11 Culprits for Your Broken eCommerce Sales Funnel

When you suspect that your e-commerce sales funnel is broken, it’s easy to feel lost.

You might have already tried fixing things in various ways to no avail.

Then the panic sets in.

But I’m here to tell you that there’s no need for despair.

With a little patience and critical thinking, you’ll see yourself through these stormy waters.

In today’s article you’ll read about:

  • Why it’s so important to identify sales funnel bottlenecks for your e-commerce business.
  • 11 reasons why you might be dealing with a broken sales funnel.
  • How to keep customers happy and what you should look out for on the horizon.

First, let’s see why it’s so crucial to always be watching for sales funnel bottlenecks like a hawk.

Want to create a funnel or optimize an existing one for your company or your clients to scale your agency? AutoGrow.co gets quality marketing work done-for-you fast by letting you delegate your marketing projects without the typical headaches of hiring. Check it out to learn more.

Why Identifying Sales Funnel Bottlenecks Is So Important for Your E-commerce Brand

Whether you’re an established e-commerce store or a startup, your goal is the same: to generate more sales.

But if something is causing your sales funnel to be ineffective, then all your efforts are for nothing.

Pinpointing exactly what is causing your sales funnel to be broken isn’t always so straightforward.

Sometimes it’s something really small that’s easy to identify and fix.

Other times, it could be more complicated and require a complete revamp of business processes.

Either way, you’ll want to get this sorted out for 2022.

That’s because 2022 is the first year that U.S. e-commerce sales will surpass the $1 trillion mark, as per eMarketer. That’s a 15.9% increase from 2021.


Now if you’re ready to start looking at possible solutions to your broken sales funnel, let’s kick it off with the first reason why you might not be hitting your goals.

Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #1: Website Glitch

One little glitch on your e-commerce store can cost you big time.

Just take Amazon for example.

In 2018, the company lost up to nearly $100 million on its annual Prime Day because the website went down for just over an hour, according to LovetheSales.com.

Now, I’m not saying you’ll lose $100 million, but an issue or inconsistency with your website maintenance could definitely be breaking your sales funnel to some degree.

For another example, we were recently wondering why our organic traffic had declined after a website redesign.

After all, we expected the more aesthetically pleasing design to increase traffic, not decrease it.

So we did a little research to dig further into the dilemma.

And what we discovered was that the new WordPress theme was throwing off our meta description in search results.

Because of that, users would see a less relevant meta description and wouldn’t see the value of clicking on our content.

All is good now but take this as a warning for your own business.

If you see an irregularity with your metrics, check to see if anything is off within your website builder.

Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #2: Disengaged Employees

Without employees that are proactive and motivated, nothing you try with your sales funnel will work.

According to Gallup, disengaged employees can cost your e-commerce business 18% of their annual salary.

And unfortunately, 2 out of 3 employees globally are not engaged.

When you don’t have the right team filled with passionate people, then a lot of your employees might spend more time browsing their social media apps than working.

As a result, your projects won’t get completed by their deadlines.

If you’re suffering from disengaged employees, consider reading our article Dodge Bad Hires With 11 Smart Industrial Organizational Psychology Tips to make sure you recruit the right people.

Or, alternatively, consider outsourcing your digital marketing operations to AutoGrow where we have a team of highly passionate pros that never feel disengaged at work. Seriously, we all chose this field because we love marketing and feel rewarded when our clients see results they never could have imagined.

Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #3: Ineffective Onboarding Process

Customer onboarding is everything when it comes to acquisition and retention.

If your onboarding process is broken, then your sales funnel could be worthless.

Because when people choose to engage with your brand, they expect you to make the transition as enjoyable as possible.

As reported by Wyzowl, 90% of customers feel that companies could improve their onboarding process.

And 63% of consumers have returned a product because they didn’t fully understand its use.

Some examples of good onboarding practices are:

  • Video tutorials on how to use your product or service
  • Educational content in your resource center
  • Setting expectations for the customer experience
  • Client questionnaires to personalize the experience


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #4: Low-Quality Images

Wanna hear a quick story about Airbnb’s early days?

After a few years of struggle, the founders realized one simple thing that was destroying their potential: The images displayed on the rental home pages looked dated and low-quality.

With that, the team flew to New York City, which was its main market at the time, and took professional-grade photos of the interior of the homes being listed on the Airbnb website.

