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How to Successfully Upsell and Cross-Sell on Your eCommerce Store (with Examples)

As an e-commerce owner, your job is to take care of your visitors’ needs, whether they are new visitors or have already been to your website because the overall success of your business depends on them.

To take advantage of that customer base you have and increase your revenue, use product recommendations.

The aim here is, plainly speaking, to get your customers to spend as much money as possible by using two closely related but still different tactics.

These are known as:

  • Upselling
  • Cross-selling

Your business always needs some new selling strategy to keep your customers around and increase revenue for your e-commerce store.

So without any further ado, let’s explain the difference between these two selling strategies, and then we will show you how you can successfully upsell and cross-sell on your e-commerce store!

What is Upselling?

Upselling is offering your customers a specific product at an increased price or an upgraded version of the same product.

This tactic is usually used to get customers to spend more money in your e-commerce store than they previously intended.

For example, this happens when you stop a customer at the checkout after the product purchase process has already begun and offered him another such product, but at a 20% discount.

What is Cross-selling?

Cross-selling is getting customers to purchase items from your store that are complementary to what they have already bought.

This tactic is based on offering related products to your customers and increasing revenue in that way.

For example, this happens when you offer a customer something that goes together or something that is used together with what he has already purchased.

Continue reading this article and find out what tips and tricks you need to use to be successful in both of these selling strategies.

1. Make recommended products relevant

You can’t just offer whatever to your customers.

It will seem selfish and money-oriented instead of customer-oriented, so you need to offer something relevant to their original purchases.

And most importantly, you need to offer something that will actually interest them and make them buy it too.

A customer must see the natural connection between these products:


Source: Lancome

Like in this example, you can put recommended products in the sidebar of the mini cart.

Use this opportunity while your visitors are still in the purchasing process to show them the benefits of the upsell and how this might be exactly what they needed.

This will increase your cart value, improve satisfaction with your customers, and result in bigger profit when it comes to your store.

 2. Don’t be too pushy and overwhelming

You want to interest your visitors and offer them an awesome opportunity that’s going to bring some benefits to both of you and not annoy them and turn them away.

So, don’t be too pushy and greedy if you don’t want these selling strategies to backfire.

You need to be smart and use them carefully and in the right places at the right time.

No one likes to feel deceived, so be careful not to practice the following:

  • Offer products as upsells or cross-sells even before a customer has a chance to pick an original product
  • Offer too many upsells and cross-sells and at the same time
  • Offer unrealistic upsells and cross-sells

These are the main mistakes a store owner can make if he’s not subtle.

Also, don’t overwhelm your customers with too many choices but find the balance that will truly improve their user experience:


Source: ProFlowers

This is a nice way to offer product upgrades and we can see that there are only a couple of recommendations that a customer can pick from.

Choose the most appealing recommendations, and limit your upsells and cross-sells.

This way, you make it easier for the customers to make a decision and also put their interest in the first place.

3. Use the potential of product bundles

Product bundles are multiple combinations of products that are related.

By packing items in bundles, that is, by grouping several items that might be of interest to the consumer, you enable him to buy several products at once, which is convenient and time-saving.

There are two types of bundling:

  • Pure bundling
  • Mixed bundling

When it comes to pure bundling, a customer can’t buy individual products from the bundle, and with mixed bundling, this option is available.

Sometimes pure bundling can give customers a little push to buy the whole package, especially if you sell it cheaper than the package would cost if you added up the actual individual product prices.

Emphasize the bundle savings, and make it clear to your customers why you decided to put those specific products in a bundle.


Source: Saje

You get an increase in average order value, and you can also be smart and include some not-so-popular products into the bundle to sell it more.

A bundle can be a set, kit, or anything similar.

Don’t underestimate the potential of bundles because they can make your business reliable in the eyes of customers and encourage loyalty.

4. Follow the “Not more than 25%” upselling rule

Don’t try the impossible and be unrealistic with the increase in prices.

Never upsell more than 25% of the original order.

You don’t want to scare customers away with the upsell or cross-sell that is way more expensive than the product they have previously chosen.

This increase in prices has to be carefully balanced so that they do not feel it so much, and you still have a significant increase in revenue.


Source: Wayfair

You can offer a cross-sell at the checkout page with a couple of related items that your customers might also need.

The word “need” is also cleverly used here to connect with customers on a more personal level and persuade them.

This “rule of 25%” will allow you to improve your chances of getting more sales because the recommendation will seem more logical to people.

5. Demonstrate value by presenting social proof

There is something about that moment when you realize that someone else has already bought items from a certain store that you’re interested in and that he/she has only nice things to say about it.

It provides customers with the necessary validation and makes them feel more comfortable making a purchase.

That’s why social proof can be very helpful if used properly.

To demonstrate value through social proof, you can do the following:

Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in the e-commerce world, so make sure to include some of these on your online store and encourage visitors to buy a product or two.

You can also add the total number of customer reviews, the average rating of the product, how many products are already sold, and similar:


Source: Amazon

Convince your customers that they don’t have to be suspicious and afraid of not getting any value from your products.

This is a great way to introduce them to upsell products that are highly recommended and get them to buy them and take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity.

6. Offer your customers free shipping

This is a nice gesture, but, the most effective way to use a free shipping incentive is to use it as a way to convince customers who already made a purchase to make another one.

Customers love free shipping and this is often the crucial detail why they decide to buy an item.

Just tell your customers how much more they have to spend on your store to have a chance to get free shipping, and that’s it. 


Source: REI

For example, you can offer free shipping to the customers who order products that together cost more than $50.

This can be perceived as an awesome opportunity, especially if you offer them upsells that are relatively cheap.

They will just keep adding items to the cart, and that’s the point of it all.

To Sum up

Upselling and cross-selling are popular selling strategies among business owners because they can help boost your average order value and increase your revenue at the same time.

We have selected some tips and tricks for you to help you incorporate these strategies into your own store and do it successfully.

If you want to use engaging pop-ups to retain your customers and get even more sales, use the Poptin tool.

Make these strategies look like a good deal, and earn more money than ever! 

Aazar Ali Shad is an entrepreneur, growth marketer (not a hacker), and a seasoned SaaS guy. He loves writing content and sharing what he learned with the world. You can follow him on Twitter @aazarshad or aazarshad.com