they were not specifically looking for that particular product. That’s why display ads work so well at the awareness stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel.
Pro Tip: Social media ads, especially stories ads, work even better as they seem like native content and engage people when they’re most active.
Content marketing is a generic marketing strategy that works at almost every stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel.
However, given that it’s a long-term strategy, you should start your content marketing efforts early.
Some types of content that work well at this stage of an ecommerce conversion funnel are:
If you don’t have an in-house team then it’s best to invest in professional content marketing services to get high-quality content.
At this stage in your ecommerce conversion funnel, your goal should be to nurture your leads and help them choose your brand over others. For that, you would need to make your products stand out from the crowd.
By following our advice.
At this point in their buying journey, customers would visit your online store to check your products. They would also compare your products with other similar products before they make a decision.
So, you need to nurture your leads on two fronts:
Let’s discuss each in more detail.
Download this ecommerce conversion funnel to do list to stay on top of your ecommerce conversion funnel.
Here are some tips to optimize your website or online store for enhanced lead nurturing and conversions for the consideration stage of your ecommerce conversion funnel.
Pro Tip: Website optimization is an ongoing process, so keep conducting regular site audits and optimizing landing pages further.
The second part of this two-pronged approach for the consideration stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel is to improve your brand image.
Well, that’s easier said than done.
While building a strong brand image takes years there are some short-term tactics that you can employ to build trust around your products.
The best way to do that is by gathering positive customer reviews and using them to provide social proof to your prospective customers.
One of the easiest ways to get customer feedback is to add a review and rating option directly on your product pages. This way, your prospective customers can see what other customers are saying about your product and make their decision accordingly.
However, you can’t always control customer feedback and need some more things working in your favor.
This is where sponsored reviews and comparison posts come to the rescue.
Send your products to popular and trusted influencers in your niche and ask them to write reviews and compare your products with similar products. You don’t always have to pay for such articles as sometimes influencers are willing to do that for free products.
Here’s an example of a listicle comparing different products in a category and listing the top ones.
Image via Byrdie
At the purchase stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel, you need to optimize the checkout process and provide incentives for prospects who are still hesitant to purchase.
The idea is to make the entire process as easy as possible and avoid any reasons for cart abandonment.
Here are some tips to optimize your checkout process:
As for providing added incentives to prospects, you can use exit-intent pop-ups with lucrative offers and discounts.
Here’s an example.
Image via J.Crew
At the loyalty stage of an ecommerce conversion funnel, your goal is to engage existing customers and encourage them to make repeated purchases.
Here are some marketing tips to do that:
Pro Tip: Building customer loyalty is an ongoing process, so always keep working towards that along with all your other marketing activities.
Advocacy is the last stage of an ecommerce conversion funnel or sales funnel where your loyal customers start promoting your brand organically.
This will only happen if:
While the former can be achieved by delivering exceptional customer experiences consistently for years, the latter is easier to achieve.
At this stage of the ecommerce conversion funnel, you need to incorporate user-generated content into your marketing mix.
How does that work?
Encourage your customers to share content related to your brand or products in exchange for some incentive. The incentive can be earning points as part of the loyalty program or a chance for them to get featured on your official page or something else.
Many brands ask their customers by asking them to create social media posts wearing the brand’s products and use a branded hashtag. They then select one post every day or week and post it from their official brand account.
Getting featured on a brand’s official page is a good incentive to create user-generated content.
Daniel Wellington, for example, uses UGC very frequently and also tags the customers who created the original post.
Image via Instagram
In this section, you will learn about the important customer touchpoints in any ecommerce conversion funnel and ways to optimize those.
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Here we go.
The first and most important customer touchpoint in an ecommerce conversion funnel is the homepage. No matter where the leads come from, the homepage is often where they’ll first land when considering your products.
So optimize your homepage to drive more sales conversions by sending people further along the ecommerce conversion funnel. Here’s how:
Here’s an example of a nice and clean homepage design used by Lush.
Image via Lush
Also, use one of the good ecommerce platforms to make the optimization process easier.
The next customer touchpoint in a typical ecommerce conversion funnel would be the category page. This is because most customers start their search with a generic product instead of a specific model from a specific brand.
So, if you use conversion rate optimization techniques to optimize your category pages, chances are you’ll be able to send most leads down the ecommerce conversion funnel.
