How To Use Marketing Funnel For eCommerce [+PDF Slides Download]

Who doesn’t want more traffic, more leads, and more sales?  The good news is, it’s not as hard as you might think.  All you need to do is to follow a marketing funnel optimization strategy for eCommerce.

A marketing funnel for eCommerce is a route to guide the visitors towards a buying decision, starting with awareness and ending with a purchase.

Continue reading to find out:

Stage 1: The Awareness Stage

  • Create valuable content to educate visitors about your products and build trust.
  • Paid Facebook ads

Stage 2: The Interest Stage

  • Social proof across channels
  • Optimize product page(s)
  • Email marketing to promote products

Stage 3: The Purchase Stage

  • On-site messages
  • Influence visitors during checkout
  • Send trigger-based emails

Stage 4: The Repeat Stage

  • Promote the loyalty program
  • Referral marketing
  • Keep customers engaged

Why do you need a marketing funnel for your eCommerce business?

A successful eCommerce marketing funnel builds brand awareness and turns visitors into repeat customers. Let’s dive into the 4 stages that make up this funnel!

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

4 stages of a marketing funnel for eCommerce

Stage 1 of eCommerce Funnel: The Awareness Stage

Who’s in this stage? Anyone who has shown interest in what you offer but still isn’t familiar with your brand. He might be browsing on Google or any social media platform found about your products. At this stage, people might not even know what their problem is.

A potential buyer will most likely interact with your social media accounts or visit your website.  

Main focus: Get your products in front of the right people to bring in a steady flow of potential customers. The more users you attract, the higher the chance they’ll consider you when they need your products or services.

To find the questions your potential buyers may have in this stage, you will need to look at related search queries in Google’s drop-down box, like so:

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

Another great tool is Answer The Public, which will take a keyword you input and provide search queries to answer questions like how, why, and what.

Some ways of doing this include:

  • Create valuable content to educate visitors about your products and build trust.
  • Paid Facebook ads

Image explaining the Value of Content

White papers: Perfect for complicated topics or problems.

eBooks: Can be used to grow customer database and educate your audience about the products you sell.

How-to videos: 72% of people would rather watch a video to learn about a product or a service.

Blog posts: Perfect to share top-level content and elaborate on your prospect’s pain points.

Infographics: When done right, they’re eye-catching and very effective at this stage.

Example of Awareness Stage done right:

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

Paid Facebook and Instagram ads

A perfect platform for creating brand awareness with 2.32 billion monthly active users. Although there are no limits to how you can use the platform, here are some of the best practices:

Communicate your value proposition

Include your value proposition with Facebook ads to explain how your products are the best solution and what makes them different from your competitors’.

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

Art Snacks is a great example which includes:

  • Value proposition repurposing
  • Strong social proof (five stars + number of customers)
  • CTA to direct their visitors
  • Display Product Categories

Use carousel ads to explain what customers can find in your online store.

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

In the above example, Beauty Bay showcase their products and add a CTA “Shop Now” to attract their top-of-funnel prospects and move them to the next stage in the funnel.  

Promote offers

Catch user’s attention with special discounts and sales.

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

Blue Apron go beyond generic CTAs, offering introductory discounts to tempt users with a “Get Offer” button instead.

Promote content

Advertise to a relevant audience without hard-selling.

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

This ad is too creative and fun; They set themselves apart from companies like Gillette and promote an existing product line to a new audience without launching new products.

For best results, combine paid ads and organic content marketing to boost targeted traffic to your eCommerce business.

Related: Complete eCommerce SEO checklist – Rank #1 on Google

Stage 2 of eCommerce Funnel: The Interest Stage

You now have targeted traffic through organic and paid channels, aware and interested in you.

Who’s in this stage? People who have realized their problem at the awareness stage and now looking for a solution.

At this stage, a potential buyer will let you know by signing up to your newsletter, downloading your content upgrade, or connecting with you on social media.

Main focus: Make it easy for anyone considering your product to learn more about it and connect with you. Your goal is to let them take the next action and add a product to their cart or wishlist.

Some ways of doing this include:

  • Social proof across channels
  • Optimize product page(s)
  • Email marketing to promote products

5 ways to grow ecommerce business

Social proof across channels

To convince visitors about the quality and credibility of your online store.

On-site social proof

The first place where visitors will look for social proof is your online store. Consider adding customer testimonials on the product page’s or the homepage just like Zesty Paws:

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

Another effective way you can use social proof on your site is through user-generated content (UGC).

Marketing Funnel For eCommerce

In the above example, Riviera Maison has dedicated a section for customer’s photos where shoppers can click on links to product pages.

Email Marketing

When combined with social proof can be the ideal combination to convince visitors to take the next action.

Make sure to make social proof a part of your email subject lines. This can be done by including direct quotes from your reviews or using the positive feedback you received.

Social Proof in Paid Ads

Powerful at emphasizing the value that customers get by buying your products.

If you consider running ads at any stage of your conversion funnel, incorporating social proof will help nudge visitors at this stage. You can fit it into your ad copy or creative image into your actual ad.

Example of Social Proof Ad

Optimize product page(s)

Remove any doubts and assure visitors that your products are the best solution.

