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A Definitive Guide on Cross-sell and UpSell for E-commerce Entrepreneurs

E-commerce is helpful but competitive, very competitive. Anyone who has dipped their toes in the E-commerce pool knows that fact.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to catch a potential customer’s attention, you need to leverage that opportunity to the greatest extent possible. And this is where upselling and cross-selling come in.

But what exactly is upselling and cross-selling? How can you boost upselling and cross-selling for your business? In this guide, you’ll find answers to these concerns.

Let’s dive into it right now!

What is upselling?

First and foremost, imagine you’re going to McDonald’s or Burger King. You ask for a combo meal which has one burger, regular fries, and a small coke. But they ask you if you would like to have medium or large fries or a large Coke. This is upselling.

Well, by definition, upselling is the practice of offering your customers to buy the more expensive/premium version of the items they’ve purchased before or the items they’re interested in from your website. You might experience upselling a lot of times in both physical or online stores, such as purchasing a one-year gym membership instead of 3 months, of course, with an attractive discount.

In general, upselling should be the first thing to do as you already know customers’ favored items. Besides, it is easier for customers to realize the additional benefits of the higher package rather than the different products.

What is cross-selling?

Regarding cross-selling, think once again about our example in the previous part. This time you ask for a burger, but they ask you back very politely, “Sir/ Madam, would you like to have some fries or coke with it?” And this is cross-selling.

Cross-selling is a practice of offering customers other products related to the one they’re already purchasing. These related products are those that add value to the current purchase.

Undoubtedly, cross-selling is a great choice if E-commerce stores can wisely choose suitable items to cross-sell. These items should be related to the original ones with resonated benefits. For example, you can suggest your customers buy a screen protector and mobile case along with the smartphone.

If you notice, this is a very popular selling technique that many popular selling platforms use.

7 useful tips for upselling and cross-selling for E-commerce entrepreneurs

1. Get to know your audience

You can’t market your business without knowing about buyer personas, but it’s essential to get to know your audience once they’ve already bought your product, too.

You should use demographics (age, gender, occupation, income, etc.) and psychographics (lifestyle, buying behavior,…) information about your customers, as well as customer feedback to generate personas for your customers, and understanding of their goals and challenges.

By doing that, you can identify the items for upselling and cross-selling that are most useful to them.

2. Make sure your products are highly relevant

Keep in mind that your adding-on sales technique only works well when it provides additional value to the shopper.

For your upselling and cross-selling tactics to deliver the best results, the recommended items must sync well with the items customers are buying. When someone buys yogurt from your online grocery store, don’t cross-sell them with toilet cleaners. If they find irrelevance, there would not be any expensive or added purchase. Consequently, you are more likely to drive them away.

One more time, knowing what products go together is the foundation of a successful upselling and cross-selling strategy.

3. Offer a discount or incentive

How can you encourage people to act differently from what they’re tending to do? The answer is simple: give them an incentive. Logically, customers will change their decision once motivation is attractive enough.

Incentives in upselling and cross-selling can be gifts, vouchers, coupon codes, or discount prices. Sometimes, people decide to buy a higher package just because of a gift attached.

Furthermore, you should show your customers the awesome value and benefits they can receive if they choose your recommendations. Showcase products with accompanying features are critical in this situation.

The practice of this tip can be buying three extensions at a much lower price as in the following image.

4. Make it urgent

The human brain reacts faster to unusual situations – urgency results in the same effect. The urgency in sales drives consumers to make buying decisions quickly if they don’t want to lose the deals.

E-commerce entrepreneurs can use useful tools such as daily deal products, flash sales, countdown timers, and so on to create urgency and fear of missing the good stuff. For instance, with a countdown timer, you can set up specific periods on the product page or homepage, which attracts much customer attention.

In addition, if you change the deals alternatively and continuously, buyers will access your website more frequently to check it out. So, daily deals turn out to be a great choice to improve upselling and cross-selling.

Similarly, flash sales can work as another excellent choice. With impressive discounts for hot items in a short time (flash), customers will immediately grab the stuff.

5. Social proof creates more trust

In case incentives and urgency are not enough to convince customers, social proof may be helpful. Social proof can include case studies, testimonials, customer reviews, and success stories that can be featured on your homepage or product detail page.

Customer reviews and testimonials are quite popular in any online shop nowadays. People are increasingly looking for product reviews before they move to the purchasing decision. While reviews can be short and collected quickly, case studies and success stories take you more time to gather and display on your website. However, they bring incredible benefits and help you gain more trust to drive sales significantly.

In addition, you just need a bit of copywriting finesse – a simple but effective way to create customers’ trust. Make a notification to let prospects know that you’ve made some customers happy, or get specific with a concrete number, such as the number of products sold, or when a product has been sold. An awesome Shopify app can help you with this, the Proof – Social Proof app.

6. Reward loyal customers

If you successfully close an upsell or cross-sell, congratulations – but your job still isn’t done.

You’ve successfully persuaded a customer to spend more money on your deal – on top of the money they’ve already spent on the initial product. Hence, you should make sure to reward them.

Many experts show that only 20% of customers can bring in up to 80% of revenue for almost any business. So, it is easy to understand why customer care should focus on repeat consumers. Rewarding them is one of the excellent ways to keep them and convince them to buy more from you, as upselling or cross-selling for an existing customer is much more simple than introducing them to new ones.

When a consumer takes an additional step with you to spend more and remain loyal, take the initiative, and reward them for it. There are a lot of choices for you to implement, such as:

  • Send them a thank-you letter with upsell/ cross-sell recommendation
  • Gifts or vouchers for loyal customers (e.g., more than one year)
  • Reward points
  • Discount code for a future purchase
  • VIP class if purchasing more than $1,000, for instance.

With these tips in mind, you might be able to increase your revenue through upselling and cross-selling. Just don’t forget that these should always come second to the initial purchase, and you’ll be just fine.

7. Train your sales team

Upselling and cross-selling are conducted and delivered more efficiently via people to people. Your sales team and customer support team play a vital role in persuading customers to repurchase or purchase more from you.

So, in addition to providing employees with useful training courses, E-commerce entrepreneurs can offer appealing incentives for salespeople. It can be the “employee of the month” prize, voucher for traveling, or even company product rewards. Incentives will surely motivate employees to practice upselling and cross-selling with prospective customers.

The bottom line

So, that’s all for the definitive guide on upselling and cross-selling for E-commerce entrepreneurs. You should implement those tips flexibly depending on your business types and customers’ behaviors.

If you find other useful tips to upsell and cross-sell, you can share them with us in the comment box below. We’re always willing to discuss it with you!

Kelsey Perez

A present marketer, editor, and implementer. She aims to utilize her knowledge acquired while working on a professional desk to craft engaging content for users, marketing thought leaders and companies that have their hands full with clients and projects.

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