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Real-life Examples of Upselling and Cross-Selling to Amplify E-Commerce Revenue
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Real-life Examples of Upselling and Cross-Selling to Amplify E-Commerce Revenue

Saanika Budhiraja
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In eCommerce every click holds potential. Potential for a sale, for a loyal customer, and growth.

But how can you maximise that potential? By guiding customers not only towards products they're actively seeking but also towards items they didn't even know they wanted.

That's where cross-selling and upselling come into play — strategic techniques for increasing sales by encouraging customers to purchase additional products or upgrade their initial choices.

Before we dive into the thick of it, let's clarify what exactly we mean by upselling and cross-selling.

What is Upselling?

Upselling is a strategy that nudges your customers to consider a more advanced or pricier version of the product they're already interested in. It's about highlighting the additional benefits and features of the upgraded option in a way that makes the extra cost seem like a bargain.

And when done right, it creates a win-win situation — the customer gets a better product, and you see an increase in your sales.

Now let's bring this concept to life with some upselling techniques, using the examples of an online retailer specialising in running shoes:

Product Bundling

Product bundling is an excellent way to introduce customers to premium products. If a customer is looking at basic running shoes, you could offer a bundle that includes an upgraded shoe model, matching performance socks, and a shoe-cleaning kit.

This approach has proven successful for industry giants like Amazon. According to a Forrester study, the eCommerce behemoth's product recommendations — often bundled deals — have a staggering 60% success rate.

Premium Upgrades 

Premium upgrades can significantly heighten the perceived value of a product. In our example, think of custom insoles or personalised shoe fittings as add-ons. Not only do these enhance the running experience for your customers, but they also make your offer hard to resist.

A 2019 study found that shoppers are up to 33% more likely to choose the premium option when the extra cost is framed as an add-on, rather than a higher overall price. 

Time-Sensitive Offers

Time-sensitive offers, like limited-time discounts on premium shoe models, can act as a gentle push towards the superior option. 

To understand why it works, let's go back to 1975. Researchers conducted a study using two identical jars, one with ten cookies and another with just two. And participants valued the scarcer cookies more. 

So, whether it's a fleeting deal on premium shoes or a jar with only a couple of cookies left, the principle remains the same. Scarcity, cleverly leveraged, can be a potent tool in steering decisions and it might just help recover those abandoned shopping carts too.

What is Cross-selling?

Cross-selling, on the other hand, involves suggesting complementary or related products to go along with a customer's initial purchase. 

It’s all about understanding your customer's needs and offering them products that will add value to their purchase. 

​​Let's illustrate the concept of cross-selling by continuing our example of an online retailer specialising in high-quality running shoes.

Related Product Recommendations

Imagine a shopper browsing for running shoes on your site. Just as they're about to checkout, they notice a suggestion for top-notch performance socks. 

This is cross-selling at work, enhancing the customer's initial intention with relevant product recommendations. By doing this, you're not just selling more; you're delivering value and convenience.

In fact, personalised AI recommendations have proven so effective that 49% of consumers have made impulse purchases after receiving such suggestions.

Frequently Bought Together 

Data can be your best friend when it comes to cross-selling. It reveals patterns like which products are often bought together. Armed with this information, you can suggest popular combinations to your customers. 

For example, if a specific pair of running shoes is frequently bought with a particular brand of shorts, highlight this to your customers. 

This strategy has proven to be remarkably successful, contributing to 35% of Amazon’s sales.

Post-purchase Recommendations

The customer experience doesn't end with the purchase. You can engage customers post-purchase by offering complementary products that they might find useful. 

After purchasing a pair of running shoes, a customer might be interested in a specially formulated shoe cleaner or a book about improving running technique. 

With the probability of selling to an existing customer being 60-70%, compared to just 5-20% for new customers, focusing on retention is a smart move for fostering customer loyalty and maximising sales. In fact, it turns out that 40% of all e-commerce revenue comes from repeat customers.

Here are some channels you can use for post-purchase recommendations:

  • Your homepage — showcase tailored recommendations based on their recent purchases
  • Email — send personalised suggestions or exclusive deals related to their recent buy
  • Personalised unboxing — include flyers or coupons for related products in the package
  • Customer support — equip your support team with information to offer suitable suggestions during interactions
  • Loyalty programmes — reward customers with points or perks for repeat purchases, which can be redeemed for products or discounts

Every touchpoint is an opportunity to delight your customers and deepen their connection with your brand. So try to explore different channels to make your customers' journey even more rewarding.

