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August 26, 2020
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Upselling is a sales technique that is used to persuade customers to make a higher value order than originally intended. This could mean buying an additional item, opting for an upgrade, or buying a package deal rather than purchasing only the original, lower-value items.
You’ve most likely come across upselling online.
Maybe an eCommerce store prompted you to spend another $20 to qualify for free shipping or upgrade parts of your order to more exclusive products. An airline might have offered to upgrade your seats to premium economy for a discounted price.
Upselling is widely used in B2C eCommerce, which is why you might be Googling around for an upselling definition. However, it’s common in the world of B2B eCommerce, too.
A good example of an upsell in a B2B environment would be a wholesaler offering a discounted single unit price for a bigger stock order.
So, while the retailer is buying more products and technically spending more money on an order, they get a discount on the price per unit.
This means that the retailer can sell the products to the end-customer (the consumer) with a bigger profit margin.
Sales techniques are commonly seen as dirty and dishonest ways of tricking customers.
Most people have a negative perception of salespeople in general, so you need to avoid coming across as that stereotypical pushy used car salesman.
When done right, upselling and cross-selling help to enhance and streamline your customers’ shopping experience overall.
You’re offering them a better-value solution to their original problem, creating a win-win situation for both the buyer (the consumer) and the seller (your eCommerce store).
Upselling enables you to:
There’s an easy way to explain how upselling differs from cross-selling.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Would you want to super-size your meal?” at one particularly famous fast-food chain. McDonald’s used this upselling strategy to offer customers a bigger meal for a small extra price.
So while the customer was already ready to pay $6 for a Big Mac meal, for an additional $1 they could get a bigger portion of fries and a bigger soft drink.
In this context, cross-selling, on the other hand, refers to the cashier checking if you’d want fries or a soft drink with your order.
In short, cross-selling means that you’re selling related items (fries, soft drink, or a dessert) to the customer who originally wanted only a cheeseburger.
In the world of eCommerce, cross-selling could mean showing suggested items from the same collection to the customer at the checkout page or on the product pages.
If the customer ends up adding a matching set of mittens to their basket, to go nicely with the scarf they originally came to buy, you’ve succeeded in upselling (increasing the purchase value) and cross-selling (selling another, related item in the same transaction).
Downsell is another sales technique that allows you to counter a rejected upselling offer with a cheaper alternative.
Let’s take your eCommerce store as an example.
Your customer is browsing your eCommerce store and is greeted by a pop-up showcasing the package deal your store is currently offering. The customer is not interested and closes the pop-up or clicks away from the offer.
Another pop-up appears with a different offer for a cheaper product, instead.
So, if you’re still offering the customer a lower-priced alternative after they rejected the main upselling offer, you’re down selling to them.
While the customer isn’t buying the product or service you’d like them to buy, at least they buy something and will hopefully have a great experience.
Gaining them as a new customer means you can try upselling to them in the future.
Down selling can, however:
Down selling can work wonders for acquiring new customers, but make sure your sales process is discrete and follows the best practices. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time selling your product or service to your customers again.
Use these upselling techniques as inspiration to unlock bigger order value from your customers.
Chances are that you’re already using some upselling strategies at your eCommerce store without even realizing it.
Let’s say your store offers products in different sizes. The smallest size is the cheapest, so usually, it’s the most popular option for your customers.
To upsell, you can offer a supersizing option on the checkout page: for an additional $10, the customer can supersize their order to the biggest product size. They will still save money compared to the product listing price, but you will have higher value orders.
This works particularly well for products like supplements and subscription-based products.
Rather than having the customer buy a 10-pack of vitamins, you could offer to supersize their order to a 50-pack for a slight discount.
A sports nutrition shop ProteinWorks embraces this upselling technique, offering to double the customer’s order for a great price.
This is particularly popular in the electronics market. If your product consists of multiple individual components, you can upsell by offering the customer the chance to upgrade some or all of the components to better ones.
The better components could save the customer’s time or give them a more powerful or longer-lasting product. Many online computing stores have intricate upgrading options available, for example:
Whether curating outfits or kitchens, showing the customer items related to their purchase both on the product pages as well as at the checkout is a powerful upselling technique.
Creating collections of your items is useful because you can show the buyer how the product should be used, and which other products go well together with it.
This is a great option for someone looking for a more discreet and less aggressive way to give upselling a try. It will also support your marketing campaigns since you can use the same product photos across your product pages, too.
Ever opted for the slightly more expensive subscription or product, because it came with more features than the cheaper or free one?
Many markets use this technique to upsell their preferred product to a consumer. Lots of companies make use of a table format to highlight what features the buyer will miss out on, if they choose a cheaper product.
Spotify’s premium subscription is a particularly clear example of this:
Combining your upselling with a limited-time offer or campaign can work wonders for your eCommerce business. You could offer cash back for purchases over $50, or offer a freebie or a tester when customers buy a certain product.
The beauty of an urgency-focused campaign is that you can use it across your sales process. It can be a great reason to reach out to your existing customers in an email marketing campaign.
It works well as a countdown banner on your landing pages, and even as a pop-up reminder on the checkout page.
For a successful upsell, you should offer the customers offers that suit their tastes and needs the best.
A mother who frequently buys children’s clothing at an online clothing store might not care for 50% off on men’s dress shoes but will not think twice about 3 for 2 deals on baby bodies.
Remember to also address your consumers by their name, remind them of what they bought in the past, and base your recommendations on the past order history.
With so much data available online, you can easily set up tailored recommendations on offers that interest the consumer.
Showing the consumer social proof of other people recommending the product or service is another great way to upsell.
Maybe your eCommerce specializes in double-glazed windows. Let’s say your customers are hesitant to buy the more expensive package that covers the replacement of all windows at once.
Testimonials highlighting the ease of getting the renovations done in one go and the overall savings made can turn the upsell to your favor.
After all, 95% of customers say that reviews influence their buying decision.