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How to Excel: The Best Upsell & Cross-sell Strategies for Your E-Commerce Website

When we say cross-sell and upsell strategies, we refer to key selling tactics, methods, and techniques that will lead a business to generate more profits, regardless of what they do. In fact, it’s safe to say that these strategies fit businesses of all sizes.


If we take you back about 12 years, you’ll remember the Amazon case and how they used such strategies to generate 35% of its total revenue. Online retailers saw a chance, an opportunity in this and, hence, these strategies are now more popular in e-commerce than ever.


Cross-sell and upsell strategies are an invaluable marketing toolkit for every online retailer, looking for a good way to multiply their revenue.



What Are Upsell & Cross-Sell?

Each time a customer makes a purchase, online retailers use upsell and cross-sell strategies to recommend other items that might fit their preferences. These recommendations come with varying degrees of profitability and in different ways.


Upselling refers to when a retailer knows what you prefer and how much money you have at the moment of your purchase so they try to sell a higher-end version of what you wanted to buy by offering a better and more costly version of a product.


If you want to buy a basic model of a smartphone, your retailer will try to sell you a more luxurious model of the same phone at a higher price.


On the other hand, cross-selling refers to when a retailer tries to sell additional items that they predict you might need and that fit well with the item you planned on buying. Usually, these items are offered at such cheap prices that customers simply can’t resist.



The Effectiveness of Upselling and Cross-Selling



Despite the fact that these selling tactics are so simple, they give proven results and benefit those who know how to properly apply these tactics in their business. In fact, if well-executed and applied in smart ways, online retailers can witness an incredible revenue increase. This is due to two undeniable facts:


  • Current customers are easier to reach than new ones – it’s a higher probability that you’ll sell more items to an existing customer than a new one simply because your current shoppers are already interested in your offer.
  • Loyal customers buy more – due to the trust between a retailer and a customer, current customers become loyal customers in time. Loyal customers are easier to reach which guarantees a strong relationship. That means that each time a retailer offers them added-value items, they’ll get more value while paying less. This results in customer satisfaction and happiness and everybody wins.



The 4 Most Effective Upsell & Cross-sell Strategies


1. Bundle Up Only the Most Relevant Items


The first and main rule of upselling and cross-selling is: only create the most relevant deals. That means that you put together only those items that really go well together. If a person is looking to buy a cooker, a cooker cleaner would be an item that follows nicely. Remember, your customers have already chosen their item of interest, so use your reasoning to find out the next best thing according to their preferences.


2. Be Wise With Your Discounts


The total order must not go up by more than 25% of the total amount. That means that you need to think about your discount but in a way that won’t exceed the initial budget of your customers. Driving up the total payment too much won’t get you anywhere, but if you get your customers interested and you give them a good discount to spice things up a bit, they will be willing to pay more.

The only exclusion from this rule is the situation when a customer really needs some additional items urgently as that is the situation when you can get them to over-cross their initial budget limit. Other than this, a quarter of the full amount should always be your limit.


3. Make Your Deals Scarce but Urgent



Special deals, last minute offers, and other scarce but urgent deals are always a good way to engage your customers and increase revenue. With that in mind, even though this strategy may be intuitive, don’t overdo it. It’s absolutely true that unlimited supply surges demand but overdone messages may cause annoyance and confusion to customers rather than increase their interest.


Choose a more psychological approach to increase your chances to sell more. Even if your customers can’t make up their mind, give them a chance to at least think about it before they decide to buy. If they don’t want to buy, make your special offers easily elusive with a promise of the next one coming really soon.



4. Upsell only After the Checkout


With upsell and cross-sell tactics, it’s all about hitting the right moment. If you offer the right thing at the right time, your chances of selling greatly increase. However, if you’re looking to sell more no matter the time and place, you’ll get nothing done. So, recommending the right items based on the purchase at the right moment is the only way to ensure success instead of a distraction.


Therefore, the right moment or your best moment to make a recommendation is at the moment of checkout or when your customers are at the payment gateway. This is because of two reasons:


  • After your customer’s checkout, you have a clear insight into their preferences so it’s easier to guess what might go well with their current interests and, by recommending the right items, you greatly increase the chances of getting them to buy more.


  • It’s much easier to sell more to a customer who is already making a purchase than a new one. By simply offering a discount or recommending related items, you can get your customers to buy more.


These two strategies are the main pillars of every online store on the internet and these are the best tools online retailers can rely on to increase revenue. Still, the only thing that matters is applying these strategies in a smart and mild way to ensure maximum effect.


If applied timely and wisely, it will help any e-commerce generate maximum revenue. Therefore, it should be part of every e-commerce website design or at least for those websites looking to improve performance.

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