Upselling And Cross-Selling 101: Tips and Tricks for Success

Higher competition makes the customer acquisition challenging as well as costly. 

It is the primary reason small businesses are focusing on customer retention and long-term customer relationships. 

More importantly, they focus on getting multiple or repeat purchases from the same customer. 

Also, increasing the average order value is essential more than ever. 

Brands are giving in to more marketing and sales strategies to boost the bottom line of retail chains.

Upselling and Cross-selling emerges as a torchbearer sales and marketing strategy to serve this purpose. 

So, if you are one of those businesses, want to leverage advanced but simple to follow upselling and cross-selling strategies, here’s your chance.

upselling and cross selling tips

Best 15 upselling and cross-selling Techniques and strategies to boost your sales. 

Limiting Your Upselling Recommendations 

Getting more sales doesn’t mean you do more upselling, it is about how you do it in the first place. 

You do not have to put a lot of options out there for customers to increase the possibility of sales. 

Overload of choices for customers can be overwhelming and even confuse them. They might end up not buying anything at all. 

A successful upselling scenario starts from providing a solution to your customers. You need to make deals simple for customers. 

It is essential you recommend what is the best for customers, potentially resolve their issues for the long run. 

You do not recommend something totally unreasonable to your customers just to increase your sales. 

Understanding Your Customers 

understand customer sell better

More you know your customers, higher chances are there to offer upselling and cross-selling with actual conversions. 

So, start from getting a comprehensive and detailed audience research before getting into upselling and cross-selling strategies for your retail store. 

In case of offering your target customers better products or upgrades or any more recommendations, you certainly need to know them well enough. 

Otherwise, you will just annoy your customers with undesirable recommendations ending up no additional sales. 

So find out about your customers : 

  1. How are your target consumers more or less inclined to spend? 
  2. How much your product(s) means to them? 
  3. What are their preferences? 
  4. What are their needs and wants? 
  5. What is their general reaction to a costlier alternative of the product? 
  6. How likely are they to take your recommendations? 

More than that, you need to be informative about the genre or niche and the products you are selling. 

Profile your customers, track their purchasing orders and consumer behaviour to upsell or cross-sell better. 

For Example  

Amazon is a great example of how they do extensive research and analysis on their customers. They track your purchase and also what you search for. 

They even know what products you just keep in your wishlist or leave at your cart. 

All this data is used to offer you more recommendations and additional products while buying. 

Invest More Time In Understanding What’s A Winning Deal For Your Customers 

Well, ideally this is an extension of knowing your customer but more concentrated on what they want out of a deal? 

You need to invest some dedicated time in finding out what your potential customers expect to be a successful and profitable deal for them. 

The idea is to find what is winning for them, and then strategize your upselling and cross-selling accordingly. 

Find out what a potential customer wants to gain from your product or service. 

Make sure you don’t just focus on the short-term goals or just the transaction but on the long-term goal or the overall relationship with the customers. 

You need to identify the areas where you can offer them additional products to help them. 

Better you know them, the more accurate you will be with your suggestions resulting in higher conversion. 

Don’t Overdo 

The most common mistakes with upselling and cross-selling for small business and retail stores is – they overdo it ! 

The usual idea behind successful upselling and cross-selling strategy is to apply it as much as possible, and too aggressively. 

They often go with suggesting loads of additional items to their customers, ending up confusing them or overwhelmed. 

Ideally, you need to focus on understanding your target customer, and knowing their needs, wants and preferences. 

Then come up the selected, best and personalized suggestions especially for them. 

Convincing Your Potential Customers That You Know Better On What They Need

Now, this is where you need to swim very carefully because on the other side, you can come out as a “pushy salesman”. 

But if you do it right, you will be this “know-it-all-guy”  at the store who knows what is best for their customers on a more personalized level. 

Upselling and cross-selling require you to be more interactive and personalized with the customers. 

You need to sell as you are an expert in the field and knows better for the customers, even more than them. 

You must convince a potential customer that they need this product’s recommendations or additional upgrade you are offering. 

Potential customers must get the perspective on why this additional product recommendation or this upgrade is a better deal than what they were buying. 

If you are confident and yet polite, also suggestive in your approach, they are more likely to take you in the consideration. 

