How to Build an Ecommerce Sales Funnel A Step-by-Step Guide


Knowing how to build and iterate on a sales funnel is one of the most profitable concepts an entrepreneur can master. That’s because the process of turning someone into a paying customer requires multiple steps. In this article, we will guide you through the process of building a one-page ecommerce sales funnel.

What is a sales funnel and how does it work?

A sales funnel is a series of strategic relationship-building experiences that turn unaware prospects into paying customers through an automated process. The “funnel” is a visualization of the overall journey, with traffic from your target audience funneling in and high-value customers coming out the other end. The purpose of a sales funnel is to create, capture, nurture, and convert purchasing intent reliably by creating a path to conversion.

The sales funnel consists of three main parts:

1. Top of funnel (ToFu)

At the top of the funnel, you have your target audience that isn’t in the market to buy from you at the moment. The goal is to make them aware of your products and services and develop a marketing and outreach strategy to attract them.

2. Middle of funnel (MoFu)

In the middle of the funnel, you have potential customers who have visited your website and are considering products or services like the ones you sell. The focus at this stage is on solving their problems, providing valuable content, and establishing yourself as an expert in the field.

3. Bottom of funnel (BoFu)

At the bottom of the funnel, you have new and existing customers who are ready to buy from you with the right push. This is where you promote your best offers, provide incentives, and make your products so desirable that leads cannot turn them down.

You can create sales funnels for one product, an entire collection, or specific target audiences. Regardless, sales funnels work best when they meet the needs of buyers at each stage with relevant content and calls to action.

An example of a sales funnel

Let’s walk through an example to illustrate how sales funnels work in practice:

  1. You see an Instagram ad for a new pair of running shoes from a brand you’ve never heard of. You’re part of their target audience, so you’re naturally interested.
  2. You click “Learn More” to check out the company’s website. Now you’re a prospect.
  3. As you leave the site, you get a pop-up for 10% off if you sign up for the newsletter. You enter your email. Now you’re a lead.
  4. Seven days later, you receive an email reminding you about the 10%-off discount, with reviews from happy customers. You decide to buy the shoes and become a new customer.
  5. You get another email five days later asking you to leave a review and share a photo on Instagram and tag the brand. You do both and also buy a pair of shorts recommended in the email because you loved the shoes, becoming an advocate and repeat customer.
  6. The cycle continues.

As you can see, the sales funnel takes customers through pre-planned stages until purchase, and also includes retention tactics to encourage repeat purchases and advocacy.

Sales funnel stages: the AIDA framework

The AIDA framework—Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action—is a sales funnel model that represents the consumer thought process at each funnel stage. It helps you identify what buyers need at each stage of the funnel to serve the right content and call to action.

1. Awareness

The awareness stage is where you catch a potential customer’s attention. It can be an ad, a YouTube video, an Instagram post, a friend’s recommendation, or any other affiliation with your brand or products. Your goal is to persuade the prospect to visit your site and engage with your brand. People lingering in the top of your funnel aren’t interested in product information. They are often casually browsing and stumble upon your brand.

2. Interest

In the interest stage, prospects are doing research and comparing your products to other brands. Areas to focus on at this stage are solving your prospects’ problems related to your products, creating content that supports prospects in their purchasing decision, showing social proof and testimonials, and making product information easy to find and read through text and video.

3. Desire

People are ready to buy in this third stage of the funnel. They know there’s a problem that needs solving and are actively looking for the best solution. Your goal here is to make your products so desirable that leads cannot turn them down. You can do this by promoting your best offers, providing incentives such as free shipping or discounts, and building an emotional connection with prospects through various communication channels.

4. Action

The final stage is where a prospect decides whether or not to purchase your product. You need to make it easy for potential customers to take action by placing your calls to action prominently on your product pages and providing support and reassurance if they have any hesitations or questions. After a customer acts, your focus should shift to retaining them by keeping them happy and engaged, so they return to buy again and again.

How to create an effective ecommerce sales funnel

Now that you understand the basics of a sales funnel, let’s walk through a step-by-step process to design an ecommerce product page that engages and converts.

1. Decide on a layout

The first step is to decide on the overall layout of your product page. You have three basic options: traditional ecommerce product page, long-form ecommerce product page, or product mini-site. The choice depends on how much information you have to share about your product.

2. Style your header

The header is an important element of any ecommerce product page design. It should be slender, feature your logo, include a link to the shopping cart, and have a clear call to action for an email opt-in or a purchase. Make sure your links are easy to read and consider making your header “sticky” so it stays at the top of the page as users scroll.

Choose a testimonial that enthusiastically endorses your product and keep it short. Place the testimonial prominently in your buy box to increase credibility and trust.

Include multiple photos of your product from different angles and positions to give shoppers a clear idea of what they can expect. Consider showing the product in different states and illustrate how it’s made or what it’s made of.

5. Create a short-form product demo

Create a short video or GIF that demonstrates how your product works or is used. Keep it under 30 seconds and make sure it’s clear and engaging.

6. Add buy box content

In your buy box, highlight the main benefits of your product and provide a concise product description. Use clear call-to-action text like “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now”.

7. Choose call-to-action text

Keep your call-to-action text clear and consistent with industry standards. Use phrases like “Add to Cart”, “Checkout Now”, or “Buy Now” to make it easy for shoppers to understand what to do next.

8. Decide on USPs and represent them visually

Identify your unique selling propositions (USPs) and turn them into visual graphics or icons. These should be displayed somewhere on your product page to highlight what sets your product apart from the competition.

9. Decide on guarantees

Offer guarantees to reduce the risk for customers and increase their confidence in purchasing your product. Consider a money-back guarantee or satisfaction guarantee to minimize the perceived risk.

10. Select social proof images

Include social proof images like testimonials, reviews, certification logos, or press mentions to lend credibility to your product and company. These images should be small and placed strategically on your product page.

By following these steps, you can create an effective ecommerce sales funnel that guides customers through the decision-making process and increases your conversion rate. Remember to continuously iterate and optimize your funnel based on data and customer feedback to improve your bottom line metrics.

In conclusion, building a successful ecommerce sales funnel is essential for any online business. By understanding the stages of the funnel and implementing the necessary strategies and tactics, you can attract, engage, and convert prospects into paying customers. So start building your ecommerce sales funnel today and watch your online business thrive.

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