12 Ways To Optimise Your E-commerce Sales Funnel

Jun 2015

6 mins read

Optimisation is arguably the biggest buzzword for 21st century marketing. Your store needs better branding and webpages take too long to load – nothing is optimised!

But does all that really matter? Yes!

In this article I will tell you why, and provide tips on common optimisation issues most online stores face today.

Homepage Optimisation Issues

1. Website speed (load times) 

Your homepage is where it all begins, or ends if your website doesn’t load fast enough. Amazon found for each 1 second delay in page loading times, they could potentially lose $1.6 billion in sales each year (yes, you read that right!)

The longer a page takes to load, the more likely a consumer is to leave:


Source: Fast Company

Is your ecommerce store firing on all cylinders? Pingdom is a great tool to see how fast your website loads and identify its weaknesses.

 2. No search bar

The Internet is full of ever demanding consumers who are short of time and patience. Not everyone wants to dig through several categories and 100 page lists to find what they are looking for – they want everything now.

Waterfilters.net increased their conversion rate 11% by simply adding a search bar to their site. You ideally want the search bar above the fold and somewhere it can’t be missed.

Good example:

Website speedThe search bar is above the fold and impossible to miss.

Bad example:

Website speed - ExamplePC Specialist has no search bar, the consumer is forced to go through their categories or leave.

3. Lack of offers

Why do consumers shop online? Yes, convenience is a big factor, but price and special offers also matter. We’ve all heard someone tell us of a cracking offer they got online, but rather than focusing on what they bought, they’d rather tell us how much they saved.

Amazon’s homepage is scattered with their best offers, ensuring nobody leaves when they first make contact with their store:

Amazon’s homepage

4. Lack of branding 

If you haven’t successfully branded your business, why should consumers pick you over more established brands? Consumers buy based on trust, when you see the BMW logo or hear the slogan “Just Do It” – an idea has already been branded in your mind of what to expect.

Branding is the process of shaping consumer perception, you need to be in the driving seat controlling their desire, not reacting to it.

Category Page Optimisation Issues

5. Social proof 

Search Engine Land concluded 88% of consumers trust an online review just as much as a recommendation from a friend. Consumers can’t feel, touch or use your product online, many need a review or vote of confidence before they take out their credit card.
Amazon is the perfect example of this, every product is open for reviews:

Social proof How many times have you bought off Amazon without reading a review?

6. No live chat 

As mentioned earlier, consumers are busy people, they don’t want to waste time in a phone queue for 20 minutes, or go through the drudgery of back and forth emails.

Software Advice revealed 60% of millennials preferred live chat over most traditional mediums.

No live chat Source: Lemonstand

As the years roll on, more of your customers will demand live chat. Take a page out of Sprint’s book and offer a small live chat support tab in the footer:

live chat support

7. Limited sidebar filter options 

For bigger ecommerce stores with thousands of products, having a limited number of sidebar filter options is a bit like shooting yourself in the foot. The fear of scrolling through pages of products is enough to make consumers leave and go elsewhere.
Laptops Direct provide over 31 filters to find the perfect laptop:

perfect laptopWhile I’m not suggest you need so many, look at your current sidebar and ask yourself it it’s really giving the best customer experience possible.

Product Page Optimisation Issues

8. Missing delivery costs 

Did you know 56% of consumers abandon their cart because they are presented with unexpected costs at checkout?

delivery costs Source: Statista

The most common unexpected cost is delivery. If you ignore the data above and go against this optimisation tip, at least make it clear on every page that delivery is only free when consumers spend over a certain amount.

That’s exactly what Waterstones do. This way the consumer is not shocked when they checkout and see an extra cost for delivery:

extra cost for delivery

9. Lack of up/cross-selling 

Never underestimate the power of up-selling/cross-selling. When consumers buy a laptop, they may be in the market for additional software, laptop covers and peripherals. Provide them the option to buy further goods to enhance their overall experience.

Currys have their own upsells for laptop products when you land on a product page:

product pageThis ‘bundle’ saves the consumer time and provides convenience. They only need to place a single order and everything is delivered at once.

Checkout Optimisation Issues

10. No guest/express checkout 

People hate forms. Whether they are at the doctors, filling in their P45 or signing up to a store online, the less entry fields – the better. Express checkouts reduce cart abandonment, make buying easier, saves times and offers the consumer greater privacy.

John Lewis offers the option of creating an account after ordering:
creating an account A streamlined checkout process will reduce cart abandoned and skyrocket sales.

11. Limited number of payment offers 

While purchasing online is very safe with online card fraud falling to its lowest level in 2011, not everyone likes to pay by card. There’s a lot of data to input and it isn’t as practical as something like PayPal or Neteller.

Hill Media Group ran a small test and found 72% of consumer would rather use PayPal than a credit card at checkout. This is not me saying you must have PayPal, but the more payment methods you provide, the greater chance of conversion.

12. Distractions at checkout 

Once the prospect makes it to the checkout, your only objective is to take them to the finish line. Don’t make the mistake of showing more products or provide clickable links that will direct them anywhere else.

Once you reach the checkout stage of WHSmiths, they have removed all links for you to leave the checkout process via their page:

checkout process The prospect is ready to buy, don’t present them with more choices or options, this will lead to doubt.


There’s a very good reason why optimisation is online marketing’s biggest keyword. Because up until now, we didn’t have amazing software tools that can track every customer, heatmaps to show us where customers click or conversion tools that measure sales funnels.

An ecommerce sales funnel has hundreds of complex and unique parts – is yours in fully working order?

Looking to sharpen your digital marketing skills? Join our top-rated professional diploma in digital marketing today!

Join 12+ million students who already have a head start
Sign up today and get 4 weeks free!
No commitments. Cancel at any time.

Shaw Academy

Shaw Academy has over 100 globally recognised courses across 10 faculties. Sign up now - the first four weeks are free.