How to Create a High Converting Shopify Sales Funnel

9 Min. Read

A common mistake Shopify store owners make is to apply technology in the form of Shopify apps without understanding how to implement the technology in relation to their business model.  More specifically, how to build a Shopify sales funnel for their business.  In this article, we will provide tips on how to create a high converting shopify sales funnel.

Shopify Sales Funnel - TOC

A forward about Branding

Anyone can open a Shopify store, but few make a success of it.  In most cases, the differentiating factor between success and failure is the ability to build a successful brand.

Your brand has value far beyond a memorable logo. Suppose you place a personality behind the brand that mirrors your target audience’s wants and beliefs. In that case, most importantly, it reflects what your customers aspire to; this can significantly increase the appeal of your Shopify store and as well as the products you sell. 

This personalization of your brand gives it value; when used on product pictures or in advertisements, it is a constant reminder that your store reflects their interests.

Understanding the Sales Funnel

The sales process is as old as sales itself; anyone selling anything learns how to sell more with experience of selling and how to motivate customers etc.  However, it was E. St. Elmo Lewis who, in 1898, first put pen to paper and described a theoretical customer journey using a purchasing funnel.  His work is what all other theories of marketing are based upon.

Since then, his work has been refined, and many variations of the sales funnel have sprung up.  When you boil it down, whether it be a purchasing funnel, marketing funnel, smarketing funnel, conversion funnel, or sale funnel, they all have their roots in the same theory, which relies upon a deep understanding of your customers.

Step 1, Leverage your customer analytics for customer analysis.

Ultimately, or in other words, it is based upon your interpretation of customer data. To apply those insights, you need to understand consumer psychology to engage the customer at customer touchpoints to progressively nudge your customer down the sales funnel. Its various stages of awareness to make that sale and become a repeat customer and customer advocate.

Conversific's Purchasing Funnel Dashboard

Step 2, Stages of Awareness

Since there are varying funnel designs, there is variation in stages that make up funnels.  That being said, the stages below broadly include all variations.

  1. Awareness stage 
  2. Consideration stage 
  3. Conversion stage – turn your visitors into customers 
  4. Loyalty
  5. Advocacy stages

With regards to Shopify stores and websites in general, the conversion funnel is used most often, and conversion rate optimization is used to measure and improve conversion and sales.  Before looking at the stages in more detail, it’s important to address new visitors first.

Funnel Stages

The Default Customer Journey

From the beginning of the funnel, with every subsequent stage advance, you are getting to know your customers better, what interests they have, and what channels they use, which enables you to personalize what you offer to them (better target them).  At least that’s what successful high-converting shopify stores do with an eventual goal of being omnipresent across all channels.

There is a paradox here: marketers instinctively try to get customer data from the moment the customer visits the website; however, this is the last thing they should be doing in the case of new visitors.

For new customers, the highest converting path is the path of least resistance, and I don’t just mean sales.  When I say this, what I mean by this is that it should be the easiest path for the customer, from the moment they land on your website and their entire path to their desired product to the point of sale, a clear journey with no interference.  Therefore consider what you ask from them carefully and when to ask it. Complicated forms will kill your sale and lose the visitor more often than not.

The figure that between 83%-97% of visitors leave never to return should highlight the importance of getting the default path of least resistance right.  It isn’t that hard because the simplest path is without any popups or micro-conversion points, a plain and simple, easy-to-complete checkout process.

TIP:  If you want to incentivize new visitors to buy without interfering with their journey, use a simple top banner with a discount for new customers.

The only time to interfere with the default customer journey is when it is about to end without a sale, here you can intervene with a message, to either offer assistance, or to make a special offer/discount, the goal here is to save the sale, or at the very least get an email and name to supply a discount to be redeemed later or/and add them to your email marketing list.  With just a first name, you can begin to personalize your communication through email campaigns.

Step 3 - Personalization for Visitors

Even without asking for any additional data from the customer, you already have useful free information about the customer to personalize the customer’s journey. The source of this data, you have probably guessed, is Google Analytics data.

The geodata and source data are invaluable; if they came from Google and you have been using tracking URLs in your marketing efforts, you can know the keyword used on Google search that led them to your Shopify store.  You can track their journey while on your Shopify store, and you can compare that journey against others who have already made that same journey.

TIP: Use Google Analytics alongside your Shopify analytics.  Why? Well, firstly, because you have to install Google’s tracking code anyway for PPC advertising via Google.  Using anything else is an additional, unnecessary overhead. Moreover, it is an essential step to get to know your customers and personalizing your marketing efforts.  Installation is easy with Conversific. Get it installed and working in just a few clicks.

Step 4 Mapping Stages of Funnel to Customer Touch Points

Since customer engagement on websites is brief and transitory, and the customer journey typically uses multiple devices, you need to include device-dependent versions of the customer journey.  A piece of content suitable for desktop viewing would probably be overly long and tiresome to read on a mobile device on a train, for example.  Have you ever tried to write an email address on a smartphone on a moving train?