More than that, they listen to an expert or authoritarian in that niche or products. Be more articulated in your voice and arguments you give. 

Lead the conversation but do not overpower or try to hijack the decision-making. Don’t be pushy and desperate with your approach. 

Begin With Your Best Customers or Regular Customers 

More or better you know your customer, there are better chances of upselling and cross-selling. 

So this should already work with your regular customers or the best customers for that matter. 

Some customers are more interested in buying high-end products or just go with your suggestions. 

Also, loyal customers are more likely to be convinced of your upselling and cross-selling suggestions. 

If you are a small business owner, and new to upselling and cross-selling, these customers will be best to try these strategies for the best results. 

The conversion rate with these customers must be higher than any new customer just walked in. 

Make sure you try to make more interactions with them. Ask what they prefer or expect out the deal. 

It can be valuable insight to adapt and utilize for other potential customers as well. 

Using Social Proof For Upselling & Cross-Selling 

The best way to convince your customers about your cross-selling recommendations, is to give them the ultimate satisfactory proof. 

And, that would be, social proof! Customers tend to believe in the offers when they know most people are happily buying them. 

It develops trust on the deal. Also, on the flip side, it triggers the fear-of-missing-out emotion of people. 

Now, you have seen this a lot with online retail stores where they mention the products to be “most bought” or  “best-selling” etc. 

For Example :  Amazon shows you product recommendations under categories like  “ What people bought with the product you are buying”, “Customers who viewed this item also viewed”  and so on. 

Customer reviews for specific sets of deals are also used to persuade customers so they buy bundled products rather than just one. 

Keep It Natural 

Customers are more aware and smart than ever. They would know if you purposefully try to upsell or cross-sell them. 

Even worse, if you come across pushy or irrelevant about it, it would cost you more than this purchase or deal. 

Focus on building a relationship or rapport with the customer while pitching them. Just go with the flow. 

Don’t go “car salesman” on your potential customers. It will freak them out even if you are offering a really good product. 

Make it look like helpful advice or even better if you actually do that. Find out what additional products can help them and suggest. 

Layout the benefits of the additional items, bundled deal or the upgrade and let them have space to decide freely. 

Lookout for the cues where you can slide in the suggestion rather than making it obvious and intentional about it. 

Focus on having conversation and let rest follow accordingly. 

Limiting The Increase In Overall Price 

This is one of the additional upselling or cross-selling strategies or tactics you can use to ensure the deal. 

You start with not upselling too higher than their actual price even where the perceived value of the deal must be higher for the customer. 

It will be 100% win for a customer to jump-in for the deal. You can limit the price of the overall offer to not increase more than 40% of their original order. 

This is a sweet spot which gives a win-win situation for both customers and retailers as well. 

On other hand, some even suggest to keep it no more upselling than 25% of the total order. 

Well, you get the idea which is to limit the overall pricing offer to attract customers to the deal and increase the chances for the conversion. 

Targeting the Previous Buyers For Upsell 

The most potential buyers to upsell are all your previous buyers or regular customers. 

To really get the best out of it, you need to create the list of all of the previous buyers and organize them into a segmented list. 

The idea is to target them on more personalized, so it is more likely to get the conversion on upselling. 

Since you already have their details such as contacts and email address, providing upselling offers will be easy. 

You need to make sure to segment the list in a way that the right kind of upsell or offer goes to the right customer. 

For Example : If a customer had bought an iphone from your store weeks before, you can offer them to buy additional accessories at discounted price. 

Even old customers over one or two years, you can offer them for any replacement or exchange plans as well. 

The Rule of Three With Pricing Anchoring 

People’s mind are created to address patterns. They are more repsonsive to the patterns. The idea is utlized in various visual mediums to attract audience. 

One of the patterns people tend to notice faster, is the rule of three. That’s why you see lot of services or Software offering their pricing plans in three levels. 

People are seen to pick the middle one from the three options which is also called price anchoring. 

So, you can use this to upsell your products. Just make your options amongst the three options given where people are most likely to address it. 

You also see that a lot on various online retail stores where they offer cross-selling or upselling in three given options to attract audience. 

