Stages Of An eCommerce Conversion Funnel And How To Optimize It

Stages Of An eCommerce Conversion Funnel And How To Optimize It [2024]

Running an eCommerce business can get quite challenging with more and more online shops coming up giving tons of choices to buyers. At this point, it is crucial that you convert as many potential buyers as possible when you have the chance.

To do so, you will need to put together a well-planned eCommerce conversion funnel in place. If you have a proper journey placed together for your buyers, then you will be able to persuade buyers to purchase from your store rather than competitors, resulting in generating more profit.

Today, you will get a guide on learning the various conversion funnel stages and how to prepare your eCommerce site for the best outcome.

So let’s begin.

What Is An eCommerce Conversion Funnel?

An eCommerce conversion funnel covers the customer journey from initial brand awareness to becoming a loyal customer.

It’s a marketing plan where you map out the stages a potential buyer goes through before making a purchase.

For example, a customer might first see your Facebook ad, click on it to land on a sales page, add a product to a cart, and finally purchase it using the checkout page. You may then follow through with post-purchase upsell offers, and email promotions to trigger further sales.

The sales funnel provides you with a framework to target customers at each stage to eventually convert them into paying customers.

Importance of an eCommerce Conversion Funnel

When you plan out an eCommerce conversion funnel you have a clear picture of how you want to convey the right message and what actions you want the customer to take.

This will help to get valuable advantages with conversion such as:

  • A clear visualization of the customer journey to identify blockers
    By mapping the eCommerce conversion funnel, you can visually pinpoint areas where potential customers might drop off, enabling you to make strategic improvements.
  • Option to take a targeted approach for high engagements with prospects at each stage
    You will have a focused strategy to deeply engage potential customers in every stage of the funnel, maximizing their interest and interaction.
  • Enjoy increased overall conversions and revenue generation
    The well-planned approach will enhance the overall conversion rates and revenue generation through strategic optimization and nurturing of prospects.
  • Gain insights into customer behavior
    The conversion funnel will help you get valuable insights into customer behavior, allowing you to understand preferences, browsing habits, and decision-making processes, which you will be able to use for personalized campaigns with high conversion rates.
  • Generate more repeat customers
    The overall conversion-optimized journey will allow you to create a smoother, more satisfying customer experience, increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases and building long-term customer loyalty.

Overall, you will have more control over how you want to convert potential buyers with high efficiency and productivity.

Fundamental Stages Of An eCommerce Conversion Funnel

An eCommerce conversion funnel typically consists of 5 main stages that guide customers down the sales process:

  1. Awareness
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action
  5. Post-Purchase
Stages of an eCommerce Conversion Funnel

Let us learn about each stage in more detail.

1. Awareness Stage

The awareness stage is the initial phase of your eCommerce conversion funnel where a potential customer first becomes aware of your brand, products or services.

In this stage, you have to focus on creating brand awareness and attracting potential customers to your e-commerce site, i.e. traffic generation.

You need to adopt marketing strategies that make your target audience aware of your business and the products or services you offer. You need to make them realize that you have the product or solution they are looking for.

Strategies To Enhance Awareness

  • Run paid ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • Market on social media channels regularly.
  • Post guest blogs on relevant websites.
  • Attend relevant live events and conferences.
  • Use content marketing and SOE like blogs, videos, guides, etc., to get organic traffic.
  • Offer lead magnets like discounts or free reports.
  • Start an email list and send regular newsletters.
  • Use influencer marketing to get a broader audience reach.

2. Interest Stage

Once you start getting potential traffic, it’s time to create interest. In this stage, you provide more information to nurture leads and generate interest in your products.

The goal is to demonstrate value, solve pain points, and compel visitors to further engage with your brand.

For example, suppose you own a furniture store. You create product showcase videos on how your furniture can help improve various types of home interiors. Then you may provide additional information on the materials and longevity of your products. This will pique the interest of people who are actively seeking new furniture.

Tactics to Generate Interest

  • Share in-depth blogs, demos, or free trials.
  • Create comparison charts with competitors.
  • Offer limited-time free shipping or discounts.
  • Add social proof elements like testimonials to products and websites.
  • Send targeted emails to provide more details on your business or products.
  • Create engaging activities such as quizzes or giveaways to capture emails.
  • Use re-targeting ads to captivate visitors.

3. Desire Stage

If you have done a good job with your content and strategies so far, then by now your customers will already develop interest in the products you offer.

The next stage is about making an emotional connection with your brand and convincing the buyer to want to purchase certain products from you. You may use tactics such as scarcity, discounts, or fear of missing out (FOMO) to trigger instant consideration.

