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4 Ready-to-use On-site Hacks for Upselling

Getting more customers is still the #1 goal for every website owner. But let’s be honest, it’s not easy.  Luckily, acquiring more customers is not the only way to increase your sales. You can also improve your revenue by increasing the cart value of your existing customers. How? Upselling.

You can convince your customers to buy a more expensive product – what’s known as upselling. There are additional techniques you can use to increase the amount each customer spends in your store. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.

Upselling, Cross-selling & Down-selling

As I mentioned, upselling is a technique where you typically convince a customer to purchase a more expensive item. Promoting add-on services, product bundles and package deals can also be called upselling.

Cross-selling is another way to increase your sales by offering an additional product that complements the items a customer has in their cart. You need to make sure that the additional product that is being offered increases the value of the purchase for your customers. For example, if a customer is about to buy a mobile phone, you can offer a memory card or a phone case.

Offering customers less-expensive items can also increase profits in many cases. This lesser-known technique is called down-selling. You should use this technique when visitors want to leave your site without buying because the price was too much for them. Your goal is to adapt your offer to the customer’s budget and provide a less expensive item that has similar features to the original item.

Check out this graphic below that shows you the difference between upselling, cross-selling and down-selling:

1_difference_between_upselling_cross-selling_down-selling

It’s much more expensive to acquire new customers compared to increasing sales with your existing customers. For example, this survey shows that it would take a company more than a year to earn back the costs of acquiring new customers. On the other hand, the revenue from upselling can be seen in as little as one quarter, almost a year less than acquiring new customers.

According to this study, showing slightly higher priced options than those in your visitors’ immediate view drives an average of 4.25% of sales, 20x more than standard cross-selling via recommended products.

Although the study shows that upselling is more effective than cross-selling, I would suggest trying all of these techniques in your store to get the best results. Upselling, cross-selling, and down-selling techniques will help increase your cart value, and will also improve your profitability, reduce your shipping costs and boost your overall customer satisfaction. Now, let’s take at look at the best way to implement these techniques in your store.

How to Implement Upselling Techniques

When it comes to presenting products or services to your customers to increase their purchase, you have a number of different options. You can add product recommendation modules to your homepage and product pages. On your cart page, you can include add-on services as well as upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells. Choose the options which work best for your store and your products:

Homepage – Your homepage is the main page of your store. Product recommendations here are like a window display in a brick and mortar store. Most visitors arrive at your homepage from direct traffic and don’t have a specific aim. Your primary goal with recommendations should be to showcase your current deals and provide the most complete picture of your range of products. You can add this module right below your main banner or at the bottom of the page – depending on how much emphasis you want to put on it.

Product pages – Your product pages contain detailed information about your products. Visitors browsing these pages are typically more engaged, with a specific interest or need. To boost sales here, you should recommend relevant, related products. Products viewed by other customers, or “customers also bought” is a typical module used for recommendations on product pages.

Cart page – To increase the transaction value on your cart page, you can offer add-on services, products which are closely related to the products in your customer’s cart, or package-deals with complementary products.

In addition to using product recommendation modules for upselling, you can also use onsite retargeting. In this case, you don’t need to build a module, and therefore you don’t need a developer. All you need is an onsite retargeting solution like OptiMonk to get started displaying product recommendations. With onsite retargeting, you can display upselling and cross-selling offers wherever you want and whenever you want. For example, when visitors are leaving your site or when they add something to their cart.

Onsite retargeting can also help increase the revenue from your existing customers by monetizing your lost traffic. It works by tracking visitor behavior on your site and displaying a secondary message at just the right moment – usually in a popup overlay. Upselling is one of the most common uses of onsite retargeting, it can also be used to capture more sales, build a healthy email list, reduce cart abandonment, and more.


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Keep on reading to learn 4 ready-to-use on-site hacks for upselling, cross-selling, and even down-selling that you can implement on your site to increase your sales.

1. Upselling Extra Features And Services

While people typically think of upselling as promoting a more expensive version of the same product, you can also upsell by promoting additional features and services that enhance your products. Upselling this way basically means you are promoting something that will add value to the product or the experience of the person using it. An extended warranty is a common example for upselling. Let’s take a look at a few more:

When I’m checking into a hotel and the staff offers me the breakfast for an extra $20, it’s an upsell.

When my Dropbox account is full, and they offer me an upgrade to get more space, it’s an upsell.

When I’m buying a notebook, and they offer me an additional protection plan, it’s an upsell. And that’s exactly what BestBuy does in the example below.

upselling

Onsite retargeting is a great way to start upselling because it causes visitors to pause for a second and consider your offer. There are 3 basic rules to consider when you start upselling:

  1. Remember that you need to offer something that adds value to the purchase, otherwise your visitors will not respond well and it could hurt your customer satisfaction.
  2. Always consider the price range when offering something additional. The offer should not increase the overall price by more than 25%.
  3. This one might seem obvious but it’s important to highlight: Make sure you present your offer at the right time. Typically, you can make an offer after someone adds an item to their cart, but you can also wait until they start to finish their purchase.

