Attracting the attention of a “passerby” and turning them into loyal customers with the ability to attract more customers for your business has never been easy whether you are an experienced person or just a newbie who has just started trading. For me, timing is extremely important in commerce, especially e-commerce. Well, you think you understand what your website visitors want and are ready to offer them your best-selling products.
But no, if you can do it, many other people can too. It hurts when your store is just one of their many options, nothing more and nothing less. The eCommerce sales funnel reflects quite exactly how you get a paying customer and bring home the products you sell. And eCommerce sales funnel optimization is the best way for you to generate the revenue you expect.
Besides finding the right answer to the question “what is an eCommerce sales funnel” would be the best strategies I have learned from successful businesses/retailers to help you achieve your eCommerce sales funnel optimization goals. That will be very interesting!
What is an eCommerce sales funnel?
An eCommerce sales funnel (or eCommerce conversion funnel) is a visual representation of a customer’s journey from the moment they browse through your store, becoming aware of the products and services you’re offering, to purchasing and becoming a full-time customer. From the point of view of e-commerce, the funnel is also extended to the stage where that customer shows loyalty and “spreads” to others about your product, service, and store.
A typical eCommerce sales funnel places the audience in four stages of reason and action including:
Smart Insight, a marketing consulting company, has researched to show that on average 43.8% of your website visitors view a product page and only 3.3% of them buy. As such, the eCommerce sales funnel that you set up will directly affect important metrics in online sales such as Customer Acquisition Cost, Conversion Rate, Online shopping cart completion rejection rate.
eCommerce sales funnel optimization tactics for each stage
Stage 1: Awareness
Have you just finished building your house and are thinking about the furniture you need to complete it? And you immediately think of Aaron or IKEA.
You realize that your body condition is not good. Excess fat lines begin to appear next to your increasingly round face. Adidas and Nike will be at the top of your list.
Those are clear examples of the cognitive stage. When you realize you have a need and a desire to find a solution, an answer to that desire.
Today’s business funnel has changed compared to the past when shoppers have more non-traditional sources to receive information such as social networks, influencers, promotional videos, blogs …
Optimize brand awareness through social networks
Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly users, Instagram has 1 billion monthly users. In addition, we have Twitter, Snapchat, and countless separate social networks in each country like Weibo in China. Thus, without in-depth analysis reports, we can also realize the “fertility” of “this land” in the field of e-commerce.
You need to determine what your brand can bring to customers. It is the core value of your business.
When you visit Adidas Facebook or Instagram, you can see a powerful message: “Through sport, we have the power to change lives”. This confirms the Adidas product will be focused on sports including shoes, clothing, and other accessories.
Look at what Adidas has done with its shoe product system. Its portfolio is always diverse with shoes and sportswear for all 3 groups of men, women, and children. In which, product lines are distinguished with “3S”: Sport, Street, and Style.
- Adidas Sport: divided and focused on each type of sport such as football, basketball, golf, track and field, field sports, tennis, and a special Adidas group of Adidas by Stella McCartney.
- Adidas Street aka Adidas Originals: features heritage and street-influenced designs. Adidas Street is associated with a 3-petal and 3-stripe logo pattern with the signature “Adidas”.
- Adidas Style is divided into 3 styles: high-class elegance with Porsche Design Sport, dynamic, youthful, and trendy with NEO, Y-3 with the association between Yohji Yamamoto and the brand’s iconic 3 stripes.
This helps customers realize when they need a shoe for their style and life where they can specifically find it.
Bring your brand closer to customers
Asserting the brand itself is also very important. Among countless brands with something similar, the impression becomes a decisive factor to attract potential customers.
Here I am talking about how you deliver your content. It can be the closeness that Beardbrand brings to its customers through its rich system of videos on Youtube or articles that simply answer everyday questions like “How to Grow Your First Beard” or “Shape Up Your Beard” with detailed instructions.
Or Nike with humanistic campaigns like “You Can’t Stop Us” to accompany the black community around the world to fight against racism or “Nike By you” for shoppers to express their personality in shoe products.
