08/06/20225 min

Ecommerce and conversion funnel: how to increase sales?

Conversion funnel (also known as “sales funnel”) is a common term in ecommerce that describes the different stages that a buyer goes through leading to an eventual purchase of goods and/or services.  

The “funnel” metaphor shows the flow of potential customers as they are guided through the conversion path. And as many funnels start wide and narrow to an opening, marketing works the same way. There are several stages to this process, which can be broken down into the following:

  • Awareness - A customer first hears about your goods and services

  • Consideration - The customer imagines themselves as the recipient of these goods and services

  • Conversion - The customer is persuaded by your brand and wants to transact

  • Loyalty - The customer feels comfortable doing repeat business with your business

  • Advocacy - The customer tells others about your goods and services, which reinforces the Awareness stage for others

As customers progress downwards through your conversion funnels, they are guided towards your conversion point(s) along the way. These conversion points include prompts to encourage customers to progress towards the next step in the buyer’s journey, eventually becoming loyal customers and an advocate for your brand. 

That being said, it’s up to marketers to do their best when attracting shoppers to the conversion funnel every step of the way. During any part of the journey, if you don’t provide an attractive offer, the customer will opt out or choose options from a competitor who provides their own types of conversion funnels.

With this in mind, how do you make your conversion funnels better? 

Let’s focus on the key steps to improve your ecommerce conversion funnels.

There are five simple ways:

1. Marketing/Awareness: more customers, more returning customers

If customers and prospects don’t know about your brand, how can they develop a relationship with your brand?

When it comes to brand development and product marketing, content is the most valuable and cheap way to grow awareness and, at the same time, to keep your customers engaged and interested. Of course, attracting customers requires more than just passively posting content in hopes of engaging customers. Instead, you need to meet customers where they are most likely to transact with your conversion funnel. The best way to do this? By using email.

Considering that over 4 billion people use email as their primary method of communication, email marketing is the way to go. Even just the subject line of an email is enough to create wider brand awareness - you can think of it as the first step of the conversion funnel. Inside the email, you can post relevant content, deals, and any form of marketing to move the customer further down the conversion funnel and eventually transact. 

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2. UX/Consideration: improve navigation and website loading speed

Looks matter when it comes to improving sales. 

When a customer chooses your products and services, they are in some way aligning themselves with your brand. It’s one of the reasons why some shoppers refuse to set foot in a Walmart but will happily spend their money in Target simply because the aesthetics are more appealing and less crowded.

When it comes to engaging customers via ecommerce, your digital presence is your storefront. Things should be smooth, load as fast as possible on all devices, and reduce any complexity that could confuse customers.

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3. Payment/Conversion: the buying process is not over until the payment is made

It sounds obvious, but payment is one of the most important parts of the buying experience: and for ecommerce, this buying process typically revolves around online shopping cards.

According to Baymard Institute, almost 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, with one of the top reasons cited being a bad payment experience. Similarly, there’s plenty of evidence to support that when customers don’t have the ability to choose from a variety of payment methods, they’re less likely to transact. 

Here are a few ways to make your online shopping carts more customer-friendly:

  • Design the checkout process with as few steps as possible

  • Provide all shipping costs upfront or use payment calculators to estimate costs as the customer selects products

  • Provide as many ways to pay as possible, including all major credit cards, online wallets (i.e., Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, etc.), and even cryptocurrency

  • Save cart settings for customers that want to purchase at a later date

  • Provide PCI Compliance solutions to protect your customers and your business against fraud

To make things a cinch for customers and prospects in your conversion funnels, you must understand that the buying process is continual and always ongoing. Online shopping carts serve as a crucial part of the decision-making process - and may lead to repeat sales depending on how satisfied the customer is with your payment process.

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4. Shipping: Ecommerce means shipping, so it better be good

Shipping is often overlooked when focusing on the UX of the website, but buying online means the buying experience only ends when the customer gets the product.

The quality of ecommerce shipping is generally based on a few criteria:

  • Speed of shipment: Do they offer reasonable shipping timeframes? Overnight/expedited shipping?

  • Pricing: Offer several tiers of pricing related to shipment speed, gift packaging, and insurance. Coupons for returning customers are also a great incentive for brand loyalty.

  • Return Policy: Provide a clear description of timeframes and procedures for returning items.

  • Tracking: Can customers track their shipments each step along the way for reassurance and planning?

  • Shippers: A variety of shipping providers to choose from enables reliable shipping for areas that may not be served 

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5. Retention/loyalty: reach your customers on social media

Social media is everywhere - and it’s becoming the primary way to build brand loyalty and advocacy online. Considering that 58.4% of the world's population uses social media, and the average daily usage is nearly 2 1/2 hours per day, social media is the perfect medium to compel viewers to discover your brand and transact.

Of course, maintaining a vibrant social media presence while developing an active community is no easy task. Beyond creating compelling content and offering loyalty programs for your followers, ecommerce sites should integrate their social media use with automation and analytics. 

To do this, choose a CRM that’s integrated with the API of each social media platform. For this, select a CRM that offers a wide range of functionality to:

  • schedule automated emails to prospects that click on your social media links

  • post-media at times with the highest social engagement

  • track the performance between hashtags and keywords 

  • and more.

This lets you focus on creating great content and engage with your followers on social media for better ROI.

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There you have it, the main steps of the conversion funnel for your ecommerce business. Try each of these out and watch your sales skyrocket.

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