Product descriptions

Keyword research helps you understand what your buyer persona is looking for to position your products as a solution to their concerns. Firebox nails their product marketing with the following product description:

 eCommerce product description example

Calls-to-action

Prospects in different stages have different needs, so if you’re trying to persuade all of them with the same generic CTA, we need to have a serious talk. Choose CTAs that provide value (Gift Now or Treat Yourself are more powerful than Buy Now).

Shipping and Returns Information

Unexpected extra costs make 53% of visitors abandon their carts. Explaining your shipping and return policies as clearly as possible helps convert prospects to the next stage.

ecommerce shipping and returns

Ikea’s language stands out, showing how much they want their customers to be satisfied with their purchase.

Email marketing to promote products

At this stage, prospects are ready to hear more about your products.

Curated emails, especially when combined with social proof, are super effective for product promotion without being too sales-y.

By tracking your subscribers’ clicks and categories, you will be able to better segment your email list and create highly targeted campaigns as you learn more about their interests.

Offer product recommendations include Customer Favorites, social proof, and best sellers. Here’s an inspiration from Tarte:

 eCommerce email marketing

Related: Email Marketing For eCommerce Business: Why Do You Need It?

Stage 3 of eCommerce Funnel: The Purchase Stage

Who’s in this stage? Visitors have their products in the cart or wishlist; all they need is to complete the transaction.

A potential buyer is ready to buy at this stage but not sure if you’re the best company to buy from.

Main focus: To convince your visitors you’re better than you’re your competitors, and this could be with a better price, better features, better user experience, better product, better service, better selection — the list goes on.

With Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping, rock bottom prices, and excellent customer service. They’ve set really high standards for any competition.

Some ways of doing this include:

  • On-site messages
  • Influence visitors during checkout
  • Send trigger-based emails

On-site messages

Never take leads for granted, especially with a cart abandonment rate of 70%. At this stage, distinguishing between first-time visitors, subscribers, and returning visitors to create targeted campaigns is a must.

Exit intent campaigns are powerful to capture abandoning visitors and convert them with discounts or email marketing. Here’s an example that could be triggered at a specific order value:

abandoned cart example

Influence visitors during checkout

This is a critical step; you can either turn them into (loyal) customers or lose them.

Create a checkout page with multiple payment options and persuasive CTAs. Besides, consider using the power of free shipping as 57% of people cancel orders due to expensive shipping costs.

Combining on-site messages with product recommendations is a better way to implement this strategy.

You might also want to offer freebies at checkout (free samples or upgrades) and ask if they want to get another sample for some extra dollars, just as Estee Lauder have done:

ecommerce check out

Send trigger-based emails

Data gathered through cookies about every page visited, link clicked, and product added is valuable information about subscribers. It allows you to personalize visitors’ experience to increase conversion rates.

Here’s Glossier’s abandoned cart email:

Example of Glossier email nurturing

Discount strategies for abandoned carts is a powerful tool if well-applied. But, you don’t want visitors to abandon carts on purpose.

Encourage visitors to add products to a wishlist and remind them about the items using automated emails.

Funchest exemple of a Marketing Funnel

When visitors fear missing out on a product, they get more encouraged to buy it. Consider combining this technique with a lead scoring system for better results.

Stage 4 of eCommerce Funnel: The Repeat Stage

Who’s in this stage? Prospects who have purchased from you before and at this stage, you want to make them return and buy again.

A potential buyer at this stage is someone who has already bought from you at least once.

Main focus: To provide your loyal customers the best experience possible.

According to Adobe Digital Index, returning customers are 9 times more likely to convert than a first-time visitor and even spend more per transaction.

Some ways of doing this include:

  • Promote the loyalty program
  • Referral marketing
  • Keep customers engaged

5 ways to grow ecommerce business

Promote the loyalty program

A Thank You page can skyrocket conversion rates.

There are several ways to optimize thank you pages (ask for referrals, survey, nurture leads, etc.)

Promoting loyalty programs on thank you pages increase customer lifetime value and create feelings of exclusivity and belonging.

e.l.f. has nailed this approach:

eCommerce loayalty program

Referral marketing

It is well-known that happy customers will drive many more sales.

84% of shoppers trust recommendations from the people they know.

Offer valuable incentives (discount on the next order, store credit, free samples, gift cards) and make sure there’s a reward for the new customer too.

Here’s what one of Aways’ emails look like:

Referral marketing

Besides, consider providing different channel options for referrals (email, Pinterest , Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, link sharing)

Keep customers engaged

32% of first-time customers will make a second one, and that’s why email marketing is a powerful tool here. Express appreciation, birthday messages, share company insights as social proof, and adding incentives will help you keep your brand top of mind.

Here’s how Saucey does it:

The bottom line

Regardless what your product or service, your potential buyers will go through these four stages of marketing funnel for eCommerce in their journey.

Different customers have different needs; some will take more time to move through stages, while others will jump more quickly.

The key is to fully understand how your prospects are moving and optimize each stage accordingly.

Which strategies are you using to move prospects down your eCommerce conversion funnel? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook on Instagram!

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Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.