How to Plan Your Sales Funnel

You need to leverage what you have at your disposal,

  1. Your Shopify store pages
  2. Human psychology (build anticipation to sales events, fear of missing out)
  3. Your branding
  4. Your Products (offers + branding)
  5. Your Competition
  6. The Customer Journey (leverage your GA Data)
  7. A 3rd party Shopify App that combines Shopify data with GA data for better insights and reporting (Conversific, for example).
  8. A Shopify sales funnel App (OptiMonk, for example)

Above, we have established the default journey is clean and simple, but you still need to provide introductory content that raises awareness and sells.  Without it, how else would you know what stage the visitor is at?  More importantly, it provides a clear sign that the customer is ready to move onto the next stage of awareness when the introduction content is being exited (with sufficient time on page).

Every stage of the funnel needs its own content and offers, which leads to a subsequent stage. 

Your content should be about the product range or category and the use cases of your products, besides the product pages, which should contain appropriately branded video and images.

Step 5 - Generate personalized offers.

In relation to offers, well there is always an excuse to offer a discount.

  • Introductory offer (first stage of awareness or new product)
  • Events offer
  • Returning offers
  • Loyalty offers
  • Referral offers
  • By shopping cart value offers.
  • Related product discount offers

Choose carefully and don’t overdo it, and keep the best rewards for your loyal customers.

Using categories to define interests makes it easy to create landing pages about the pain points your product solves while providing you a simple way of generating personalized offers catering to customer interest groups. A series of increasingly advanced knowledge articles defining the problems and providing solutions via your product use is an obvious way to go.

Step 6 Create Content Streams/Funnels.

Start by storyboarding each category/interest in the most general way possible and then produce a landing page for each, breaking down the products within each category from this content, creating then linking to additional content specific to each product type or product in the category.

For example, a visitor arrives at your shopify store from a blog about gardening coming from a link in the context of garden sprinklers (one of your categories).  Your point of entry for a new visitor should be about garden sprinklers in general, pros/cons, types, and use cases.  This article would link to each product type/brand or specific product mentioned.  USG comments/reviews, star ratings, and simple manufacturer product videos are potentially useful for convincing the customer to read on.

The point here would be to use the stages of awareness and have a content piece based on the level of complexity on the topic (if needed) that bloggers/forum users or ads could link to depending upon the target group (level of understanding) of the writer’s blog article.  For example, advanced/automated sprinkling systems with technical parameters listed are unlikely to be of interest to a homeowner looking to keep their small lawn watered but would be of interest to a landscape gardener, for example.

In the same way, product videos could also be selected in this way.  A simple video describing the types of sprinklers (ones you have in stock), highlighting the benefits of each price point, could be one way to go.

Step 7 - Select the tools for Engagement.

One of the best things about CRO tools like OptiMonk is that they enable you to create your own touchpoints, triggered by user action; at these points, you can relay time-sensitive information to the customer during the customer journey, and then upon completion, it can trigger another and then another, even better, you can combine logic IF the customer does THIS, AND that AND if message C is completed.  In this way, you can create a page/interest-based messaging series that effectively funnels; these are not limited to any one piece of content. As they progress on their journey, prior activity can trigger future activity. For example, if content piece A is read, B then provides a message directing them to a product.  Moreover, these can be AB tested for effectiveness.  

No CRO tool is complete without an A/B testing tool because you need to test different versions to find the best converting.

Step 8 High converting sales funnels use micro-conversions

The first thing to point out is that a micro conversion is a conversion of sorts, although not a sale in terms of an exchange of money.  

We use micro-conversions because once they have converted, they are more likely to convert again next time. It’s a trust-building exercise.

Micro conversion points give something of value to the customer in exchange for buy-in.  When I say buy-in, I mean it is not for free because it is an exchange for something of value – most of the time, this means customer data.  I could be a simple question such as:-

  1. Who is this product for (if they are looking at an item) with a multiple choice answer?
  2. Is this for a professional job or a DIY job? (a hardware store)
  3. It could be visual, showing an image selection choice for preference, color/style

Your gift could be, for example, a how-to guide or a style guide in exchange for supplying an email address or in answer to a survey question.

Avoid asking irrelevant questions that you already have the answer to in your data—for example, ask if they are male or female when looking at female products.

You can have as many micro-conversions as you like during each stage, but at some point, you need to establish a defining one that triggers the transition to the next stage of the conversion funnel.  Ask yourself the question at what point are they aware enough during the first stage.

Tip: Simple inline, Yes/No questions are effective and minimal effort for the customer.

Chat Engagement

Live chat is a valuable and helpful tool to engage the visitors during the customer journey.  Customers can be indecisive, so a helping hand can be convincing that your store is the right one to buy from.

Tip: Never interrupt the payment process but have the facility available so that they can ask for help if needed.

Final Words

Your exact sales funnel structure really depends on your business model, type of products/type of customer (age group), and the number of products.  Are you a drop shipper or some other type of reseller or manufacturer (D2C)?  Do you have an RL retail outlet? 

Each business model has its quirks to consider.

Ultimately, to build a high converting Shopify sales funnel, you need to consider your customer’s needs and then give them what they want/need.  To do this, you need as much data about your customers as possible, formatted and displayed in an easy to interpret dashboard.  Conversific provides this simplicity, combining Shopify data with GA data for a holistic understanding and deep insights, enabling you to make better data-driven decisions.

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