Upselling and Cross Selling?
Cross-Selling suggests other relevant products for people to try.
What is an example of cross-selling? When you buy a cell phone online, and the online store
suggests screen protectors for that model, that’s cross-selling.
Up-Selling persuades the customer to upgrade or buy a more expensive version.
How do you Up-Sell? Let’s stick with the cellphone example. If you’re about to buy the model with
32GB of storage space, the online store can suggest you get the one with 64GB or 128GB.
Here’s the great thing about Up-Selling. It doesn’t just increase AOV (Average Order Value); it also
increases customer lifetime value. In other words, customers spend more while they remain customers.
And that’s why it’s so important for your business. On this page here, I’m going to share my favorite
Up-Selling tips. I’ll dive into some proven Up-Selling Strategies and will provide examples to inspire
you in your business. By the end, you’ll be able to implement your own revenue-boosting Up-Sell Strategy.
Choose the RIGHT Upsell
When you look at eCommerce upsell examples, you’ll see there are several types you can offer.
The Version Upgrade
You can ask shoppers to get a different version of a product you’re offering. It can be bigger,
stronger, faster, better – you get the idea.
Another favorite Up-Sell, both online and offline, is the “protect your product” Up-Sell,
which asks you to extend your warranty so you effectively guard your product against
something going wrong. For example, if you buy a phone, you can often get a screen
You know those “customize your product” features you get on some sites? Well, that’s
a series of Up-Sells, because every customization you add increases the price.
Extended Service Period
Sometimes, instead of a physical product, you can Up-Sell by offering better value for
a longer contract. And you can also offer better deals for early renewals. This works
well for SaaS products.
Bundling is a bit of a gray area because it’s both Cross-Selling and Up-Selling, but if
you package related items together and show that it’s better value, you can increase
your sales of all the items in the bundle.
Always Offer the Up-Sell …
The more Up-Sell opportunities you show customers, the more chances they must take one.
So, offer your Up-Sell everywhere it makes sense. Some typical locations for upsells include:
- On product pages, where you have multiple chances to show off product versions
- When people add items to the cart, as it’s a great time to show supplementary products
or services that help them get more value from what they’re already planning to buy
- When the customer reaches a success milestone. For example, when you’ve added a
few tasks, you’ll get an email showing you how to manage tasks even better with their
But Don’t Be Pushy
Even though you want customers to see your Up-Sells, you don’t want to annoy them. Show your Up-Sell
popup at the wrong time, and they may not buy anything at all. Show it at the right time, and you’ve got
a much better chance of making a better sale.
Some online retailers handle this by placing the Up-Sell information well below the product information,
so only people who are really interested ever see it. Another option is to show your Up-Sell when people
have made the decision to buy. For example, if you show it once they’ve added an item to the cart (but
before they checkout) that can be a great time to get an additional sale.
There’s no point in showing your Up-Sell when people have just landed on the page because that could
annoy them enough to leave. Instead, use a “scroll trigger” to wait till they’ve scrolled a certain distance
so you know they’re interested.
Make Your Up-Sell Relevant
Relevance is key when deciding on your Up-Sell. If someone’s buying a book on Marketing, there’s no
point in recommending a book on childcare (which is Cross-Selling anyway). Instead, you’ll recommend
something else related to what they’re looking at, like an audio version of the book or another book by
the same author.
When you’re Up-Selling, you’ll have to sell the benefits of the Up-Sell, and show why it’s important.
This kind of customer education can help make the sale. For example, Amazon highlights the benefits
of getting audiobook versions of purchased books.
Personalize Your Upsell Recommendations
Recommendations work better if they’re personal. Accenture’s latest research shows that
75% of consumers are more likely to buy if the retailer either:
- Knows their purchase history
- Recommends purchases based on that history
- Addresses them by name
You can do this in a “Smart Tags feature” that lets you take the information you already
have from your Email Marketing, like the visitor’s name, and use it as part of a personalized
campaign that appears when they visit your site.
And, of course, you’re not limited to the name. You can also vary onsite campaigns based on
the products people have already viewed.
Get the Language Right
Language is an important part of all successful Marketing. But it’s even more important to persuade your
customers when you’re aiming for the Up-Sell. Some of the best Up-Selling examples get this right by
making visitors imagine how they could make use of the upgrade, or by triggering the fear of missing
out (FOMO). This is psychologically proven to help make more sales. For example, show everything they’d
be missing if they took the free plan.
As seen before, urgency can help increase the value of the Up-Sell. If your Up-Sell is available for a limited
time only, or there are limited quantities, you’ll want to highlight this in your Marketing. One way to do that
is to create a sale timer for your website.
