Here’s a quick test for you: check out any e-commerce store (apart from Amazon and a few other big ones, that is) and see if you’ll part with your cash, like right now?
Go to any e-commerce store and the store owners expect you to take action in this sequence (might not be in this order):
- Visit site
- Browse products
- Make a purchase
Bad news: You’ll make some sales, but it’s not a predictable occurrence and you’d never be able to tell just how much you’d make in sales or revenue in any given month (unless you are Jeff Bezos or his team reading this).
We see e-commerce stores making this mistake over and over where there’s just a store and products available for potential customers to browse.
We get it. You want to make sales. You want your e-commerce store’s revenue to soar. And, you want to profit from your business.
E-commerce store mistakes
You won’t make anything happen with the predictability and sustainability in revenue if you take that “show up expecting to sell” approach.
Here’s a simple fact:
People don’t sit with their credit cards in hand looking for something to buy. Even if they did, it’s not going to be your e-commerce store that they’ll be coming to.
You need a sales funnel for your e-commerce store
But why bother with a funnel for your e-commerce store?
Your customers go through this pattern before they actually buy:
- Visit store
- Browse products
- Read blog
- Follow you on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram
- Wait some more – for the right time to buy or until they really have a need.
- One fine day, they buy
You don’t know when they’ll make a purchase and you have simple ways to be ready for them when they are ready. This process, from visiting the store for the first time till the customers buy, is called a pipeline or buyer’s journey or sales funnel.
That’s why you need sales, even for an e-commerce site. Here’s a simple, three-step process to get a sales funnel up and running for your e-commerce store:
Prepare to make an offer
You’ll need to make an offer to your potential customers when they visit your e-commerce store to make a purchase. Your customers need a compelling offer to consider a purchase. They have options so they need to be sure that they are likely to get a bargain (or much more value) if they purchase your products.
When we say “offer,” we don’t always suggest giving away “discounts.” We don’t even suggest coupon codes, deep discounting, or cutting costs as a way to do business or promotions.
But you can consider coupons if you have to.
Other kinds of offers could be a handy guide on how to use your product better, or a guide for your customers so they can solve a particular problem with the help of your product.
Deliver on your promise
For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that you are giving a discount coupon for the visitors of your e-commerce store. Using popups, links, or slide-ins on your e-commerce site, you’ll make that offer.
Some of your potential customers will sign up for these offers through one of the many opt-in forms.
At this point, you’ll need a way to deliver this coupon code to your leads and the easiest way to do that is with email.
Use an autoresponder sequence to send out the coupon immediately on sign up, and you can choose to have a complete onboarding series (email messages) to nurture your e-commerce store leads later on (see below).
Following a lead sign up on your e-commerce site, you can choose to take multiple routes in addition to your autoresponder sequence.
Follow up and nurture e-commerce store leads
Even after your potential e-commerce store customers express interest by signing up for a coupon code, there’s no guarantee that they’ll buy right away (some will, most won’t).
That’s why you need to grow your email list — a full list of potential customers who signed up for your offers on your e-commerce store. The longer the list, the more predictable the sales figures of your e-commerce business are going to be.
How well you make this happen depends on:
- The way you generate leads
- How your autoresponder sequences are setup and how you do email marketing
- The strategies you use to attract, engage, and profit by using sales funnels, email nurturing sequences, etc.
- How you re-engage non-responsive subscribers, non-responsive previous customers, etc.
What’s your focus on your e-commerce store, right now? To generate sales right away or to generate leads for more predictable sales and revenue?