Upselling has been a classic business technique for centuries, and it’s certainly found an effective place in e-commerce, often contributing to surprisingly large shares of revenue. Upselling isn’t some underhanded way of milking customers for all they’re worth – it's a win-win situation and all about increasing earnings by providing the most value possible. 

Upselling or cross-selling? 

Though they go hand-in-hand, it’s important to clarify the two. Upselling is all about providing more value than the standard option by persuading the customer to buy bigger, to buy more, to buy better quality. Cross-selling is similar, but it’s about adding something complementary to the deal. Take a fast food restaurant as an example. The “would you like to go large for an extra 49p?” is an upsell, whereas the “would you like fries with that?” is a cross-sell. 

Why you should be upselling 

It’s a little deeper than just growing your revenue. Upselling is a super-effective way of increasing average order value because it strikes while the iron is hot. The customers targeted have officially passed all stages of their journey and are in peak buying mode. If you’re suddenly putting something even tastier on their plate, they’re already at that psychological juncture where they might just dig in. 
The customer wins by getting a personalised experience and the best bang for their buck. If you throw a cross-sell in there too, they’ll have been provided everything they need to get fully set up with their purchase. Imagine they wanted a new phone and they’ve actually come away with their chosen model complete with protective case and screen wipes that will enhance their experience – plus you have a little more cash in your pocket. 

Where you should be upselling 

There are two clear areas, being pre- and post-purchase. Pre-purchase upsells should appear when customers are adding items to their cart or reaching the checkout page, and should ideally offer low risk purchases that don’t require much prior knowledge to be considered – upselling to a laptop with more storage, or cross-selling batteries alongside a child's toy, for example. 
Post-purchase opportunities come after the initial transaction when payment details don’t need submitting again. A fitness brand could offer an upsize to a larger sized tub of whey protein, for example, or offer a shaker cup at a reduced price. 

Implementing upselling and cross-selling: some bonus tips 

Select products carefully – the more relevant and personalised they are, the better. 
Don’t push for upsells worth more than 25% the value of a customer’s basket. It could be helpful grouping your products into tiers and only moving one tier higher when upselling. 
Use a data-driven approach to analyse customer behaviour and cross-sell popular products that typically sell well together 
Use persuasive copy, utilise visual features like comparison tables, instil a sense of urgency, and have a simple call to action. Try A/B testing different configurations to nail a solid formula. 
Remember, you don’t have to be a pro web developer to get all of this up and running. Most major e-commerce platforms have simple upsell apps or plugins with boatloads of options 

Ask us for business advice 

For clear, bespoke and actionable advice that will help you to grow your business in a sustainable way, call our Northern office on 01482 235575, our London office on 0207 885 0605 or fill in the contact form below. 
Tagged as: Small Business Help
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