The Buying Funnel

A bit of a conversation yesterday in the comments of my last post, which hopefully sparked something off in readers of the blog…

As shopowners, we surely exist to sell products. Nothing more and nothing less. If that is the case, then I pose a question to you all;

What are you doing to ensure that your customers buy a product from you?

Shop Owners who run osCommerce seem pre-occupied with the checkout system. Reducing it from 5 clicks to 1 click and so on, in order to save the customer 30 seconds pressing next a couple of times. I have not seen many shop owners concerned about the buying funnel.

The Buying Funnel

What is it? It’s the process of directing a potential buyer to the product they are looking for or alternatives to that product. It happens as soon as they reach your site and ends when they press the button to enter the checkout pages.

How can you direct a potential buyer to a product?

It can be as simple as a “featured product” on your homepage. This is a simple modification that most stores have.

What about if a buyer is actually looking at a product? Then what we have (in stock osCommerce) is “customers who bought this product, also bought…” which is useful to a degree, but can come up with “interesting” combinations. If some customer in the past has bought a mincemeat machine and a dog from you, you can assume that they are not going to mince the dog – but the “also purchased” module does not know this. It needs to be placed elsewhere, I’ll come up with an idea for this later on in this post.

On the product page

Let’s agree that if a potential buyer is looking at a product, then the likelihood is that they are thinking of buying the product or a close alternative. Therefore, link similar products – the “turbo” version or the “lite” version of the same product for example. On the product page, the idea is to link similar products.

Once they have found the product they want, they press “buy”. Next the buyer is directed to the shopping_cart page, or they stay on the product_info page (depends upon how you have it set up in your admin area). In either case, whichever redirected page, we now use the also_purchased module to show products that are complementary to the product just bought

The whole idea is to give the buyer alternative ideas, but not to confuse them with too many choices. Think about YOUR site and what you can do to create a buying funnel.

2 Replies to “The Buying Funnel”

  1. More importantly: what are you doing to *block* the funnel? Asking for a birthdate that you don’t really need? Asking “where did you hear about us”? Be sure the funnel is smooth and flows freely.

  2. The funnel is important..
    so is making sure you point out why the user NEEDS the product and nonetheless needs to buy it from you..
    if you suceed in this, they wont mind adding their birthday, answering queations, a 12 step checkout or high shipping..

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