What does a purchase funnel mean?

A concise definition of this term is challenging, but it is an important concept for any site that features a membership-based monetization strategy.

The simplest way to break down an audience is binary:

  1. A paying member
  2. Not a paying member

However, a purchase funnel contemplates that there are many more “levels” for non-members (and even for members as well). For example, a site that monetizes through subscription revenue may break down its audience into:

  • Visitor to site
  • Repeat visitor to site
  • Signed up for free newsletter
  • Started a free trial
  • Engaged with paid membership offerings
  • Paying member

The idea of a funnel comes in to play because the number of visitors who fall into each segment tend to decline as we progress towards the ultimate goal (a paying member). In other words, it can be visualized like this:

Example of Marketing Funnel

The following image from BlogMarketingAcademy represents a “flatter” way to visualize this process, with multiple autoresponder emails designed to prompt an upgrade to a members area:

Membership Funnel


The biggest takeaway here relates to crafting a strategy to gradually move potential customers through the purchase funnel, instead of trying to close on a sale all at once. For many sites, investing in (and continuing to test and improve) an email autoresponder is one of the biggest opportunities for a “slow drip” sales process. The links below contain much more on building effective email autoresponders.

Purchase Funnel Success Indicators

There are 3 (three) indicators to see whether your purchase funnel works

  • A high conversion rate through all stages of the funnel
  • High volume through each stage of the funnel
  • Improving conversion rates for stages performing body

Purchase Funnel Best Practices

There are some ways to improve your purchase funnel

  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate to avoid any sort of distraction that could cause a lost opportunity. When customers are in the consideration stage of the funnel they are weighing the pros and cons of the purpose, so avoid distractions to ensure they find what they want fast
  • Reviews are a great way to ensure you are addressing the preferences in the customer journey. All e-commerce companies can benefit from allowing customers to write product and experience reviews because it eliminates any doubts potential customers may have.
  • At the purchase stage of your funnel, you have to think about what would make that customer come back or better yet spread the word


What is a purchase funnel?

The purchase funnel is the metric to analyzes your customer acquisition process to help you understand how potential customers discover your brand how they eventually become loyal customers.

Whats is purchase funnel Challenges?

It’s hard to pinpoint what stage a customer is actually at in the purchase channel since marketing efforts today have to be integrated with multiple media channels that buy interface within their daily lives

How to monitor purchase funnel in real-time?

Once you established metrics for your purchase funnel, you’ll want to establish processes to monitor this and other marketing KPIs