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How to Optimize eCommerce Conversion Funnel_blog

Tips & Guides — 09 Jun 2022

How to Optimize eCommerce Conversion Funnel

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  • Grow Your Business: A Guide to Ecommerce Conversion Funnel Optimization

Grow Your Business: A Guide to Ecommerce Conversion Funnel Optimization

Ecommerce is a booming industry. In 2021 alone, ecommerce sites generated a combined total of $4.9 billion and this is projected to grow year on year.

Nailing down exactly what ‘ecommerce’ means, the definition stands at being inclusive of any product or service bought and sold across the internet. So, whatever your industry, you’ve probably noticed the exploding popularity of ecommerce in recent years.

Before we go into how to maintain and optimize your ecommerce conversion funnels, let’s go over some of the reasons to pay attention to the ecommerce benefits for your business:

  • Convenience to consumers. Shopping online is more convenient and accessible for individual consumers. For B2B companies operating across the globe, it’s virtually mandatory.  
  • Reduced costs. Ecommerce reduces the need for brick-and-mortar locations and associated fees, including rental costs and utilities. 
  • Support from providers. Ecommerce platforms frequently have dedicated team members to support their customers with technical issues. This support can make your customer interactions and sales funnels more efficient.

A crucial element of ecommerce success is a solid plan for your ecommerce conversion funnels.

What Is an Ecommerce Conversion Funnel?

An ecommerce conversion funnel is a way of understanding and tracking different stages in the customer journey. This funnel charts customer actions and intentions from their first virtual interaction to desired actions, or conversions.

Ecommerce Conversion Funnel
Source(statista.com)

Let’s look at the stages of the funnel and cover the benefits of optimizing each of these funnel stages in turn.

1.  Initial contact

The first stage, or the top of the funnel, is the initial contact stage. This stage marks your potential customers’ first point of contact with your business and goes a long way toward shaping their future impressions.

Some examples of initial points of contact include:

This stage is sometimes called the awareness stage. Increasing brand awareness should be one of your goals when it comes to optimizing your ecommerce sales funnel. The goal of this stage is to encourage interest from new or first-time customers in your product or service. It’s a good idea to avoid hard selling at this stage as this can be very off-putting.

2.      Landing Stage

At this point, your potential customer will arrive at your ecommerce site from their first point of contact. There are a number of different pages that might function as a landing page – the page that your customer first sees on your website. These may include:

  •  Home page
  •  Product information pages
  •   A testimonials page

It’s up to your business where you choose to direct your customers first. You might choose to have different landing pages for different marketing channels.

Whatever you choose, make sure to use a gentle approach towards your sales technique at this point. The customer is still at the beginning of their journey and can be easily turned off making a purchase at this stage. 

They clicked on your ad or post because they want to know more about your company, product, or service. So, make sure that your landing pages are informative and creative.

3.      Website Navigation

This is the point where you’ll want to begin being more direct with your site users. They will now navigate from the landing page to the product page, and then (hopefully) to checkout.

Website Navigation
Source(statista.com)

Try to make this part of the journey as direct as possible. If you’re unable to list flat prices for a service, be upfront about this. If there is information that your customers need to know before purchasing, make this as easy as possible to locate.

4.      Decision-making

This is the point in the buyer’s journey where they make their final decision. To use an analogy from a brick-and-mortar clothes store, this is the point where you’ve tried the garment, settled on a color, and agreed to the price.

Make sure to provide as much information as possible on your product pages and try to avoid excessive pop-ups at this point.

5.      Checkout

This is the bottom of the funnel. This is the point at which your website visitors have the potential to become paying customers. Your checkout page is the final page that users will see before becoming customers.

This means that it needs to be:

  • Visually accessible and without obscured information.
  • Quick and easy to use.
  • Able to display your shopping cart easily.
  • Compatible with different payment options.
  • Consistent with your brand voice.

Try to avoid introducing new information about your product or service at this point. For example, don’t wait until the checkout process to declare potentially unexpected fees. User experience is everything at this point since they’ve already decided to make the purchase.

Consider the following example of a sales funnel from top to bottom: an upcycled clothing business with the goal of increasing sales from its social media presence.