Elements That Encourage Desire

  • High-quality photos, videos, and visuals of products.
  • Limited-time promotions with countdown timer.
  • Social proof with customer reviews and testimonials.
  • Bundles or bulk pricing deals on products.
  • Free shipping, discounts, or gift add-ons.
  • Personalized recommendations based on interests.
  • FOMO messaging like “Only 2 left!”
  • Issue product presentations and personalized demonstrations.

4. Action Stage (Conversion)

The action, often referred to as the conversion stage, is when your prospects are ready to become paying customers and take action. At this point, buyers are influenced by factors such as pricing, shipping options, payment security, and the overall user experience. Connective eCommerce platforms can be the most effective way to save on shipping costs.

Here, your goal is to add strong CTAs, provide viable reasons, and remove all additional distractions to trigger a sale. You want your content to be more straightforward, benefit-revealing and focused on “closing” to trigger conversions before the customers change their minds.

Tactics for Higher Conversion Rates

  • Attractive & competitive pricing plans
  • Benefit-reveling reasons leading to a CTA
  • Strong CTAs to trigger action
  • Simplified checkout process with less distraction
  • Multiple payment options (cards, PayPal, etc.)
  • Trust badges and security seals
  • Fast shipping options and tracking facility
  • Discount codes or offers at checkout
  • Low stock reminders to urge fast purchase

5. Post-Purchase Stage

Your customer has just made a purchase. But that doesn’t mean the funnel journey stops here. You can take more actions to trigger further sales from the same customer and create scopes for repeat purchases in the future.

The idea is to focus on getting the maximum value from the same customer by trying to increase AOV, CLV, and long-term customer loyalty through post-purchase marketing strategies.

Ways To Encourage Higher AOV, Repeat Sales, And Loyalty

  • Post-checkout upsell offers to increase order value
  • Thank you page and emails after purchase
  • Incentives for customer reviews and ratings
  • VIP access, loyalty programs, and special perks
  • Retargeting visitors with related products
  • Cart abandonment emails and discounts
  • Custom recommendations based on order history
  • Birthday, holiday, and loyalty coupons

Setting Up Post-purchase Offers

A great way to set up post-purchase offers is to create a complete sales funnel journey for your eCommerce store. To do so, you may use a reliable sales funnel builder to craft the funnel journey that includes post-purchase upsell offers, and use an email marketing tool to initiate post-purchase email offers.

For example, if you are using WooCommerce, you may use WPFunnels as your sales funnel builder, and then tie it up with Mail Mint to set up the email automation workflows for your funnel.

  • WPFunnels comes with a special addon, Global Funnels for WooCommerce, which will allow you to set up conditional funnels for your WooCommerce store based on buyer product choices. You may create a whole funnel journey on various conditions such as specific product category, the amount spent, product popularity, etc, and use custom checkout pages with relevant order bump offers.

    Most importantly, you will be able to add dynamic upsell offers after the initial purchase. This will make the offers random but more meaningful based on the customers’ choices.

    These upsells are more likely to convert due to the relevance and the element of surprise, increasing the overall AOV.

    Learn more about setting up conditional WooCommerce funnels.
  • WPFunnels also allows you to create individual funnels for products with dedicated landing pages, custom checkouts, and tailored one-click upsell offers after checkout. These funnels will work on their own and the success will depend on how well you can drive targeted traffic and write persuasive copies on the landing pages. Such funnels can be used for limited-time campaigns, but not part of a traditional eCommerce funnel though.
  • Mail Mint has special automation triggers for WooCommerce which you can use to craft well-planned email funnels. For example, when an order is completed, you may trigger an automation workflow to send a coupon to trigger the next order. When an order is complete, you may then make recommendations on relevant products in the same category along with a quick discount. This will help you actively increase customer CLV.

Overall, such tools can help you set up a brilliant post-purchase journey for your customers to trigger additional sales.

Tracking and Measuring An eCommerce Funnel

You have to track the performance of each stage of your eCommerce conversion funnel to measure the success or identify areas to improve on.

i. KPI-Based Measurement

It is crucial to define important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of different conversion funnel stages in your eCommerce store.

These KPIs can vary based on the stage, for instance,

  • at the awareness stage, metrics like website traffic, unique visitors, or social media impressions might be crucial,
  • in the interest stage, engagement metrics such as time spent on site, pages per session, or email sign-ups become significant.
  • in the desire and action stages, KPIs might shift to conversion rates, cart abandonment rates, average order value, and ultimately, customer lifetime value,
  • KPIs at the post-purchase stage will again be conversion rates, total revenue earned, AOV, and CLV.

