How to create a winning upsell strategy for eCommerce owners

The winning upsell strategy for eCommerce businesses

How to create a winning upsell strategy for eCommerce owners

Upselling is one of the most effective ways to increase an average order value and earn more with the same product portfolio that your store has. In this article, you will learn some proven upsell strategies that work for merchants and allow them to make their online stores more profitable.

Types of Upselling 

To begin, let’s have a look at some popular types of upselling techniques that are being used in eCommerce.

  • True upsell –  often called an “upgrade”, this is a technique when you offer your customer to replace the selected product with the higher/better version of the selected product. This is an important part of an eCommerce website, set up true upsell now to increase your sales.
  • Cross-sell – sometimes cross-sell is mixed up with upsell techniques, however, these are the 2 different techniques. Whereas with upsell you offer your customers a more expensive version of the product with cross-selling you can offer any product that your customer might be interested in. By cross-sell price does not matter, you are focused on recommending customers some other products from your store. It can be both products (like offering a wallet for the selected belt) or service (like an extended warranty or priority shipping)
  • Post-purchase – one of the most favorite techniques for upselling products. This is an upsell that is displayed on the order confirmation (or thank you) page. A dopamine rush gets the customers when they have just purchased a product and this is a great time to show an upsell offer.
  • Bundle product this upsell option is about offering your customer a complementary or related product. For instance, you can offer a pack of coffee beans for a coffee machine that a customer has chosen as a parent product.
  • Smart auto-upsell – this is an effective approach to display an upsell offer to your customer. Smart auto-upsell displays the upsell offer based on Shopify Recommendation API, meaning that the product shown is being selected based on the recent customer interaction with your website.

Psychological patterns of decision-making

Before creating your upsell strategy, you need to understand how the decision-making process works.

For evolutionary reasons, a human is not always in control of his decisions. Human behavior is largely based on subconscious behavior patterns that affect our various decisions, including the decision-making in favor of consuming or purchasing some product or service. Understanding this subconscious mechanism that influences customers helps e-commerce professionals to create customer-oriented websites and improve key e-commerce metrics, such as increasing conversions or traffic.

“Do not make me think” concept 

Steve Krug, a user experience professional, dedicated his book about web design with the main idea to not make website visitors think too much when they visit your online store. People struggle to think things through in an entirely rational way. For example, when asked where one would expect to find the shopping cart on an eCommerce site, most people would instinctively say the top right of the page. When the shopping cart is not in that position, people are then forced to think. That is what is known as cognitive load. In the context of commerce, cognitive overload can lead to cart abandonment.

Cognitive load

The reason cognitive load is so critical is that it directly relates to our inherent need to conserve energy, an important survival trait. People prioritize subconscious thinking recalling facts since it does not stress them out and does not lead to overthinking – if users are required to overthink, they routinely miss essential information.

Choice paralysis

Another factor to consider when reducing cognitive load is choice paralysis. The more choices are presented to a user, the longer it will take for him to make a decision. It turns out there is a predictable relationship between the number of choices and the time it takes people to make a decision. That has become known as Hicks Law, named after William Edmund Hick, who made the discovery.

Now, what does it all mean for your eCommerce business? Let’s plan your upsell strategy taking into account the mentioned upselling types and psychological factors of decision making.

Upselling strategy 2021

  1. Make your upsell and cross-sell offers relevant

Take your time and think of the upsell offers for each product in your store. Do not display totally random items. If your store has a lot of offer inventory and you do not have time to think of an upsell strategy for every single product in your store, consider using “Smart-Auto Upsell” (point 4) 

  1. Display the upsell offerings in the right time

There are different Apps for Upselling on the Shopify App Store. One of the most recent trends in upselling is to display it on the order confirmation page after a customer has finished the order, so-called post-purchase upsell.

  1. Optimize number of upsell offers

The recommended number of upsell and cross-sell offers is from three to four. This way a customer will not be overwhelmed by the number of choices and will be able to easily choose an additional item from your offers.

  1. Create a Smart-Auto Upsell

Smart auto-upsell automatically chooses the product from your store based on customer behavior on your website.  It is available in some of the Shopify Apps such as Candy Rack or Last Upsell

  1. Play more with wording

You can customize the heading making the deal more attractive to your customers. “Don’t forget some other must-haves”, “Best together with”, “hottest deals”, “last chance offers” etc.

  1. Offer the product with special discount

Provide your customers with a discount to encourage the purchase of upselling and cross-selling items. You can even try to cross-sell the same item a customer has just purchased with the discount giving the customer the last chance to buy the same product, let’s say to his/her friend.

  1. Create a service offer

Do not lose the chance to earn more with service upsell offers. Consider making a service offer such as priority shipping, extra warranty or gift packaging. 

The picture below showcases the perfect example of upselling strategy.

  • All upsell and cross-sell offers are relevant to the parent product
  • Upsells and cross-sells are displayed in the right time – when a customer clicks on the “Add to Cart” button
  • An optimal number of upsell offers, which does not overwhelm a customer
  • True upsell displayed offering a greater version of the parent product, which is a “Liquid Foundation +25% extra”
  • Cross-selling of the complementary product, which is a “Beauty Blender”
  • Cross-selling a service “First inline” ( priority shipping )
  • Special discount offered on all upsell/cross-sell products, which make the offers more attractive

You can also check the other examples of upselling pop-ups visiting the preview store.

Here are 10 Shopify upsell and cross-sell strategies. published by Digismoothie, a company that specializes in developing apps that increase revenue and help internet businesses expand.

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