What is Purchase Funnel?

Andrew Strassmore
Andrew Strassmore
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Imagine: you're scrolling through your Instagram feed and you see a post saying that company X is offering a 25% discount on all sneakers for the next three days. You go to the site, choose the product, and pay for it. When a person does something like this, they are unknowingly moving down the purchase funnel.

The term is used by marketers to refer to the customer's journey from introduction to the product or service to purchase. At the "entrance" we have a lot of people who are familiar with the brand and the product, but gradually the consumers begin to disperse. One did not respond to advertising, another did not find the right thing in the online store, the third was not satisfied with the price and so on. If you reflect this sequence of actions in a diagram, you get an inverted pyramid or funnel.

Getting to know the purchase funnel is probably the first thing a marketer or entrepreneur should start with. If you have a good understanding of how the customer thinks and acts, you can adapt to his needs and launch more effective promotions and advertising campaigns.

Funnel types (by functionality)

  • The customer search funnel. The task is to attract the interest of the audience to the product or service. Includes the following stages: analysis of the target audience, creating a unique selling offer, telling potential customers about it through online and offline advertising, as well as through calls and meetings.
  • Purchase funnel. The goal is simple - to turn a potential customer into a regular customer. Responsible for the customer's desire to buy.
  • Service funnel. Here the company is required to add post-sales service to the product or service: additional services, devices, installation, consulting.
  • Additional sales funnel. The plan is to motivate the customer to buy more products or place a new order at the same location.
  • Cumulative sales funnel. The goal is to analyze how many customers went through each stage. This type helps to determine the conversion rate: how many orders you got out of the total number of people you attracted.
  • Current sales funnel. Here the task is to show how many potential customers are at each stage of the marketing model.

The standard purchase funnel consists of four stages

  • Awareness (e.g. through advertising or someone's recommendation)
  • Interest (in the information in the ad or content on the site)
  • Desire
  • Action

Steps in the purchase funnel can be of any number. Their number depends on how the business is organized.

The purchase funnel shows

  • At what stages the greatest churn of potential customers occurs
  • Which categories of customers are most interested in your product
  • Which processes need to be included or refined in the purchase funnel
  • Which steps should be abandoned
  • How effectively the business or advertising campaign is working

What to do with this data?

Once the purchase funnel is built, the marketer begins to work on improving conversions at different stages. There are different tools for each.

1. Problems with brand awareness

If a noticeable percentage of customers are dropped at the awareness stage, you need to completely reconsider your approach to the advertising campaign. Analyze your target audience as you may be showing ads to the wrong people. After that, pay attention to the channels - perhaps your target audience does not use some of them. Also check how your sales team interacts with customers.

2. Problems with interest

So, the customer knows about your brand or product, he is already set up to buy, and it is up to you to convince him definitively. If the business involves working with consultants and managers, teach them how to communicate with the customer. Let them always have answers to standard questions, price lists, addresses and other important information at their fingertips. You may be able to expand your purchase funnel if you rewrite the scripts.

Don't forget about content. If you advertise a new promotion, make sure that the site clearly and correctly describes its terms and conditions. If the client doesn't understand the rules, he is more likely to leave your site forever, than ask questions in the support chat or by phone.

3. Problems with communication

When a concerned customer leaves a request or question, you need to act quickly. Make sure you respond quickly to social networks, emails or chats.

4. Action problems

Even if the customer bought the product, it doesn't mean that the purchase funnel is finished. He may well demand his money back if you delay delivery. Do not forget about the payment process itself: it should be simple and convenient. Focus on services with a one- or two-click purchase.

Typical mistakes when making a sales funnel

  • Attempting to create a "perfect funnel". There will be mistakes and failures in any case. You should start with a simple scheme, and then, by analyzing each stage, improve and add new stages to the model if needed.
  • There are too many stages in the funnel. It all depends on the specifics of the business and how you build relationships with clients. You should only leave the steps in the flowchart that make sense in a particular case.
  • Holding a client at one of the stages. This error is the result of the previous one. Building the wrong scheme results in the situation when potential customers are not moving forward and not making an order.
  • Duplication of funnel stages. Duplication may not be a noticeable factor for the customer, but it makes it more difficult to make an analysis. For example, the order stage is mistakenly divided into stages: "item in cart", "order placed", "order paid", "order confirmed".
  • Movement in the opposite direction. The client should move through the funnel, all the way to the closing of the transaction. In the scheme there should be no returns to the previous stages.


A good funnel is about understanding what your customers want and the approximate path they take before and after a purchase. Keeping track of the funnel means controlling customer engagement and the quality of the customer experience. Updating your funnel and keeping track of its flexibility means automatically increasing your reach and conversion to purchases. These seem to be the key goals of the business.

Andrew Strassmore

Chief Marketing Officer

Visits: 47

Marketing addicted and blockchain inspired. Writing about marketing and cryptocurrency since 2017.

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