10 Tips To Double Your Sales With Upsell And Cross-sell

upsell & cross-sell on ecommerce stores

The Upsell and Cross-sell have been widely applied in order to boost e-commerce sales. However, not all of the store owners have a thorough understanding of these techniques as well as might not know how to use them effectively. In this blog post, we will dig more into the Upsell and Cross-sell concept and more importantly, show the merchants 10 essential tips to enhance their sales successfully with these powerful techniques.

What Is Upsell? What Is Cross-sell?

You can only know how to take advantage of something once you have enough knowledge about it. Here are two concise definitions of Upsell and Cross-sell:

  • Cross-sell: when the customers are going to buy a good/service, the store tries to persuade them to buy that good/service PLUS more goods/services that are related to the chosen items.
  • Upsell:  when the customers are going to buy a good/service, the store tries to persuade them to buy ANOTHER similar good/service but having a higher value or buy a premium version of the chosen one.

Once understanding the above concepts, you can learn how to apply one of these sales techniques or combine both on your e-commerce store.

Upsell and Cross-sell Examples

Customer: “Hi, I want to buy 2 tickets. The Avenger. Normal Chairs” Cinema staff: “We have just a few normal seats left, which are in not very good positions. Do you want to upgrade to VIP seats?” Customer: “Ok. No problems” Cinema staff: “Do you want to buy the popcorn and some drinks?” Customer: “2 Cokes, please” In this example, when the staff suggests the customer to upgrade from the normal seats ($3/seat) to the VIP seats ($6/seat), he/she uses the Upsell technique. Then, when the staff recommends the food, he/she applies the Cross-sell technique. The above example is very common in the daily life. The e-commerce market, in essence, is the same but displayed in another way. For instance, the buyers add a pant into their shopping cart, then in the checkout, the store displays a section called “You might also like”, showing some related items such as the waist belt that matches the style of the selected pant. This is the Cross-sell technique. Another example is that when the purchasers select a 30” television, the store displays a section called “People viewed this product also viewed”, showing some larger-size TVs with higher prices. This is the Upsell technique.

How Do The Upsell and Cross-sell Benefit E-commerce Stores?

There are undoubtedly some significant benefits for applying the Upsell and Cross-sell sales techniques in the e-commerce stores:

  • Escalating both of every order/cart value as well as the lifetime value
  • Raising the sales conversion rates
  • Improving the rate of the customer satisfaction
  • Boosting the customer loyalty and engagement
  • Gathering more data related to the customers’ shopping habits

10 Strategies For Effective Upsell and Cross-sell Application

1. Test, test, and test – Showing different versions of upsell/ cross-sell options 

Although we all know that the upsell and cross-sell products must be the upgraded version with more expensive cost or related items. However, in order to select specific items to be shown is not an easy task. The selected upsell and cross-sell products must not only have a relationship with the main one but also be attractive enough for the shoppers to click on. Here are some examples of the wrong combinations: the website displays an iPhone X for a buyer who is looking for a Samsung smartphone, or the site suggests a $1,000 sweatshirt while the user has just added a $25 shirt. In both of these cases, the upsell method is likely to fail. That’s the reason why you should try different related items and check their conversion rates to choose the most appropriate ones.

2. Increase purchasing motivation with attractive discount

Draw the customers’ attention by using incentive or discount has been an immensely familiar sales technique so far, but it still works. In order to “support” the Upsell and Cross-sell method, you can combine it with undeniable discount. For instance, the store provides a service with three options: 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. If people buy one-year service will get 10% of the total price or an extra 3 months for free. Meanwhile, there is no discount for the options of 3 or 6 months. As a result, the buyers might be inclined to buy the one-year package to save their money. Although this strategy works quite effectively in terms of appealing the shoppers, the store owners must plan for it carefully to ensure a certain level of return on investment.

3. Take advantage of customer testimonials or expert advice

Obviously, your customers are likely to trust what other buyers (like them) tell about your business rather than what you say about your store. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to add some testimonials from your purchasers on several outstanding positions of the website (e.g.: home, landing pages,…). For example, when the buyer is considering between 3-month and 1-year service, if there is no discount for 1-year service, they tend to buy the 3-month package. One of the popular reasons is that they are not sure about the quality of your service, so they want to buy the less value package first. However, the situation can be changed if, at the moment of decision, you show several positive feedback from your clients who bought the one-year package. Besides the customer testimonials, you can also display the recommendations from the experts to consolidate the trust of the customers.

4. Offer the bundle products

From our perspective, using the bundle product is an advanced cross-sell sales technique. Instead of showing many related products separately, you can group all of them in a single product. The price of buying a bundle can be equal to the sum of all items in it or less than that to stimulate the customers’ buying. Amazon, one of the biggest e-commerce stores in the world, often suggests the bundle products for most of the single item on their website. For example, when you are viewing a shampoo product, they will suggest you different combinations of “shampoo, conditioner” or “shampoo, conditional and hair serum” with calculated price.

5. Don’t show too many upsell and cross-sell items

If you offer 3-5 related products, the customers might take more time considering those items. Nevertheless, too many suggested items will make the buyers confused and be likely to go with their selected option instead of viewing more. In other words, you should display only 3-5 most suitable items. Never bombard your customers with many cross-sell and upsell products. Overdoing it will lead to an inverse effect.

6. Upsell and cross-sell can be applied beyond the website scope

A good idea is to apply the upsell and cross-sell into your cart abandonment emails. For example, you can show some options related to the abandoned items that the buyers might find more interested and change their buying decision. On the one hand, it will remind the customers about the abandoned items in their cart and consider continue their shopping. On the other hand, you can persuade them to buy more items than their initial intentions.

8. Display upsell and cross-sell in multiple forms

In an e-commerce website, there are various ways to show upsell and cross-sell products. Here are some common content blocks on the site that you can apply these techniques:

  • Bestsellers/ Popular products
  • Featured products
  • New arrivals/ Trending products
  • Product viewed (by the current buyer or other buyers)
  • Similar products
  • Products frequently bought together

These content blocks can be shown on the homepage, product pages or shopping cart page.

9. Remember the rule of twenty-five

What is “the rule of twenty-five”? In simple words, it’s better to avoid showing the upsell or cross-sell products whose prices are 25% more than the selected/viewing items. For example, the buyer can only afford a Toyota buy you apply a wrong upsell tactic by trying to promote a Rolls-Royce with them. Similarly, for the cross-sell items, don’t recommend an expensive conditioner for a customer that bought a very cheap shampoo. If you can understand this rule, it’s much easier to select proper items for the upsell and cross-sell purposes.

10. Make it easy to add the cross-sell items to the shopping cart

For the upsell products, the buyers might need a lot of time to view the suggested item and compare it with their initial option. However, for the cross-sell items, it takes less time for consideration. Since the customers have already decided to buy a shampoo for example, they are more likely to buy a conditioner of the same brand without thinking too much. Owing to that, the cross-sell items should go with concise information (adding quick view feature if you can) and an add-to-cart button. As the result, it’s very convenient for the buyers to make a fast decision of buying extra items.


Using the upsell and cross-sell technique is an effective way to increase your profit as well as and grow your business. Applying our tips on this blog post so that you can take all advantage of these methods. The final advice is that if your e-commerce store has a wide range of products, thinking about how to automate the system of adding the upsell and cross-sell products instead of adding them manually. WANT TO BUILD AN AWESOME E-COMMERCE WEBSITE? CONTACT US NOW.develop ecommerce website

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