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How to Upsell and Cross-Sell (4 Best Practices)

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There are plenty of marketing strategies that involve reaching consumers who have never heard of your brand. These tips are crucial for your success, but we want to talk about something equally important today.

Upselling and cross-selling are two marketing strategies that involve getting existing customers to spend more, which results in an overall higher average order value. In other words, these two techniques can help your small business grow fast and improve customer loyalty. Maintaining your existing customers is one of the best ways to ensure robust and consistent growth.

Upselling is when you try to persuade customers to buy upgraded versions of products they already intend to purchase. So, if you try to buy a 32GB tablet online, and the business tries to sell you the slightly more expensive 64GB version, that’s upselling in action.

Cross-selling is when you offer users products that complement a current or recent purchase. Let’s say you added the tablet to your cart and made it to the checkout page. Before you enter your debit card information, you may get a pop-up that asks if you would like to buy a protective case for your device. The goal is to get users to bundle these two items together and spend more at checkout.

Now that we’ve defined both terms, let’s look at four upselling and cross-selling best practices.

Put Emphasis on Value

If you want people to spend more on each order, you have to learn how to put your value proposition on display. Depending on how you promote your products or services, you may have to adjust your marketing strategies.

For example, SaaS companies often have to shuffle features when they are making tiered plans. There are certain features that an enterprise user would absolutely need, but a one-person time wouldn’t. Distinguishing between your customers’ needs and finding ways to highlight value is the key to making your upselling and cross-selling campaigns work.

Business leaders and marketing teams selling physical products will need to think about how the individual items complement each other. Remember the tablet and case example from earlier? The moment a user sees how buying the extra item can increase the value of their purchase, they are likely to add to their shopping cart.

You can improve your chances of highlighting the right value points by doing extensive customer research. When you understand each segment’s needs and pain points, you’ll have a much easier time establishing customer touchpoints and getting users to upgrade their orders.

Personalize Your Recommendations

While we are on the topic of customer research and segments, let’s talk about personalization. A whopping 80% of consumers report wanting more personalized offers from brands. If you’re willing to take the time to create specific upsell and cross-sell offers for your various segments, you could see a substantial boost in sales.

We suggest engaging with your customers on social media, reviewing feedback, and paying attention to your analytics. Use this information to create personas for your customers. Now, you can create various offers designed to appeal to each segment.

For example, an online pet shop owner might use this strategy to cross-sell cat toys and food with one campaign and dog toys and food with another. This technique ensures that each user will see a relevant offer.

Amazon does an outstanding job of personalizing offers for users. If you go to your profile right now, you’ll see countless completely personalized lists based on your past purchases. We know that every business doesn’t have the resources of Amazon, but this strategy is easy to implement if you have a small business with a limited product catalog.

Know When to Make an Offer

You’ll improve your chances for success if you know when to make an offer. For now, let’s stick to when you should make an offer before their purchase.

Here are several instances where an upsell or cross-sell could lead to additional sales:

  • A customer adds something to their shopping cart. As soon as they click “add,” you can show them other products that complement their first choice.
  • A user checks out a product landing page. You can show a side-by-side chart that demonstrates the value of upgrading to a premium plan.
  • Your customer service team gets a message from someone on the verge of completing an order. Train your team to cross-sell and upsell based on the needs of each customer.

There are other instances where you can make an upsell or cross-sell offer. But the examples mentioned above are usually the first signs that a user is ready to finalize their order.

Cross-Sell After the Order

Finally, let’s talk about how to cross-sell and upsell after a customer places their order. There will be times when a user makes a purchase, ignores your upsells, and comes back at a later date.

The thing is, you have to actively work to get them back to your website. One of the best ways to reach customers with your offer is with your social media marketing strategy.

On Facebook alone, you can reach over 2 billion people. Use this to your advantage and create campaigns for followers that buy something from your website. If you’re personalizing offers, there’s an excellent chance you can get people to come back to your website from the most popular social media networks.

You can also create email campaigns designed to go out to customers after they’ve had some time with your product or service. Use this as a chance to gather feedback and make suggestions on complementary products.

Let’s use the pet store example from earlier. If a user buys cat food, the business could send an email saying that they hope the customer is satisfied with their purchase. At the bottom of the page, they could include new cat toys recently added to the shop. This type of delayed marketing can be very effective.

When you’re cross-selling and upselling, we recommend using FOMO marketing. FOMO stands for fear of missing out. Simply put, FOMO means customers make split-second decisions to time or quantity limitations. Research shows that 60% of people have made placed an order due to FOMO. In most cases, their purchases occurred within 24 hours.

The easiest way to add FOMO to your cross-sell or upsell is to give customers a time limit on your special offer.

Back to You

As you can see, cross-selling and upselling are both complex marketing strategies that can yield big results for your small business. It may take some time to see results, but this is one surefire way to boost sales, engagement, and customer loyalty. It’s up to you to take these ideas and tweak them for your unique product and audience.

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