The reality is: a customer that knows what they want is a rare phenomenon in the e-commerce world. Mostly, people don’t know how to meet their needs and wants. In this context, upselling and cross-selling suggestions might come in handy. But there is a fine line between a well-timed recommendation and desire to sell more.

Upselling and cross-selling techniques when used in the proper way can bring a significant benefit both for customers and companies. And that shows through Amazon: near 35% of their revenue is a result of upselling and cross-selling tactics. 

Exploring Cross-selling and Upselling

There is a lot of confusion surrounding these two tactics. Let’s figure out what is the difference between cross-selling and upselling. They have the same origin, but their difference lies in the type of connections between products and how some certain product parameters (price, features, and compatibility) relate to each other.

  • Cross-selling – offer complementary, related, or connected items that make a basic product more precious.

  • Upselling – encourage a customer to purchase a more expensive or high-end alternative to a basic product.

Surely, nothing is stopping you from mixing upselling and cross-selling strategies. 

For the sake of clarity, let’s take a peek at three different scenarios and the corresponding cross-selling and upselling solutions to them.

Cross-selling & upselling examples

By adhering to these two strategies you:

✔️ Double a chance of increasing average order value.

✔️ Maximize awareness about your products.

✔️ Boost conversion rate by 10%. At least.

✔️ Rise overall customer satisfaction.

Hot Spots For Upselling & Cross-Selling

When it comes to incorporating cross-selling and upselling techniques on your store, you can use them BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER purchase. Some of it is a matter of the approach you choose. In general, you can display your upselling and cross-selling recommendations on your:

Homepage – an introductory page of your website. Your central challenge at this stage should be to give a comprehensive picture of assortment and information about current deals, exclusive offers, and promotions.

Product page allows the visitors to look deeply into what a product offers and how it will benefit them once they purchase it. Shoppers viewing these pages want to meet their needs by buying a product. To skyrocket sales here, you should provide relevant, personalized recommendations. Over the decades, a ton of great websites have been effectively catching attention to other products using headings such as “Customers Also Viewed”, “Those Who Viewed This Item Decided To Buy”, and “Related Content”.

Cart page – There are thousands and one reason why users arrive at the cart page. They’re ready to buy, they want to check which items they’ve added to the cart or their total cost. This is the perfect opportunity to offer upselling or cross-selling products because customers haven’t yet finalized their purchasing decision.

Great Upselling Examples

The main idea of a successful upselling recommendation is that you do not offer a product, but a solution to a specific problem. Thus, a product with better characteristics allows your customer to find a more effective way out of the situation. Upselling is a significant part of the business model for software companies and other solution-focused businesses. However, it can also be noticed in a wide range of other contexts.

Let’s take a peek at how some successful brands are using upselling in their online stores.

Example #1: CellCasesUSA’s Featured Products

Upselling example from CellCasesUSA

Upselling through featured products is not a typical promotion because you define good candidates for featured products in your own way. You are guided by subjective criteria such as a top-seller status or items with a large profit margin. Upselling this way can be effective for web stores that sell many similar items or are new to the world of e-commerce and don’t have full-fledged customer browsing history. 

Check out how featured items are showcased on the CellCasesUSA’s home page. 

☝️ Where to implement? E-commerce merchants most often place featured items on their website’s homepage. It doesn’t matter if featured products are lined vertically, horizontally, or in a slideshow. What really matters – your featured products should be highly visible (i.e. don’t bury them at the bottom of the homepage).

Example #2: Rifle Paper Co’s “New” Section

Upselling example from Rifle Paper Co

Another category for featured items is New Arrivals. It makes sense to showcase your novelties to increase the time people spend on your site, convert visitors into loyal patrons, and motivate customers to update their purchase. On top of that, it’s a great way to inform visitors about seasonal items or new collections you’ve recently added to your catalog. 

Look at Rifle Paper Co’s homepage which pays great attention to promoting new items. There’s a “New” section in the navigation menu and one of their main banners also highlights novelties.

☝️ Where to implement? You’ll generally promote your featured products in a prominent place on your website’s homepage.

Example #3: HealthAid’s “Seasonal Products” Module

Upselling example from HealthAid

Seasonal promotions are exclusive offers, discounts, or limited edition items in conjunction with a holiday or a certain time of the year such as back-to-school season or Christmas. The ultimate goal of these promotional marketing campaigns is to give you a revenue lift in an otherwise quiet period. 

An excellent example is HealthAid, which uses more typical seasons of the year for their promoting campaigns. 

☝️ Where to implement? It makes sense to display a “Seasonal Items” block on your homepage.

Great Cross-selling Examples

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the great tactics for upselling, it’s high time to understand how to use cross-selling in your store. Before we start, I would like to say that by using these tips and inspiring examples, you’ll be able to build a marketing strategy that generates greater revenue and keeps your customers happy. Additionally, many of the upselling approaches reviewed above can also be used to sell additional items that increase overall transaction value.

Example #1: Lancôme’s “Perfect Partners For You” Recommendations

Cross-selling example from Lancôme

Bundling is a great combination of cross-selling and upselling tactics. If you package related items together and show that it’s better valued, you can definitely increase your sales of all the products in the bundle. 

Lancôme, like many other brands, offers various related items to customers that create additional value to the basic purchase. If you’re buying a serum, you might ultimately need day cream, but it would take time to find one you liked. Using a smart algorithm, Lancôme recommends perfect options based on customer shopping behavior.

☝️ Where to implement? Your product page is a great place to highlight bundling products. Many companies promote related items on their cart page – which is also a great example of an upselling strategy.

Example #2: Kylie’s Best Sellers Options

Cross-selling examples from Kylie Cosmetics

Upselling your trending items is an ideal manner of interaction with big categories on your website: guest visitors and repeating customers. Before displaying bestsellers, you should look at your platform’s metrics and sales numbers to see which products are worth upselling. It can boost sales (by increasing your visibility amongst visitors) and provide a memorable experience to your shoppers. 

Here’s an example from Kylie Cosmetics where they promote their best-selling items on their homepage.

☝️ Where to implement? There are a lot of opportunities for Best Sellers – from homepage and product page to the cart page. 

Example #3: Haus’s “Similar Products” Recommendations

Cross-selling example from Haus

Similar products are interesting because they suggest alternative ways to solve the problem. In this case, you don’t need to create specific rules and give personalized recommendations. All you need is to offer similar items. 

Here’s an example from Haus where they harness a “You Might Also Be Interested In” module to showcase alternatives that are similar to the floor lamp currently being viewed.

☝️ Where to implement? “Similar Products” recommendations are usually placed on a product page. 

Wrapping It Up

In this post, I have highlighted the most popular upselling and cross-selling techniques. Essentially, almost every webstore has its own “best-practices” for influencing company revenue and customer retention. 

By connecting these approaches, you can create your own strategy of “best-practices” which combines upselling and cross-selling tactics and works for your assortment and audience.

If you’re confused about the right products to upsell and cross-sell, the Recom.ai Upselling & Cross-selling Shopify app will help you. Our smart system knows how to deliver offers with a higher value to customers. 

Have anything to share about upselling and cross-selling campaigns? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment block!