eCommerce Conversion Funnel: Conversion Optimization

eCommerce marketers invest considerable time and money into driving traffic to their website. Once visitors arrive we want them to fill up their carts and convert. But the reality is that 97% of visits won't end with a sale. But by optimizing their eCommerce conversion funnel brands can change this and shift the dial in a positive direction.

What is the eCommerce conversion funnel?

The eCommerce conversion funnel - or eCommerce sales funnel - maps out the path shoppers take to become a customer. It lays out each step from the moment a shopper becomes aware of your brand through to the conversion of a sale.

While customers won't always follow its exact path precisely the eCommerce funnel is a concept that helps marketers understand which part of their eCommerce marketing is working and which areas need attention.

Every online retail brand should have their own eCommerce conversion funnel that fits their customer journey. Each one differs depending on their audience products budget marketing preferences and eCommerce KPIs. But one thing's for sure marketers that focus on funnel optimization attract more conversions.

The key pillars of an eCommerce conversion funnel

A few different versions of the eCommerce conversion funnel exist but we'll keep it simple with a four stage model.

1. Awareness

In the awareness phase of the conversion funnel consumers are introduced to your brand for the first time.

They may have a problem that needs solving or they may simply be looking for information related to your products or industry. Marketers can add consumers to the awareness stage of the funnel through advertising SEO, PR, influencer marketing, and social media.

The content you share through these channels will depend on the industry you operate in. For example how-to blog content with loads of practical information would build awareness for an online gardening store. Whereas visually appealing videos and images would be better for a beauty brand.

At this point in the eCommerce conversion funnel prospects aren't ready to buy. But they may be willing to sign up for a newsletter or follow your social media accounts. From here you can continue to guide them further down the funnel toward conversion.

2. Interest

After the initial introduction you need to keep the conversation with your audience going.

Continue providing them with informative and entertaining content while also building up interest in your products. Consumers may be conducting deeper research at this point so provide some more in-depth content as well as case studies brochures and buying guides.

3. Desire

Once you've got your audience's interest it's time to start talking about your products. At this stage of the funnel prospects recognise and trust your brand so they're more likely to convert.

When discussing a product focus on the benefits rather than its specifications or features. The best brands always communicate the ways in which their products make life better or easier.

Dove's product marketing for example is all about looking and feeling beautiful . While Apple largely focuses on the ease of use of its products as well as their stylish aesthetic.

Use testimonials reviews and star ratings to build desire for your products. At this stage product pages should be your focus.

4. Conversion

Converting your customers and completing the sale is the most critical stage in the eCommerce funnel. This stage usually involves them taking their card out and completing a purchase but it could also mean they're getting in touch to arrange an in-store appointment a product demo or to request a quote. Unfortunately lots of things can still prevent this from happening.

To bag that final sale you need to ensure your website is as easy to use as possible. Get rid of confusing navigation lengthy forms and anything else that could act as a distraction from the path to purchase. Think about how many clicks are required at this stage of the conversion and if you can streamline that path to purchase.

While it's true that the modern consumer journey isn't always linear setting out an effective eCommerce conversion funnel help you to develop a smooth shopping experience that gets results.

The average eCommerce conversion rate

The average sales funnel conversion rate for eCommerce websites around the world stands at 2.86%. At least that's according to research from Invespcro.

But these stats vary hugely from industry to industry. In early 2021 Smart Insights analysed a bunch of eCommerce data to figure out the average sales funnel conversion rate for each industry. The results ranged from 0.99% for baby products up to 3.79% for arts and crafts.

Other conversion rates of note included:

  • Pet care: 3.28%
  • Home appliances: 2.48%
  • Health and wellbeing: 3.62%
  • Fashion: 2.44%
  • Food and drinks: 2.37%
  • Homeware: 2.16%
  • Sports and recreation: 1.75%

Optimizing your eCommerce sales funnel conversion rate

While you may be disappointed if consumers are dropping off at various stages in the eCommerce funnel at least by measuring it effectively you're able to plug the gaps or double down on what's working.

1. Optimize the checkout process

Look at your store's checkout. Are there any issues that may lead to shopping cart abandonment? Is there any extra information that could instil confidence among shoppers?

Showcasing your returns policy security badges and warranty information can boost conversions. So could free shipping and a broad selection of payment methods. Adding a Where to Buy solution will also allow shoppers to conveniently convert on their favourite channel.

The layout of your forms can also make or break a sale so only ask for essential information. It's also a good idea to provide a 'checkout as guest' option.

If you're really dedicated to the cause you could even add a chatbot to your checkout page. This will assist shoppers who have last-minute questions that could prevent conversion.

2. Analyze your most important pages

Brands should also analyze and optimize the performance of their home page landing pages category pages and product pages. If your brand has a huge eCommerce store you can start by focusing on your bestsellers.

Improving SEO will increase the number of prospects entering the top of the eCommerce funnel. But you also need to focus on user experience. Tracking tools like heat maps and scroll maps can help you identify any issues within the user interface. A/B testing can also help you perfect your funnel optimization.

3. Think outside the box

Many eCommerce brands are finding innovative ways to build desire for their products. Immersive experiences for example can really engage online prospects. That's why brands like IKEA Home Depot Sephora L'Oreal Lacoste and Timberland are all using augmented reality to assist online shoppers and drive conversions.

Shopify says that products featuring AR content have a 94% higher conversion rate than those that don't. While Home Depot recently reported a huge jump in conversions among shoppers who use its AR tool - they're typically two to three times higher.

Clothing brands like Nordstrom and Anthropologie have also started to offer free online consultations with their personal stylists to drive eCommerce conversions.

4. Make navigation easy

Sometimes less is more. And this is usually true when it comes to eCommerce design.

Keep your copy to a minimum investing time in writing attractive titles and succinct selling points instead. Websites without clutter are easier to navigate and their CTAs stand out more too.

You should also make it easy for prospects to find the pages they need. A great navigation bar and the search function will help with this. However you may want to consider removing navigation on landing pages. Research indicates that this will increase your conversion rates.

5. Win back prospects with retargeting

While most visitors to your store won't convert first time around retargeting can help brands re-engage with them afterward.

These ads can be based on past behaviour so you can remind shoppers about a product that they viewed or added to their shopping cart. Because prospects have already shown an interest in these products retargeting can offer a great ROI. It's a key tool for eCommerce funnel optimization.

Final thoughts

Once you've perfected the four core pillars of the eCommerce conversion funnel you can start to improve customer loyalty and advocacy as well as upselling and cross selling. There's always more ways for brands to boost their online conversions.

Want to increase eCommerce conversion and improve your ROI? Book a demo today with our eCommerce experts today.

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