If you operate an eCommerce business, you need to understand the importance and stages of eCommerce conversion funnels. eCommerce conversion funnels are valuable visualization tools that can help you maximize the profits of your business and streamline the customer journey.
Today, let’s break down how you can optimize an eCommerce conversion funnel in detail.
What Is an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
An eCommerce conversion funnel isn’t that different from a conversion funnel for a retail or in-person business. In a nutshell, a conversion funnel is a metaphor for the “consumer journey.” It describes how people first become aware that they need a product, then purchase the product from a retailer or brand.
In broader terms, the conversion funnel breaks down the route that customers take from learning about your brand to making a purchase. Some versions of the funnel may include customer retention, subscription-based purchases, and more.
Regardless, brand owners need to understand how eCommerce conversion funnels work and why they’re important if they are going to succeed in a competitive marketplace.
What Is the Importance of an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
If an eCommerce conversion funnel is just a metaphor or way to visualize a consumer journey, why does it matter?
In simple terms, it allows you to maximize the stages of the customer journey. For example, if you break down the conversion funnel for your eCommerce business and find that most customers leave somewhere in the middle, you know that you don’t need to spend more time on marketing. Instead, you need to devote more resources to website navigability or other middle-of-the-funnel elements.
What Is an Example of an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
Let’s take a closer look at conversion funnels by breaking down a concrete example:
- You have an eCommerce brand and create products. You have an excellent marketing campaign that draws people to your website’s landing page regularly.
- People stick around on your website for a good while because it is well-designed and easy to navigate. You don’t need to worry about people being unable to find the right products.
- However, at the second to last stage of the funnel, people abandon their carts on your website. This is the single largest area for loss of revenue across the board in your organization.
- Because you’ve broken things down in this way, you know that you need to make the purchasing process easier or inspire customers not to abandon their shopping carts.
- You discover that your business — unlike others in your industry — doesn’t accept cryptocurrencies as payment options. This could be a big reason why consumers are adding products to their shopping carts, but abandoning those carts just before payment.
As you can see from this example, eCommerce conversion funnels offer concrete, practical benefits to businesses.
What Are the Stages of the Conversion Funnel?
Now that you understand the benefits of a conversion funnel, let’s take a look at each stage in detail.
Top of Funnel – Awareness of Need
The top of the funnel is also the “widest” part. In the funnel analogy, the funnel becomes narrower as consumers go through their journey. This metaphorically represents how — no matter how effective your marketing is — you’ll lose some visitors and target consumers at each stage. This is normal.
Regardless, the top part of the funnel represents consumers becoming aware that they need a product. They may do some basic research and find your brand through certain keywords or through online advertisements. In any event, they arrive at your website via the landing page and start to look around.
Middle of Funnel – Intent to Buy
In the next stage of an eCommerce conversion funnel, your prospective customer or visitor intends to buy something. Maybe they are impressed with your website design or connect to your brand for another reason.
Your prospective buyer looks around your site and finds the ideal products for their needs. During this phase of the conversion funnel, your products need to be well-designed, thoughtfully laid out, and displayed using attractive pictures and product descriptions to convince people to purchase them.
Lower Funnel – Adds Product to Cart
Some funnel analogies only have one more stage, but most eCommerce business owners find a four-stage funnel to be a better representation of the customer journey.
At the third stage, the customer enters the lower stage of the funnel and puts one or more products into their online shopping cart. At this point, they are almost ready to finalize a purchase. They like your products and brand enough that they are seriously considering spending money at your company.
However, the journey isn’t done. As soon as your customer clicks on the “check out” button, they enter the fourth and final stage of the buying process. This is the most important part of the funnel.
Exit Funnel – Finalizes Purchase
At this stage, your prospective customer inputs their credit card or crypto wallet information and makes a purchase. Still, many factors can dissuade a customer from buying something they’ve already found and liked, such as:
- The layout of the checkout page
- The available payment methods. As noted above, the more payment methods you offer, the likelier it is someone will make a purchase
- The difficulty of making a purchase. If you force all customers to make an account — for example — you could turn a lot of people away from finishing the conversion funnel
If all goes well, your prospective buyer will become a consumer and exit the funnel at the very bottom with a sale.
How Do You Create an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
An optimized and streamlined eCommerce conversion funnel is a net boon to your business. Fortunately, you can create and optimize an eCommerce conversion funnel by following these steps:
- First, identify the customer journey. Identify where most of your customers arrive at your website, and make sure the landing page is as well-designed and welcoming as possible.
- Next, use the four stages we broke down above and create a conversion trigger plan to usher consumers through the sales funnel. For example, when a customer puts a product in the shopping cart at the end of the third stage, you could program your website to show a pop-up offering to take customers straight to the checkout screen.
- Be sure to define the point where a visitor becomes a “lead,” such as when they provide their email address.
- Remove all unnecessary steps from the eCommerce conversion funnel. For example, if you need email addresses for marketing, do not get those email addresses by forcing consumers to sign up for your store forum. Instead, get them another way, like a discount offer pop-up.
- Offer as many ways to pay as possible. This is key to drawing international business and to ensuring that visitors don’t lose inspiration to make a purchase after they’ve placed one or more products in their shopping carts
How Do You Use an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
To best use an eCommerce conversion funnel:
- Review KPIs regularly to see how often customers progress down the funnel’s entirety.
- Continually identify the weakest spots of your eCommerce conversion funnel and work to improve them. This may change over time.
- Try to shorten the funnel as much as possible. The shorter the funnel is, the more likely someone is to complete the customer journey. You can do this by minimizing the steps necessary to arrive at your site, put a product in a shopping cart, and make a purchase.
What Are the Most Important KPIs in an eCommerce Conversion Funnel?
KPIs or key performance indicators are important when analyzing and optimizing your eCommerce conversion funnel. Specifically, you should look at:
- Conversion rate, which breaks down the total percentage of visitors who convert into paying customers
- Customer acquisition cost
- Shopping cart abandonment rate
- Number of online transactions
- Return on ad spend
For your eCommerce brand to thrive, you’ll need to master the conversion funnel and maximize its efficacy over the years to come. You can do a lot for the last age of the funnel — and make it less likely that a customer will abandon their shopping cart — if you start accepting crypto payments.
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