Here’s another example for upselling services from the Microsoft Store. They recommend supplementary products and services on a dedicated page where their customers land after adding an item to their cart.

upselling

BONUS: Flawless Examples of Ecommerce Customer Retention in Action

2. Upselling And Cross-selling Additional Products

Offering additional products to a visitor who added something to their cart is the classic example of upselling or cross-selling. This solution usually works best on product pages. Unlike the previous example, you don’t have to wait until visitors add something to their cart. You have different options and I’ll show you a few of them.

You can promote similar products. This type of upselling doesn’t require any special personalization. You can specify the similar products which are shown to ensure they are relevant. In the example below, LuckyScent.com displays similar products to the perfume that is currently being viewed.

upselling

Upselling your best-sellers is a really popular method and also very effective. You can choose your best-selling, or hottest products by analyzing the number of times a product is sold, or the page visits and clicks. In the example below SwimOutlet makes their best-sellers even more relevant to buyers by labeling them “Products Trending This Week”.

upselling

Promoting your new arrivals is an important upselling technique for online stores that are selling fashion products and beauty products. In the example below, Sephora highlights their new arrivals on their homepage.

upselling  

You can also provide package deals to motivate your customers to add more valuable items to their cart. Here’s an example from Fragrance Outlet where they promote a gift set package on their homepage.

upselling

If you want to create more personalized offers, you can use the browsing history of your visitors. For example, promoting similar products that were viewed by other customers is one of the most effective types of product recommendation.

Here’s an example offering products others also purchased.

upselling

3. Cross-selling Products Dynamically

In general, displaying automatic product recommendations based on visitor behavior is a powerful method for increasing sales. And dynamic product recommendation goes a step further to ensure each customer receives a personalized recommendation. Using this method, you can display the most relevant item(s) to your customer based on the content of their cart, or the pages they’ve visited on your site. Customized product recommendations help increase your conversion rates and your average order value as well.

Displaying shopping history or browsing history on the homepage is a common example. Best Buy knows how effective dynamic product recommendation is. In the example below, you can see what they show to visitors who haven’t bought anything yet. They are encouraging visitors to shop so they can provide tailored recommendations.

upselling

Here’s another example of dynamic cross-selling where the store offers a compatible SD memory card after a customer adds a digital camera to their cart.

upselling

OptiMonk allows you to implement this method using onsite retargeting. You can even display personalized offers in a popup based on the visitor’s own purchase or browsing history.

upselling

4. Down-selling On Exit-intent

Down-selling is a lesser-known technique which is not used that often, but it’s actually a highly effective way to increase sales. Just as the name implies, it is the opposite of upselling. This can be helpful when a customer is trying to back out of a purchase. You should apply this solution for visitors who added something to their cart, but want to leave without completing their purchase.

This can often happen when the product is too expensive for your potential customers. So, how are you going to stop them from leaving your site? Offer a less expensive product that has similar features to the original item, or simply offer a discount.

Capturing price-sensitive visitors who want to leave your site with a coupon or discount will help drive immediate sales.

upselling

Setting a deadline or including a countdown timer in your popup can boost your results even more. It adds a sense of urgency which is a very effective way to overcome procrastination.

upselling

Another option is to communicate the scarcity of your offer. You can display the demand for your product, how many people are viewing it, or you can hint that the quantity is limited, and supplies are running out.


How Can You Integrate Customer Photos Into Your Upselling Strategy? Click here and learn more 


Summary

When it comes to increasing your revenue, acquiring more customers can always help, but it often costs more than improving your sales with existing customers. Instead of focusing only on customer acquisition, you should also focus on increasing cart value.

No matter what you’re selling, you should use upselling, cross-selling and even down-selling techniques in your site. Combining these techniques will help you improve sales and increase your profitability in the long run. Not to mention that visitors will be happy and grateful for your product recommendations when you’re doing it right.

If you remember only one thing about upselling, it should be this:

Offer something that adds value to the purchase

This is the most important rule. If you need more ideas, visit a fast food restaurant and you can see upselling techniques in practice: “Would you like fries with that?”

About the Author

Csaba Zajdo is an ecommerce specialist, founder of OptiMonk and several other projects specializing in conversion. OptiMonk is an award-winning onsite retargeting platform, which helps small and medium-sized businesses leverage the power of onsite retargeting. If it has to do with conversion optimization and eCommerce, Csaba is interested. He’s always looking for the best and brightest and he’s constantly on the lookout for game-changing solutions. Csaba has been involved with web marketing including search, lead generation, e-commerce, CRO, PPC, and analytics for over 10 years. He is also a frequent presenter at seminars and conferences.