How to Enhance Each Phase of Your E-Commerce Sales Funnel
E-commerce sites have a median conversion rate of 2.63%. This means 97.37% of site visitors are simply browsing. This is an ugly average given the high cost involved in gaining traffic.
However, you can do better by comprehending the consumer’s buying journey so you can improve your platform’s digital marketing tactics and boost its conversion rate. A lot of e-commerce business owners are unable to conceptualize their site’s sales funnel beneficially for their customers and their company. They think the process is streamlined – from X to Y – but a more effective method would be to tackle it phase by phase.
This post can help you do it by enabling you to understand a typical consumer’s journey. Plus, you can learn how to use the insight to improve your e-commerce sales funnel’s buyer retention and conversion rates.
Introduction to The E-Commerce Sales Funnel
This funnel shows the journey undertaken by a visitor to move from prospect to an existing buyer and onward to retention. This journey can be fast (the customer immediately buys something they see and like) or it could take them months of years to make the final purchasing decision.
There is a lot of difference in sales funnel design among industries and marketers. For instance, there are demand-generation funnels, marketing funnels, and conversion funnels. While each adopts a slightly different method, their main goal is the same which is to map the buyer’s journey toward making the wanted action.
5 Phases of The Funnel
To understand your sales funnel, you can simplify it into the following 5 phases:
The awareness phase: In this phase, customers are learning about your brand through marketing tactics like referrals, paid traffic, organic search, and others.
The consideration phase: In mid-funnel, you’ve have attracted the consumer’s attention and interest. Now, you need to take the process forward through product descriptions, customer testimonials, and other relevant content.
The decision phase: Here, customers are assessing their final options. Now, you can show your customer support abilities and offer limited-time discounts to help the customer select your product.
The buying phase: In this phase, you’ll find consumers who have who have decided to purchase. Make the process easier by offering them a frictionless account registration and the checkout experience. If the customer decides not to purchase, retarget them with relevant ads to bring them back into the funnel.
The retention phase: These buyers have gone beyond the sales funnel. You can use loyalty programs, customer accounts, and email sequences to keep these consumers interested in cross-sells, upsells, and add-ons. The first four stages aim to move the prospect forward in the funnel and convert them. The objective of the fifth phase is to get repeat purchases from existing customers.
Next, we’ll discuss how to enhance each funnel phase.
How to Enhance The Awareness Phase
Since this stage is high up the funnel, it can be difficult to view the relationship between your ad expenditure and revenue. But, the tactics you use for top-of-the-funnel consumers are vital for developing your target buyer segment. In the awareness phase, you should aim to attract a large audience while keeping in mind your ideal consumer.
You can do this in three ways:
1. Utilize Existing Consumer Information to Produce Lookalike Audiences For Your Facebook Advertising Campaigns
Lookalike audiences on Facebook assist you to find prospects that are similar to your current customers. To simplify, it’s like copy/pasting your existing customer base. A strategy for a lookalike audience can enable you to reach more leads while maintaining focus. To create lookalike audiences, you can utilize:
Consumer email lists. Use the emails of prospects that have entered or subscribed to your giveaways to craft a custom audience group.
Recently converted buyers. Use the attributes of recent buyers to produce lookalike audiences.
Followers who have interacted with your brand’s content. These are prospects that have shown interest by looking at your videos or liking your content.
You can use the created lookalike audiences to jump-start the procedure to make your prospects move from the top of the sales funnel to phase two.
2. Refine Your Shopping Feed on Google With Negative Keywords And Product Groups
The goal behind this move is to match your products or services to consumer queries. Keywords don’t lead shopping campaigns. Instead, the effectiveness of your brand’s Shopping campaign depends on the product categories you’ve produced in the data feed of your product.
When you begin a Google Shopping marketing campaign, all the items in the data feed of your product are clumped together. If this is not changed, you’ll not get a significant ROAS (return on ad spend) because you’re offering a similar bid to all your products.
But your products are unequal in the sense that some display a higher conversion rate or profit margin. Therefore, you should narrow your brand’s products into particular groups based on their price, conversion rate, and profit margin. Try to place similar products together and get them in a single group that is equal across the above three metrics.
You should also focus on utilizing negative keywords in your Google Shopping marketing campaigns. Use product attributes and product groups to optimize your campaigns on Google Shopping, but don’t ignore negative keywords. These keywords inform Google about the terms for which your product shouldn’t be triggered.
Google’s Shopping Feed matches your product catalog with the customer’s search query. Utilize negative keywords to make this procedure more precise, so that a searcher doesn’t mistakenly obtain your product in their query result.
3. Produce a Matching Referral Program For Your Brand
The above tips have two main themes that are focusing on the right customer segment and boosting awareness about your brand.
This increases the effectiveness of referral programs and makes them an excellent strategy to refine the first phase of your e-commerce sales funnel. Consumers will only refer to a product if they think their contact will like the item. In a popular case study, Dropbox offered extra storage to their current customers as a reward for referring their service to their friends. This strategy increased their signups by 60% in 15 months.
The tactic was effective because it used a simple process for referrals that maintained attention on the service. Dropbox presented extra storage and delivered value while providing an incentive for referrals. We don’t think the Dropbox strategy would have been as successful if they had offered Amazon gift cards as incentives and not increased storage. However, they were smart and understood the needs and preferences of their existing consumers and gave them an easy method to obtain them.