By tracking these KPIs across each stage, you will gain insights into where improvements are needed and what strategies are most effective at driving conversions and business growth.

ii. Campaign-Based Measurement

This approach involves tracking the performance of specific marketing campaigns or initiatives within each stage of the eCommerce funnel.

For instance, if you launch a targeted email campaign offering discounts to leads in the desired stage, you may track metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates from that particular campaign.

Similarly, monitoring the performance of social media ad campaigns, content marketing efforts, or pay-per-click campaigns will help you understand which campaigns contribute most effectively to moving prospects through the funnel

By analyzing the data from different campaigns, you can optimize your marketing strategies for better conversion outcomes, and allocate more resources for similar campaigns moving forward.

iii. Attribution/Journey-Based Tracking

Attribution or journey-based tracking focuses on understanding the entire customer journey across multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. This method involves attributing conversions or sales not just to the last-click interaction but to all the touchpoints that contributed to the conversion.

Tools that allow multi-touch attribution models or customer journey mapping can help you identify the sequence of touchpoints—such as social media engagement, email interaction, website visits, and referrals—that lead to a sale. You may track these using Google Analytics & Tag Manager, or Facebook Pixel.

By comprehensively tracking these touchpoints, you can gain a deeper understanding of the customer’s decision-making process and allocate marketing resources more effectively to the most effective channels.

Strategies to Optimize the eCommerce Conversion Funnel

Once you have your eCommerce conversion funnel in place, it is important to work on finding ways to optimize it for maximum results.

i. Identifying Leakage Points

Common leakage points in eCommerce funnels include cumbersome forms, unclear calls-to-action, or slow-loading pages. Continuously monitor and optimize these weak links to ensure a seamless journey, maximizing the chances of converting leads into customers.

You can pinpoint funnel leakage points using the following tracking methods:

  • Tracking Users at Each Stage
    You may analyze visitor drop-off rates between stages to identify gaps in the buying journey. If you notice high exits between initial landing pages and adding to cart, improving product pages can help reduce this gap. Similarly, a high cart abandonment rate signals issues with the checkout process.
  • Utilizing Heatmap Analysis
    Heatmap analysis helps you visually track on-page behavior and identify areas users click and scroll past. Noticing minimal engagement on product descriptions or high exits from the cart may mean there are design flaws or poor copywriting. You may use heatmap tools such as Hotjar or Crazy Egg to track customer clicks and scrolls, while also getting session recordings.
  • Implementing A/B Testing
    A/B testing landing pages, other funnel pages, emails, and ads with variations lets you determine the best-performing option. For example, testing checkout page layouts can help increase conversions.

    WPFunenls has a great A/B Testing UI. allowing you to test multiple variations of each page of the sales funnel you create, with easy traffic allocation and data analysis to determine the best variants.

ii. Proven CRO Techniques

Successful optimization is an ongoing process. By implementing some CRO techniques you can enhance your e-commerce conversion funnel and drive sustainable growth in sales.

  • High-Quality Product Presentation
    High-quality images, detailed descriptions, and interactive features contribute to a positive user experience.

    For instance, if you’re a clothing retailer, you may showcase each item from multiple angles and the intricate details of the design, allowing customers to make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Incorporating Social Proof
    Including positive feedback, testimonials, and case studies on your products/services can build trust and credibility.
  • Utilizing Multimedia (Videos, Images)
    You may use engaging elements such as videos, gifs, and images to make the experience more captivating. You may use videos or gifs to demonstrate product features or provide tutorials. Images can work as hooks with a great showcase of how the product looks in real life, such as showing furniture in the living room.
  • Crafting Clear CTAs
    Clear Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons guide users on the next steps, whether it’s adding a product to the cart or proceeding to checkout.
  • Offering Incentives and Discounts
    Providing certain incentives such as discounts, free shipping, or exclusive deals to encourage users to make a purchase. This will make the buyer consider the pricing benefit they get with you compared to elsewhere. Many will also find it attractive due to the savings they will make. Hence making some sort of offer is a creative way to drive conversions.
  • Personalization Strategies
    Certain personalize approaches in your online store can help with higher conversions such as suggesting products that the buyer has browsed in the past, sending emails with recommendations based on the past purchase history, creating bundles that include preferred products by the customer, reminding customers about the re-stocking of products in their wishlist, hinting to local trends in the marketing materials, introducing a loyalty program or points & rewards system, etc.
  • Enhancing Mobile Responsiveness
    It is now evident that most people like to shop online via mobile devices. Hence, it is important to make your store responsive on mobile devices in terms of design, readability, and structure. It should be super easy to get to search for products, get product details, and proceed to pay. For example, you could make the CTAs “Add to cart” or “Pay Now” sticky, i.e. visible even when scrolled.
  • Using Exit Intent Strategies
    Exit-intent strategies, such as displaying pop-ups with special offers when a user is about to leave the site, can help retain potential customers.
  • Using Post-purchase upsells
    Right after a purchase, you may offer relevant or better alternative products as one-click upsells. If the offer is attractive, many will take the offer immediately. You may then send out more upsell offers via email. This approach will ensure you get to make a customer spend more with the right product offer.

