Upselling is an amazing way to increase your revenue, and more importantly, your profits.
But upselling is also somewhat misunderstood. We’ve seen merchants implement the wrong upselling techniques that at best, don’t convert into any more sales. And at worst, actively annoy their customers.
To that end, in this post we’re going to show you five proven upselling tactics that work everytime. These tactics will help both you and your customers get the best deal possible.
And the best part? They’re super easy to implement.
So, if you’re ready to start making more money right away, let’s jump in – starting with a definition of what upselling is.
What is Upselling (& why should you care?)
Upselling is a sales technique when you offer a customer a more premium version of the product they’re thinking about buying.
So, for example, in McDonald’s when they ask ‘would you like to go supersize for $0.75?’ – that’s an upsell.
Upselling works just as well in an eCommerce context too. For example, Amazon regularly uses upselling techniques to nudge customers to spend more money.
Below you can see that if I’m looking at a laptop for $200, they suggest three more premium models at higher price points.
Amazon uses multiple upselling strategies to boost their AOV
The main idea behind upselling is that you encourage customers to spend more money and boost your sales. But at the same time, upselling can help your customers find the right product to meet their needs.
With Amazon’s example above, I can clearly see what I’m getting for the extra money, and make a more informed purchase decision.
Now upselling sometimes gets a bad name. It often conjures up images of a shady car-salesman trying to extract as much cash as possible from an unsuspecting customer.
So, let’s keep going to discover how to upsell in a way where everybody wins – you increase your revenue, and your customers get a better deal.
The 4 Principles of Effective Upselling
You’re probably wondering ‘Okay, but how do I upsell effectively?’. Well, no matter what you’re selling, the following four principles apply. So, when designing your upsell offers, ensure that you satisfy each of these four principles.
1. Don’t be pushy
The first rule of upselling is that you don’t want to be pushy.Even a high-converting upsell offer may have a conversion rate of say 10%. That means that 90% of your customers aren’t interested. So, make it easy to decline your upsell offer – this will ensure you keep the majority of your shoppers happy, while also converting those that are keen to upgrade their order.
2. Upsell at the right time
You can try to upsell customers at any stage of the buyer’s journey. But you’ll find the most success when you introduce your offers after customers have displayed clear purchase intent. I.e. the closer a shopper is to checkout (and beyond) the more likely they are to convert on your upsell offer.
The added benefit here is that you also don’t interrupt the natural buyer’s journey. For example, introducing upsell pop-ups early in the buyer’s journey may distract browsers who aren’t interested and cause them to click away.
For another example, think about how the McDonald’s cashier doesn’t ask you if you’d like to ‘go supersize’, until after you’ve already chosen your order.
Introducing your upsell offers at checkout, just after checkout, or on your thank you page means you’ll only show them to qualified customers.
3. Focus on Value
The third principle of upselling is to focus on creating more value for your customers. Your upsell offer shouldn’t only generate more revenue for you, but also leave shoppers feeling like they snapped up a better deal.
Recognize that your customer relationships take precedence over simply making more money in the short term. So, design your cross-selling strategies in a manner that reinforces the confidence customers place in your brand.
Figure out potential products or services that could elevate their experience:
Deploy surveys after purchases to ascertain their preferences.
Examine your competitors to discern their cross-selling approaches.
Gather perspectives from your customer support team.
Then align your product recommendations and upsell offers to aid shoppers in overcoming challenges or achieving their objectives.
This way, cross-selling shifts from mere sales tactics to generating increased value for all parties involved.
4. Limit the number of decisions a customer must make
It’s tempting to offer lots of upsells in the hope that one of them is what your customer is looking for. However this is an error – because the more options you present, the more customers have to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
This decision making creates friction in the customer’s mind – and friction is the enemy of conversions.
For this reason, it’s best to limit your upsells or product recommendations to no more than three options. This allows you to offer a selection of upgrades, without overwhelming the customer. Because the last thing you want is for your upsell strategy to cannibalize your existing conversion rate.
5 Simple Upselling Strategies You can Implement Now
With the principles of upselling under our belts, let’s look to get to the good stuff. Here are five practical ways you can implement upselling on your store, and start generating more revenue today.
