How to Create an Effective Income-Generating Ecommerce Sales Funnel

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Guest Updated: March 04, 2022

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Creating a winning ecommerce sales funnel can give you the competitive edge you crave. In this article we will learn how to step-up the ecommerce game by designing a sales funnel that fuels growth.

Optimizing your sales funnel is important for business owners who want to maximize their potential. For ecommerce businesses, the right digital marketing strategies can increase your conversion rate and improve the efficiency of your sales funnel. Creating a bespoke marketing plan for every part of the customer journey as customers traverse the funnel is key to its success.

The ecommerce sales funnel doesn’t just consider how many leads or prospects converted into paying customers but also if you could retain those customers. From creating awareness of your products to ensuring customer loyalty, the sales funnel is an all-encompassing model of the journey your customers take to make a purchase.

Only 3.3% of the customers that land on an ecommerce website make a purchase. Purchase is the last step in the funnel. To increase your conversion rate, you have to strategize how not to lose prospects at every step of the customer journey. Micro-conversions are just as important and ensure the customer makes it to purchase.

It’s common for ecommerce businesses to be missing parts of the ecommerce sales funnel. The entire elements of the funnel ensure the customer journey is as simple as possible and the customer experience is top-notch. Not having a sales funnel, or having a poorly designed one, means you’re losing money.

Table of content

What is an Ecommerce Sales Funnel?

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The sales funnel is the process your prospective customers undertake to become customers. The sales funnel also extends to customer retention and other post-sales strategies to ensure customer loyalty and long-term recurring sales. Businesses can design their own unique sales funnels, but the fundamentals of an ecommerce sales funnel remain the same.

The funnel is designed to keep the prospect engaged and push them further down the funnel toward the conversion point. Every stage of the funnel has different metrics to measure its effectiveness and performance. Measuring these metrics is of utmost importance to understand if your engagement and marketing tactics are working or not.

A typical ecommerce conversion funnel has four stages:

  • Awareness
  • Interest
  • Decision or conversion
  • Retention (post-conversion phase)

Building an ecommerce funnel needs you to map the buyer’s journey and optimize it. Every stage of the funnel should be designed with the customer in mind and how you can make their lives easier. This will help you identify how to design each stage with minimal friction movement.

Having a sales funnel ensures your website design and other marketing assets are cohesive and enhance each other.

It’s necessary to know if your sales funnel is underperforming or if you’re able to turn maximum prospects into paying customers. With a clear roadmap and easy to track metrics, you can generate leads, reduce unnecessary ecommerce cost, and maximize revenue.

To understand the importance of designing a roadmap to guide prospects toward a buying decision, here’re a few advantages of an ecommerce sales funnel:

  • A sales funnel will increase conversion rates and profit because it will focus on providing a solution to your customer’s problems.
  • Once you have properly designed it, you can leave it on autopilot.
  • You can identify what part of the sales funnel is weak with the right metrics and fix it right away.
  • You can create a personalized customer journey, increasing your conversions and profit margins.

Here’re a few actionable strategies to design each stage of a winning ecommerce sales funnel:

Awareness

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You want to attract customers here. Find ways to bring them to your landing page. In the digital world, there are dozens of ways to do this. You can use inbound or outbound marketing, blogs, content marketing, social media, or SEO (search engine optimization). While SEO is an organic way to gain web visitors, you can use paid ads to drive traffic too.

Whether you drive paid traffic to your website or organic traffic, it needs to be of high quality. You need to target the right audience; otherwise, you’re wasting your marketing dollars on attracting the wrong audience. Unless you’re focusing on international expansion, your targeting needs to be focused geographically and on the parameters of your key demographic. Creating a customer persona of your typical customer can improve your targeting.

Tips to improve this stage:

Create Content that Offers Value

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You need to write blogs that provide information and boost your SEO. At the awareness stage, content does not need to sell. It just needs to inform. Write about problems that your customers face and how to best solve them. Blogs are highly effective at educating leads, and they’re an organic ecommerce marketing strategy. You can create interesting content with your unique brand voice on a limited budget.

Good content is a natural traffic driver for ecommerce websites. Customers remember your value proposition and even share posts they find relatable.

Use Social Media to Attract Customers

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With over 3.6 billion users, the power of social media in the digital age is undeniable. If you want to be where your customers are, you need to create a presence on social media. Social media is a wonderful place to discover new leads and the great thing about social networks is that you have paid and organic options to drive traffic to your website.

You can choose to run paid ads, or you can develop a profile or page and organically build a following. Both avenues are fabulous for creating brand awareness and driving traffic to your website. Facebook ads can be highly targeted. You can achieve your conversion goals and get the most out of your marketing spend by showing your ads only to your intended audience.

Creating engaging and useful content on social media can drive organic traffic to your website. Without an advertising budget, you can simply create quick how-to videos for Instagram and Facebook. This helps educate and entertain users at the awareness stage and pushes them to the next stage.

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Interest

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At this stage, you need to create a desire for your products. People are already aware of your brand, and you need to pique their interest further. You want to remove all doubts and make it easy for them to take the next step, i.e., purchase your product. Your prospects have probably identified the solution to their pain points, and you need to leverage this.