Sell Benefits, Not Features 

Most commonly known motto in sales is “ sell benefits, not features”. This goes even more effectively for upselling and cross-selling. 

It’s not that you need to avoid telling the features. It is definitely essential to make your sales pitch stronger for the additional products. 

But you need to focus on how those features or the product can benefit them. Be more specific on the advantages aspect of additional products. 

Tell them why this overall deal is better than what they originally intend to buy. Give strong reasons to buy rather than repeating the features of the product.  

Always Going With The  25% Rule 

This is a general rule of thumb you always need to follow with upselling or cross-selling. 

You never should try to upsell or cross-sell the products that cost above than 25% of their original order. 

It means there is a marginal difference of change you can bring in the purchasing order of a customer. 

If a potential customer came to buy a Honda car, you might don’t want to try to upsell them a BMW. 

Upselling and cross-selling works because the customer feels the recommendations or the deal is better than their original with a little push to their budget. 

There might be exceptions but it is safer to play under this 25% rule to not make unreasonable suggestions to the customers. 

Because any outlandish suggestion will come out as this greedy pushy salesman or business who just wants to sell more, and do not think about customers at all. 

Now, that would be bad for the brand reputation, not just for that particular deal. 

Identify What They Really Need To Upsell or Cross-Sell More Effectively 

You already know by far that knowing better your customers will help you upsell or cross-sell better. 

What you need to know is not all upsell or cross-sell recommendations are fit for all customers. 

You would want to upsell or cross-sell the products they actually need. 

Now how do you figure out whether the upsell or cross-sell is worth pursuing? 

Well, you can simply explain how this additional item(s) or the upgrade can benefit the customer’s goals. 

You shouldn’t force an additional item just for the sake of upselling or cross-selling because it won’t work. 

Also, it might harm your brand reputation or hurt the deal as well. You would risk your relationship with the customer and even end up losing them. 

Put your efforts in the right direction, and the result will be effective. 

Keep It Simple 

If overdoing is catastrophic to your upsell or cross-sell strategy, making your deals overloaded with too many choices does the same for it. 

Most common mistake with sales people or businesses is to offer loads of choices for potential customers. 

This usually gives customers what ‘s called  “decision-paralysis” to them where they get too overwhelmed with the choices in the offer. 

Don’t overload them with tons of information, multiple offers and different sets of deals. 

It lowers the probability of obvious sale that was already or anyway happening in the first place. 

Simply offer them the deal that can help them, and they might go for it. Make sure your offer is simple, confident and articulated. 

Upselling To Abandoned Carts 

If you are experiencing lot of customers abandoning shopping carts on your online retail website, the best thing you can do is remind them. 

Upselling the products they abandoned in their carts through emails or messages will get you some of the customers back on track. 

Abandoned carts often happen due to some distraction or lack of interest at the point.

 So, giving a quick reminder to your customers will make you some purchases. 

Customers with abandoned carts are more likely to respond to your upselling offers as compared to others. 

You can remarket through emails or paid advertisements to these targeted potential customers. 

Demonstrate Value Of What You Are Offering

Demonstrating the value of your offer is an umbrella term for presenting a more articulated and proof-based pitch to your customer in order to convince them. 

Even if they seem interested or convinced, make sure you give a detailed demonstration of what they are getting out of the value. 

It is about securing all the corners and making sure your potential customer believes in the additional products or the overall deal you offered. 

Here are few things to make them believe : 

  • Show them customer case studies 
  • Present testimonials and positive reviews 
  • Demonstrate how the product works for them 
  • Tell them benefits and changes it brings to them 
  • Identify and address how it resolves their issues 
  • Assure them that you are always glad to help 
  • Focus on building relationship with customer 

You need to make the deal coming up as the most logical choice to go for the customers rather than a sales push. 

Applying Some Common Yet Powerful  Online Cross-Selling Strategies 

You have seen this plenty of times at online stores such as Amazon. It is amongst the predominant forms of cross-selling. 

The idea is to offer related and relevant additional products to customers who just bought a product. 

It is a simple idea that says “  Since you bought this, why not these? “ Apparently customers end up buying more from this suggestion list. 

Selling An Overall Package

Whenever you try to buy something from Amazon, you would see additional products are suggested as completing the package with your primary product. 

