Online Marketing for Retailers: How to Boost Sales with a Sales Funnel

Online Marketing for Retailers: How to Boost Sales with a Sales Funnel


  • It's no secret that having an online presence if you're in the retail business is one of the things you can never skip. Period.
  • In order to grow your business and drive more sales, it's important to develop a sales funnel that will help you nurture your visitors to convert.
  • But how does one create a sales funnel from scratch? Luckily, there are templates to help you out and guide you through the entire process.

Retail businesses have long resisted going online because their lifeblood is actual customers coming into their physical business premises.

In the early days of the internet, online stores were very separate from bricks and mortar stores, and to this day very few physical stores have managed to be successful in both online and offline.

How do I get more customers into my retail store?

The answer to drawing more customers to your store is to widen your reach online. 

It's a common mistake a lot of retail businesses make (in fact, almost all businesses), and that is not to grow their email database. Your goal, regardless of the marketing you do, should be to get as many email addresses into your database as possible. The next step should be to try to categorise and segment the list you have. 

In effect, the reality is that online social media platforms essentially "rent" their users to you. If your account or marketing campaign is banned or disabled, you lose access to them. If they are in your database, then you have the independence to do your own marketing and campaigns.

It's much cheaper, in the long run, to promote to your email list than to spend money on new prospects. It's also important to nurture that initial signup and educate them about who and what you do, and what motivates you or your business to help them. 

Try not to blast them with offers too early but focus on helping them to get to know and like you, and eventually trust you.

What is a sales funnel in digital marketing?

We are going to focus today on "sales funnels," which is a new term for a lot of businesses. Imagine your current website where you probably have a bunch of menu choices, multiple offers, and lots of sales information.

The challenge today is most visitors will spend very little time on your site - so confuse them, and they are gone in seconds.  

A "sales funnel" is different, it's a little like someone coming into your store and asking you a specific question. You would then respond with perhaps a couple of colours or size questions and then direct them to one or two best products for their requirements.

So a "sales funnel" is very specific to one goal, you want to make it really easy to take the next step and then the step after that. 

So a funnel has a series of "steps," a bit like taking your current website menu that runs across the top of the page and has to run down the page and only display as they move through each one.

How do I get more sales in retail?

Here are some ideas that you could try to attract more foot traffic to your store or actually generate online sales using a "sales funnel".

  1. Free Product + Shipping Offer - offer a sample or real product for free, just cover shipping costs and have some upsells as options.
  2. Online Offer to get customers to come into the store. Run local ad —-> small offer ——> coupon invitation to store.
  3. Value-added services such as ‘refill your order online’. Get customer email upon purchase ——> remind customer it's about that time again to re-order.
  4. Community-related funnel to invite customers to a  Free Facebook Group that supports enthusiasts of your product or business.
  5. Free Membership site to help your customers better use their products or find out about other complementary products.
  6. Free Information or ebook to grow an email list to mark to customers for store specials
  7. Survey your customers to serve them better and find out demographics and their significant challenges for efficient marketing.
  8. Viral Sharing Campaign - where you can run a prize draw or instant rewards for when they share your funnel pages. 

How do I build a sales funnel?

The first step in building a sales funnel is to make a clear decision about the following:
  1. First Step (Primary Goal): What is the first and only activity you want them to do at the start.
  2. Second Step: What is next, is just a thank you page or do they buy something or take an action?
  3. Followup: What will happen after they signup, will you follow them up with offers, advice?

Don't get caught up in having multiple options on your first page, that's a recipe for disaster. It's not uncommon to have 45% conversion rates on a page. That's the ratio of the traffic that sees the page to the visitors who actually give you their email address. 

But you won't get a decent conversion unless you are really clear on what you want and who the page is suitable for. By "pre-framing" your traffic you can expect much better results. 

Pre-Framing is educating the visitor before they land on your page why they are going there and perhaps even who you are.  The better the initial marketing matches the page they land on, the better your end results will be.

Next step is how will you actually create these "sales funnels." It's possible to design a traditional website but without a high skill-set, you may become very frustrated in the process.

Using Clickfunnels

We are going to use a growing platform called "clickfunnels" to create our campaign which is specifically designed to make this process quick and easy for even a novice. You can visually create pages, sell products and provide membership sites.

It took us about 2-3 hours to build this funnel and you can also skip some steps if you want the funnel to be simpler.

The great benefit of Clickfunnels is that it's all drag and drop. This means you don't need a graphics or web designer and most of the pages can be easily built by anyone. 

Of course, sometimes it's nice to get an expert into "polish" your funnel, but at least you can have what you want and proof a concept without spending a lot of money. 

Funnels are great for entrepreneurs who change their mind a lot, because it's very easy to change text and images quickly.

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

Our goal is to create a "sales funnel" that promotes a "Home Cleaning Gadget" for $9.95 which is free and they only pay for the shipping. We are going to offer an extra bottle of cleaning fluid for $14.95 to improve our revenues. This powerful "upsell" will likely have around 20% of your buyers choosing it and making a lot more money on the front end of your offer:

  1. Offer a Free Product, just pay the shipping.
  2. Upsell an extra item on the same page called a "Bump Offer."
  3. Thank You Page - confirms their order and instructions about what to do next.
  4. Bonus membership access.