Their sales funnel might look like this:

  • Initial contact: an Instagram ad modeling the business’s new vintage t-shirt line
  • Landing page: a product page on your ecommerce store with information on the manufacturing process and reviews for solid social proof.
  • Navigation: moving to the store page for this specific product.
  • Decision-making: between shopping cart and checkout, where customers need any final information (for example, washing instructions or storage tips).
  • Checkout: the final page where the customer pays and receives an order confirmation, where this business might gently upsell their other items to encourage customer retention.

This is the basic outline of the ecommerce conversion funnel. There are a number of ways to optimize this funnel for conversion rate optimization and improved customer experience. Let’s have a look. 

How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Conversion Funnel

Ecommerce businesses have a golden opportunity to reach a segment of customers when they use their conversion funnel to its maximum potential. Funnel optimization, then, is crucial.

There are tools available to help you to optimize your sales funnels. Customer journey mapping tools are a great integration into your ecommerce marketing strategy so that you can easily track points of issues and success. You can then focus your team’s efforts on improving these areas which can save you time and money.

Optimize Your Ecommerce Conversion Funnel
Source(affise.com)

Here are six top tips for making the most of your ecommerce sales funnel while driving sales and increasing brand awareness. 

1.      Understand Your Audience

This is the first step toward optimizing your sales funnel on your ecommerce website. Your audience is what drives sales, so everything on your site should be geared towards them. This includes accessibility, tone of voice, and pricing.

Site users have specific problem areas that are referred to as “pain points.” These are specific issues that your customers can have at any point during their customer journey. You want to minimize these points to make the shopping process as easy as possible and avoid cart abandonment.

To do this, you need to know what your audience wants from you.

This includes, for example, how they like to communicate with you about your product or service. You might benefit from having a live chat feature on your ecommerce site for urgent questions. You may also want a call center or email service for more in-depth inquiries.  

Case studies are another great way to show that you understand your audience if your business is service-based. 

Understand Your Audience
Source(affise.com)

For example, a cloud solutions business might ask past clients to allow an in-depth case study or testimonial to go onto their website, outlining the specific issue the client faced and how PBX in the cloud solved it.

2.      Streamline Your Marketing Efforts

Your ecommerce marketing strategy is your opportunity to directly engage with new customers and drive them into the awareness stage of the conversion funnel.

When marketing your product or service, your communications should have a consistent brand message and tone of voice. You should try to engage your customers on their terms by understanding what they need from you, think: “what problem are you solving?”

Your marketing communications should also be information regarding your product or service. For example, a workplace training business might consider using webinars for a detailed view of their service, as well as shorter video clips on social media.

Email marketing is another fantastic opportunity to encourage customers back into the sales funnel if they’ve exited early. For example, you might consider sending abandoned cart emails to consumers who have exited the funnel at the checkout stage. It might be that they need more encouragement to make their purchase decision.

Streamlining your marketing for your conversion funnel is a great time to utilize A/B testing. To conduct this test:

  • Design two emails containing the important information
  • Split your recipient list blindly
  • Send email “1” to group A and email “2” to group B
  • Collect relevant data (open rate/click rate)
  • Track the success of email marketing campaigns using the more popular design

Your marketing voice should be authentic about your business and honest with your customers. Make sure that any claims you make about your product can be backed up, as unsubstantiated claims can negatively affect the sales funnel conversion rate.

3.      Optimize Your Website

You can’t control your customers’ actions during the sales funnel. But you can control your website. 

This is your primary customer-facing contact point, so it needs to be optimized for your audience and your product. Frustration and confusion are two key elements that can lead to a low conversion rate, so you need to avoid making your customers experience these emotions while onsite.

Some examples of how you can do this for customers that have passed the awareness stage include:

  • Introducing product categories and filters if you have a large inventory
  • Accessibility features like a dark mode or larger font options
  • Minimizing intrusion from popups and ads
  • Include timely call-to-actions (CTAs)
  • Give the opportunity to sign onto mailing lists

This are ways that you can assist consumers once they’re onto your site. But you should also optimize your website for consumers in the awareness/discovery stage.

This includes optimizing your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

4.      SEO

SEO is your opportunity to rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs) when consumers search for a product in your industry. Particularly important for saturated markets, an effective SEO strategy can really benefit your sales funnel and result in boosted conversions.