How can you optimize your category pages?
Here are a few tips to optimize your category pages for a higher conversion rate:
Use a good website builder like Wix to make things easier for yourself.
Product pages are the most crucial stage of an ecommerce conversion funnel as the conversions happen here. Most people who go beyond this stage in the ecommerce conversion funnel would likely convert.
We’ve already discussed how to optimize product images and descriptions. Here are some other bonus tips to optimize your product pages:
Of course, high-quality product images and detailed descriptions are the most important aspect, so pay special attention to those and you’ll be good to go.
As discussed earlier, the checkout page should be extremely simple in its design and the process should be short and simple. Good website builders already have certain built-in themes that you can use or you can design from scratch.
Make it as quick and easy for a customer to buy a product as possible.
This would involve:
Please note that this is the stage in an ecommerce conversion funnel where most cart abandonments happen. So, you should use exit-intent pop-ups to collect the email addresses of these prospects and use retargeting tactics to bring them back.
As mentioned above, an ecommerce conversion funnel does not end at the purchase stage. So, your customer support channels are also important customer touchpoints in your ecommerce conversion funnel.
How can you improve your customer support?
Here are a few tips:
The beauty brand Sephora, for example, not only provides multiple customer support options but also has a thriving online community. The community has different topics or threads where users can ask questions, start discussions, or just connect with each other.
Image via Sephora
Hopefully, by now, you would have a complete understanding of an ecommerce conversion funnel and the marketing tactics to use at different stages.
But, before we end this post, we would like to list some of the ecommerce marketing best practices that you should know of and use. These will be the guiding principles for your entire ecommerce conversion funnel strategy.
This checklist helps you cut to the chase and set up an e-commerce conversion optimization campaign that drives higher revenues.
So, let’s have a look at these.
Every ecommerce marketer should know persuasion techniques.
These techniques will help you build a high-converting ecommerce conversion funnel as these work using basic human psychology to convince prospects to make a purchase.
What are these magical persuasion techniques?
Here we go.
In the simplest terms, it refers to the need to give something to get something in return. Or, if you look at it the other way around, the feeling that you owe someone something if they give you something first.
How does this apply to ecommerce marketing?
Well, there are certain times when you need to ask your customers for something, be it feedback or their email address. According to the principle of reciprocity, you should always offer something of equal or higher value in return.
So, don’t just ask for their email address, give them valuable content (gated content) in return. Don’t just ask for feedback, give them an incentive to do that.
This principle states that if you do something once, you’ll be more likely to do it again as you’d think of yourself as a person who does a particular thing.
In the ecommerce space, you can leverage this by introducing the customers to something small or having them make a small purchase. Then, when you want to sell something big, they’ll be more likely to buy from you as they’ve already bought from your before.
People who are considered authority figures in a field are more influential and people are likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
This is exactly why influencer marketing is so impactful. So, make sure that you use it somewhere in your ecommerce conversion funnel.
Humans are social creatures and have an inherent need to conform or fit in society. So, if you see many people using a product or talking well about a brand, you’re more likely to try it for yourself.
You can use this principle to your advantage. Brand mentions, product reviews, customer testimonials, etc. are a few ways to provide social proof to your customers.
People are more likely to be influenced by people they like than those they don’t. Similarly, consumers are more likely to buy from brands they like and connect with.
How can you use this in your ecommerce conversion funnel?
You can create ads showing common people that your audience can relate to and like. You can leverage popular influencers to persuade your target audience to buy your products. And so on.
If you create a sense of urgency or scarcity around your products, then people are likely to make quicker purchase decisions. When designing your ecommerce conversion funnel, keep this in mind.
You can use tactics like limited stock availability and time-limited deals to take advantage of this. Use social proof tools like Fomo to get this done.
Here’s an example of an Instagram story that uses both a countdown timer (urgency) and limited stock (scarcity) to encourage people to buy immediately.
Image via Instagram
As the name suggests, FOMO is that feeling you get when you see others in your circle do something that you’re not a part of. So, you may end up doing something you normally wouldn't have just so that you don’t miss out on it.
Where can you use this in your ecommerce conversion funnel?
Practically at every stage. Any limited-time offers like sales, holiday marketing deals, events, limited-edition products, etc. are bound to create FOMO in your audience. Just keep this principle in mind when designing your ecommerce conversion funnel and you’ll do a good job.
