How to Build A High-Converting eCommerce Sales Funnel


Published: | By Guillaume Deschamps

A gasoline-powered car needs motor oil to keep the engine running smoothly.

The last thing you want is your car breaking down on the road.

To avoid this scenario, pick up motor oil from your local gas station along with a funnel. The funnel will help you quickly fill up your engine and keep your car running smoothly over time. 

Now, I know what you are thinking. You didn’t come here to learn about car maintenance. How does this example relate to eCommerce?  

The quick answer? The funnel. 

Your eCommerce business is the car, and your customers are the oil. It would help if you had the funnel to get your customers to your business to keep it running and profitable. 

In this article, we break down the eCommerce sales funnel's importance, the four stages, and how to optimize each stage to maximize conversions. 

Let’s get started. 

What is an eCommerce sales funnel?

An eCommerce sales funnel is a way to visualize your customer journey from start to finish. 

ecommerce sales funnel with categories awareness consideration decision retention

Leads will enter the e-commerce funnel at the top and work their way towards the bottom of the funnel with the ultimate goal of converting into sales and becoming repeat customers. 

Every eCommerce business will have a slightly different path from leads to sales, but the four stages will remain the same across the board. For example, eCommerce sites that sell products with lower prices, such as toys or clothing, will likely have a shorter sales funnel than sites that sell luxury goods. 

Notice that the funnel gets increasingly narrow, depicting a lower volume of leads moving through the stages. Lead scoring is commonly used by marketing and sales teams to sort through their contact database and reroute the highest quality leads to the sales department immediately – significantly shortening the sales cycle. It is beneficial to direct the highest quality leads to reduce the possibility of losing a conversion through the funnel. 

sessions funnel from sleeknote with categories total sessions sessions with product page view sessions with add to cart sessions with transaction

(Image Source: Sleeknote)

Due to the high-cost barrier, lead scoring is essential for eCommerce sites that sell luxury goods, such as jewelry or niche furniture. The higher the price, the longer it takes for consumers to “pull the trigger” on a purchase. 

Regardless, sales funnels are essential for all eCommerce businesses. A well-thought-out sales funnel can attract more leads, drive more sales, grow brand awareness, and increase repeat customers. 

What are the stages of an eCommerce sales funnel? 

Next, we will break down each stage and provide critical examples of how you can build a high-converting sales funnel for your eCommerce business. 

Stage 1: Awareness

Consumers will never be able to purchase your product if they don’t even know you exist. It is essential to get your brand in front of the eyes of your target audience. The first impression is key to a high-converting eCommerce sales funnel. 

Don’t underestimate the power of TikTok in 2022. According to research from Adweek, nearly half of TikTok users make purchases from brands they see in the app.

The exciting thing about TikTok is that every video has the same chance of going viral. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have because TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes showing videos from accounts and creators that users have never seen. 

With billions of active users, a simple 30-second TikTok can go viral overnight and drive brand awareness for your eCommerce business as the video circulates the app. The icing on the cake? It is all free. 

Take pillow slides as an example. With almost 12 million views, pillow slides were named “TikTok's most cozy trend of 2021,” according to The Today Show. This product gained instant popularity overnight. 

screenshot of tiktok page for pillow slides

Another top social media platform for your eCommerce business is Pinterest. According to Pinterest, 97% of searches are unbranded. Unbranded search lets your brand capture consumers' attention as they seek inspiration and discover new products.

The sales funnel starts with awareness, where a good digital marketing strategy comes into play. Take advantage of the internet, find free graphics, or use free graphic design services like Canva to create great social media and web content. 

The ultimate goal is to attract the consumer's attention and bring awareness to your product offering. After all, nothing attracts attention more than eye-catching custom graphics.

screenshot from freepik blog about a story 4 women designers who have made their mark on history

With a bit of creativity, TikTok and Pinterest are the perfect social media platforms to drive brand awareness without breaking the bank. 

In addition to social media content, don’t forget the tried and true SEO tactics and content marketing. 

Although a bit more time-intensive than a social media post, blog content with valuable product information is highly coveted and can surely increase brand awareness. 

