Last updated: June 10, 2022

How To Use eCommerce Funnels


Creating eCommerce funnels helps connect your products to markets that care about them. While it’s true that the most critical factor in growth marketing is creating a product that solves a problem 10 times better than the competition does, having that product isn’t enough.

You have to bring it to market, meaning connecting to people who need what you have. They may not know they need it, and they may not even realize they have a problem that needs solving.

That’s where your eCommerce marketing funnel comes into play. Building an entire funnel will enable you to see precisely who your customers are and map out the best journey to guide them to purchase your product. “The Growth Marketer’s Playbook” focuses on this process in detail.

Another significant benefit of an eCommerce marketing funnel is that it will help you build the brand awareness needed to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. Consider how Zoom enjoyed the fastest growth marketing curve of all time even though they were competing against giants like Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s Messenger.


What Are eCommerce Funnels?

Creating an eCommerce conversion funnel gives you a visual way to map and understand a customer’s journey through your eCommerce site or app as you guide prospects through the stages of awareness, consideration, and purchase.

As potential customers travel through your conversion funnel, your job is to educate them, qualify the buyers, and efficiently transform as many leads into customers as possible.

Every eCommerce marketing funnel needs to have the processes of transformation that build brand equity built into every funnel stage with conversion and customer loyalty firmly in mind.


What Are the eCommerce Funnel Stages?

People entering your sales funnel may have never heard of your brand and may not even know they need what you’re selling. The three funnel stages solve this issue and change unknowing prospects into buyers:

  1. Awareness: You educate them about their problem and build brand familiarity.
  2. Consideration: You present your product or service as the best solution to their problem while continuing to build brand awareness.
  3. Action: You close the sale with an eye on your future relationship.

When you get these first three stages working well, the following stages of loyalty and advocacy follow naturally. You’ll enjoy the fruits of having built a strong growth marketing foundation when your customers keep returning and telling their friends about you.

Examining each of the three primary stages in detail may help you identify how you’re already approaching each step and spark ideas for improvement.

Top of the Funnel: Awareness Stage

Educating prospects and building brand equity in the top-of-the-funnel awareness stage of your eCommerce sales funnel translates into increased revenue in the lower funnel stages. It may be difficult to quantify results for your top-of-the-funnel inbound marketing efforts, but growing your brand voice and recognition helps your products stand out in today’s mature marketplace.

Marketers who skip or skimp on awareness stage development often have to go back and use content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing to catch up to competitors with a stronger brand presence.

Consumers often require many exposures to your business before your brand sticks in their minds. Keeping the following three questions in mind as you create different types of awareness stage content will help build brand equity:

Who and What Are We?

Today’s consumers actively search for companies that share their values because they perceive companies as more able to advance social change than governments. People will purchase from a brand they trust and believe in.

Ninety-four percent of consumers say sustainability is important. Consider how the stances of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Adidas have benefited their brands.

What Problem Are We Solving?

Keeping your content focused on the problem you’re solving keeps it centered on solutions and benefits instead of features.

For example, cloud storage solves many problems for marketers and consumers: reduced investment, faster websites, and instant data access across multiple channels.

How Will Lives Change?

Bringing awareness to what customers will experience after implementing your solution to their problem enables you to craft robust, personal messages.

By answering these three questions, you’ll be able to create compelling awareness stage content that will build brand equity, promote interest, and propel prospects into the second stage of your eCommerce conversion funnel — consideration.

Middle of the Funnel: Interest, Desire, or Consideration Stage

You’ve attracted people’s attention through your awareness stage content. While prospects might not know precisely what they need, they know they have a problem, and you’ve made it onto their radar as a possible solution. 

The middle of the funnel is when people are researching you. Discoverability and SEO become critical as they search for social proof and product details and check out your customer experience.

Social Proof

The value of social proof in the consideration stage of your sales funnels for eCommerce is clear: 93% of online shoppers look for reviews before buying a product. Providing social proof in one of its many forms on your website, social media accounts, and review sites is mandatory in a world where every shopper can check social proof fast with a smartphone.

Product Details

Consumers want to know how your product compares to the competition and if it solves their problems. Shoppers are interested in function, durability, price, and more.

Browsing competitors, review sites, and questions on Amazon about similar products may generate ideas about the best keywords, content types, and platforms to share product information.

Customer Experience

The critical factor in deciding to trust your business is often customer experience. In today’s saturated marketing environment, customers can switch retailers almost instantly. The online company providing the best customer experience retains and adds to its customer base.

Customers probably aren’t interested in metrics or KPIs. They’re more concerned with:

  • Smooth checkout
  • Free shipping
  • Easy returns
  • Having fun
  • Responsive, polite, and effective customer service

The consideration stage is where consumers decide if your product solves their problem and if your brand is worthy of doing business with. They may come close to buying while considering, but they often need a deal-closing nudge in the third stage: purchase.

Bottom of the Funnel: Purchase Decision or Action Stage

If you’ve done the hard work right in the awareness and consideration stages, engineering a purchase may seem easy as you guide buyers through the sales process. However, at this point, they often need a little incentive to make their final decision. You can offer:

  • Coupons
  • Discounts
  • Free trials
  • Free shipping

This is also an excellent time to display your best reviews or testimonials.

