our customers have a lot of options in hand today. How and why would they remember you in the competition with your competitors.  

This is why it’s not surprising to see the conversion rate of online stores being only about 3% on average. The only way to increase your conversions is to understand your ecommerce funnel— customers and their journey—to a T. 

An ecommerce sales funnel guides your leads from awareness to purchase. With this, you can meet your customers exactly where they need you, taking away any guesswork. Use these strategies to optimize every stage of your ecommerce conversion funnel and increase your profits, sales, and loyal customers:

How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Marketing Funnel

You might think of your customer journey as:

Ads > Product Page > Add to Cart > Purchase

But only about 3% of your ecommerce site visitors go through with a purchase. Customers drop out of the funnel at the product page or the cart page. The funnel from that point on will look like this:

Product Page/Cart > Remarketing > Special Landing Page > Add to Cart > Purchase

Knowing the actual stages of this funnel will help you crack customer behavior and reorient your strategies to improve all of your marketing efforts.

In terms of the buyer’s journey, a typical sales funnel has four stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention. Here are the best practices to build and optimize a successful conversion funnel to excel at each of the stages”

1. Awareness Stage

This is the stage where your prospective customers don’t know you exist. Your goal is to spread awareness about your products and brand to bring people to your online store. 

The intent should be to create educational content and communicate your solution to a customer's problem. Your tactics should be centered around being where your target customers spend their time.

Paid ads

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and  TikTok offer great features to promote your products to your ideal audience. Marketers claim that increased exposure is the biggest advantage of using social media. 

Use parameters like age, gender, region, and more to reach the target segments you want. Use videos, crisp and to-the-point copy, and high-quality images in your ads. Plus, experiment with varying ad types to find what works best on which platform. For example:

Facebook ad by Away, a DTC luggage brand

Organic Marketing

You can generate a lot of organic traffic from online shoppers by engaging potential customers on social media, publishing long-form blogs, and posting product videos on platforms like YouTube. 

According to a 2021 Statista report, 93% of social media marketers use Facebook, while 78% use Instagram, for engaging their target segment. Also, DTC brands can generate tens of millions of interactions using social media platforms, generating relevant and organic traffic to their stores:

Instagram post by Kylie Cosmetics

3. Consideration Stage

At this point in their buying journey, your customers have some idea about you and your product. You’re now one of the many sellers they have in their consideration bucket.

Your job is to provide them with compelling content so they’re convinced of your product’s benefits.

You can nudge customers to the next stage by using the following tactics:

Leverage Reviews

Customers are often unsure of a new brand and look for social proof to feel confident about their purchase decision. 

Utilize your positive reviews to make new customers feel good about their decision to select your brand. Also, make sure to address the negative reviews with timely support and resolution.

Facebook ad by Leesa, a D2C mattress brand

Optimize Website Pages

Your landing pages and product pages should offer website visitors exactly what they want when they land on your website. 

Provide detailed product features, shipping info, pricing, and focus on a frictionless UX. Ensuring SEO-optimized pages will also help attract customers to your website.

GEM’s homepage showcases the benefits of their vitamins

Optimize Lead Forms

Don’t bombard your potential customers with lengthy and complicated lead forms. Incentivize them to fill out only essential information like an email address or phone number. 

8Greens’ newsletter sign-up form


Retargeting helps bring those customers back to your store who had browsed and left your online store without buying anything. Studies show that the average CTR for retargeted ads is 0.7%, 10 times higher than that for display ads

Facebook ads, Google Ads, YouTube ads, and many more can target users based on their search queries and interaction with your online store. 

Once you have an email list, you can also use email marketing to send customized emails to different customer segments and drive more sales. Identify your ‘interested’ leads and craft curated content to bring them back to your website. 

4. Purchase Stage

By this stage, your customers are finally deciding to buy from you. But wanting to buy is still not the same as a completed purchase.

The goal here should be to make this last stretch to the purchase decision as smooth and logical for the customer. They should have no doubt going with you is the best decision.

Your objective is to avoid letting customers drop out of the funnel using the following techniques:

Streamline Checkout

Customers want their buying experience to be as seamless as possible. Make sure that if they’ve reached the cart page, the steps during the checkout should be as few as possible. 

Don’t throw unexpected charges at them during the checkout phase. Display incentives like free shipping and the checkout button. Offer multiple and easier payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay, and other wallets. 

You can also have a progress bar to communicate the percentage of checkout left at any given point. 

On-site messages

Customers might get distracted by a notification or lose interest in the purchase after adding products to the cart. You need to nudge them towards checkout by offering limited-time bundled deals to up-sell. Plus, offer discount coupons, are visibly displayed on the checkout page.

Curls use exit-intent messages to nudge customers

Abandoned Cart Emails

Most of your new visitors will inevitably leave your website even after adding products to the cart or the wishlist. To bring them back, use email sequences or push notifications based on the captured data.

Pro tip: Include user-generated content in the abandoned cart emails to show the social proof again. This will take away any remaining doubts that the leads might have had.

Offer incentives like discounts and free upgrades to entice them to come back and complete their purchase. Remind them about their wishlist products and use urgency as a trigger to convert them into paying customers. 

You can use ‘limited stock left’ and other tactics to prompt customers to resume their buying journey.

Abandoned cart email by Dote

5. Retention Stage

The last stage of the ecommerce sales funnel is retention. Yes, it’s not when the customer has made the purchase. It’s the phase when you need to work on creating repeat customers for your store.

Your retention strategies should be built on the reasons customers bought from you in the first place:

Loyalty and Referral Programs:

A rewards program can make your customers feel special by being part of an exclusive club. The special perks of the membership entice your customers to come back. 

You can prompt them to sign up for your loyalty program on the Thank You page using apps like AfterSell, a post-purchase funnel automation tool. 

You can also offer rewards to your existing customers when they refer new customers to your store. Remind customers of your referral program through emails or when they visit your website. For example, you can offer discount coupons or automated wallet credits whenever a referred customer makes a purchase.

Referral program email by Flex

Keep Them Engaged

Your customers will gradually forget about you if you don’t strive to maintain top-of-the-mind recall. To do this, send monthly emails on birthdays and anniversaries, bundling a special offer with it. 

You can also share brand milestones with them to make them feel an emotional belonging to your brand’s journey. 

Birthday email by First watch

Optimize Your Ecommerce Conversion Funnel and Increase Sales

Creating the perfect ecommerce sales funnel is an ongoing process. Whatever you learn from implementing these strategies and measuring your performance should feed into tweaking your campaigns for the better.

Boosting conversions in ecommerce comes down to meeting your customers with the right communication through the right channel, at the right stage of their buying journey. Start leveraging your customer data today to get the most out of your marketing funnel.

With AfterSell, you can automate the post-purchase customer journey and increase your average conversion rate at the same time. Easily integrate it with your Shopify store today.

Apr 23, 2022

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