I heard someone talking about a “sales funnel” in GA. What is it and how does that work on my website? –Margaret W.

eCommerce Funnel Image

Just as your kitchen funnel is designed to take some food item or liquid from a large container and guide it neatly into a smaller opening, a sales funnel in Google Analytics is a visual method of watching your potential customers (visitors) move along your goal path. It’s very helpful in seeing where people “pop out” and don’t finish the process. As a result, this gives you a chance to ask yourself why your audience is jumping ship before they have reached your goal.

For example, I was working with an eCommerce site and they had never set up their sales funnel. Once that was in place, they found dozens of people starting the purchase process by selecting their items, putting in their shipping information, but not completing the sale.

This made us ask several questions:

  • what were the customers finding out for the first time on that page? (e.g. Shipping or handling fees not stated earlier)
  • was the credit card function working?
  • did the checkout page give the customer all the information he/she needed?

In this case, the checkout page was broken and customers couldn’t find the “submit order” button! Under normal circumstances, customers would have sent an email to the company and pointed this out, but we’re talking about a small company and people were simply going to Google to find a different company that sold the same products instead. Even more upsetting was that this had been going on for at least a month! Imagine the lost sales!

To set up a good funnel, you need to establish your goal pages. If you sell something on your website, it could be as simple as:

  1. Customers will put items in the shopping cart
  2. Customers will input shipping information
  3. Customers will complete the transaction

But if you don’t sell something, you should still have goals and then watch what happens in the course of your funnel

  1. Viewers read my blog
  2. Viewers will click on an additional blog entry
  3. Viewers will click on the “contact me” button