We are going to have several "steps" in this funnel. The idea is this first funnel is a foundation for your new online marketing. You can clone this funnel and also offer access to the free membership from other funnels you create in the future. 

An overview of how to use Clickfunnels:

  1. Sign up for a 14 day Trial of Clickfunnels,
  2. Add a new funnel from the menu,
  3. Decide if you are going to use a pre-made template or add your own steps,
  4. Add and edit each step in the funnel,
  5. Add your products,
  6. Connect to an Autoresponder or CRM (optional) as Clickfunnels has this built in,
  7. Test and launch your funnel!

First, we will create an order page and a product in funnel:

sales funnel example

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

You will be asked to choose a template or create a blank page, you can then click EDIT and add your images and text:

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

Then, once they go to step 2, we have what is called an "order bump," which is an additional item, which on average can substantially increase your revenue because around 20-30% of the buyers will likely take it.

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

Then an upsell option to offer an extra item, also called an OTO - One Time Offer:

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

Next step is a thank you page offering bonus access to a free membership site, notice the "offer wall" at the bottom. This is a great way to get extra sales or signups for other products now that you have their attention.

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

We need to create two more steps. A membership access page for a login:

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

The last step is a membership area where you can create lessons and topics about your products. You could also have links to other products, re-order options or book an appointment with you.

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

Once you are done, don't forget to click on the Launch Checklist and make sure all your steps are completed:

Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

If you want to save some time and use the template in this article to create your own funnel, simply click below and you will receive a 14-day free trial and the complete funnel in your account to edit and make your own. 


Once your funnel is built it's time to test it and see the results. Clickfunnels has a nifty stats area that shows your conversion rates and traffic volumes:

  Time to Increase Your Sales - Online Marketing for Retailers

A split test is a variation of the same page with perhaps a different picture or headline. These variations should be simple and usually only test one variable at a time. Even one word can have a huge change in your results.

Don't get discouraged if your first funnel doesn't work as well as you thought it would. Often out of 100 funnels only 2-3 will be highly successful. Your goal is to move through the 100 funnels as quickly as possible until you get one that works and then scale it for long-term results.  

Clickfunnels allows you to build a funnel in as little as an hour so you can easily test ideas and focus on the ones that work the best. The statistics area should be your best friend!

What should I expect from using sales funnels in online marketing?

Your results will vary greatly and your goal may change along the way but funnels have a far higher level of success than a traditional website because your funnel will be clear on what the visitor needs to do.

The main driver is going to be traffic, if you don't send visitors then your offer won't be seen by many. Until you have at least 100 visitors to your site, the statistics won't make a lot of sense. 

The screenshot provided for the statistics was, in fact, mine where I give my book away for free digitally and has on average a 55% conversion rate for opt-in. My goal here is to add emails to my list and market to them over time. We do offer a paperback for sale which helps pay for the traffic.

The perfect funnel is one that can pay for itself to attract signups by offering a small upsell. For example, if you ran a Facebook Ad and cost you $1 per click and every 20 clicks bought your upsell for $20 then you would break even and any future sales were at no cost to acquire that customer.  

It's important to think about the "long game" when it comes to this style of marketing. A new customer over time is going to be far more valuable than a one-off sale. 

7 top tips for sales funnels and online marketing 

If you want to really supercharge your sales funnels and online marketing as a retailer, try some of these extra steps:

  1. Create or login to your Facebook Ads account and create a "pixel". This is a small piece of tracking code you then copy into the settings area of your funnel. This "pixel" will help track visitors to your site and allow you to create an audience of visitors who "look like" them.  Very powerful way to market to similar prospects.
  2. Take the "pixel" one step further and add outcomes (or events) to your subsequent pages which is also available in the Facebook Ad Manager. You can then tell Facebook to optimise the traffic they send you to achieve these outcomes. 
  3. Add Google Analytics tracking to your funnel so you have a more detailed view of your visitor traffic.
  4. Consider a chat program like the free app which can help you assist visitors with questions or issues on your funnel.
  5. Offer an in-store appointment option if this will help your eventual sale. 
  6. Create a Facebook Group that you offer at the end of your funnel (or even offer that as a separate funnel) to further engage your customers.
  7. Use the Clickfunnels Facebook comment element and link a Facebook Post and encourage comments which will further help with social proof.

Good luck with your first funnel and remember to have fun, you don't want to be boring in marketing!

Here is the template again to get a quick start on your next marketing campaign:

John North

CEO at

Five-Time #1 International Best Selling Author... Grab my latest book for free: John North is a versatile and experienced entrepreneur with a solid background in Accounting, Banking, Finance, Personal Development IT, Marketing and Business Management. John currently holds a number of titles, including CEO of Evolve Systems Group, Associate Diploma in Business (Accounting) and Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants.