What Is The Difference Between Upselling And Cross-Selling?

When many businesses are looking to boost revenue generation, they often think along the lines of acquiring new customers. Acquiring a new customer implies an increase in profit margins, but it can also be very expensive. So rather than just finding more prospects, profitable companies today are adopting new sales tactics to grow revenues.

Upselling and cross-selling are two proven techniques that allow you to reach your most valuable potential market with more value without the recurring cost of many marketing channels when expanding your business.

In this article, you will learn about the differences between upselling and cross-selling and how they can help you grow your business. Let's dig in! 

What is upselling? 

Upselling is a marketing ploy that encourages customers to purchase a better and more expensive version of the product they originally wanted to buy. An upsell involves the same product, either an upgraded or premium version.

The idea behind upselling is that buyers are usually interested in 'better' products but may be unaware that the higher version of the product exists and can fit into their budget. So buyers are introduced to more expensive products with better features than what they initially set out for.

An excellent example of an upsell would be in television sales. A prospective customer may want a particular model but be introduced to a larger screen or a TV with a warranty. In e-commerce, upselling is a suitable tactic when you have different versions of the same product but at various price points, like convincing a customer to spend an extra $500 on a premium smartwatch. 

What is cross-selling? 

Sometimes referred to as "bundle" or "add-on" selling, cross-selling involves encouraging customers to purchase anything in conjunction with the primary product. The word 'cross-sell' applies to any instance where you recommend a product in addition to the one being purchased.

The idea is to convince customers to spend more money on an item that matches their existing purchase. These complementary products can be from a completely different product category. Still, they are usually items that a customer will need to use with the main product or items that the customer may be thinking of at the time of purchase.

Suppose you run an online store for mobile phones. If a customer selects a specific model from any brand, you can suggest to them to get a protective case so they can protect their smartphone. There's a good chance that many customers will buy the complimentary product, especially if they're paying a large sum of money for the phone. 

Why are upselling and cross-selling important for e-commerce? 

Upselling and cross-selling are techniques that are vital to the sustainability of any business in the long run due to the many benefits they offer. Here are 6 reasons they're important for e-commerce. 

1. Boosts revenues 

An effective upsell and cross-sell tactic helps improve sales, which translates to more profit for your e-commerce business. While cross-selling will help you sell more products, upsell will help you sell more expensive products. The best part is that you will be making money without incurring costs on any marketing channel since loyal customers are usually willing to sell more.

2. Increase in ROI 

With upselling and cross-selling, your e-commerce store will quickly gain more profits than signing on new customers. You already did the hard work of gaining leads and converting them into customers, so it's easier for your business to receive a better return on investment by maximizing the interaction as much as possible. 

3. Boosts customer loyalty 

While businesses benefit from upselling and cross-selling in the form of increased sales, customers benefit too. Upselling provides customers with the information they need to get an upgraded or luxury version of a product that's within their budget, while cross-selling helps them realize the accessories they need to maximize the use of a product.

Both tactics send a message to customers that you're passionate about meeting their needs. This helps to improve customer satisfaction and increase their loyalty to your brand.

4. Increase the customer lifetime value 

Customer lifetime value refers to the total amount of net worth that your business can generate from a customer over the period. If an average customer was to spend $500 on purchases from your online store, cross-selling and upselling could turn them into more profitable customers by offering value to them. Your business will gain more profits from the relationship over the same period when these tactics are used.

5. Balances growth between existing and new customers

 Some businesses run into trouble because they're focused on acquiring new customers without paying attention to keeping existing customers. Upselling and cross-selling allow you to establish a balance between customers you acquired initially and those that were newly converted. Customers are more likely to stay if they feel a business continually meets their needs by offering relevant and helpful product recommendations. 

6. Offers convenience and flexibility for customers

While upselling and cross-selling work great for e-commerce businesses, it also affords customers convenience and flexibility. Most customers don't want to visit different stores to get the products they need and often appreciate when a store offers them more choices or add-ons. When you upsell or cross-sell, you give them convenience and flexibility, which will make them want to stay with your brand.

How to upsell and cross-sell 

Upselling and cross-selling are simple concepts that are easy to implement, but there are a few things to know that can help make your efforts more effective. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind.

1. Understand the needs of your customers 

The first step to succeeding at upselling and cross-selling is a deep understanding of your customers' needs. Understanding your customers makes it easier for you to anticipate what they need.

To understand their needs, you will have to do your research using a proven tool to gain relevant insights. This works especially when your online store is built on a platform that lets you collect attributes about your customers.

2. Offer bundles to reduce decision complexity

Sometimes, customers don't even know the products to purchase to meet their needs. This is your opportunity to serve as their consultant rather than a sales rep.

Bundling relevant products together is a convenient way for your customers compared to buying them individually. Simply add specific products into the grid/products list to create bundles and make their decision-making simple and fast. 

3. Be relevant to the customer

Upselling and cross-selling should help your customers make their purchasing decisions with ease, but your efforts can easily become annoying if the products you recommend to them are irrelevant to their needs.

Relevance is key in both upselling and cross-selling. Always target users with a specific product, brand, or category in their cart.

4. Add value 

Upselling and cross-selling only work when customers perceive that you're offering value and not just trying to get them to spend more. The goal should be to offer more value and an excellent customer experience so you can get more revenue and better retention rates. 

Wrap-up

Businesses that don't upsell and cross-sell are leaving money at the table. Many succeeding business owners understand the power of upselling and cross-selling and are deploying the tactics to boost their revenue and accelerate growth.

You should do the same for your e-commerce business. Ready to implement these techniques? Here's a guide to help you.

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