1. Offer Checkout Upsells
Checkout upsells are a simple, but powerful way to boost your average order value. With this upsell strategy, you offer customers additional items or upgrades at checkout.
For example, look at how clothing retailer tentree uses a customized checkout to offer customers the chance to offset their carbon footprint. This is awesome because it aligns with the brand’s ethos and enables customers to shop while doing their bit for the environment.
Another checkout upsell that works well is to offer shipping insurance. This gives customers peace of mind that their order will arrive safely, or they’ll get their money back.
In general, digital products work best here. Especially if they’re relatively inexpensive compared to the customers total order value. That’s because the margin on such products is higher – which can end up doubling or tripling your profit per order for customers who convert.
2. Upsell to a Bundle with One-Click Upsells
The next upsell is to deploy one-click upsells (OCU) to upgrade customers to a bundle. One click-upsells are offers shown immediately after checkout. The beauty of OCU is that customers don’t have to re-enter payment information – so there’s no friction to buy again.
So for example, if your customer is buying a new guitar, you could use OCUs to offer them a complimentary carrying case or a guitar stand.
Personalization is key here – the more relevant your upsells are the more likely customers are to convert. With ReConvert you can easily build customer segments and triggers to design offers that’ll convert like crazy.
3. Upsell Complimentary Products on Your Thank You Page
Once customers have completed their purchase they’ll land on your thank you page. Now for most eCommerce retailers, the thank you page is just a placeholder.
But this is a mistake when you consider that:
- Customers who land here are in peak buying mode
- Customers view the thank you page an average of 2.2 times/order
So, without upsell or cross-sell offers, you’ve got a lot of high-intent impressions going to waste.
The best thing about thank you page upsells is that they don’t impede the front-end buyer’s journey.
In fact, ReConvert user Tushy switched some of their upsell offers to their thank you page and were able to generate almost $200,000/mo in additional revenue. Read how they did it here.
And again, because you know what customers have already ordered, you can personalize thank you page recommendations to be highly relevant. What’s more, you can even create multiple thank you pages – so when customers return for shipping updates, you can present a new range of offers.
4. Create a Free Shipping Threshold
A free shipping threshold isn’t a direct upselling strategy. However, it does encourage customers to spend more by tempting them to unlock free shipping. It’s similar to offering a free gift when customers reach a certain basket value.
Since most customers hate paying for shipping, a free shipping threshold motivates them to add more items to their order. For example, kitchenware retailer Joseph & Joseph uses an in-cart progress bar to show customers how close they are to achieving free shipping.
Calculating your free shipping threshold depends on individual factors – but a good rule of thumb is to take your median order value (the middle value across all your orders) and increase it by 20%.
This should tempt the maximum number of shoppers to spend 20% extra to unlock free shipping. Of course, run the numbers yourself and make sure this increases your overall profit margin – especially if you’re selling cross-border and dealing with high international shipping costs.
5. Add Personalized Recommendations to Transactional Emails
Another excellent way to upsell customers is via post-purchase email. HThis ‘complete the look email’ from Shopify-based clothing store Adidas:
These emails typically have a very high open rate making them the perfect place to generate more revenue from qualified customers.
Once again, you have data on what your customers ordered – so personalizing these emails isn’t difficult. As well as stand-alone upsell emails, you can also include personalized product recommendations in your transactional emails.
Go Forth & Upsell Your Way to More Profits
Creating an upselling strategy for your store can seem complicated. As a result, so many merchants fail to maximize the value of their traffic they’re driving to their site.
But upselling doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a few simple strategies (like those mentioned above) you can start nudging a portion of your customers to higher basket values.
The great thing about upselling is that even by converting a small percentage of shoppers to a bigger order, you can dramatically increase the profits on your whole store.
If you haven’t started upselling yet, take one strategy from this post and implement it by the end of the week. Remember, just like everything else in eCommerce, you’ll need to test and optimize each strategy.
In a few weeks, you’ll find a winning upsell formula that’ll allow your business to grow and outstrip your competitors. From all of us here at ReConvert, happy upselling!
This post was written by Fintan Meagher, content manager at ReConvert. ReConvert is the #1 rated eCommerce upselling app that empowers over 40,000+ online sellers to generate more revenue and boost their profits with ease.