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09 March 2022 • Resources

Conversion funnel: Definition, steps, & tips to transform visitors into customers

Conversion funnel: Definition, steps, & tips to transform visitors into customers

When we decide to embark on the great adventure of ecommerce, the technical aspect immediately comes to mind: the creation of the online sales site. However, this is definitely not the only element necessary for your business!

Knowing how to surround yourself with reliable partners, finding the right products, making yourself known, or even managing the entire logistic phase are all essential steps to the success of your project. And that’s not all: marketing is at the heart of an e-merchant’s activity. To sell, you’ll have to convince! And to transform simple visitors into actual customers, you’ll have to use an efficient tool: the conversion funnel.

What is a conversion funnel?

Sales funnel, funnel, and sometimes even pipeline... The conversion funnel is a marketing concept that can sometimes seem confusing. However, it has a very simple objective: to convert your prospects into customers! It’s a good idea to optimize it to get as many additional leads as possible.

Definition: what is a conversion funnel?

The conversion funnel, by definition, refers to the entire purchasing path that visitors to your website will take. It consists of different steps and a very orchestrated sequence to get your users to behave according to the desired goal. With it, each phase has its own objective: obtain a newsletter subscription, subscribe, buy a product or service, get a loyal customer, etc.

If we also speak of a funnel, it’s primarily to schematically represent all the steps that follow one another during the sales process. These steps are linked, and the choices available to visitors are fewer and fewer. They’re therefore naturally directed to your final objective: the sale!

Steps of the conversion funnel

The conversion funnel can be broken down into four main stages:

  • Attract the visitor: This step is carried out by setting up various advertising actions or by developing your presence on social networks. It can also be about gaining visibility, by working on your SEO, or by paying for advertisements, on Google Adwords for example.
  • Discover the user: Once the visitor arrives on the website, you need to get their contact information to complete your customer base and to be able to contact them again if necessary. So make sure you get their email, phone number, postal address, and even find out a little more about their usage habits. It’s all about getting to know your prospects better.
  • Convert the visitor into a customer: In the next step, the idea is to make the purchase. This is called conversion. In many companies, this is a phase that is reserved for the sales department. Its objective is to propose qualitative and convincing content to prospects. This can be a sales pitch, a demonstration, a promotion, or a free trial. Whatever the method used, the sole objective is to finalize the sale.
  • Build customer loyalty and turn them into ambassadors: Once the contract is concluded, it’s wise to do everything possible to build customer loyalty and encourage them to order again. Even better, if they are won over, they can even become one of your best ambassadors. Encourage them to share their positive experience on social networks, offer them an affiliation or loyalty program… All ideas are good to consider to encourage them to come back and talk about your company!
conversion funnel

Think about optimizing your digital conversion funnel!

The conversion funnel is a technique that’s not new. It was even modeled in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis.

At that time, it was the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) model, whose process was very similar to the conversion funnel. Nevertheless, the funnel has been able to renew itself and evolve according to consumers’ expectations. Today, it’s also adapted to ecommerce.

It’s undeniable: to achieve sales, you need to think about optimizing your conversion funnel, both in your physical store if you have one, but also on your site.

So consider taking a step back on your website and observe if all the steps of the conversion funnel are present. Make sure you get to know your user and collect their data when they visit your site.

Do you know your ecommerce site’s bounce rate? What are the means you are using to convert visitors into loyal customers? Do you have a loyalty or affiliate program in place? 

Also, one of the top ecommerce tips is to always remember to consider each piece of feedback from the people who buy from you. Positive feedback is always great to receive. Negative feedback, on the other hand, is an excellent basis for improvement.

Finally, never forget to question yourself and know how to bounce back, while adapting to new trends. To do this, it is necessary to keep a constant watch, by looking at

the conversion funnels of your main competitors. Perhaps they will have had good ideas and will serve as a source of inspiration for you…

Goals and characteristics for creating a good conversion funnel

A good conversion funnel offers many advantages. It makes it easier to manage marketing campaigns and to set up a more efficient strategic and commercial process, all with the aim to help you get customers for your ecommerce business and increase online sales.

How do you create an optimal conversion funnel in ecommerce?

To create a good conversion funnel in ecommerce, it’s necessary to follow the steps described above. However, these are relatively broad and subjective. It’s therefore necessary to adapt them to the personality of your brand and your industry.

