Sales Funnel Best Practices

By Scott Matthews, CEO of Webcollage


Online retailers have a lot of visitors, but more than 97 percent leave without buying anything. Part of the formula to drive more conversions is to assure that what you answer most if not all of the consumer's questions about your product. This may seen self-evident, but it is not just what you say to visitors it is how you say it that can lift sales anywhere from 12-36 percent.


For example, enhanced content -  which runs the gamut from simple text, to elaborate product shots, video (see New to QuickBooks?), 360-degree views, customer testimonials and reviews  (click on "Product Tour"/"Feature Reviews") - has proven in countless A/B tests to drive higher sales.  Here are some best practices when using enhanced content to move customers down the sales funnel.


Typically, Internet users do not read every word of text presented on a Web page; instead, they scan the page for information applicable to them. So use graphics to accompany each feature. Shoppers who scan the page can be lured into reading the full text, or may get the answer they need to make a purchasing decision just from the graphic. Using large images enhances the visual quality of the page and helps shoppers quickly scan through the different product features. 


With interactive tours shoppers get a complete set of product features. Shoppers can click on each feature and learn more about it and learn how the feature is used in practice. Videos can also be included to elaborate on each particular feature. But be aware that neither nor Walmart do not allow videos or interactive tours using instead just the video snapshot as static graphics.


Always include a list of all items that are included in the product package. Shoppers need to understand what complementary items, accessories or parts they get and which ones they need to purchase. Without this information, they may delay a purchase decision. Try using not just a bulleted list but also an image of the unpacked box, with all included items. Providing the full set of attributes helps shoppers who need to understand a particular aspect of the product decide if this product fits their needs-thereby accelerating their decision cycle and reducing return rates.


Including a compatibility (or System Requirements) section that lets shoppers know what other equipment, devices or environment they need to have for using the product. This helps shoppers determine if they will be best able to use the product in their home or office. Also provide access to product documents to let shoppers find information that may not be included in your web marketing materials-such as specific information about installation, connectivity diagrams, operating instructions, etc.,. Owner's guides and installation guides are particularly beneficial as they help address shopper questions and concerns around using and installing the product. 


Show the product in its day-to-day context, for example, a video camera held and connected to a notebook computer. Showing products in context help shoppers visualize how it would fit in their environment and provides them a better sense of dimensions and convenience.


Other quick-hitting ideas: A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section may be the best way to address some shopper concerns. If you present a comparison table that shows the difference between this product and other products in the same family you help shoppers understand the differences and possibly upsell them to a more profitable product. Don't forget to emphasize your company's green strategy. If you have new functionality in each edition of your product (e.g., 2013 edition vs. the 2012 edition), a What's New section is helpful to consumers.


The bottom line is that with consumers increasingly accessing the internet for information before making purchases, the more information you give them in the most compelling packing, the higher the chances they will buy on your site or in your store.


About the Author


Scott Matthews joined Webcollage in April 2006. He brings more than 20 years of sales and executive management experience to his role as CEO. Scott has a proven track record in direct sales, business development, OEM sales and distribution channel management. Most recently, Scott served as a Director of the Eastern Region for Secure Computing, an industry-leading network security vendor. He previously worked as Vice President of Sales for both Optum and InterWorld and held sales management positions with Data Switch, Oracle, Siebel and Genesys. Scott holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master's degree from Pace University.