In no time, bookings took off.

Such a simple little thing like poor imagery was turning consumers away, and rightfully so.

And just like in Airbnb’s case, your customers expect high-resolution product images on your product pages.

According to Field Agent, 83% of smartphone users are influenced by product images and photos.

And e-commerce store Etsy found that 90% of its customers say the quality of product images influences their purchasing decisions.


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #5: No Customer Reviews on Product Pages

It’s no secret that consumers often look for reviews before buying a product.

But 54% do so for every single purchase they make, as per Digital.com.

Moreover, 26% of consumers say good reviews are the most important factor when it comes to making an online purchase.


Now, try to picture this …

Say that you have the perfect product that your website visitor is looking for.

But this person doesn’t know much about your brand.

So he or she starts looking for reviews of your company elsewhere.

With that, the person gets distracted or even annoyed with the process and never returns to your e-commerce store again.

On the other hand, you can simplify this whole process with customer reviews and ratings displayed on each product page.

That way, your social proof is front and center and more e-store visitors complete their purchase right away.

According to data from user-generated content software firm Bazaarvoice, adding just one review can increase purchases by 10%.

Adding 200 reviews can lead to 44% more purchases.


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #6: Poor User Experience

Not only does Google rank your website lower if the user experience (UX) is subpar, you’ll also just turn away potential customers.

Amazon Web Services estimates that over $1 trillion is lost by businesses every year due to bad UX design.

And 88% of online consumers would be less likely to revisit your e-commerce website after a bad experience.

So if you’re wondering why you have a broken sales funnel, consider how optimal of a user experience you’re delivering.

For a good website user experience, your website should have at least the following characteristics:

  • A simple design with plenty of whitespace
  • No advertisement clutter
  • Quick page load times
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Easy-to-use interface and navigation panel
  • Consistent font styles and color schemes
  • Use of bullet points whenever possible

With a user-friendly website, users won’t be put off by an ugly design, and they’ll know how to navigate the site effortlessly to find what they want. Of course, ideally, your website would be easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.

If your business offers a mobile app, you need to pay close attention to user experience with that as well.

With mobile UX design, you’re looking for similar characteristics as a good website. Plus you need to think of how users can interact with your mobile app with their fingers more easily.

The bottom line is you’re eliminating as much friction as possible that your website visitors or mobile app users face.

As found by Forrester Research, a UX design with minimal friction can increase customer conversion rates by as much as 400%.

In one case study, a dog food e-commerce store boosted its purchase conversion rate 24.5% by carrying out a usability test and designing a more mobile-friendly experience on product pages.

The original page is on the left; the new variation is to the right.


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #7: Wrong Price Points

It’s hard to argue that price is an important factor in consumer purchasing decisions.

Because if you price too high, consumers will be more hesitant. Even if your e-commerce products are of high quality.

On the flip side, pricing too low can make your brand look cheap and second-rate.

In Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” there’s a reference to a jeweler that accidentally doubled the price of some items and they all sold out quickly.

By positioning the jewelry as more expensive, the products became more desirable in the eyes of the consumers.

But that’s for jewelry, a product that attracts affluent shoppers that might not be so concerned about spending a little extra money on luxury.

For everyday products such as food, cosmetics or cleaning supplies, consumers prefer affordable prices.

According to Valassis, an affordable price is an influential factor in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) purchasing decision for 64% of people.

But as 51% of consumers also care about the quality of CPG brands, you must strike a balance.


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #8: Unpleasant Checkout Process

As reported by financial service firm Splitit’s press release, 87% of online shoppers will leave your checkout page if the process is too long or complicated.

So if your checkout process can’t be completed at ease, that could be the culprit to your broken sales funnel.

But besides the length and complexity of your checkout process, there are some other things to decrease cart abandonment …

For starters, a good return policy is a highly desirable feature that consumers want to see on the checkout page.

Splitit finds that the top two qualities consumers want in a return policy are:

  • No return fee
  • “No questions asked”

Besides free returns, consumers also seek low shipping costs.

According to voice of customer platform Usabilla, high shipping costs are the biggest reason for cart abandonment (58%).

Some other common reasons why consumers abandon their carts abandonment are:

  • Creating an account is required
  • Lack of flexible payment options
  • Security concerns
  • Long delivery times
  • Aggressive upselling
  • No coupon code application bar


Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #9: Bad Reviews

As I mentioned earlier, product reviews are incredibly important when it comes to the purchasing decision of your e-commerce store shoppers.