Check out this post by Disney where they’re promoting a limited-edition product.
Image via Instagram
Customer reviews are extremely important for ecommerce companies as these are deciding factors for many consumers on whether to make a purchase.
You can design the perfect ecommerce conversion funnel, but it would not work if you have no positive customer reviews.
Customer reviews build trust in your products and provide social proof. So, you should aggressively try to get as many positive reviews as possible.
Here are some ways to get customer reviews:
Pro Tip: Convert negative reviews into positive ones by properly addressing customer concerns and turning their bad experience into a good experience.
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Brand trust plays an important role in ecommerce marketing. You can have the best ecommerce conversion funnel and still not get enough conversions if people don’t trust your brand.
Establishing trust is especially important for new brands that people don’t even know about. Having trusted influencers and authority figures recommend your brand is one way to build trust. Customer reviews and educational content also help.
Educational content should be an integral part of any ecommerce conversion funnel. It might not be a direct way to drive more sales conversions but is necessary to generate interest and remove any concerns that consumers may have about your products.
So, continually educate and inform your prospective customers via social media content, blog posts, case studies, ebooks, and other informative content.
Studio McGee, for example, posts educational content on its blog and often features its own products in those to drive more sales conversions.
Image via Studio McGee
The rise of influencer marketing is partly driven by the B2C retail market. After all, it incorporates almost all persuasion techniques mentioned above and is especially useful for ecommerce marketing.
When designing an ecommerce conversion funnel, use influencers at the awareness and consideration stages to reach and attract relevant prospects.
Influencers can help you:
One of the most important best practices for ecommerce marketing is to invest in a good photographer to create engaging visuals. Product pictures should be tempting enough for prospective customers to want to buy your products.
What’s more, is that product pictures will be used for all marketing channels, be it product pages or social media, or ads. So, make sure that you get professional photoshoots done for your product pictures and videos to make these visually appealing.
Check out the Instagram feed of Kylie Baby.
Image via Instagram
Don’t these products make you want to buy, even if you may not need these?
Well, that’s the power of professional photography.
This is an age-old best practice that every ecommerce marketer should know of and follow.
What’ price anchoring?
It’s the practice of showing a higher original price of a product and then giving a huge discount and selling it at a much lower price.
This gives customers the impression that they’re getting a good deal and the absolute price they’re paying won’t even matter. The higher price acts as an anchor against which the current price is compared.
Here’s how Amazon does it.
Image via Amazon
Q1. What is an ecommerce conversion funnel?
A. An ecommerce conversion funnel is a sales funnel that drives consumers from the awareness stage to the purchase stage of their buying journey and even beyond that.
It’s made by understanding the route customers take from learning about your brand to buying your products to becoming brand advocates.
And it uses different marketing tactics at different stages to engage prospects and send them further along the ecommerce sales funnel.
Q2. What are the different stages of a buyer’s journey?
A. Here are the five stages of a buyer’s journey:
Q3. How can I make an ecommerce conversion funnel?
A. First, understand your buyers’ journey and the various touchpoints they go through before making a purchase and after that.
Next, assign different marketing tactics for each stage and optimize each customer touchpoint to create an ecommerce conversion funnel. The more your break down your ecommerce conversion funnel into multiple touchpoints, the more effective it’ll be.
Q4. What does an ecommerce conversion funnel look like?
A. Here’s an example of a simple ecommerce conversion funnel or ecommerce sales funnel:
It’s a small ecommerce conversion funnel, but in reality, there can be different types of ecommerce conversion funnels as simple as this or much more complicated.
Q5. How to optimize an ecommerce conversion funnel?
A. Create a basic ecommerce funnel and see how it performs. Then, find areas for improvement and keep optimizing till you get a high-performing ecommerce conversion funnel.
Don’t forget to use the ecommerce marketing best practices mentioned above to optimize your ecommerce conversion funnel.
By now, you should have a clear understanding of what an ecommerce conversion funnel is and how to design a funnel for your ecommerce business.
So, use this post as your guide and create your customized ecommerce conversion funnel to improve your conversion rate.
Have any further questions on how to make an ecommerce conversion funnel? Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.
Accelerate your ecommerce success with this streamlined conversion funnel checklist.
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