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On average, over 43.8% of eCommerce site visitors view a product page and only 3.3% make a purchase.
Another study shows that the average conversion rate of eCommerce websites is 1%-2%.
As an eCommerce owner and decision-maker, you’d obviously want your conversion figures to go higher than that. So, how do you do it?
By optimizing your eCommerce sales funnel.
In this article, we will cover what an eCommerce sales -or conversion- funnel is and how to optimize your eCommerce site for higher conversions.
eCommerce sales funnel is an illustration of a users’ path from the moment they land on your eCommerce page to the point where they convert, i.e. perform the desired action.
Depending on the structure of the eCommerce website, every business will have a unique sales funnel – however, the fundamentals of eCommerce sales funnel staging are always basically the same.
Every stage of the funnel is designed to move the prospect closer towards the conversion point, which for eCommerce means a successfully completed purchase.
Conversion funnel in eCommerce also includes the post-conversion phases, such as customer retention, upselling and cross-selling.
Buyer journey is the process your leads go through from becoming aware of your brand, to considering and evaluating a purchase, and deciding to buy your product.
This process should become the basis for your conversion funnel as it helps you understand what your users are looking for, what type of experience they expect and what type of information they need to complete the purchase.
Mapping the buyer journey matters because it helps you:
Optimizing your sales funnel means helping the user find the information they need to evaluate your offering, as well as complete the desired action (convert) – be it a sign up, contact or purchase.
A well-defined and optimized sales funnel helps you attract and convert as many leads as possible; It also helps you increase repeat purchases and brand advocacy.
The benefits of sales funnel optimization include:
eCommerce sales funnel consists of four stages that mark a specific phase of a buyer’s journey:
For each of these stages, there are several tactics that you can use to successfully move your prospects down the funnel.
At the top of the funnel or the beginning of the buyer journey, users become aware of your brand and your offerings.
They have reached your business through a variety of channels that include digital ads, word-of-mouth, social media posts, backlinks and so on.
They also have pain points and problems they need to solve and estimate whether your business can help them.
This is why, at this stage of the sales funnel, it is critical that you explain what your business is all about and provide resources and content that will educate the prospects.
At this stage of the user journey and sales funnel, you should employ this content marketing on your eCommerce site that educates visitors:
Recommended tactics for the awareness stage of the funnel:
When your eCommerce business manages to acquire targeted and high-value visitors to its online store through organic and paid channels, you can say you have a base of prospects who are now aware of your eStore and understand its value propositions.
These users, that have not dropped out of the sales funnel at the first stage, are likely interested in your eCommerce business, are browsing through your product pages and are considering to buy from you.
The goal at this point is to make these prospects add a product to the wishlist or a cart and move them down the funnel towards the next stage.
You can remove any remaining doubts your visitors have at this point by employing these types of content marketing:
You can also promote your special deals to your email subscribers via email campaigns and persuade them with compelling copy.
Recommended tactics for the consideration stage of the sales funnel:
At the bottom of the eCommerce sales funnel is the decision or conversion stage of the user journey.
After getting your prospects interested in your eStore and convincing them to take action in the previous step, now is the time for the final push towards conversion.
Recommended tactics for the decision/conversion stage of the sales funnel:
After gaining a customer, the final step of the conversion funnel is to nurture that relationship into loyalty and advocacy, increasing the customer’s lifetime value.
Customer retention strategy can include these strategies:
Recommended tactics for the retention/loyalty stage of the sales funnel:
Now let’s talk strategy. Here are steps to take to optimize your site’s funnel so it drives, engages and converts more leads:
User flow and other metrics in Google Analytics can help you with mapping out your user journey.
You should figure out not only what your users do when they arrive at your eStore, but also where they came from and how they behaved after they left your website.
To better understand your buyers’ journey, try answering these questions:
Your prospects should have a very clear path to follow, from the moment they enter your conversion funnel and become aware with your brand to the point when they convert.
Provide a good user experience to them by avoiding confusing layout and difficult navigation. Make sure there is an obvious, intuitive way to get to any product category and any product page – no matter where they land on your site.
Visitors will abandon your eStore at any stage of the funnel whenever their experience is dissatisfactory. Try to identify the weak points of your eStore’s navigation and improve them.
Some navigational improvements you can implement include:
As we’ve already discussed when defining each of the eCommerce funnel stages, you should create a plan for ushering consumers through each of the four stages: awareness, interest/consideration, decision/conversion and loyalty/retention.
Define, in advance, the type of content you want to use on every stage and on the pages that prospects visit.
Remember, these don’t have to be on-site content types only – email marketing and retargeting ads that target users who have already looked at items in your shop are very effective eCommerce marketing strategies, too.
To reiterate, content marketing types that can capture customers are:
Visitors usually become eCommerce leads when they subscribe for newsletters and leave their personal information such as email addresses.
Once you capture your leads, you need a lead nurturing strategy to transition them from awareness over interest to conversion.
This nurturing strategy consists of sending your email subscriber leads the kind of content that is designed to cover all the possible stages of the journey they may go through.
With this content, you make an offer to your leads that they may accept – and the more enticing the offer is, the harder it will be for them to pass it.
Write down your incentive ideas, test them against each other and brainstorm which may be the most suitable in a given scenario, for given customers at different stages of their journey.
Some lead nurturing strategies that you can employ in this regard are:
Homepage, product pages and category pages are all vital for eCommerce websites. The more products you sell, the more “main” pages you will have and it will be hard to distinguish which one is more important.
Because all of these pages may act as landing pages for your prospects and leads, you should work on optimizing each.
You need to take into account the SEO of every page – its title tags, meta descriptions, keywords and keyword density in the title/description of the product and image alt title tags – in order for Google to send traffic your way.
You also need to adjust the content on each page for optimal user experience by not making them too cluttered, using only the essential copy that provides value and clarifications to users in a legible, readable way with lots of bullet points and short paragraphs.
Remember, every stage of conversion funnel needs to provoke an action from a user. This is why, apart from defining what you want this action to be, you need to make sure the page doesn’t distract users from completing that action.
The first step towards raising your conversion rates is capturing lead successfully. This is often done through online forms, such as ones for collecting email subscribers.
If users do not want to fill out your forms, you may be losing out on quality leads that are put off by the process of these forms. eCommerce websites need to have forms as short as possible, because fewer form fields means less friction.
Keep your form submission requirements to the minimum and ask for only the most essential information. Users are hesitant to give away information such as their phone number or location, so don’t make those fields required.
Finally, you should treat your checkout pages as a separate and very special entity. We have discussed the optimization of product and category pages before, but this is a completely different thing.
Cart abandonment rates are very high, in general. The higher they are, the more this indicates that shoppers find something about your checkout process offputting, distracting or disagreeable.
If you’re not sure what that could be, you can conduct on online survey with your customers and ask them directly what they don’t like about your checkout page. You can offer the answers they need to check or let them type in their own answers.
There are some best practices for optimizing checkout pages that you can infer on your own, though:
You cannot truly optimize your eCommerce sales funnel conversion rates if you don’t measure sales funnel’s performance.
In order to do so, you should establish the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will provide an insight into your optimizations’ performance.
Plenty of KPIs exist, but some of them are more important for measuring conversion funnel’s efficiency than the others.
These KPIs are:
Optimizing your eCommerce sales funnel is important for various reasons:
Depending on the stage of buyer journey and sales funnel they’re in, you should employ specific tactics:
Finally, the seven-step method for improving your sales funnel to gain more conversions would consist of these key tactics from the four stages:
Like what you’re reading? Check out the original blog post and resources from DesignRush here.