But that’s as long as you have mostly positive reviews.

In Podium’s “2021 State of Reviews,” it was found that a 3.4 is the average star rating consumers require before even considering engaging with your business.

So if you’re wondering why nobody is purchasing from you or your sales have stagnated, it might be time to check on customer review platforms if you’re not doing so already.

If you find that you receive a lot of negative sentiment on review platforms, take the time to respond to unhappy customers.

Because 56% of consumers are willing to change their mind about your brand after seeing a response from you.


In addition to responding to bad reviews, you should also try to get more of your loyal customers to provide reviews for your brand.

As I’m sure you’re already segmenting your audience, you probably have an email list for your top customers.

If you don’t already, then simply create a segment of customers based on their average order value or customer lifetime value.

Then send emails to them asking to share feedback on review platforms.

And since transactional emails are opened 8 times more than any other type of email, you should always follow up with customers after a recent purchase.

As with anything business-related, providing some sort of incentive will help you persuade more customers to leave reviews.

For example, I received the following email from Sunlord after buying Bluetooth earbuds from the tech seller off Amazon.

Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #10: Lackluster Customer Service

Customer service is one of the deciding factors in how consumers judge your business.

Because when consumers have questions, they expect a quick response.

And they want to be treated in a friendly and attentive manner.

According to Vonage, bad customer service costs U.S. businesses $75 billion a year.

Some of the factors that make for a bad customer experience are:

  • Long wait times
  • Inadequate expertise from employees
  • Bad attitude from employees
  • Repeated information


Good customer service, on the other hand, has many benefits.

HubSpot says that 93% of consumers are willing to be repeat customers if your customer service is excellent.

And 94% of consumers will recommend your brand if they find your service “very good” according to Qualtrics XM Institute.

When it comes to identifying the reason for your broken e-commerce sales funnel, it’s worth examining how well your team handles customer inquiries.

If you identify any problems with your customer service operations, it would be wise to invest in training and even chatbot technology to improve things.

As reported by Dimension Data’s survey respondents, companies that improve customer experience see the following benefits:

  • Increased customer loyalty (53.8%)
  • Improved employee experience (47.7%)
  • Increased revenue and profits (41.4%)
  • Reduction in costs (33.7%)

Reason for a Broken E-commerce Sales Funnel #11: Moves by Competitors

There are tens of millions of e-commerce stores out there according to SaveMyCent.

As you know, you’re up against a lot of competition in whatever industry you’re in.

And sometimes, your competitors can gain the edge through technological innovation.

For example, say that your competitor adopts artificial intelligence technology that drastically reduces its supply chain costs.

Then, the company can sell similar products to yours at lower price points.

As a result, you could lose even your most loyal customers.

Or, in another scenario, your competitor may be able to offer a more interactive shopping experience with augmented reality.

In turn, more of your customers might flock to its e-commerce store instead of yours.

A failure to evolve with technological breakthroughs could leave your e-commerce business lagging behind the rest of your market.

According to CB Insights, 1 out of 5 startups fail because they get outcompeted.


Download the “These 11 Bottlenecks Could Break Your E-commerce Sales Funnel” so you won’t forget to take action on it later. Click here to download it now.

Identifying a sales funnel problem can sometimes be the most challenging aspect of running an e-commerce store. Because just when you think you found the culprit, you find that your sales are still in rough shape.

But by taking a step outside the box and gaining a fresh perspective, you just might find what you’re looking for.

In this article, we took a look at 11 sneaky reasons why your sales funnel might be broken.

From a simple tech glitch to a shortcoming in your staffing decisions, there’s a myriad of reasons why your e-commerce store isn’t reaching its full potential.

And if you don’t have the time or resources to solve this critical business problem on your own, AutoGrow can address this issue for you.

In fact, sales funnels are kind of our thing. Check out some of our templates in this blog post.

With our extensive experience, we’ll carefully break down your current business situation and detect what’s adding friction to the customer journey. That way, you rest easy and can focus on other areas of your day-to-day operations.

To learn more, get on a call with an AutoGrow consultant today.

Book Your Call

Before you leave, let me ask you something.

How do you think e-commerce stores can improve their sales funnel?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.


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