Every time I stop by a fast food restaurant these days, I’m asked if I want to “upgrade” to a medium or large.
Or, they’ll recommend another product—usually with some deal attached to make the offer irresistible.
These are examples of cross-selling and upselling.
They’re so prevalent that we often don’t even recognize what’s happening—and that can work in your favor as an eCommerce business owner.
If you’re not using these tactics—or if you haven’t found any that work for you yet—I want to share six techniques you can use to see better results.
But first, let’s talk about the difference between these two tactics and why they matter at all.
The Difference Between Upselling and Cross-Selling Techniques
Upselling and cross-selling techniques aren’t the same thing.
Upselling is when you try to encourage a customer to buy a different, higher-priced option than the product they’re interested in. It’s the next step up.
Cross-selling is when you recommend related products that “complete” your customer’s purchase.
Each of these options provides a way for you to get a little more value out of each order. One study found that both upselling and cross-selling techniques help increase revenue, although upselling has a distinct leg-up.
While this has led many to believe that upselling is the only way to go, the reality is that both are essential—and you can do them both easily with the right help.
And if you’re using WooCommerce as your eCommerce platform, they offer a wide variety of ways to help you upsell and cross-sell throughout your website.
The improvements may be subtle, but they’re worth pursuing.
Now, let’s take a look at some upselling and cross-selling techniques that will help you grow your business.
Provide Product Suggestions
Product suggestions are a cross-sell that you’ve probably seen on major eCommerce websites—because they work. Look no further than the “Customers also bought” section of every single Amazon product page:
This is just a simple nudge to customers that another product might pair well with the one they’re already interested in. It’s not pushy, but it provides you with an opportunity to make a little extra on each sale.
One brand was able to net 10% more conversions with this technique and some A/B testing—so don’t hesitate to use it on your site.
Another tactic you can use to cross-sell is to offer bundles. This is when you take multiple related products and sell them together (usually with a slight discount or other promotion).
Brands like Dollar Shave Club are the master of this tactic and often use it as a lead-in to inspire customers to buy more than their baseline product:
You can think of this as a cross-sell shortcut. Instead of offering related products, you make it easy to buy everything in one place.
Offer Additional Services
The final cross-selling technique isn’t to sell a product at all—it’s to sell a service.
For instance, if you sell computer parts or software, offering installation services for an additional fee could help you increase your final sale.
Office Depot does a great job of this when they’re selling a computer. Each item comes with two additional services: an optional warranty and the ability to have Microsoft Office installed for a small fee.
It’s a simple cross-sell, but a good tactic to include for this particular niche.
Now, let’s look at some upsell opportunities.
Show Product Options and Add-ons
Offering to upgrade a product with better options or simple add-ons is a great way to subtly upsell to your customers.
Apple is a master of this. When you go to their site to check out their MacBook lineup, you’ll get a base price. For instance, they price this one at an even $1299.00.
But as you scroll through, you’ll notice that there are numerous upsell options.
Want a better processor? That’s $300.
Want more memory? It’ll run you an extra $200.
And the list goes on and on.
By offering the ability to upgrade a product you’re already interested in, you can potentially make a little bit extra on a sale that’s going to happen anyways. You risk nothing and can likely gain quite a lot.
Give a Side-by-Side Look
Another great upsell option is to put two of your products next to each other and compare them. This allows your customer to easily vet your products and decide which one they want to purchase.
Spotify does a great job of this on their site, where they offer a side-by-side look at their free and premium services.
In this instance, you’d be crazy to not go for their paid option, since you get all the perks of their premium service for a super low price.
Offering a side-by-side look at your products can have a similar effect.
Share Your Most Popular Option
The final upsell opportunity is to be upfront with your customers and recommend your most popular option. This taps into the power of social proof and may help you close a deal at a higher price point.
Ahrefs does a good job of this with their platform, and they’re not even pushing customers to the highest price:
This is a psychological pull. The more expensive packages make the “Standard” option look cheap. Newer customers who see the value of the service can be easily persuaded to spend almost twice as much with only a few added benefits and some social pressure.
And the nice thing about this tactic is that it’s flexible. You can gauge popularity a couple of ways:
- Recommend the product that most of your customer truly buy
- Recommend the product with the best reviews
What you choose to do will ultimately depend on your product, customer behavior, and whichever item is truly an upsell.
These upselling and cross-selling techniques may take time to master, but they’re worth the effort.
You’ll be able to increase your average order value and revenue by adding new opportunities for your customers to find value in your brand.
Cross-selling with product suggestions, bundles, or service-based offerings are a great way to add a little extra to each order.
And upselling tactics like upgrades, side-by-side comparisons, and recommendations of popular items can also help you boost revenue.
Have you used any of these techniques before? Or are there any upselling and cross-selling techniques that we didn’t mention that have worked well for you? We’d love to hear ‘em. Share with us in the comments below!