If you’re looking for sales techniques to boost revenue for your eCommerce business, upselling is one of the easiest ways to do so. If you don’t have upselling strategies already in place, you're potentially leaving a 10-30% increase in overall revenue on the table.
In this article, we’ll cover what exactly eCommerce upselling is, why it works, plus five effective strategies you can use to boost your eCommerce sales. Let’s begin!
eCommerce upselling is when a seller promotes or encourages customers to buy a higher-priced item instead of the one they are initially interested in. The product that a seller upsells is usually similar to what customers have already chosen but with more features and at a higher price point.
There are many ways to upsell products on an eCommerce site. For example, a customer selects an iPhone and goes to the checkout page to make a payment. Once there, a popup appears with an offer to buy a similar but better, upgraded iPhone, i.e. the seller upsells a better product.
The offer can also include a discount, a buy-one-get-one-free deal, a free gift, or any near endless variety of deals. Ultimately, by upselling, you’re encouraging customers to spend more money on higher-value options similar to what they’re already interested in.
The magic behind upselling is in its timing and value proposition. Upselling builds upon customer intent and occurs after a customer has searched and found a product. Upsell strategies usually kick into action after a customer has:
The product in question fulfills a certain pain point. In the mind of your customer, they don’t need to go back and research all over again. Instead, a page can feature better alternatives with added value and usually at a price increase that is easy to justify.
Similar tactics can be used before checkout or on the sides of product pages. The end result is your business makes more money while your customers get more value (which in turn may result in higher customer satisfaction), making it a win-win situation for all.
Now that we know exactly what upselling is and why it’s so effective, let’s dive in on upselling strategies you can use to boost sales for your eCommerce business.
You can code upselling into your eCommerce site, but these days most eCommerce platforms support upsell apps that automate the process and drive revenue on autopilot.
Shopify, for example, includes a wide range of upsell apps for Shopify stores. You can also find upsell apps for Bigcommerce, Woocommerce, and Magento to help automate upselling. These app extensions help optimize offers and explore creative ways to upsell products on your site.
One powerful upsell technique is simply showing a side-by-side comparison of different products or options. From eCommerce to SaaS services, businesses of all shapes and sizes use this strategy to upsell better but more expensive deals.
One example is how Apple uses this strategy at the bottom of product pages after a customer has scrolled through the product features.
Here Apple upsells three additional products at varying price points, with the final option double in price. Depending on your customer base, offering slight to significant upsells gives more options to customers that focus more on value rather than price.
Other upselling examples are:
If a shopper was interested in a pack of coffee and you simply told them to buy two instead, they would likely decline and say one is enough.
But offering a limited special offer of two or even three at a discount price immediately changes the scenario for one simple reason: the perception of value.
When customers believe they’re looking at a good deal, they’ll happily buy several of the same consumable product and walk away satisfied they’ve saved money in the long run. Great perceived deals decrease cart abandonment, increase customer satisfaction, and get talked about around the dinner table.
The probability of selling to a repeat customer is 60–70%, meaning upsell offers that target your old customers are more likely to succeed than those that target new ones. A repeat customer has already made a purchase, has their payment information registered, and clearly liked the experience enough to come back!
There are no barriers old customers have to overcome like new ones, which is why they should be a primary focus in your upselling efforts. With tools to distinguish between the two, you can set up offers specific to repeat customers and track conversions. And speaking of tracking…
When it comes to upselling, not every attempt will be a winner. Perhaps the wording is off, the placement is not right, or the timing could be better. With so many variables, how can you measure what works and what doesn’t?
That’s where an A/B split test comes in handy. You can easily A/B test an idea by taking two versions of the same offer and releasing both onto your customer base. The one with the better conversion rate will be your winner and point you in the right direction.
There are many variables that factor into a successful upsell like your offer headline, visuals, written text, and placement. If your conversions are not up to par, performing A/B tests will give you an idea of what works and what has room for tweaking.
The idea of getting your customers to spend more through upselling can come off as salesy and as a result, makes many eCommerce owners shy away from the term. But the reality is that upselling improves customer retention, decreases cart abandonment, and is simply offering more value at a higher price point.
Things to keep in mind about upselling: