Cross-selling and upselling online – do the marketing features really work?

Oct 24 • Sales & Growth • 1604 Views • Comments Off

I’m sure many of you are just like me and love to shop online. You can sit at home on the sofa with your cup of tea, all cosy and warm, shopping via your laptop, tablet or even a phone.

It’s getting colder outside and closer to the festive season. However, shopping for presents can be stressful, the closer to Christmas we get. My dilemma is what to get people.

Thinking of that first idea is always hard, but thinking of the second I find even more difficult. This is where cross-selling and upselling come in extremely useful. Once you have bought that first item you can find other products, or alternatives that go well with this first present.

So what are cross-selling and upselling?

Cross-selling is whereby you sell customers accessories to go with the initial product that they have bought. For example, your customer may want to purchase a digital camera. To cross-sell this, you might suggest a spare battery to save you from missing  those magic moments because the battery is dead, or maybe a tripod for night-time or wildlife photographs.

Upselling is where you persuade your buyer to purchase a product that is more expensive than the one they initially came to buy. For example, a customer may fancy a surround sound system with two speakers and a base speaker. To upsell this you could suggest the next model up that has four speakers as well as the base speaker for an even greater sense of reality. You can hear the helicopters coming from a distance, and you’ll jump off the sofa when a bomb explodes.

Both upselling and cross-selling are easier in-store than online, because you can talk to customers to find out their needs and wants. Because you can’t talk to everyone that visits your website, the retailer has to rely on ecommerce marketing features. My company, SellerDeck, has just done research on how much people use these features.

What works?

We asked 250 consumers to assess the six most commonly used marketing features in terms of their influence in getting them to buy more than they originally intended.

The marketing features we asked about were:
Also Bought (Cross-Selling): This is where you see the other products previous customers have purchased at the same time as the one you are viewing.

Best Sellers (Upselling): Here you can see a list of the products which have sold most on the site.

Frequently Bought Together (Cross-Selling): Amazon is good at using this option. This is where you can see what two (or more) items are frequently purchased at the same time.

Related Products (Cross-Selling): Here you can see what products are complementary, e.g. An electric or digital toy and batteries.

Other Things Viewed (Cross-Selling/Upselling): With this feature you are shown the other items that were viewed by people once they had looked at the item you are currently considering.

Delivery Price Nudge (Upselling): This option sits in the checkout and flags a message saying “If you spend another £xx.xx you can get free delivery”.

Our survey results show clearly that the most influential tool is the Delivery Price Nudge; over 80% of the sample said this is likely to make them spend more in order to save on postage and packing.

However, each of these marketing tools can help customers think of other Christmas presents for friends and family. And what’s better, they let you build a relationship so that visitors are more inclined to return in the future, if they found the suggestions helpful.  Give them a go on your ecommerce site.

It would be great to hear about your experiences with this type of marketing and if you’d like to see the percentages for the other options, contact me on <marketing at>.

Jenny Bray, SellerDeck

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