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How your Sales Funnel can Make or Break your Business

by Anders Bohea on January 13, 2015 , No comments

In a physical store, it’s easy to make sure the area by the till is bright, clean and well-lit. In e-commerce, it’s harder but equally important to create a pleasant buying experience – and that’s where the sale funnel comes in.

What is a ‘Sales Funnel’?

Just like a physical shop, online stores have routes between browsing and buying. Ideally, an e-commerce business works like a funnel – lots of customers browse many different products, and are gently nudged towards a narrow goal, i.e. paying for something.

The problem is that at any moment a customer can click away, leaving mid-transaction. If your sales funnel is too aggressive, customers will be put off. If your process is difficult to use, customers will vanish. If it takes to long, customers will go elsewhere. On the flip side, customers who have entered the funnel and indicated their intention to buy can be some of your best targets for upselling. So how do you strike a balance?

1. Remove Distractions

Once a shopper is in a supermarket, they expect to queue a bit and have to walk to the exit anyway, making these areas great sales spots. Online, a customer can click away at any moment, so placing an offer – even if it’s a great deal – between the ‘buy now’ button and the ‘thank you for shopping with us’ screen can actually reduce sales.

2. Keep the Page Count Low

You may lose as much as 10% of your traffic on each page of the sales process, so each one needs to be truly valuable.

3. Check your Site Stats

Look out for pages that are shedding an abnormally high amount of users and work to improve them first.

4. Don’t ask for Information you don’t need

Most people don’t like sharing their information with strangers. You’d only ask for a passport number if you needed it, so if you don’t need to know a customer’s age, gender, address, phone number or marital status, don’t ask for it. Even if the form comes with that information as standard.

6.Make ‘Buy Now’ Buttons Really Obvious

It shouldn’t need to be said, but you’d be surprised at how many sites have subtle ‘add to cart’ and ‘check out’ buttons. You may also be surprised at how easy it is to miss even an apparently obvious button. Keep layout consistent and make buttons large and striking for best effect. Following existing conventions – ‘my account’ and ‘my cart’ icons in the top right, for example, a ‘buy now’ button at the end of every product description – makes it easier for new customers to adapt to your e-commerce store.

7. Use a Trusted Payment Gateway

If your e-commerce site is relatively unknown, you can increase trust and save yourself hassle by allowing customers to pay with a well-known payment gateway, such as Paypal.

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