Consumers are actively searching the internet for product comparisons and looking for answers to their questions. They are also looking for brands they feel they can trust before purchasing as well, so be certain your website is up-to-date with all relevant detail they need to make an informed decision. It is your job to capture the attention of your consumers through these organic searches. 

To help you rank higher on the SERP, provide unique angles that are not over-saturated for your particular product or keyword. The higher the traffic, the higher the probability of moving leads down the sales funnel and scoring conversions. 

Stage 2: Consideration

When consumers land in the consideration stage, the second stage of the eCommerce sales funnels, they are already familiar with your brand or product offering. 

They are actively considering whether or not your product is worth purchasing.

There are a few simple ways to capitalize on leads and move them further down the sales funnel.

The best lead magnets for eCommerce websites are discount codes. Consumers are always looking for a chance to save money, especially if your product offering sits at a higher price point. 

Consumers are usually willing to exchange their email addresses for saving money on their purchases. 

Even if it is only 10% off, which typically only covers the tax on the purchase, the code makes them feel like they have the upper hand and are in control of the buying decision. 

screenshot from counter culture with a popup for 10 percent off your order

POWR offers easy ways to build professional forms for any website without the need for complex code. Close sales 3x faster with quality forms and discount code offerings on your eCommerce site.

Another excellent example of a lead magnet is referral marketing. According to Invesp, referred leads convert 30% better than leads acquired through other channels. Referred leads skip the awareness stage and move directly into the bottom half of the sales funnel. 

For example, investment apps like Webull and Robinhood incentivize their users to do their marketing by incentivizing outreach. When you refer a friend, and they sign up for the trading platforms, you get free stock in your account. 

Incentives like these cost little money upfront and only cost you once the lead is converted. It is a win-win. 

Strong lead magnets will push your consumers further down the eCommerce sales funnel and drive higher conversions. 

Stage 3: Decision 

Consumers who enter the decision stage want to buy a product but are not 100% sure they want to buy from you. 

This is your time to offer them the best product, the best price, the best shipping, the best customer service, or social proof. 

When considering this aspect of your funnel, speed isn't everything; At the same time, many eCommerce websites and apps offer same-day delivery courier services; the main ingredient to tie it all together has to be the overall customer experience. 

As a sales team leader, you need to consider the sales funnel with your hiring funnel. Managing employees to ensure that you have the necessary number of sales reps according to the different sales funnel stages is an essential factor in closing deals. 

You can offer a live-chat function on your website to ensure customers are getting their questions answered. Informed consumers make faster purchasing decisions. 

screenshot of payment page for olipop

Finally, make sure your checkout page is quick and painless. You don’t want to lose a sale on the checkout page. 

Offering express checkout options ensures the fastest possible checkout experience, giving little to no time for the customer to second guess their buying decision. 

Stage 4: Retention

The eCommerce sales funnel does not end after a purchase. 

Repeat sales and loyal customers drive the success of an eCommerce site. 

There are a few proven tactics that help prompt repeat sales. For example, Olipop offers a subscribe and save model, where the customer signs up for repeat purchases in exchange for a discounted price. 

screenshot of shopping cart order for olipop

It is imperative to maintain a database to track past customers. 

A database schema is a vital blueprint that organizes data into tables with columns, keys, and interrelations. Database schemas are extremely important to integrate into your sales funnel to help analyze data and improve each step of the funnel to drive more conversions and retain existing customers. 

By maintaining a clean and robust database of prior customers, you can leverage targeted email marketing campaigns offering discounts, upsells, and announcements of new product offerings.

It is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to maintain a repeat customer, making the retention stage an integral part of the eCommerce sales funnel.

Final Thoughts

Make it easy for customers to find your product offerings using social media, content marketing, and other SEO strategies. 

Streamline your checkout process with the help of express options to avoid abandoned carts and failed conversions. 

A diverse eCommerce sales funnel is the key to increased leads, higher sales conversion, improved customer loyalty, and the overall long-term success of your eCommerce business.

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