They’re mid-funnel, and it took good money and considerable effort to even get them here. So here’re a few strategies to ensure they move ahead to the next stage:

Email Marketing

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Email marketing campaigns have an ROI of 4200%. Yes, they are actually that effective. Email might be a relatively old marketing channel, but we have yet to find one that can compare. Once a lead has shared their email address with you, it’s up to you to engage them through a good email onboarding process. And then keep them interested in your content and your brand with regular emails that don’t seem aggressive.

Curate your email strategy to be personalized and avoid hard-sells. Every time a lead visits your website, they leave a mark. Use cookies to gather this information, and personalize emails for higher conversion rates.

Use Social Proof

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Social proof is a powerful conversion driver. People love to know what their peers think about a brand. Adding social proof, like customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies, humanizes your marketing. You can add it to your social media pages, your email copy, and even your website. Social proof gives credibility to your brand and convinces prospects about your quality.

Another way to convince customers about quality is to get an ISO certification. ISO standards are far more convincing and important than your customers’ reviews. An ISO standard is the gold standard for quality, and everyone recognizes what it stands for.

Decision

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We’re at the bottom of the funnel, and you’ve convinced the customer to buy your product. Beware, though. A lot can happen before they make the purchase. Many “almost customers” leave their digital shopping cart abandoned for a myriad of reasons. This is a sensitive stage. Even the tiniest distraction can keep them from making a purchase, and the gentlest of nudges can ensure a purchase.

Offer Incentives at Checkout

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Free shipping is a powerful incentive that can drive purchases because half of the abandoned carts are due to shipping fees. Some users don’t proceed with the purchase if they can’t find their choice of payment type. Offer multiple payment options. Also, ensure your return policy is mentioned, and it’s in the customer’s favor. It could be a decisive factor for many.

You can also mention if the product in their shopping cart is low on stock. Customers usually hasten their shopping process when they know what they want is in demand and may run out.

Reduce Checkout Friction

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The checkout page should be distraction-free, and the check-out process needs to be as simple as possible. Use a payment gateway that is user friendly and ask for only important information in the ecommerce checkout forms.

Consider the Magento 2 One Step Checkout extension by Mageplaza for your website. It helps reduce abandonment rate as they have optimized it for quick and simple checkouts. Discover the extension now!

Retention

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You would think that once the customer takes your desired action, the ecommerce sales funnel has reached its end. Unfortunately (or fortunately), your relationship with your customer has just begun. Customer retention has gained importance in ecommerce businesses because, with the sizable investment of time and money on every customer, you can’t just have them make a single purchase and forget about them.

Keeping customers is easier than finding new ones. Maximize the ROI on every penny invested in making a lead a customer by ensuring repeat purchases and brand loyalty.

The following strategies can help you ensure customer retention and make the most out of it:

Amazing Customer Service

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Customer retention depends on how satisfied the customer was in the entire buying process. The quality of your customer service is proportional to the number of returning customers. Did you deliver the product on time? Did they like the product? Was your after-sales service flawless? Were customers informed about their order status?

Consider using an EDI to send out purchase order acknowledgements, purchase order changes, and advanced shipping notices to keep customers informed about their orders. “What is EDI system?” you ask. It stands for Electronic Data Interchange and allows you to exchange documentation digitally with customers.

Upselling and Cross-selling

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Upselling means selling a product of higher value to a customer when they’re about to make a purchase. Cross-selling is the act of recommending a small add-on that makes the initial purchase more attractive. These are strategies that can boost your average order value and improve your bottom line.

AI can supercharge your business by giving accurate information derived from your customers’ purchase history and tell you what products you should recommend for upselling or cross-selling.

Drive Traffic to Your Sales Funnel

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A pre-designed sales funnel gives you multiple ways to generate traffic and keep customers engaged. Your sales funnel should increase your profits. If it’s not doing that, you need to use the tips and tactics listed above.

Drive traffic to your website using digital marketing, nurture your leads using email marketing, and use social proof to convince them that your products are worth it. Close your sales by making your checkout friction-free and focus on client retention if you want to make the most of your sales funnel.

Define metrics and KPIs to optimize each stage. Traction by Gino Wickman is a wonderful book in which he says that data is one of the six key components of your business. With business intelligence tools, the right metrics can help you quickly fix mistakes and make informed decisions about the future.

Your ecommerce sales funnel should guide your customers through the purchasing process. Simplify this process, and remember that each stage of the funnel is critical to the entire customer journey. An excellent customer experience results from how you responded to customers’ needs throughout the funnel.

Conclusion

A well-designed ecommerce sales funnel can ensure a brighter future for you. Your customers are going through the four stages listed above whether or not you know it. Ensure you understand the cruciality of each stage and use that knowledge to optimize each stage for higher conversions. ​​

Author bio: Alister Esam is the CEO and Founder of Process Bliss, a work management and ISO procedures software that is reinventing how businesses execute day to day tasks. He is an expert in strategic planning, business process management, and business process optimization. With more than 15 years of experience in helping businesses run at peak efficiency, Alister has dedicated his career to make work easier, and more motivating for managers and employees alike. He has written for sites such as Airdroid and Recruitee.

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