You can also change display rules to show the Up-Sell offer to those on specific pages, such as the page with
the product you’re offering the Up-Sell for.
Offer Free Shipping
Offering free shipping is proven to boost sales. Around 90% of customers say free shipping is their main
incentive to shop more online. So, how does this work with Up-Sells? You can remind people how much
more they must spend to qualify for free shipping. That’s a big incentive to continue adding items to the
cart, especially if they’re not too costly.
Provide Social Proof
Social proof lets people know that others like them found the product or service valuable. It’s something
you see on the top online retail sites. For example, Amazon shows you:
- What people bought with the product you are buying
- What people also looked at
- The products they recommend going with what you’re buying
All of these create valuable Up-Sell opportunities.
Add in customer reviews for each item,
and you’re priming customers to buy more.
Limit the Price Increase
Beware though! Don’t price your Up-Sells too high. After all, it’s supposed to represent a quick win for
your customers. They suggest that the price of the Up-Sell shouldn’t be more than 40% more than the
item they’re already looking at or buying.
Retail Doctor puts that figure even lower, suggesting that the Up-Sell be no more than an additional 25%.
The best advice? Test different options with your own customers till you find what works.
Use the Rule of Three
You’ll often hear Marketers talk about the “rule of three”. It’s to do with the fact that people respond to
patterns, and three seems to be a magic number. In this case, we’re talking about using the rule of three
in pricing. There are multiple studies to show that when there are three price levels, people often go for
the middle one. You’ll also hear this called “price anchoring”.
Either way, an Up-Sell can look more attractive if it’s one of at least three options available.
What if your usual Up-Sell item is out of stock? Don’t let that stop you from offering the Up-Sell. The best
Up-Selling examples show that you always have an alternative. For example, if your Up-Sell for a particular
phone is upgrading the memory from 64GB to 128GB, and you’re out of the upgrade, suggest 128GB phones
in different models from the same manufacturer.
Or, you could simply suggest a phone with similar features where your Up-Sell IS available.
Upsell After the Purchase
While many Up-Sells are offered on product or pricing pages, these aren’t the only places to show off
your Up-Sell offer. In fact, you can offer an Up-Sell even after customers have completed their purchase.
For example, sometimes you get a limited time to edit or upgrade your order before it ships.
And on sales pages, you’ll often see a deal for a limited time product that complements what you’re
Follow Up via Email
While we’re on the topic of post-purchase Up-Sells, don’t forget about email. Email Marketing is still one
of the most effective ways to reach your customers, and there are a few Up-Selling email examples that
can help you make more sales. For example, even if people don’t take the Up-Sell when they purchase,
you can still offer it again by email. And you can sweeten the deal by offering an additional discount on
the upgraded product or service.
As an example, you can offer a free gift when someone takes the Up-Sell. You can also use email to offer
Up-Sells as part of your shopping cart abandonment emails. The average shopping cart abandonment rate,
is 69%. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table.
Finally, if Up-Selling isn’t doing the trick, consider Down-Selling – offering a product that’s slightly reduced
in price and features a way to get your customer to become a customer.
Consider Down-Selling if your customer:
- Only looks at items in a particular price range, using the sorting features on your site
- Has added an item to the cart, but returns to your site to look for cheaper versions
- Has abandoned an upsell in the cart and does not respond to abandonment emails
Down-Selling can help to build trust by offering options that suit your customers’ pocket and showing that
you’re responsive to their needs. Examples include:
- Offering a more cost-effective version of a computer, like one with a less expensive power chip
- Creating a self-study version of a course that’s less expensive than the one with your personal input
- Popping up a coupon to give a discount when it looks like visitors are about to leave the page
The great thing about Down-Sells is that once visitors become customers,
you’ll have other opportunities for Up-Sells later.
5 Effective Upselling Examples
Want a few more examples of Up-Selling in action? Check these out.
You can have a button inviting logged in users to upgrade to premium, along with a page showing
the benefits of upgrading. Note, you can also have three different package options.
Williams-Sonoma offers a discount for new customers, which encourages them to buy more.
AppSumo’s email shows existing customers the benefit of getting multiple deals in one by moving
from a pay per deal to a monthly all in one model.
Dropbox uses an in-app banner to encourage the upgrade to the Business version. Clicking on the
button gives you the USP of the upgrade.
Amazon’s messaging includes letting you know when there’s a newer model or version of the
item you’re looking at.
With these Up-Selling tips and examples,
you’re primed to get the most from your Up-Sell Strategy.
Business Coach & Marketing Strategist