Consider content marketing. Incorporating content marketing into your SEO strategy can boost your brand awareness and search engine ranking by:

  • Informing about a product. In-depth content assuring customers of support and quality of your product/service can encourage trust in your brand and a decision to make a purchase.
  • Ranking highly for relevant searches. Directing your content and keywords to specific issues that your audience has (this comes back to knowing your audience) will help you to rank well for highly relevant searches.
  • Encouraging repeat visits. Customers are more likely to return to your site if you’ve been helpful in the past. They may also recommend your business online or through word-of-mouth.
  • Establishing your business in your industry. Present your business as a thought-leader in your industry (particularly for service-based or B2B businesses) with consistent, relevant content.

A key part of SEO is identifying keywords for your industry and relating your content to these. These can include wide keywords, but you should try to target specific terms. This means that your users will find relevant information on your site.

SEO
Source(statista.com)

For example, say that you have a blog post on the topic of telephony. You’ll need to optimize this post for this exact phrasing, but also variations of this keyword, like “telephony meaning” and “8×8 telephony.”

Incorporating SEO into your sales funnel strategy can help you to encourage more consumers through the initial stages of the funnel.

5.      Track Data

Tracking key product indicators (KPIs) is important to the continued success of your ecommerce brand.

Some of the metrics that you might track include:

  • Bounce rate: this is the rate at which website users leave your site without taking any further action. A high bounce rate can indicate a poor landing page that may need to be redesigned.
  • Cart abandonment rate: what percentage of your online store users abandon their shopping cart before making a purchase? Knowing this can help you to make improvements to your checkout pages and boost sales. This is sometimes known as the drop-off rate.
  • Repeat customers/retention: this measures the proportion of your customers that make a repeat purchase. It’s an indicator of customer satisfaction and trust in your product or service. It also allows you to predict and plan your revenue with higher accuracy than first-time customers.
  • Conversion rate: how many of your website visitors convert to customers? A low conversion rate could indicate an issue with your website, but it could also indicate that your product has an issue in comparison to competitors.

You’ll need to use a tracking tool to help you with this, like Google Analytics, which can be used in partnership with other data tools like azure data lake storage. Affise BI manages unstructured data in one place and makes it easy to view and process. This means that all of your data is easily accessible for your team to process.

You don’t need to become overly focused on data tracking, but it’s a useful tool to understand the strength of your sales funnel. 

Let’s now look at partner marketing, another fantastic opportunity to grow in the ecommerce industry. 

6.      Partner Marketing

Partner marketing can be hugely beneficial for your ecommerce sales funnel when done right. If it’s your first time using this tool, partner marketing simply involves working with another business or individual in your industry to reach a wider audience.

Partner Marketing
Source(affise.com)

Reaching a wider audience has clear benefits when it comes to encouraging more consumers into your sales funnel. These are some of the other advantages of working with partners:

    • Brand trust: is particularly true of working with influencers, if your product or service is promoted by an established name in your industry, their audience will see a level of trust in your brand.
    • Curated audience: partner marketing allows two parties to benefit from each other’s established following, meaning your partners are likely to have a specially curated audience with an interest in your product.
    • Aligned values: when working with a partner, you can work with a business/individual that shares your business’ values and those of your audience.
  • Upskilling: get those data skills polished up and track your success with the help of data transfer tools like CPAPI.

Partner marketing provides an opportunity to holistically optimize your sales funnel. Your partners’ audiences have clear potential benefits for the top of your sales funnel, but you can also use your partnership to improve the bottom of the funnel.

For example, provide tips or testimony from your business partner regarding your product or service on your landing and product pages.

You might want to use a management tool for this venture, for example, Affise Reach

Next steps

You’ve now got a solid idea of the concept of an ecommerce conversion funnel and how to optimize yours.

Before you implement your sales funnel, you’ll want to collect data and testimony on customer satisfaction with your product and website. Make sure that your product or service has as few bugs as possible and that your entire team is clear on pricing, business ethos, and customer service protocols. Learn more about how to manage ecommerce for your business at Affise.com.

Optimizing your conversion funnels is a process with the potential for excellent returns, so take your time and plan thoroughly. A good strategy is a key to success!

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John Allen - Director, SEO, 8x8

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John Allen is a driven marketing professional with over 14 years of experience, an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs across SEM, SEO, paid media, mobile, social, and email, with an eye to new customer acquisition and increasing revenue