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8 upselling and cross-selling strategies in ecommerce marketing

7 min read
Brett Farmiloe

In the dynamic world of ecommerce, upselling and cross-selling are essential techniques for boosting sales. We've gathered insights from founders, CEOs, and marketing directors, focusing on the most impactful strategies they've implemented. From a tiered premium upselling strategy to “shopping the look” cross-selling, here are the top eight tactics that have enhanced their marketing efforts.

  1. Create a tiered premium upselling strategy. 
  2. Offer bundled product discounts. 
  3. Provide collaborative bulk purchase incentives. 
  4. Send a post-purchase discounted upsell. 
  5. Include “frequently bought together” recommendations. 
  6. Personalize product recommendations. 
  7. Learn from consumer data. 
  8. Implement “shop the look” cross-selling.

1. Create a tiered premium upselling strategy

We offer valuable free resources with tiered premium options. Our free 14-day weightlifting training program allows our potential customers to experience the value of Torokhity's training methods before committing to paid options. We then offer them one of our premium training packages or master classes, e.g., the Snatch Masterclass or the Clean Masterclass. 

We upsell from the generic free program to a top-tier coaching package that caters to our customers' experience levels, goals, and budgets. These premium packages have multiple sessions, dedicated coaches, and specialized programs. We first focus on offering value to build trust and a sense of exclusivity before encouraging our customers to upsell for a better training experience.

It has led to a notable increase in our average order value, customer satisfaction, and retention. Customers are likely to commit and upgrade when they feel their needs are understood and catered to.

Oleksiy Torokhtiy, Founder, Torokhtiy Weightlifting

2. Offer bundled product discounts

At Tortuga, one of the most effective strategies we've employed to increase upsells is the introduction of 'Product Bundles' on our website. The bundles are designed to help potential customers buy all the complementary products they need at once for a discounted rate. 

Product bundles are an excellent cross-sell strategy because they offer a win-win situation: customers save time and money, and Tortuga gets larger purchase orders and decreases in shipping costs.

Benjamin Beck, Director of Marketing, Tortuga Backpacks

3. Provide collaborative bulk purchase incentives

In our ecommerce efforts, we implemented a unique upselling tactic that yielded outstanding results: a collaborative purchasing option. We put in place a system that encouraged customers to join forces with friends or family members to make bulk purchases at a lower cost. This social shopping strategy saved money while simultaneously leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing. 

Customers could set up shared shopping carts and invite others to join, resulting in tiered discounts based on the quantity of the collective purchase. The results were impressive, with a 20% rise in average order value and a significant expansion of the customer base through recommendations. This novel method not only increased sales but also created a sense of community among customers, which contributed to enhanced brand loyalty. 

The data gathered from collaborative purchases offered insights into social dynamics and preferences, influencing future marketing strategies and discount structures.

Vitaliy Kharitonov, Founder, Shirtzilla

4. Send a post-purchase discounted upsell

One of the most successful strategies our business has for upselling is through a post-purchase upsell method we implemented. After a customer checks out and pays for their purchase, before we authorize the payment, we give them the option of an upsell at a discounted rate. 

Because they are at the peak of their buying mindset, it is the perfect time to try to push them toward something more expensive. Since implementation, our average sale has increased by 11%, and we have seen 15% of buyers purchase the more expensive upsell.

Jeff Michael, Ecommerce Business Owner,

5. Include “frequently bought together” recommendations

Our most effective strategy has been the “Frequently Bought Together”' recommendation feature during the checkout process. It suggests complementary products based on the items in the customer's cart and on their buying history.

You can implement this by integrating an algorithm that analyzes purchasing patterns and suggests relevant add-ons. For example, if a customer is buying a camera, the system might recommend additional lenses or a camera bag.

Results have shown a considerable increase in average order value as customers are enticed to add recommended items to their cart. They're also more likely to return to the store because they feel we understand their needs.

Understanding customer preferences and creating personalized recommendations ultimately enhance the shopping experience and maximize revenue per transaction. This, along with most major online retailers using the strategy, is proof that it works.

Rebecca Chou, Co-Founder, Gourmet Food Marketplace

6. Personalize product recommendations

One of the most effective strategies that Perfect Locks LLC has implemented is using customer data to personalize product recommendations.

We can analyze customer purchase history, preferences, and browsing behavior using data analytics and advanced algorithms. This enables us to create custom product recommendations relevant to each shopper.

For example, suppose a client has bought clip-in extensions in the past. Our system may recommend additional products such as styling aids, hair care products, or even a complementary hair product.

The implementation includes integrating powerful data analytics tools within our commerce ecosystem and optimizing our algorithms to enhance precision and relevance. Additionally, we use targeted email marketing efforts and on-premise recommendation widgets to present these personalized recommendations to our customers.

The impact has been far-reaching. Not only did we see a dramatic rise in average order value due to upsells and cross-sells, but we've also seen increased customer satisfaction and retention. By offering personalized recommendations aligned with our customers' preferences, we've helped drive deeper engagement and loyalty.

All in all, our custom upsell and cross-sell strategies have helped increase sales and improve the overall buying experience for our clients.

Priyanka Swamy, CEO, Perfect Locks

7. Learn from consumer data

Looking back at my experience with bundle deals and discounts, it's amazing how easy a plan can be so effective. The key is the seamless integration of complementary products, offering a discount when purchased together.

Implementing this method immediately and impressively increased our average order value (AOV). After launching package deals, our AOV rose by 20% in the first month. This exceeded our expectations and showed how this technique boosts revenue.

This showed that people favor the perceived value and ease of buying related products together. Beyond the financial benefits, it appeals to convenience and the gratification of having a complete solution in one purchase.

We also learned about consumer behavior from our data and feedback. We found that bundling motivates customers to try new products and boosts upsells. Customers feel catered to with well-designed product pairings, which strengthens the relationship.

Bundle deals and discounts work because you understand client preferences, deliver value, and create a shopping experience that meets their demands.

Julian Patrick, Founder, Stovefitter's Warehouse

8. Implement “shop the look” cross-selling

One strategy that has proven notably effective at Formen Inc. is the “Shop the Look” approach. Our products are intended to enhance the overall grooming experience, which naturally lends itself to cross-selling.

We've strategically grouped complementary products together on our online platform. For instance, a customer viewing our concealer stick may also see a recommendation for our facial shine removal products or anti-aging creams. As all our products are designed to work together seamlessly, it's easy for us to suggest combinations that will provide the most effective results. Our product descriptions and images are also designed to clearly express the benefits of using these products together.

The key is making it simple for our consumers. Showing our customers how to achieve the best results using our suite of products elevated their overall purchasing experience. It highlighted our commitment to their needs while also enhancing our brand connection with them.

Andrew Grella, CEO and Founder, Formen Inc.

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