In reality, the real question you need to ask yourself is, “What are the levers I can put in place to make my conversion funnel optimal?”

Your tactical strategy will depend on your customer type, their expectations, and the items you feature on your website. The sales and marketing levers that trigger purchasing won’t be the same for all online businesses.

Generally, creating a good conversion funnel takes some time, requiring many adjustments. It’s therefore a long-term process, involving the creation of many tests. You’ll then probably have to transform your funnel model based on the customer feedback you get.

Thus, the user experience that you’ll propose probably won’t be the same when you launch your site and after several months. So pay close attention to the comments posted by your customers on social networks, the reviews they leave for you, and your after-sales service.

Note also that the conversion funnel is not the only tactical scheme to consider when designing your sales and marketing strategies.

The McKinsey consumer decision path is another very interesting diagram. It perfectly describes the path of today’s shoppers, who no longer hesitate to compare several brands before making their decision and buying a product or service.

Similarly, Google’s micro-moments illustrate the different states of mind the consumer goes through during a buying decision perfectly: “I want to know,” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” and “I want to buy.”

mckinsey conversion funnel wizishop

As you can see, the conversion funnel is a basic model, but it’s not a fixed model. Never forget to adapt it to your audience and your objectives!

The objectives of each stage of the purchase

Whatever the funnel model mentioned above, they all have one thing in common: the buying funnel is divided into different stages. In each stage, the consumer is in a certain state of mind and the merchant has a well-defined objective.

  • Customer first: To design an optimal conversion funnel, start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Find out what their expectations are and note the points of improvement to bring to your business.
  • The discovery of your products: Make sure to facilitate the arrival on your site, using the greatest number of different distribution channels possible. The more visits you have, the more chances your products will be discovered and sold.
  • Conversions and loyalty: Remember that the funnel never stops at the sale. After the purchase, it’s essential to convince your buyers and to retain them. Getting new customers is a great goal... Keeping existing customers is even better!
  • Think about mobile: Nowadays, more and more sales are made via a smartphone. It’s therefore essential to provide your visitors with a responsive site. In other words, your ordering funnel must absolutely adapt to all screen resolutions, which guarantees a better user experience as well as better SEO: with the WiziShop ecommerce solution, your entire merchant site is adapted to all mobiles!

To give you an idea of how much shopping cart abandonment occurs in shopping funnels, only 3.3% of visits convert on average.

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Elements that can disrupt a conversion funnel

While there are some elements that are very beneficial to the sale, there are also real brakes to achieving conversions:

  • Pop-ups that appear on your site can slow down the act of purchasing and interrupt the customer’s navigation. So make sure they appear at the right time...
  • If your registration process is too complicated, it’ll tend to discourage your visitors. Don’t overload the internals with questions and get to the point!
  • If you create a landing page to highlight one of your offers, make sure you clearly explain what it is.
  • An overly complex menu is a real hindrance. Your visitor must easily find the item that they’re looking for, and the access path must seem simple and logical.
  • Your product pages are central to the sale. If they’re not optimized, they become totally counter-productive. A poor-quality visual, a poorly placed description, or a font that’s too small or too large are all elements that can turn your visitors away;
  • If they’re convinced by the product, they still need to be convinced by your payment method. The payment funnel must be easy to access and secure, as security is one of the pillars of ecommerce. In addition, make sure you provide several payment methods to satisfy the different types of consumers.
  • As we’ve seen, your website must absolutely be responsive so that the navigation is enjoyable, whatever the screen used to go to your site.
  • Finally, never forget to send an order confirmation email. This is a reassuring element for the consumer. Its absence generates stress and can quickly become a disruptive element of the conversion funnel, going against loyalty.

How do you improve the conversion funnel's performance?

To constantly improve your funnel performance in order to boost your conversion rate, don’t hesitate to be curious and observe the practices used by your competitors. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to copy their website. But you can use them as a source of inspiration.

Whatever your actions, always remember to test your site and consider the opinions and feedback of your customers. 

Finally, on a purely technical level, make sure you use a powerful and responsive ecommerce solution. Your site will be even more convincing! Who should you turn to? WiziShop of course! Our technical tools are constantly evolving to offer your customers the most enjoyable browsing experience possible.

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