Digital marketing has increased the awareness of the words “sales funnels” – a term that is normally associated with online businesses. A retail sales funnel never gets mentioned, and yet this term was invented by retailers, it is astonishing to see that not many store owners have adopted it into their retail businesses.
In this article, you will learn retail sales funnels and why every retail store needs at least one! You will learn how to convert more of your foot traffic into sales.
Let’s dive in!
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is a process your leads take before they become a customer. Sales funnels exist in both online and offline settings.
It is normally broken down into 3 stages:
- Top of the Funnel
- Middle of the Funnel
- Bottom of the Funnel
The best way to think about this if you’re a retailer, is if you have a physical shop, your location becomes the Top of the Funnel, your Customer Assistant becomes your Middle of the Funnel and your Store Manager becomes the Bottom of the Funnel.
If you’re a store owner that owns both a physical store and an online store, then you’d need to learn how to take advantage of the two worlds without sacrificing the customer experience.
Another way you can think of retail sales funnels is by thinking of them as being a full integrative customer experience – allowing you to merge both offline and online together for a seamless customer experience.
The origins of a retail sales funnel – an interesting fact!
Before anyone invented the term CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Tiffany & Co. the famous luxury jewellery shop had been collecting individual purchase data from their customers and used this information to market to a segment of well-heeled customers since 1956.
In 2000, they introduced a customer data application to match customers to specific store locations and purchase patterns (Luxury Retail Management, 2012).
Today’s technology has made this even more affordable for smaller retailers which also makes it much easier to maintain. You don’t need expensive mainframe systems to support enterprise level software anymore. There are many options available for retailers to create their desired customer experience using affordable software in the same way. If you want to learn how to merge both offline and online experience to create an effective retail marketing solution for your store, you can click here to learn more.
While technology has made creating online funnels for retail stores easy, I’m surprised to see that many are not doing it at all! Having a functioning retail sales funnel, helps you stay ahead of your competition easily while retaining more customers and saving time and money in the process.
The challenge lies in understanding how to best translate your real, genuine retail customer experience your customers get in your store, to online. The digital world can easily confuse and distract your customers from ever making a purchase.
Let’s explore how you can benefit from creating a few sales funnels that will save you time and money while also improving customer experience. Let’s not forget, some customers do prefer to have that personal touch across ALL platforms!
Capture new customers
I love walking into my local retail store. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy with their inviting ambience, and smiling staff always put me in a positive mood to spend more time there (and also buy something, even if I don’t need to spend money).
But what if I walk away and never buy anything?
As retail owners, the first thing we would need to do is be able to capture our customers’ details. Every retail store I visit, normally does this step at the check out process… but I think it’s too late!
How many walk-ins would come and go before they made a purchase?
We need to have an incentive for them to come back and buy when they are ready to spend the money.
It would be so easy to do this, but no one is doing this now – we’re all familiar with QR codes?
How about having a QR code in a visible section of your store, and then asking your customers to opt in to receive promotions via email?
This marketing tactic is an example of a retail sales funnel in action!
Oftentimes retail managers are too busy to see all the revenue opportunities that exist in their store. This is why we’ve created a way for busy online store owners to easily find opportunities and uncover hidden money sitting in their store.
Our ‘Hidden Money’ calculator will show you:
> How much extra cash you can generate each week from your store, and
> How many hours of useless admin work you can save with the systems you’ve already got
When you’re ready, take our simple Hidden Money calculator to learn how to calculate the benefits of capturing more customers and recouping easy money that’s hiding in your store – click here to learn more.
Build relationships with customers
Customers will buy at their own time.
Sometimes you can bump them into action with good incentives. If you know who your customers are, and you’ve captured their information through a QR code, then you’ll know exactly when and how to stay front of mind and nurture them into a transaction.
Most successful retail sales funnels offer advanced segmentations based on their journey. One example of this is to track when a customer last visited your store and then invite them to come again so you can showcase your new products.
It takes a lot of effort for your customers to pack up and walk into your store, so you do need to give them a reason to visit. Maybe a discount? Maybe a special promo night?
Never underestimate the power of following up with your customers – the ones who know you, like you or trust you, will normally give you an additional 30% of revenue each year. We also have a calculator you can use to prove this point – click here.
Build loyalty and retain more customers
These days, customers can be very sensitive and short on time. As retailers, we also need to leverage our time and money the best way we can, which means we need to automate repetitive tasks, but of course, never at the expense of good customer experience.
I find that it’s important that we plan our retail sales funnels exactly how we want it to transpire, and on brand.
We need to understand what experience we want to provide to our customers before they walk into our store, during their store visits and after they leave our store.
For retailers, you’ll need to learn about marketing automation and what type of retail marketing solutions exist for your requirements. In summary, our definition is that marketing automation helps us utilize technology to help us execute your store’s marketing strategy.
To learn more, you can click here.
The biggest return on investment for automating your sales funnels, will be in automating customer loyalty marketing strategies. This all depends on what systems you use to achieve your retail automation goals.
Loyalty programs can help you retain more customers – you’ll be able to know exactly how customers interact with your store – how often they purchase online vs how often they visit your physical store.
There are so many retail app solutions to help you track these behaviours, however they all come at steep prices. If you can’t justify a huge volume of transactions per month, sometimes you just have to accept that you can’t afford it. Customer retention is a big business, and many providers charge high prices, because they know the true value it holds for online store owners.
But don’t fret!
We’ve found a way to make a few different technologies work together, so that your small business can afford to have these loyalty programs working without breaking the bank.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on what retail sales funnels are and how you can take advantage of them for your store.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about your store in the comments section below. Maybe you were thinking about a strategy and you’re stuck on something. I can help.
You’re also welcome to use our FREE hidden money calculator, to uncover goldmines hiding in your store.
Head Honcho | Marketing Automation Expert | Evil Twin Sister
Jovana is the Founder of Bumper Leads - a marketing automation agency that helps businesses simplify and automate their sales and marketing systems to help them save time and money.
She is a former body builder turned fast food junkie turned automation geek.
When she is not watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, she shares interesting marketing advice on our podcast called Marketing Automation Made Simple. This is where she helps overwhelmed business owners build smart marketing growth systems so they feel excited and in control of growing their businesses.
You can always follow her on social media to see what she's up to.