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The Power of Upsells and Cross-Sells
Blog    Ecommerce    The Power of Upsells and Cross-Sells

For as long as business owners have been selling products, they've been trying to come up with ways to get their customers to buy more from them. Any product you can sell, you can either sell an accessory for or get the customer to buy a better version of that product (or maybe both!). That's where upsells and cross-sells come into play. Upsells and cross-sells are important tools that merchants use to earn more revenue from every transaction with their customers - and we all get cross sold every day when we shop online or in person.


Upsells are offers that encourage a customer to purchase a more expensive version of the product they are buying. Cross-sells are offers that encourage a customer to purchase a related product to go along with the product they are buying. Both of these are powerful sales techniques that can drastically increase your revenue as a Shopify merchant. If you're not upselling or cross-selling your customers, you're likely missing out on a ton of revenue.


Lets's look at an example. If you could make $5 extra revenue for each sale you make and you make 1,500 sales per month, then you are missing out on $7,500 per month! That's $90,000 a year! So how do you choose the right offers to ensure you can maximize the potential of your upsell and cross-sell campaigns? What types of products go best together and when should you present the offer to the customer? Let's take a little deeper look.


How to Upsell

Since upsells encourage your customers to purchase a more expensive item, you'll need two products that serve the same basic function. For example, a stereo store would have many different makes and models of stereo systems to choose from in many different price ranges. All of the stereos serve the same function but vary in quality and price. Not matter how much the customer spends, they will have purchased a product that meets their needs. So when they are ready to buy the stereo they chose, the merchant might offer them a more expensive stereo, possibly at a discount to encourage them to spend more. Even by discounting the price, the merchant is likely making more profit on the sale and the customer goes home with a better product in hand and an overall better experience.


So how and when do you make the upgrade offer? In the stereo shop, they might have a sales person walk up to the customer while they are looking at the stereos and suggest the more expsensive version or maybe the clerk behind the counter at checkout would ask them if they'd like to upgrade before they ring up the transaction. On your website, you don't have a sales person or a store clerk so you'll need an app like Upsell Wizard to help.


On your website, the sales person can be replaced, in this instance, with your product page. By setting an upsell offer for the better product to trigger when the item is added to the customer's cart, you can prompt them to easily switch out the original product with the better product and proceed to the cart. In your offer copy, use language specific to the original product like, "Twice the clarity for only $50 more! Hear the difference.". In this example, we're comparing the sound quality of the two stereos and inviting the customer to imagine themselves listening to the more expensive stereo. By getting the customer to place themselves in a scene in their mind where they imagine they are experiencing the product, it will be more difficult for them to decline the upsell offer. It's important to remember, too, that the difference in price shouldn't be too significant or the decision to decline will come easy to the customer. If we had a $100 stereo and offered an upgrade to a $5,000 stereo, it's doubtful that anyone would take the offer. However, $100 to $150 may perform much better and has the potential to increase your revenue by 50%.


How to Cross-sell

What product is complete without its accessories? We've all heard the phrase at the McDonald's drive-thru to the point that it's cliche - "Would you like fries with that?" By asking every customer who orders just a sandwich if they'd also like fries, McDonald's is adding countless millions of dollars to their annual revenue. Why does it work? Because fries go with hamburgers. Effective cross-selling requires that you offer products that go so well with your original product that the customer feels like they'd be missing out or having a lesser experience if they passed on the offer. If McDonald's asked "Would you like a pair of shoes with that?", they wouldn't likely get many takers.


Another way McDonald's cross sells their products is by adding displays in the dining room of desserts and milkshakes. The customers see these right after their initial purchase and may be inclined to go back and make a second purchase after their meal.


So how do you do this on your website? Cross-sells are great because they can go just about anywhere in the purchase process. You could offer related products on your product page or on the cart page when the customer is on their way to checkout. And, just like dessert, you can cross-sell on the thank you page once the customer has already completed checkout. Encouraging the customer to go through the checkout process a second time can compound your revenue significantly since you will have the opportunity to upsell them and offer more cross-sells before they check out the second time around.


Choose the right strategy

For every business, the upselling and cross-selling strategy they choose to implement will be different. What you choose to do really depends on your product line and your customers. The best advice we can give is to be very granular in your approach. Look at what customers have purchased from you in the past and offer similar deals to new customers. Being specific and creating many customer journeys by utilizing upsell and cross-sell funnels for every product on your site isn't as hard as it sounds, but will pay dividends if given the proper thought and planning.


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