Upsell and Cross-Sell for eCommerce: A 2021 Guide

Ecommerce companies are constantly looking for new ways to boost their profits and provide more value for the clients. Upselling and cross selling are the critical strategies for increasing earnings, learning more about customers and meeting their needs by delivering the best products and services. Despite the terms being often used as synonyms, cross selling and upselling strategies are two different concepts. Below we will describe the main characteristics of each method and provide practical tips with examples.

Upselling and Cross-Selling: Definition

Upselling is a promotional technique in which a consumer is offered an upgrade or premium version of a product that is normally more costly than the item they originally wanted to purchase. Upselling has two key goals: to boost gross revenue and to persuade customers to buy goods that better suit their needs. For example, the company might convince a customer who has just purchased a new phone to upgrade to a more costly model or buy add-ons.

Cross-selling is a marketing tactic that encourages customers to buy additional items that match the ones they already have. Cross-selling targets are close to upselling goals: raise sales and provide a more comprehensive approach to customers’ needs. If a customer buys a phone, the company can offer them earphones as a cross-sell.

Upselling and Cross-Selling: Benefits

Upselling and cross-selling strategies are often used in tandem by businesses to differentiate themselves from the market, deliver value, and sustain customer loyalty. Other reasons why cross-selling and upselling strategies are essential for your eCommerce business include:

  • The average order value increases. Thanks to cross-selling, Amazon earns 35% more in comparison to the usual profit. Upselling allows companies to save money and increase profits accordingly, as it is 68% cheaper than acquiring prospects.
  • Loyalty to a brand. According to research, a company is 60-70% more likely to sell the products to loyal clients compared to 5-20% probability of selling to the new prospects.
  • Better customer service. Upselling and cross selling techniques help you to learn more about your customers’ goals, characteristics, and purchasing habits. You will analyze the data and use it to enhance the client service.

Tips for Effective Cross-Selling and Upselling Strategies

Now let’s talk about how to upsell and cross sell in the most efficient way.

1. Make Every Offer Relevant

This tactic is applied to make your offer interesting and not pushy. With the help of a personalized and professional approach, you should make your loyal customers feel unique and valued. Instead of addressing any client as a “customer,” refer to them as “guests,” “friends,” or “partners.”

Anticipate their needs by providing solutions to issues in advance. Put your clients first by seeing things from their perspective. Treating customers as friends fosters brand loyalty and promotes leaving positive or negative reviews that can be used to improve your service. In certain cases, consumers just want to know that you are paying attention to their concerns.

If you are going to upsell and cross sell, you need to make the deal at the right time to avoid annoying your customers. Some eCommerce companies put upsell details below the product description, targeted solely at website visitors who are interested.

2. Use the Right Language

Cross-selling and upselling strategies include the use of appropriate language. Your marketing effectiveness is determined by the wording you use. You should use power words that elicit an emotional and psychological reaction from your audience. The following are some examples of powerful terms that draw customers’ attention:

  • new;
  • sensational;
  • remarkable;
  • amazing;
  • brilliant;
  • mind-blowing;
  • challenge;
  • accident;
  • inspiration.

The fear of losing out is another emotional trigger. People are frequently fearful of missing out on a lucrative opportunity, and businesses take advantage of this psychologically tested effect to upsell and cross sell. When a consumer sees an offer to subscribe to a premium plan, they will compare the standard and premium plans to see what they will be missing out on if they opt for the free product edition.

Another way to stimulate interest in the product is to create the feeling of belonging to a special group (“Only available to subscribers”, “Login required”, “Exclusive offers”). You can also build a sense of urgency (“50 percent off today only”), encourage people to act (“Buy now”), or include a variety of choices (basic, free or advanced).

3. Use Customer Reviews

Client feedback, motivational case studies, and testimonials help to build confidence and persuade them to convert. Furthermore, when you ask for feedback, you can upsell your products. As a result, you will incorporate the advantages of post-purchase reviews into your upselling and cross-selling strategies. You can promote a variety of products to your recent clients, including top-rated, related or best-selling items.

The success of a product is also reflected in customer reviews. You will determine which items you can upsell and cross-sell by looking at the products with feedback and high ratings. The comments and feedback also improve buyer confidence and persuade people to purchase more costly products with higher ratings and suggestions from other buyers.

4. Add an Upsell App

Upselling apps are available on different eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify. You can apply them for automated upsell campaigns. For example, when your customers are going to purchase a product, they will see a notification that other clients are buying related items. Customers can also receive reminders about free shipping options and the amount of money they should pay to receive free shipping.

The most popular upselling applications for Shopify are:

  • Personalizer;
  • Bold Upsell;
  • Frequently Bought Together;
  • Upsell Recommendations;
  • Reconvert.

The upselling apps will help you to implement the best strategy and increase client lifetime value.

5. Send Emails

Selling to existing buyers takes less time and effort than selling to prospects. Regular customers are more likely to make a final purchasing decision than prospects because they are already acquainted with the variety of goods offered by your company. Due to this reason, one of the most useful tips for upselling is post-purchase messages.

There are many different occasions when you can upsell or cross sell the products to regular customers via email letters. For example, if your clients signed up for a free trial and it’s about to expire, you can send them an email reminding them that they need to update their account or extend their subscription period.

Announcing a new product launch or release via email is a great way to get the word out. You can send an email to your customer base to announce a product change or a new feature.

You can also use thank-you emails to upsell and cross-sell. You can thank your brand’s fans for their continued loyalty and support in these letters, and then offer them a good deal.

Firepush is a helpful tool for managing email upselling campaigns.

6. Add Related Products Features

You can add a Related products section to your eCommerce website to increase the clients’ interest in other items and the number of products in their shopping cart accordingly. There are suggestions for products that are close to the offers your client is currently considering. Related products help your business increase the number of items in one order. Moreover, recommendations will help you to grow your eCommerce website revenue by 10-30%.

On Shopify, there are many ways to add the Related product function. You can use a Shopify theme that includes this feature, create your own section, or use third-party apps like Recommendify.

eCommerce Upselling and Cross-Selling: Summary

Upselling and cross-selling are related strategies for offering extra value to customers and increasing revenue. The strategies benefit eCommerce businesses in a variety of ways, including increasing customer satisfaction, extending product selection, retaining daily customer loyalty, and enhancing customer service.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.