Now that we’ve gone through the stages of funnels for eCommerce, we’re ready to optimize them.


How To Optimize Your eCommerce Conversion Funnel

Optimizing your growth marketing eCommerce sales funnel will give your team vital information to put your funnel into action and refine it. Funnel sections on goals, buyer personas, customer journeys, digital marketing strategies, and critical metrics are indispensable.

Set Clear Goals

When everyone on your team knows where the goalposts are, they work together toward common objectives. Efforts are focused and more productive.

Your goals could include:

  • Building brand equity
  • Meeting a content quota
  • Higher SEO rankings
  • Increased engagement
  • An improved customer experience
  • A lower bounce rate
  • A higher conversion rate

Know Your Buyer Persona and User Journey

Without detailed buyer personas for each market segment, your marketing, sales, and content production teams can’t produce enough relevant material to motivate shoppers to proceed through your buyer’s journey.

The marketing persona must guide the creation of the buyer’s journey. As prospects consume content in each funnel stage, the personal relevancy of the content is what keeps prospects engaged and moving from awareness to consideration and purchase.

Drilling down deeper with segmentation and building buyer personas enables your entire team to produce the customer experiences that drive a growth marketing strategy.

Improve the Customer Experience With Digital Marketing Strategies

Digital marketing strategies identify and remove difficulties while creating a more effortless customer journey. That all-important customer experience is enhanced, resulting in happy customers who buy more.

Practical digital marketing strategies are using:

  • Personalization in segmentation and communications
  • A mobile-first approach to design
  • Multiple channels
  • Omnichannel customer service
  • AI 
  • Easy purchasing
  • User experience optimization
  • A proactive approach to gathering customer feedback

Track, Report, and Optimize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

There is a multitude of metrics available to evaluate your eCommerce marketing funnels. Three of those metrics are must-haves:

Conversion Rates

The most critical conversion rate numbers to know are:

  1. How much traffic you’re getting
  2. How much of that traffic is converting

Dividing total conversions by total traffic in a period gives you the average conversion rate. Your eCommerce marketing funnels will guide your team in driving conversions up.

Organic Traffic and Bounce Rates

How much of your traffic is from organic sources, and how much of that traffic bounces off the landing pages and is lost?

A high bounce rate is often a result of confusion. When the traffic source environment is incongruent with the landing page, there’s no instant recognition and no feeling of being in the right place.

Improve bounce rates by:

  • Using dedicated landing pages
  • Eliminating clutter and unnecessary images
  • Using harmonious colors, text, and images

Product and Cart Abandonment

Your product and shopping cart abandonment rate tell you how well you’re doing with engaging and motivating customers. Remarketing can help cart abandonment. To decrease product abandonment, you may need to examine your onboarding process and after-sales engagement.


Why You Need To Know the Different Stages in the eCommerce Sales Funnel

Knowing your customer’s current funnel stage allows your team to create and present the right, personalized marketing messages for that person to move them on to the next stage.

Understand Potential Customers and Target Audience

When you understand your target audience, you’ll be able to nail the right tone of voice and make your messages feel personal. You’ll also find it easier to present a consistent message to build trust.

Refine Advertising and Marketing Strategy

Google has free tools that tell you when you need a change and how well your new message is doing.

Google Analytics is the best all-around tool because Google has the data needed to perform analysis. You’ll be able to see all the essential metrics. You can also track your customer journey and identify areas that are working well and sticking points that need changing. 

Personalize Marketing Campaign With Customer Journey

Analyzing visitor data enables your brand to drill down into more advanced levels of segmentation. You can create very personalized customer journeys with marketing campaigns that feel like they are speaking to individuals’ core issues and solving problems on a personal level. 

Improve Loyal Customer Retention

Improving customer loyalty is about improving growth. Happy customers are far more likely to remain loyal and spread the good news about you, propelling growth. 

Making customers happy starts with the very first piece of content they consume in the awareness stage. Generating customer happiness needs to be in mind with all blog posts and messages to your email list, every customer transaction, and even product creation.

So how do you know if your customers are happy?

Ask them. Being proactive in using customer surveys and questionnaires will help you spot important customer issues before they snowball into reduced customer retention.


Invest in Growth Marketing To Get the Most Out of Your eCommerce Funnels

Growth hacking is about using any means necessary to solve a problem or reach a short-term goal. That’s not growth marketing.

Data-driven growth marketing focuses on brand building for long-term success using authenticity and engagement in the first three funnel stages to automatically create funnel stages four and five: loyalty and advocacy. Customer lifetime values then grow organically.

eCommerce funnels guide your team using growth marketing strategies to attain an improved brand image, better customer relationships, and fast, sustainable growth focused on improving ROI.

Seeing honest eCommerce funnel breakdowns often helps build a clearer understanding of what data-driven means and the level of detail involved in planning for growth marketing. Getting a free custom funnel teardown for your eCommerce business will help even more.

Jim Huffman

Founder & CEO GrowthHit. Startup mentor at Techstars, General Assembly, and Sephora Accelerator. Author of The Growth Marketer’s Playbook #1

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