The Difference Between Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

Cross-selling and upselling each play a distinctive role in enriching the customer journey and maximising business potential, all while maintaining integrity and focusing on only what will genuinely benefit the customer.

To differentiate between upselling and cross-selling, remember that upselling encourages customers to purchase higher-priced items, while cross-selling suggests additional products to complement the primary purchase. 

Both strategies, when applied with the right understanding of your customer's needs, can significantly enhance the shopping experience while boosting your revenue. 

Now let's dive into some real-life examples of successful cross-selling and upselling.

4 Real-Life Examples of Cross-Selling and Upselling

#1 In-Cart Cross-Selling for a Bigger Basket

When it comes to cross-selling, it's not just about adding more items to the cart — it's about enhancing the customer's shopping experience. Take Schuh for instance. 

They've mastered the tactic of in-cart cross-selling. When a customer adds Dr Martens to their cart, they're greeted with complementary suggestions like stylish socks or a leather bag from the same brand that enhance the use of the main item. 

In-cart cross sell example in footwear retail

These aren't random suggestions, but carefully curated items that resonate with the customer's choice and enhance the use of their main purchase. This not only paves the way for an increased order value but also ensures customers feel understood and valued. 

#2 Increased ROI Personalised Campaigns

Personalisation is a cornerstone of impactful marketing campaigns. A standout illustration of this comes from Kerrigan's, an exceptional craft butcher. Their Black Friday campaign went beyond the norm by integrating a deep understanding of their customers' preferences into their strategy.

Instead of sending generic emails, Kerrigan's crafted personalised communications. They curated product suggestions for each customer, drawing on their previous purchases and browsing history. 

In cart cross sell email marketing example

It was as if a trusted butcher was handpicking products they knew the customer would love.

#3 Boost AOV with Curated Bundles

Navigating the world of baby products can be a daunting task, especially for fresh parents. Tony Kealys, a renowned baby product retailer, understands this challenge all too well. They've harnessed the power of Shopbox AI to transform their customers' shopping experience in a truly empathetic way.

Let’s say a new parent is shopping for a pram. Instead of leaving them to sift through countless accessories, Shopbox AI steps in. It automatically recommends a carefully curated bundle that includes all the essential accessories.

Product bundling example

This leads to more than just sales; it's about streamlining the shopping journey, ensuring every customer feels guided and valued,

#3 Curated Homepages for a Streamlined Shopping Experience

A homepage should be more than just an online storefront. It should reflect each customer's unique shopping journey. 

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Elizabeth Cole Jewelry's homepage evolves based on individual preferences and shopping history. This dynamic strategy doesn't just display products — it presents a handpicked selection tailored to each visitor's taste.

AI curated homepage jewellery brand

In doing so, it naturally opens up opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, without seeming intrusive or salesy. It's like stepping into a boutique where the owner knows your style and has already set aside pieces you'll adore.

#4 Product Listing Pages (PLP) and Product Detail Pages (PDP)  Cross-Selling

Product Listing Pages (PLP) and Product Detail Pages (PDP) are not just digital shelves; they're rich canvases for enhancing the shopping journey through strategic cross-selling. 

Dartington, a leading crystalware retailer, has embraced this opportunity with finesse. As customers browse through these pages, Dartington's platform thoughtfully recommends products that complement the item in focus.

Product Listing Page cross-sell examples

The result? An increase in the order value, certainly. But more importantly, it creates a delightful product discovery experience for customers, making their shopping journey feel more personal, intuitive, and rewarding. 

The Profitable Intersection of Cross-selling and Upselling

Engaging online customers today requires more than just innovation. It demands a genuine commitment to understanding and catering to their needs. By embracing upselling and cross-selling techniques, you can bring the tailored charm of an in-store experience to your online platform.

Throughout this post, we've referred to Amazon's success with these strategies. You might be wondering how you can compete with their powerful algorithms. With Shopbox as your partner, this task becomes all the more achievable.

We're not here to just provide another tool; we're here to help you build a dynamic eCommerce strategy that adapts to your business and drives growth.

So, are you ready to enhance the shopping journey for every customer and reap the rewards? Schedule a demo with Shopbox today and let's take your online retail game to the next level.


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