The Customer Funnel

The Customer Funnel

How to get more customers to buy your products?

Introduction

If you run an online store or business of any kind really, you must have encountered the term ‘Customer Funnel’ many times. You have probably wondered what it means? What is this funnel?

If you are looking to answer these questions or just revise your knowledge, this is the right place.

Let us break it down for you.

What is a funnel?

You can visualise a sales funnel as an inverted cone, something like a funnel used in the kitchen to pour liquids. The funnel represents the steps, stages or levels through which a customer usually passes as they learn about your products and eventually go on to buy.

The top of the funnel is the broadest and consists of larger set of customers, and as you move down the funnel a smaller and smaller set of these customers will "convert", eventually into a customer that buys your product. Hence the funnel shape that tapers down, from top to bottom.

Also this where you can understand the terms "top of the funnel", "bottom of the funnel" and sometimes "middle of the funnel". These are also endearingly abbreviated to TOFU, BOFU and MOFU in some circles.

A well understood sales funnel can be a powerful tool to build your marketing and sales strategy. In fact it could be said that the entire purpose of your marketing and sales efforts are to move more and more people into the funnel, and try and get a bigger fraction of those to go to the bottom of the funnel.

An example

An example of the levels of a customer funnel for an online store could look like this:

  1. Customers who visited to the store - 1236
  2. Customers who visited a product page - 857
  3. Customers who added a product to their cart - 186
  4. Customers who bought a product - 67

Typically the conversion rate of your funnel is the ratio of how many people bought your product to the number of people who visited your store. So in this example that would be 67/1236 = 5.4%.

It should be clear now that a good business is one where a lot of people visit your store, many of them convert (buy your product).

The stages

There are many ways to think of a funnel. With each stage in the funnel representing an increased likelihood of the customer buying your product.

This is not a passive process, and you will need to design your customer experience to ensure that the customer can ultimately find the value they are looking for and buy the product.

You can think of the customer funnel as these 4 stages of the customer journey:

The Customer Funnel

Awareness

This is the first and basic stage in the customer journey. The customer has usually become aware of your product as a result of a marketing campaign, heard about you from someone they know, or just come back because they remember you.

Understanding where the user is coming from, helps in shaping where they start on your store. Specifically when your customer lands up on your store from marketing campaigns they must be sent to an appropriate landing page.

We won't dive into the details of increasing the awareness, and how to get more customers to your store. Suffice to say that increasing awareness and customers at the top of the funnel is the most important job of marketing.

Interest

A customer that sees some potential value in the products you are selling will seek information, consider options, ask questions.

A customer that is aware, must be given opportunities to exercise their interest in the products on offer. Sometimes this is done by signing up for a newsletter, showing them what other people are saying about your products, showing them a comparison to similar items, show them how the product might look on them, or in their homes. Again we won't go into the depths of how to create and serve the interest.

But it is important to remember that the more customers can discover the value in your products, the more they will want to buy your product.

Decision

A customer that has seen sufficient value in your product is now concerned with how to buy your product. This stage of the customer's journey is very critical. There are multiple levers in this stage like discounts, offers, exclusivity and so on. A strong indicator of a decision to buy is the "add to cart" process. It is important to keep an eye on how many people are adding products to their carts, to see if you store is helping people choose what to buy. It is also important to reduce the "friction" for the user to get to the next and final stage of the funnel.

Action

The battle is not won yet. This is the stage at which the customer buys your product. There are many reasons for a customer not choosing complete the purchase, and it makes a lot of sense to revisit these customers with the missing levers in the previous stage. For eg. you could offer a discount to the customers who have unfinished purchases. In many ways the customers who are purchasing your products are the likeliest to bring further business to you, through referrals, through repeat purchases, through combination purchases. Someone who bought shoes, is probably going to need socks.

What to do?

So now you know how to think of customers that are flowing through your store and buying your products. How do you apply this to running your business? How do you set your customer funnel up for success?

As a business owner here are the key things you should do:

  1. Set up access to the numbers. Monitoring your TOFU (traffic), MOFU (add to cart) and BOFU (conversion) is possible to a limited degree on the Shopify dashboard itself. We would suggest using aarzoo's spiffy dashboard to get the quickest overview of all your funnel and store performance numbers.
  2. Understand what good numbers for your business are, and set up specific actions at each step of the funnel to get those numbers. For example if you sell apparel and your conversion is 1%, then you are definitely in the bottom 20 percentile for your category. Then take specific actions like offering discounts to customers who have abandoned their carts, and improve your conversion percentage.
  3. Shape your products, marketing and attention to cater to the funnel. Yes, that's right; shape your business to respond to the customer funnel and maximise your revenue.

Conclusion

It is important to see the customer's journey as a process that starts with them discovering your store and ends when they purchase your products. Actually, the journey might never end, and they might keep coming back to buy again. But it is important to help the customer along this journey by showing them the right message, the right information and often giving them the right actions to take.

A customer who is interested but hasn't yet decided to buy is the wrong customer to target for disappearing discount. The customer who has abandoned his cart is the wrong customer to send an awareness message for a different product. The best businesses are the ones that show and tell the customer the right thing and the right stage in their journey.

For more information or questions; or to learn how aarzoo could help you shape your customer's journey through the funnel, talk to us at listen@aarzoo.co

Author
Vinod