Additional products are recommended to your primary product as a complete package along with saving some bucks on it. 

Another popular example is when fast-food franchises like McDonalds, Burger King or Dominos suggest to buy a meal with additional edibles rather than just one burger or pizza. 

Free Shipping 

Offering free shipping to your customers can be a great catalyst for cross-selling. Customers are supposed to hit a threshold on their cart value to get free shipping. 

This will encourage them to add more products in the cart to save some good money on the transaction. 

Shipping cost is the most unreasonable cost for customers which they don’t want to pay. So they will find some reason to buy more products to save shipping costs.

Offering Discount For Buying More

Quite like a free shipping offer, you will offer a discount on a certain total amount. So you will have a trading discount for getting more purchases. 

For Example :  You can offer that customer can save 300 bucks if they buy two of the products. 

Also, it is commonly seen at retail stores where you see offers like “Buy 3 For 1399” or “Buy 2 and get 30% discount”. 

This is one of the most powerful and commonly seen cross-selling strategies at online and offline stores. 

Suggesting On Basis of Purchase History

One of the most common cross-selling strategies for online retailers is to suggest products depending upon their purchase history. 

You need to track all of their previous purchases, their interests, search terms they look for and other consumer behaviour. 

Recommending on products related to what they bought earlier or in addition gives you great conversion on cross-selling. 

Similar Interests

You must have seen product recommendations at the online retail store under the caption says  “ Customers Also liked” or  “Customers Also Bought” and so on. 

It evokes a natural human behaviour and curiosity about what other people are buying. 

Chances are that exploring more on this makes customers end up buying more products. 

It creates a subtle sense of social proof and popularity of the product recommended in the heads of potential customers. 

Creating Urgency With Upselling 

Again, one of the most effective upselling strategies is to limit the time for its availability. 

If you keep your upsell limited to a certain time or limited quantity, it creates a sense of urgency for customers. 

It also evokes FOMO ( Fear-Of-Missing-Out) in people where they end up buying the upgrade in fear of missing out the opportunity. 

You can market your upgrades or upselling additions with a timer or deadline to get more conversions. 

It also practised in retail stores where sales people can mention how the offer is exclusive for them or a certain regular customer. 

Combining Cross-Selling With Other Marketing Strategies 

It is the best way to empower your cross-selling strategies to work even more effectively. 

Combine cross-selling with other marketing strategies and ideas such as : 

  • Discount & Coupon marketing 
  • Free Shipping 
  • Bundle Pricing Strategy
  • Review Marketing 
  • Referrals 
  • Incentive Marketing 

And much more. You just need to come up with unique and effective permutations and combinations of pairs. 

Eventually, you will know what combination of strategies give you higher ROI. Then, you can focus on utilizing cross-selling with those certain marketing strategies. 

Personalize the Upsell 

One of the most crucial tips for upselling to make it work effectively, is personalization. 

Just like with anything, personalization makes the deal more curated and targetted for your particular customer. 

Consumers are more likely to get upsell from a retailer if they are connected with them on some level. 

If retailer recognizes the customers name, there are more chances of getting an upsell from them. 

Similar goes for various factors such as purchase history and second-time customers. 

Upselling Through Remarketing 

Remarketing is targeting the potential customers who previously interacted with your business through website, advertisement or other forms. 

They are more likely to be converted with your products if presented convincing opportunities or offers. 

Here comes the upselling, where you target this set of potential customers. 

With minimal effort, these potential customers are more likely to respond for to your upselling recommendations. 

Rewarding Your Loyal Customers 

What you must have understood by now is upselling and cross-selling success mostly align great with regular or familiar customers. 

More you retain customers with you, better average order value you can gain through upselling or cross-selling. 

Best part is, they tend to convert easily as compared to any new customer at your store. 

So focus on developing a long-term relationship with your customers. Don’t forget them just after upselling or cross-selling them. 

More importantly, you can take more initiative and show your gratitude to your loyal customers, so they cherish this relationship even more. 

You can send them “Thank You” letter or some form of appreciation. 

Even re-connecting them every once a while and offering them personalized discounts can be really good to maintain this relationship. 

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