Sales Funnel Basics for Ecommerce: A Beginner's Guide

Sales Funnel Basics for Ecommerce: A Beginner's Guide

Discover the power of sales funnels in ecommerce and learn how to create an automated funnel to increase conversions and profits. This comprehensive guide covers what a sales funnel is, why it's important, and how to build one manually. 

What a Sales Funnel is and What it Consists of

A sales funnel is a series of steps that a customer takes before making a purchase. The steps are usually broken down into four parts: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA).

4 steps in a sales funnel for ecommerce
  1. Awareness. During this stage, potential customers become aware of your product or service. This could happen through various channels such as social media or advertising. The goal of this stage is to get the customer's attention.
  2. Interest. In this stage, potential customers express interest in your product or service. They research your product or service and read various reviews, so you should provide enough information to make customers trust you.
  3. Decision. The potential customer decides whether they want to purchase your product or not . They compare your product or service with others, evaluate the value proposition, and weigh the benefits against the cost. The goal of this stage is to make the purchasing process as easy as possible to help the customer make a decision.
  4. Action. The customer reaches this stage when they make a purchase. This could involve completing a checkout process, filling out a contact form, or making a phone call. Your main goal is to simplify the purchasing process and to make the customer feel confident in their decision.

At each stage of the sales funnel, companies can use various marketing strategies to interact with potential customers and move them closer to making a purchase. This could include using email marketing, offering discounts, or providing educational content to build trust. 

5 Reasons to Use Sales Funnels in Ecommerce

Sales funnels are crucial in ecommerce for several reasons:

  • Improved Customer Experience: A well-designed sales funnel helps to guide customers through a series of steps and offer tailored experiences based on their behaviors and preferences. As a result, sales funnels can increase customer engagement and satisfaction.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: Sales funnels help to move potential customers through the buying journey, reducing the number of drop-offs and increasing conversion. By focusing on the specific needs of different customer segments, ecommerce businesses can optimize their sales funnels to drive conversions more effectively.
  • Better Data and Analytics: Sales funnels provide valuable insights into customer behavior and buying patterns, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions about their sales and marketing strategies. Ecommerce companies can track and analyze customer interactions at each stage of the funnel. It will allow them to identify opportunities for improvement and optimize their funnels for better results.
  • Increased Revenue: As we’ve mentioned earlier, sales funnels improve conversion rates and provide valuable insights into customer behavior. This way, they help ecommerce businesses increase their overall revenue. Automated sales funnels, in particular, can save time and resources and provide consistent and predictable results.
  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value: Sales funnels guide people through the customer journey and build relationships with them over time which increases customer lifetime value. 

How to Create a Sales Funnel Yourself

To create a sales funnel yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Define your target audience. Your main task is to understand your target audience, their needs and wants, and what their buying journey looks like.
  2. Identify the steps in your sales funnel. You may create a customer journey map to make it more illustrative. Don’t forget to think through interactions with the customer at each step of their journey.
  3. Create a landing page. Create a landing page for your product or service that will be the starting point of the sales funnel. This page should be visually appealing, provide clear information about your product, and contain a powerful CTA.
  4. Set up email marketing. Use email marketing to communicate with customers at each step of the sales funnel. This could include sending information about your product or service, offering discounts, and upselling or cross-selling related products.
  5. Optimize your checkout process. 17% of users fail to complete their purchase because the checkout process is too complicated. You should pay attention to making your checkout process smooth and easy to use.
  6. Use analytics. Track the performance of your sales funnel and make changes if needed. This will help you to identify areas for improvement and optimize your sales funnel for better results.

What an Automated Sales Funnel Is and How it Works

An automated sales funnel is very similar to a traditional one. The only difference is that traditional sales funnels are managed manually while automated sales funnels use software to streamline and optimize the customer journey.

An automated sales funnel allows businesses to reach a larger audience, save time and effort, and increase conversion rates by automating repetitive tasks. They allow companies to focus on other tasks, such as customer engagement and product development.

Example of an Automated Sales Funnel for Ecommerce

Sales funnels are important for ecommerce businesses because they help to address the customer's needs and wants at each stage of the funnel. This leads to more effective marketing, and ultimately, more sales.

Here’s what an automated sales funnel for an online store may look like: 

Step 1: Landing Page. A customer opens a landing page (for example, after clicking on an ad) and sees a clear call-to-action and a lead magnet, such as a discount code or a free trial.

That’s Cult Beauty’s landing page with a lead magnet:

A lead magnet on Cult Beauty's website

Step 2: Lead Magnet. The customer enters their email address in exchange for a gift. After that, they receive an automated email with the promised gift.

Welcome email by Cult Beauty with a discount coupon

Step 3: Email Series. Over the next few days, the customer receives follow-up emails promoting the store's products and services. These emails are automated and personalized based on the customer's interactions with the website.

Step 4: Checkout. When the customer clicks on a product link in one of the promotional emails, they are taken to the product page on the website. They add the product to their cart and proceed to checkout.

Step 5: Completion of Purchase. The customer completes the checkout process and makes a purchase. They receive an automated email with a receipt confirming their purchase. The system adds the customer's purchase history to the database and places the customer into a post-purchase email campaign.

Step 6: Analytics. The online store's analytics software tracks the customer's interactions with the website and uses this data to optimize the sales funnel for future customers.

It’s just one example of how an automated sales funnel for an online store can work. The specific steps and automation processes may vary based on the products or services and the customer's preferences.


Sales funnels are a critical component of ecommerce as they help businesses to increase conversion rates and improve their marketing efforts. Whether you use an automated sales funnel or create one yourself, having a well-designed sales funnel is essential for ecommerce success.

EmailSoldiers Team
Want to March Our Email Soldiers Into Battle?
If you’re ready to enjoy our services and get gorgeous email design, deep analytics, and comprehensive strategies, it’s time to make the first step. Schedule a free consultation; we’ll get the ball rolling!
By clicking the button you agree to process your personal data and agree with the privacy policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.