How to Enhance The Consideration Phase
In this phase, the consumer is assessing your product. Here, you should concentrate on crafting advantage-based product descriptions and encouraging user-generated content (UGC) or reviews.
1. Request User-Generated Content
UGC is welcome for the following reasons:
It enables your existing consumers to directly address your prospects. Your existing customers can relate more naturally and closely with the needs of your potential consumers.
UGC displays your offering in the actual world. You may be selling a service, camera, or clothing, UGC assists prospective buyers to view your offering in action.
It also provides you useful content that you can utilize across your marketing campaigns. Content creation is not easy or cheap for both small businesses and large enterprises. Even writers in the content marketing firm you may hire would find it hard to learn all the intricacies of your product. UGC can assist to fill this gap.
For example, a non-profit organization named CaringBridge which had a limited budget for marketing used their unique and emotional user-generated stories to create relevant and compelling content. The brand adopted a proactive role in obtaining UGC, instead of merely concentrating on increasing the number of online testimonials and reviews. They went and acquired stories and converted the tales into value-driven and pertinent content.
2. Create Benefit-Based Product Descriptions
A good 86% of buyers think that product content is crucial in making their purchasing decision. Yet, many brands end up branding in improper places. Branding is indeed important, but it should be done in the correct place and time. But product descriptions are not that place. They should be crafted to help users understand your product’s value. So, rather than publicizing your product’s features, you should concentrate on providing information about its benefits.
A feature can be AI-driven machine learning in Quickbooks. Its benefit is providing users access to all their finances in a single dashboard.
SuperCool Memory Foam is a feature. Its benefit is restful sleep at night.
How to Enhance The Decision Phase
In this phase, the informed buyer is evaluating a few final options. They are assessing the pros and cons of each product. To make the customer select your brand, you can provide top-notch customer support and pop-ups that gather exit intent.
1. Concentrate on Customer Support
Your customer has done their homework and learned all about your product and its features. But they may still have a query about your offering that they can’t find answers to. This is where customer support steps in. Make your brand contactable by offering tools like emails, live chat, and help desk and FAQ pages.
These channels help provide the information the customer needs to make an educated purchasing decision. If a visitor on your website has a query or doubt, you can resolve it by providing live chat support and convert the prospect into a paying customer. Therefore, it’s essential for your company to enable your prospects to get fast, value-driven responses on multiple channels.
2. Deploy an Exit-Intent Plan
As we had stated earlier, over 97% of your site visitors will exit it without buying anything. You can try to obtain their intent before they bounce off. Use marketing to obtain something from the browsers before they leave. You can perform this by making an exit-motive popup show up when a visitor leaves your page. The plan is to make the user remain on your site or return later for more.
An exit popup has a conversion rate of 3.93% on average. This means you can get back about 4% out of the 97% visitors abandoning your platform. Do not stop your funnel here. The sales funnel continues even after a customer has decided to purchase or not. After a consumer decides to purchase, they still have to check out. This leads us to phase four: buying your product.
How to Enhance The Purchase Phase
In conventional store sales, after a consumer decides to buy, it’s wise for the salesperson to simply take their money and not offer information that’s not been asked for. The same policy applies to e-commerce sales. Simply get out of the buyer’s way after they make their purchasing decision. You can do this by offering a smooth checkout.
1. Offer a Frictionless Checkout Experience
Friction can happen at checkout for many reasons. Hidden prices like shipping fees make a good 50% of consumers leave their cart. 21% exit because of a complicated and long checkout process. 25% typically leave because of a sloppy checkout process. Follow the below pointers to provide a smooth checkout procedure.
Minimize the number of fields in the checkout form. Only request relevant information for the buy. If you solicit extra information, customers can become frustrated or may not have the time to provide it.
Do not present any surprises during the checkout procedure. Any additional fees or shipping costs should be informed to customers before they enter the checkout stage.
How to Enhance The Retention Phase
You should avoid the mistake of undervaluing existing consumers. This may be because a lot of marketing focuses on boosting brand awareness. Perhaps we simply prefer the term “new” to “established.” However, for a growing business, a large portion of daily sales is provided by return or established consumers.
To boost customer retention, you should:
Prompt consumers to create an account
Utilize email marketing to boost add-ons, cross-sells and upsells
1. Prompt Your Consumers to Create an Account
While you need to make the checkout procedure fast and smooth to reduce cart abandonment, it’s still important to encourage buyers to create an account on your website. The solution is to enable customers to create their site account after placing their order.
2. Offer Add-Ons, Cross-Sells And Upsells
Email marketing is a proven strategy that is often the largest ROI source for marketers. You can utilize email marketing to present add-ons, cross-sells, and upsells. In this way, you can reach out to consumers who have expressed their interest in your brand and product. You can give them specific and targeted purchase suggestions based on their buying history.
Focus on sending relevant emails to customers that are in tune with their purchasing journey. For instance, you can send a post-buy email to a customer to present add-ons to the main product they bought. This is an excellent way to boost the average sales order. However, you need not send the email immediately after a customer places their order to provide additional value.
Optimize Your Whole E-Commerce Sales Funnel
Focus on mapping the buyer’s journey to your e-commerce sales funnels to improve your digital marketing plans.
A lot of marketers are unable to decide on giving importance to increasing consideration or creating awareness. This discord in your e-commerce sales strategy can impact your platform’s conversion rates. The solution is to implement marketing strategies with a focus on the sales funnel. This will enable you to offer a smooth journey that converts your prospects into paying customers and also makes them return for more purchases.