Is An eCommerce Conversion Funnel Suitable For Nonlinear Customer Journeys

While you always plan an eCommerce funnel in proper order, there is a possibility that certain buyers may not go through the funnel in proper order.

Instead, they may engage with your brand across various touchpoints, channels, and devices in a more fluid and non-sequential manner.

For example, a customer might interact with you through social media, then conduct online research, revisit the website multiple times, explore reviews, and perhaps make a purchase, all without strictly following a step-by-step eCommerce funnel journey.

But that’s fine as long as you have optimized your eCommerce conversion funnel at each stage.

You may take the following optimization steps to ensure you do not lose such customers:

  • Enhanced Omnichannel Presence
    Maintain a strong presence across multiple channels (website, social media, email, mobile app, etc.) to engage customers wherever they are in their journey. Ensure consistency in messaging and branding across these channels for a seamless experience.
  • Customer-Centric Content
    Create diverse and relevant content addressing different stages of the buyer’s journey. Offer informative blog posts, engaging videos, FAQs, user-generated content, and product guides accessible across various touchpoints.
  • Responsive and Adaptive Design
    Ensure that your website and digital platforms are responsive and adaptive, providing a seamless experience regardless of the device used. This includes mobile responsiveness, quick loading times, and intuitive navigation.
  • Data-Driven Insights
    Utilize analytics tools to track customer behavior, understand their interactions across touchpoints, and identify patterns. Analyze data to optimize and personalize marketing efforts and enhance the user experience.
  • Personalization Strategies
    Implement personalization techniques based on user behavior, preferences, and past interactions. Tailor product recommendations, emails, and offers to cater to individual customer needs and preferences.
  • Flexible Conversion Paths
    Allow customers to enter the funnel at different stages and provide multiple pathways for conversion. Offer options like guest checkout, wishlist creation, or saved carts for customers to resume their journey from where they left off.
  • Retargeting and Remarketing
    Use retargeting ads and personalized emails to reconnect with customers who have interacted with your brand but haven’t completed a purchase. Remind them of items left in carts or showcase relevant products based on their browsing history.
  • Continuous Optimization
    Regularly analyze and optimize the eCommerce funnel based on user feedback, A/B testing, and performance metrics. Adapt strategies to better align with evolving customer behaviors and preferences.

By implementing these strategies, your eCommerce funnel can become more adaptable and responsive to non-linear customer journeys, providing a tailored and engaging experience for customers regardless of their unique paths through the purchasing process.

Tools To Craft An Efficient eCommerce Conversion Funnel

Now, you have a great idea of how an eCommerce Conversion Funnel works and what sort of optimizations you need to make for its success.

Let us look at the tools you may need to craft a complete eCommerce conversion funnel.

1. A Sales Funnel Builder

You may look to use a sales funnel builder that allows you to map out an organized journey based on products, with special offers, custom checkouts, one-click upsells, or even custom landing pages. This will ensure you have a controlled eCommerce conversion funnel in place.

As mentioned above, WPFunnels is a prime choice for WordPress and WooCommerce stores to set up conditional funnel journeys with dynamic offers.

If you are not into WordPress, you may look into tools like ClickFunnels or Systeme.io to get a similar set of features.

2. Email Marketing Automation Tool

Email marketing is essential for the whole funnel to be successful. You will need a tool that will allow you to manage customer data, set up email campaigns, design custom emails, set up automated transactional, promotional, and abandoned cart emails, and send product recommendations. At the same time, the tool should have detailed campaign analytics, dynamic personalization, and customer segmentation features.

Following are a few reliable tools to create these solutions:

  • Mail Mint
    Mail Mint is one of the easiest email marketing automation tools for WordPress and WooCommerce. The plugin has all the core features you need to automate several email sequences needed at different stages of your eCommerce funnel while offering one of the best UIs for customer segmentation and email automation workflows.

