Globally, last year, e-Commerce retail sales grew by 27.6%, equivalent to a turnover of over 4 trillion dollars, according to the estimates of eMarketer; in Italy alone, e-commerce is worth more than 30 billion euros and has registered a 31% growth in the last year in the component linked to the purchase of physical products. This means that online sales will represent an increasingly significant portion of the retail market: in 2020, 18.0% of all retail purchases took place through online stores, and by 2024 the share will rise up to 22%.

e-Commerce is growing, competition is rising

As has been widely debated, the blockages caused by the pandemic have also pushed demand upwards, forcing buyers to find new solutions for the supply of essential goods.

As a side effect and inevitable of this situation, many companies have focused on the online and therefore competition has also grown, and this means that it is necessary to search for and implement new solutions for conversion optimization.

Techniques to innovate and optimize the sales funnel

But the fact that online shopping is becoming a norm also leads to a new awareness from users, who also have growing expectations and demands.

And so, with more and more small businesses going through digital transformation, there is an emerging demand for new ways to attract and engage customers. As Ann Smarty explains on Search Engine Watch, “one of the most effective ways to increase sales is to renew cross-selling tactics” and make some changes to the funnel, updating it in the light of new consumer needs and the emergence of new competitors.

To attract more people, it may then become necessary to include off-site activities, to manage situations where the customer interrupts the purchase process and techniques to bring it back to the site and cart; better understand and satisfy the customer journey, using semantic search of target search queries; continue to analyze the channeling of the site using Google Analytics.

More specifically, there are 5 ideas and techniques that can help create a more effective e-Commerce sales funnel.

  1. Renew your product suggestions

The first advice is to intervene on the system that suggests products related to the one displayed by the user.

To Smarty, cross-selling (which is precisely the technique of showing related products at all stages of the purchase process) “is one of the most important, but often overlooked components of the sales funnel” and represents “more than a third of Amazon’s revenue“.

suggerimenti prodotti Amazon nella pagina dei prodotti

Analyzing the public data of the online shopping giant, in fact, it turns out that “35% of what people buy comes from product advice based on algorithms driven by artificial intelligence”, and therefore it is not surprising to note that Amazon uses cross-selling throughout the site, from product pages to checkout, using different methods to match the customer’s best products.

cross-selling Amazon nel checkout

How the cross-selling works

Cross-selling comes in many forms, including:

  • Custom upsells: They are usually displayed on product pages to prompt the customer to purchase something they were not initially interested in. These tips can be guided by the customer’s previous purchasing habits or by the purchasing habits of other customers who have purchased the current product.
  • roduct bump: shows the corresponding products directly on the checkout page.
  • Upsell based on email: provide for the sending of automatic e- mails immediately after payment, which invite the customer to purchase other products to be added to the same shipment.

esempio di upsell email-driven

While it is a great way to increase the average value of orders, it is increasingly difficult to convince customers to fall in love with cross-selling and to innovate the strategy we can try to customize the advice on our products or try new and more attractive formats (such as testimonial experiences, testimonials, Instagram carousels, stories). There are also specific e-commerce tools that implement these solutions, showing product recommendations based on individual browsing data and turning them into captivating stories.

esempio di suggerimento personalizzato

  1. Making the customer care a part of the funnel

The ideal customer journey should follow this path: the customer lands on a product page, adds it to a shopping cart, sends the payment details and waits for the product to arrive.

Of course, this is not always the case: customer journeys are often interrupted and, in many cases, they are interrupted by customers themselves, who distract or block themselves with questions they need answers to before completing their purchase.

The truth is that “no matter how well you set your knowledge base, many people will still want to contact your customer support team before you buy”, and it is precisely this point that can stop many shopping journeys if we do not set things correctly.

Setting up follow-up emails to keep in contact

It is essential to record every kind of interaction with customers and follow them up with a personalised follow-up based on the customer’s action – that is, whether you have completed the purchase or not.

Depending on the CMS platform in use, we may already have access to email automation that allows you to launch custom follow-ups.

esempio di email di follow-up

Customizing the emails of the customer care team

The screenshot above lacks a central element: the customization of follow-up emails, since branding these communications can serve to “gradually increase the chance of the brand of being recognized and, finally, generate more repeated sales.

The author highlights another factor to remember: emails are used to bring back the customer on our site. That is, they must restart the interrupted purchase path, so the links to the site are essential: as a minimum, you must then add a clickable logo and a detailed email signature that pushes the customer to take an action.

  1. Taking care of brand-driven search queries

Cos’è che tende a interrompere il viaggio dei nostri acquirenti? Se il problema non è relativo all’assistenza clienti, di solito può dipendere da:

  • Check of product reviews.
  • Search for promotional codes or special offers.

To better understand the paths of our customers outside of our site, Smarty recommends that you search for branded keyword (those keywords that contain our name or product), using as the first tool Google Suggest (search engine autocomplete suggestions).

utilizzo dei suggerimenti di Google

The search suggestions that appear during typing can influence the path of customers, and it is important to check that our pages and resources outside the site are in first place for all these occurrences.

According to the author, we need to start displaying all these queries as part of our sales funnel, possibly also thinking about the opportunity to create one (or more) landing page to convince people to continue their journey on our site and avoid relying on third-party sites for this (“not the wisest decision”).

Such queries are often used in the medium of channeling – just before your customer completes the purchase – and therefore this should also be reflected in the copy.

  1. Creating a copy based on the search intent

Regardless of whether our landing page (the product) is based on organic traffic or not, it is a good idea to use search intent to orient copy creation. The analysis of the search intent “based on semantic analysis is the only method we have to predict the expectations of customers before we can examine the actual behavior of the user on the site“, says Smarty, and “will help us to better understand the user journey”.

In particular, we can find out what they are looking for and where their research can lead them; identify the products they might be interested in; find ideas to better catch their attention: all these aspects can be satisfied with semantic research, to run with a special tool (like our tools!) that allows us to know the “underlying concepts” of a target query search to create a text more in focus.

These optimized pages may also be able to climb the search rankings, but regardless of this they will certainly be closer to the needs of customers, to which they will provide all the useful and necessary information related to the product – without forgetting Google’s advice to improve information on e-commerce products.

  1. Analyzing the sales funnel

Monitoring our sales funnel is a must, of course, although conversion tracking is not usually included in SEO metrics. However, tools like Google Analytics can provide a comprehensive analysis of conversions, which also includes displaying the sales funnel.

After setting up conversion tracking in Google Analytics we need to analyze the funnel by proceeding with Conversions -> Goals -> Funnel Visualizations, and so we can find out “where customers are heading instead of completing their buying journeys”.

il funnel in Google Analytics

The goal always is client satisfaction

There is one aspect that we must never forget in this work, namely that the basis of the optimization of an e-commerce is to provide a good user experience to customers, who are encouraged to come back buying again.

Assicurare la felicità dei consumatori

Even when we work on the sales funnel, then, we can not overlook the main fundamentals such as checking customer feedbacks, monitoring brand mentions and always strive to optimize the positive experience of customers.

In the current scenario, where innovation is increasingly an integral part of digital marketing and the daily context has drastically changed purchase behaviors and increased the demand for digital transformation and innovation, It is important not to lose sight of the funnel of the sales, our reference to try and generate profits. And the five previous steps can help us make our channeling more effective and help increase e-Commerce sales.

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