Whether in the form of videos or blog posts, being able to impact awareness and create a first impression of a business or brand is the first step to effective eCommerce funnel optimization.
Stage 2: Consideration
Once customers have started paying attention to your website, it’s time to fantasize about things further. They learn about your store, about the products you sell, and compare it to their needs and financial capabilities.
You need to remove the customer’s doubts to facilitate bringing them deeper down the funnel-like adding products to cart or wishlist.
Build trust with social proof
It is difficult to create a solid connection when customers are just passing by or coming because of a temporary shopping need. But trust in business is something more valuable than your immediate profits. Many studies show that shoppers tend to consult with previous buyers. That’s right, it’s an objective perspective from those who have experienced the product.
So there is nothing better than social proof as a channel for buyers to officially refer to. I’m referring to posts with photos, videos, and different customer experiences with that product.
These can be comments that appear right on the business website. My point is to let both positive and negative comments come in. That’s how you show transparency. Positive comments provide a mental boost to your customers to feel more confident in the product. While negative comments, if handled skillfully by the store’s staff through apology, advice, product exchange, etc., will make a much stronger impression.
Here’s how Tuff and Needle has leveraged social proof on its website:
Social proofs can be activated to a larger extent through emails or paid advertisements accompanying media campaigns.
Optimizing product pages
Products will be of interest at this stage of the funnel so eCommerce sales funnel optimization will be more effective when you make them the star of the show.
Customers will want a holistic view of the product because it is an online transaction after all. The more intuitive the image you provide, the more interesting it will be for buyers.
Salsify’s research indicates any consumer expects to see at least six good-quality images and two videos per product. Besides, you can directly add personalized images of other customers during the product experience.
Another very important part is the product description. Do not be too rigid when only bringing in the parameters of the product. Make them unique and relatable so users know how they will positively impact their lives.
That’s what Zara is doing very well. For example, when customers refer to the Party collection with the Sequin Halter Top product (and similarly with all other products), besides the artistic shots when the outfit is worn by the model, you will also see photos that fully reflect the product’s angles and materials.
The accompanying products to complete the set are also very diverse and reasonable. And I think sometimes that’s the “homerun” that scores directly in the mind of the shopper.
An important factor in determining this strategy is whether you have chosen the right e-commerce platform for your business. Shopify, BigCommerce or Weebly, these platforms all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
If you realize you’ve made a little mistake, don’t be afraid to migrate because it will determine the future of your business. What’s more, you now have great help from great shopping cart migration tools like Next Cart.
Share clearly about the purchase and exchange/return policy
Charges incurred during the purchase process can be the destroyer of the soon-to-be strong bond between the two parties.
That’s why you need to specifically explain each fee, provide time and shipping options for customers to understand. And once again Zara proves the professionalism of one of the world’s most popular fashion brands when minimizing the ambiguity for customers.
And don’t forget the role of Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons
No one just browsing through your store can withstand the pressure of the phrase “Buy Now”. No! It doesn’t work.
While writing the CTA, try to think about the value you attach to that action. Why or what exactly should they do now? At the beginning of the journey, CTAs like “Learn more” or “Show me how” may be more appropriate. Near the end of the journey, “Go to Cart” and “Buy Now” may be the best options. You will only know for sure by experimenting with variables. Change the copy on the CTA or change its color, shape, or position. There are many tests you can run to find out which combination generates the most conversions.
Birchbox provides a perfect example of the art of using words to get eCommerce sales funnel optimization. Their service packages as well as beauty product sets can appear as a gift for others but can also be a way for customers to pamper themselves.
Thus, it makes perfect sense for Birchbox to arrange two CTAs in the footer in parallel. This gives buyers a comfortable choice. Moreover, both are stronger than “Buy Now” because they cover why you should buy them now.
Meanwhile, W&P shows off elegant product page layouts and CTAs.
When you place the mouse pointer over the product, you will also see more practical images of the product as well as more options for other product variations besides the “Add to Cart” CTA.
Stage 3: Decision
Customers are always very different.