    Check out Mail Mint now.
  • MailChimp
    MailChimp is the largest email marketing tool out there offering key features such as contact management, email marketing, and integrated eCommerce automation. It’s a great choice for rather simplified eCommerce funnels.
  • HubSpot
    HubSpot is rather a complete CRM that comes with full customer management and reveals marketing tools to allow additional marketing campaigns for your customers. It’s quite extensive and can easily be integrated with almost any website platform.

3. Optimized Custom Checkout Page

An optimized custom checkout page plays a significant role in a successful eCommerce conversion funnel. It ensures focused conversion, reducing abandonment rates and providing a frictionless experience.

You will need to be able to customize the checkout page design, use a suitable checkout form layout, and make the process smooth for buyers.

Following are a few tools to consider in this matter:

  • WPFunnels
    As mentioned above, WPFunnels allows you to create conditional funnels for your WooCommerce store. In the process, you may use a fully customized checkout page for each funnel using core features such as a custom checkout field editor, full control of the checkout page & form design, several checkout page layouts such as two-step or express checkout, and the option to place order bump offers. It’s the best solution you will find for WooCommerce, and the conditional approach may even make it a viable solution to move to compared to several SaaS tools.

    Learn more about WPFunnels’ Checkout Customization.
  • Paykickstart
    Paykickstart specializes in providing a flexible and customizable checkout experience. It offers robust features such as customizable checkout templates, multiple payment options, order bumps, and upsell sequences. Paykickstart’s platform allows you to design visually appealing and responsive checkout pages, optimizing the checkout flow for higher conversions and improved user experience. It’s mostly suitable for subscription-based products.
  • ThriveCart
    ThriveCart is known for its intuitive checkout page customization tools. It provides a range of checkout templates, customization options, and A/B testing capabilities to enhance conversions. Thrivecart’s features include customizable fields, order bumps, coupon code management, and integration with various payment gateways.
  • CheckoutPage.co
    CheckoutPage.co focuses on simplifying the checkout page customization process. It offers customizable templates, drag-and-drop functionality, integration with major payment gateways, and responsive design features. It’s main goal is to have a distraction-free checkout for any website.

There are several tools available to help create an optimized custom checkout page for an eCommerce conversion funnel: WPFunnels, WooCommerce Plugins, and BigCommerce

4. Heatmap & Session Recording Tools

For tracking an optimization, you may look into heatmap tools that allow you to track where customers interact more and areas where they drop off, along with session recordings.

Some great heatmap tools include:

5. A/B Testing For Product Landing Pages

You may want to adhere to A/B Testing tools to test and optimize product landing pages for various elements such as page design, headlines, copy approach, etc.

Some good tools to handle A/B Testing include:

But, it’s best not to go for an additional tool just for A/B testing. Looking for a landing page builder within your platform that allows it (such as WPFunnels for WooCommerce), or a complete funnel suite that has A/B testing as part of its feature list.

Conclusion

That’s it. Now you know all about the various conversion funnel stages for eCommerce and how to create a an effective eCommerce conversion funnel.

Remember, the key to success is to ensure your customers get the best shopping experience.

As long as you are in control of the marketing activities at each funnel stage, you will be able to guide your customers into purchasing what they will love while you enjoy an increase in sales.

With the right funnel optimization tactics and reliable tools at hand, you can enhance the sales potential of your eCommerce business.

So go ahead and start setting up a funnel that is conversion-optimized and designed to help increase your sales significantly.

== FAQs ==

1. What are the key stages of an eCommerce conversion funnel?

The key stages are typically Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, and Post-Purchase. These stages represent the customer journey from discovering a product or brand to making a purchase and becoming a repeat customer.

2. How often should I review and optimize my eCommerce funnel?

Regularly monitor and analyze funnel performance metrics. Aim to review and optimize the funnel continuously, making adjustments based on customer feedback, market trends, and data insights.

3. What role does content optimization play in eCommerce sales funnel success?

Content optimization is crucial at every stage. Tailor content to address customer pain points, improve SEO, personalize messaging, and guide customers smoothly through the funnel toward conversion.

4. What are some good tools to implement an eCommerce conversion funnel in WordPress?

In WordPress, you may consider using WooCommerce to set up an eCommerce store, using WPFunnels to create dynamic conditional funnels with custom offers, and using Mail Mint to trigger email automation. For product page design, you may consider using Divi or Elementor, and for overall store experience enhancement, you may use themes like WoodMart or Woostify. Overall, these will combine to give you a controlled eCommerce funnel-building experience while still being more affordable compared to some renounced SaaS solutions.

Srabonti Barua

Srabonti is a good observer but never an absorber. Unless she decides to be SpongeBob.

Srabonti Barua

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