A good article discussing why upselling works (as in “supersize me”) can be found on the Monster Sales website. It is interesting to note the psychology behind the strategy – as talked about in Andrea Waltz and Rich Fenton’s’ book, Unlocking the Secrets of Retail Magic – because I, for one, was unaware of any sort of a theory behind upselling other than putting more cash in the cash register.
I’m still not convinced of the idea of upselling – because I think it implies that when you are at a cash register, you don’t know what you really want – and that someone could sway you to get a bigger drink or buy better services with simple suggestion. Yes, I understand about impulse purchases at the cash register, and about how we are so preoccupied sometimes that we forget to think about something we really needed to purchase. In fact I will agree that there is a percentage of the population who DO need some suggestions about added items which compliment the purchase and make it more effective (like batteries, for example – when a flashlight is purchased) For me it is really the “how” of the matter and not the upselling in concept.
I’ve seen this fail at the Starbucks drive through window (“would you like a Venti for 50 cents more?”) I’d reply, “geesh, no, there are about 500 more calories and 20 more grams of fat in a Venti” – or at the U.S. Post Office where they went through a phase at my local office with the hard upsell. I’d go to ship a parcel first class and I’d be offered overnight delivery for just $23 more. Then, when I commented about it, the clerk nearly broke into tears telling me how they had to do this, how most of the clerks hated to do so, and obviously was not trained well to simply use questioning skills and rapport building to determine if they customer wanted to get a package there sooner.
“No thanks”, I’d say, since I feel pretty competent to determine how soon I need a package to arrive. I’ve thought this out already.
Perhaps it is in the delivery – not in the words – but I think this irritates customers more than it adds coin into the till. Now that I read about the psychology behind it, I may open my mind a bit – but I still don’t want a Venti latte’ when I go in for a Tall size.