Five ways to innovate your ecommerce sales funnel

30-second summary:

  • Pandemic-driven lockdowns have driven a lot of businesses online, pushing the competition and increasing demand for more conversion optimization solutions
  • One of the most effective ways to increase your sales is to revamp your cross-selling tactics
  • To get more people down the sales funnel, you need to consider off-site activities, such as when your customer interrupts their buying process and how to return them to your site.
  • To better understand (and meet) your customer journey, use semantic research of your target search query.
  • Finally, keep analyzing your site’s sales funnel using Google Analytics

As more and more small businesses are going through digital transformation, there’s an emerging demand for new ways to attract and engage customers.

As online shopping is becoming a norm, both the competition and customers’ expectations are quickly growing.

How to create a more effective ecommerce sales funnel? Here are a few fresh ideas:

1. Revamp your product recommendations

Cross-selling (that is, showing related products on all stages of the sales funnel) is one the most important – yet often neglected – components of the sales funnel.

Did you know that cross-selling accounts for more than a third of Amazon’s revenue? Based on the public company’s data, 35 percent of what people buy on Amazon comes from product recommendations based on AI-driven algorithms.

No wonder Amazon is using cross-selling all over the site – from product pages…

All of these cross-selling blocks are included on a single product page.

Source: Amazon

…to checkout pages using different methods to match a customer to better products:

Source: PayKickstart

Cross-selling comes in many forms, including:

  • Personalized upsells: These usually show up on product pages to urge customers to buy something they didn’t initially intend. These can be driven by the customer’s prior buying habits or the buying habits of other customers who have purchased the current product
  • Product bumps: Showing matching products right on the checkout page
  • Email-driven upsells: Automated emails sent immediately after you pay encourage you to buy more to add to the same delivery.

Source: Screenshot by author, March 2021

While cross-selling is a great way to increase your average order value, it’s getting harder and harder to convince customers to fall for it. To innovate your cross-selling strategy, you may try to:

  • Personalize your product recommendations
  • Try new formats (for example, testimonials, Instagram carousels, stories)

Dialogue AI is an ecommerce solution that implements both of the above by showing product recommendations based on individual browsing data and turning them into captivating stories.

Source: Dialogue AI

Dialogue combines cross-selling with AI-powered personalization and story-telling. It is also a fully-scaled solution that requires minimum work. The platform keeps you informed on key marketing metrics through a handy dashboard:

Source: Screenshot by author, March 2021

2. Make your customer support part of the sales funnel

The ideal buyer’s journey looks like this: They land on a product page, add it to a shopping cart, submit their payment details and wait for the product to arrive.

Obviously, it doesn’t always look like that. Customers’ journeys are often interrupted. In many cases, they are interrupted by customers who get distracted or come up with questions they need answers to before completing the purchase.

The truth is, no matter how well you set up your knowledge base, many people will still want to contact your customer support team before buying. This is where lots of buying journeys may be interrupted unless you set things up correctly.

Set up email follow-ups

Any customer interactions should be recorded, and there always needs to be personalized follow-up based on the customer’s action (i.e., whether they ended up completing the purchase or not).

Depending on your current CMS platform, you may already have access to email automation that would allow personalized follow-ups.

Screenshot Source: Sleeknote

Brand your customer support team’s emails

This is something that is actually missing in the screenshot above. It is crucial to personalize and brand your email follow-ups to gradually grow brand recognizability and ultimately generate repeat sales.

Remember – Your emails mean to bring your customer back to your site. It needs to revive the interrupted buying journey, so links to your site are essential. At the bare minimum, add a clickable logo and a detailed email signature prompting your customer to take action.

3. Mind your brand-driven search query

What is it that tends to interrupt your buyers’ journey? If it’s not reaching out to your customer support, it is usually:

  • Checking your product reviews
  • Looking for your coupon codes or special deals

To better understand your customers’ journeys outside of your site, research your branded keywords (i.e., those containing your or your product name). Google Suggest is an excellent place to start:

Source: Screenshot from Google, of March 2021

These are all as-you-type search suggestions that may impact your customers’ journey. Make sure your pages and off-site assets rank #1 for all of these.

Start viewing all of these queries as part of your sales funnel. Do you have a landing page (or landing pages) that would do a good job getting people to continue their journey on your site? Or do you rely on third-party sites to do that?

The latter is not the wisest decision.

Remember that these queries are often used in the middle of the funnel (right before your customer completes their purchase), which should also be reflected in the copy.

3. Create search intent-driven copy

Whether your landing (i.e., product) page relies on organic traffic or not, using search intent to drive your copy creation is a good idea. Semantic-analysis-driven search intent analysis is the only method we have to predict customers’ expectations before analyzing the actual user on-site behavior.

The semantic analysis will help you understand your customers’ journeys better:

  • What is it they may be looking for, and where may their research take them?
  • Which products may they also be interested in?
  • How to catch their attention better?

All of these questions can be answered by semantic research. Text Optimizer is the most accessible tool to use here: It will grab Google’s search snippets returned for your target search query and produce underlying concepts that will help you create a better-targeted copy or copies:

Source: Screenshot from Text Optimizer

It is also an excellent way to rank your pages higher in Google, but that is beyond the scope of this article…

To this end, also don’t forget Google’s most recent recommendations on providing better information for shoppers.

5. Analyze your sales funnel

Finally, monitoring your sales funnel is a must, obviously. While conversion monitoring is not usually included in SEO metrics, most SEO analytics platforms can provide sales conduct analysis. As such, Google Analytics provides a comprehensive conversion tracking that includes sales funnel visualization.

  • To start, use this guide to set up conversion tracking in your Google Analytics
  • Then, proceed to Conversions -> Goals -> Funnel Visualizations to analyze your sales funnel:

Source: Screenshot from Google Analytics, March 2021

Google Analytics will show where your customers are heading instead of completing their buying journeys.

Don’t forget the basics!

Fundamentally, it all comes to providing a user experience that customers want to return to. That being said, the more happy customers, the better!

Source: DigitalEagles

So while working on your sales funnel, don’t overlook the basics: Keep an eye on your customers’ feedback, monitor your brand mentions, and always strive to optimize a better customer experience.

Conclusion

Innovation is an integral part of digital marketing. Global lockdowns have changed shopping behaviors dramatically and increased demand for digital transformation and innovation. Hopefully, the five steps above will help you make your ecommerce sales funnel more effective.

Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

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Tyson Houlding
Tyson Houlding is a 28-year-old associate at a law firm who enjoys walking, writing, and learning new languages. He is creative and bright, but can also be very unfriendly and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian who defines himself as straight. He has a post-graduate degree in law.