Upselling and cross-selling techniques for online stores

Upgrade your sales strategy

Upselling and cross-selling techniques are two popular methods to increase the amount a customer spends in a single transaction.

  • Upselling encourages customers to purchase a more expensive and higher-cost item than what they were planning to buy.
  • In contrast, cross-selling entices customers to buy related items providing complementary functionality, and gives them a more complete solution.

Read on for strategies and tips you can immediately use to increase sales through both methods.

Related: What is upselling, and how can you do it without scaring away your customers?

Why should you do upselling and cross-selling?

First and foremost, both sales strategies are used to increase the average transaction value per customer. Simply put, the goal is to create a better conversion funnel.

Upselling and cross-selling generate revenue, demonstrate the breadth of your offering, and increase buyer confidence in your business.

Both approaches generate revenue but add very little overhead, in terms of cost of marketing, delivery or transaction processing — and of course it’s more efficient to sell to existing customers than to land new ones!

Clearly your business objective is to increase the total order value, by encouraging purchase of more profitable services, products, product bundles, or package deals — resulting in higher spending than originally planned. However, the messaging to customers is about providing additional value, and often at an overall savings.

In addition, this demonstrates the breadth of your offering, and increases the buyer’s confidence that you’re the best provider of multiple solutions. Even if someone isn’t ready to buy additional items, they may not have realized you offer them and now know they can return later.

Related: How to sell stuff online: A comprehensive guide for eCommerce success

How to start thinking about upselling and cross-selling opportunities

Upselling And Cross-Selling Techniques Lightbulb

Success depends on your ability to really understand what your customers need and value, and then present options that meet those needs. Begin by considering the following details:

  • What items naturally go with the initial item being purchased?
  • Which features are most likely to entice someone to buy more?
  • Which items can you bundle and then provide at a lower total price?
  • How can you use a related additional cost to encourage upselling? For example, tell the customer how much more they need to spend to qualify for free shipping.
  • What moment in the purchasing process is the right time to suggest an upsell or cross-sell?
    • On product pages, where you have a chance to show multiple versions of the same product.
    • When the shopper adds an item to the cart.
    • When the shopper checks out.
    • Immediately after check-out, if an additional purchase or upgrade is still an option.
    • After initial use of the free version for a limited time, when a pro upgrade is offered.
  • What is the right type of upsell for this situation?
    • Version upgrade to a bigger, faster or better option.
    • Accessories that improve functionality or usability of the original item.
    • Product protection, such as an accident protection plan or extended warranty
    • Extended service period, as compared to the service period already offered with the product.
    • “Expert setup” service.
    • Customization with a name or other details.
  • Which encouraging phrases might work for your situation?
    • Recommended products
    • You may also like
    • Customers who bought X also bought Y
    • Frequently bought together
    • Stuff you may want
    • More from this author (category, brand, artist …)
    • Looks great with

Related: Sell more by featuring products in your online store

Strategies, tips and suggestions

Use the following recommendations to make the most of your upselling or cross-selling strategy:

  • Make sure the offered items are relevant to the initial purchase item, and keep in mind past purchase history.
  • Exercise restraint and focus on a few key items, to avoid confusing customers and distracting them from their original purchasing intent.
  • Build credibility by mentioning specific recommendations from experts or professionals.
  • Demonstrate value by adding content from real users or customer advocates, such as reviews, testimonials or case studies.
  • Personalize your messaging and speak directly to the customer on an individual level, using words such as you or your — get the shopper to imagine themselves with the product in hand.
  • Use urgency to indicate that the upsell is available for a limited time only, or in limited quantities.
  • Many strategies for creating a high-performing call-to-action (CTA) work for upselling and cross-selling as well.
  • Offer a limited-time free trial, before asking customer to upgrade to the paid version.
  • Offer a bulk discount for increased quantities.
  • Offer free shipping, and remind customers how much more they must spend to qualify for it.
  • Consider an upsell that offers a payment plan, as opposed to a single payment right now.
  • Remember the Rule of Three: When three price levels are offered, customers most often go with the middle one, which looks more attractive than the lowest option.
  • Provide a comparison chart showing the higher-end and lower-end products simultaneously.
  • Assuming they were already planning to buy the lower-end model, convincing them of the extra value is not as difficult as getting them to buy in the first place.
  • Consider a post-purchase upsell: If an order is placed and it will be a day or more before it ships, you can offer the chance to upgrade before shipping.
  • Send post-purchase emails to customers who pass on the upselling offer at the time of purchase, as they might change their mind.
  • In that post-purchase email, consider offering a small discount on the upgraded product or service for a limited time after the initial purchase.

Related: How to create a killer autoresponder email campaign in 4 simple steps

Upselling and cross-selling in WordPress

Most major WordPress eCommerce engines provide upselling and/or cross-selling capabilities. Consider some of these popular tools:

WooCommerce

WooCommerce’s extremely customizable platform includes the Checkout Add-ons package to drive incremental and impulse purchases by customers once they are in the shopping cart.

Related: How to sell WooCommerce to your clients

WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce includes a “Users who bought this also bought” feature, enabled with a single click.

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads makes selling digital products a breeze. The base plugin is free, but premium add-ons provide additional functionality, such as the Recommended Products extension.

Related: 15 free WooCommerce extensions for new eCommerce sites

Jetpack Related Posts

The Jetpack Related Posts functionality comes in handy for cross-selling when products are implemented via posts, coupled with the use of tags or categories.

In conclusion

Building upselling and cross-selling into your sales strategy is easy and effective when you keep these tips in mind. Start thinking about how you can use them today, and see improved customer sales and increased profit tomorrow!


Also published on Medium.