Cross-selling and upselling are established methods of improving your sales and increasing customer loyalty. Upselling is the practice of offering customers a product in addition to the product they are currently purchasing. Cross-selling refers to selling items that are related or can be integrated with the item being sold. Both techniques can increase sales volume and provide a valuable service to your customers.
Many product types and Web sites lend themselves perfectly to cross-selling. For example, if you sell digital cameras, it makes perfect sense to offer related products to your customers: photo printers, paper, or other accessories. Selling consumable items such as paper and printer cartridges can also encourage shoppers to return to your store time and again, creating a long-term relationship. That can mean big profits over time. Get started today with E-Commerce 101: How to Start Selling Online.
But you do not have to restrict your offerings to related items. You can upsell your customers by offering them nearly anything in addition to the item they are already interested in. While not necessarily relevant, as in cross-selling, upselling can still save your customers money.
By combining shipping on multiple items, your customers can still come out ahead. You can also encourage them to purchase additional goods by offering free shipping or discounts on orders over a certain amount. If a customer’s order totals $85 and shipping is free on orders over $100, they may look around for something else they need to try and take advantage of the free shipping offer.
You can employ these techniques at either the shopping phase, or at the checkout phase. Implementing cross- or upselling at the shopping phase can be as simple as having links to similar products on your products pages with some copy such as “Customers who purchased this product also purchased…” This is a low-tech solution, but it can serve to expose more shoppers to your products. After all, not every site can populate the related products areas dynamically.
Using a shopping cart that allows you to integrate your efforts is one of the easiest ways to successfully cross-sell and upsell your items. This is generally more effective, because users are already making a purchase.
You can also use the “Before you Check Out” technique. This is a step that is added in to your checkout process before an order is finalized. You can compare this to the small items that you will find at checkouts in grocery stores. This method takes advantage of the natural instincts of a shopper and is a very good way to cross-sell inexpensive add-ons for your products.
There are several different shopping carts that offer this ability, and many of them are open source or free to use. OSCommerce is an open-source program that allows you to promote additional products in this way.
If you are worried that you cannot take advantage of these techniques in your own store, you can carefully examine your product line. If you are currently offering product bundles, such as free ink with the purchase of a printer, try unbundling your products and selling these items in addition to the main product.