Some consumers scroll through the funnel, go from prospect to fan in a flash, see what they want, buy it, they become brand advocates. Other consumers are as slow as a small turtle, taking months or years to reach the “payment beach” and soak in the joy of having purchased the item.
This is the stage where buyers are about to be knocked out. Not 100%. A gentle push, you’re right!
Take appropriate intervention as soon as the customer intends to leave the site
Once customers have added products to their cart or wishlist, you can prompt them to move to the bottom of the funnel with gentle, encouraging messages.
A stronger impact could come from moves known as “Exit-intent campaigns”. It gives users great perks like completing their first order and getting some % off at checkout or getting a voucher for the next purchase after completing the purchase and signing up for email notifications.
This campaign, triggered by bounce intent, helps businesses reduce cart abandonment to increase conversions and collect leads they can nurture with email marketing.
Make the checkout process a different experience
A Baymard survey conducted in 2021 on reasons for abandonments based on 4239 customer responses across e-commerce platforms shows that checkout is crucial if you want to succeed in eCommerce sales funnel optimization.
A well-designed checkout page with multiple payment options and convincing CTAs is a must for eCommerce stores.
Besides, there’s nothing sexier than free shipping or freebies included. You can offer free shipping on special occasions of the year like Christmas or 1-2 weeks before the end of the year. This is the time when a lot of cheap “hunters” appear.
Understanding this mentality, Wayfair has launched a free shipping strategy that combines discounts on many extremely expensive items.
Or another way for you to stimulate the shopping psychology of customers is to set milestones. Sweaty Betty encourages customers to hit the £150 mark to enjoy a discount on delivery.
The set milestones are very good incentives for shoppers to try to reach that milestone to receive promotions
This is an interesting strategy that can help you snag customers who are distracted and forget their wishlist or suddenly drop out without paying.
These emails are built on the analysis that computers collect about customers such as the number of times they click to view the product, the number of times they proceed to the checkout step…
At first, it could be just emails reminding you to complete the payment process, emails with low promotions to remind you at low intensity. Then there will be emails with big promotional announcements or low stock levels related to products customers have placed on wishlists to create a sense of urgency. Pretty good strategy, right?
And you can refer to this from Fanchest:
This is a pretty comprehensive email reminder and it really puts the buyer in a hurry to get back to completing their shopping cart.
Stage 4: Loyalty
A customer buys a product from your business, has a good experience, and wants to continue to stick with the brand. That’s so much better than attracting new customers. It’s even cheaper, of course!
Once you’ve built customer loyalty, you have a right to expect more of the profits brought by those customers: new customers are referred to the store by them and more times bought by themselves. shopping (the value of the next purchase is usually higher than the previous purchase, trust me!).
Building a Loyalty Program
You need to establish a scoring system that converts customer loyalty through their behaviors: purchasing, sharing on social networking sites, leaving comments after experiencing the product…
Any move that is tied to interest will have a higher chance of being responded to by people who have already cashed out to buy products from your store.
One great way I learned from Away is to leverage social proof where the person who has purchased from them becomes a speaker.
A $20 bonus is awarded as soon as one of your friends places the first order through your referral link. And your friend also gets $20. Too great!
Comfort also comes from the fact that customers can decide for themselves the referral platform with four options: email, Facebook Messenger, Twitter or share the link.
They also ask you to send tracking information to your friends after three days and the option is pre-selected. The company wants to make sure that your email is not ignored.
Maintain impact via email or other communication channels like social media or phone
A thank you email for being part of the brand over the past year.
A happy birthday message with unexpected offers.
Trust me, that’s how your brand wins the hearts of shoppers and gets sales funnel optimization efficiently. That will increase the likelihood that customers will come back again and again.
Creating an eCommerce sales funnel is a way for businesses and retailers to understand the customer journey as they visit and shop at their online store. The strategies for eCommerce sales funnel optimization are built primarily around understanding buyer psychology, a key factor in helping you succeed in most transactions. I hope they will help increase the visibility of your business, help you acquire new leads, and retain existing customers.
Wish you success!
Thanks for reading!