Upselling Strategy & Techniques: A Definitive Guide in 2024

Upselling Strategy & Techniques

Upselling is a crucial marketing strategy you should use to boost sales for your business, no matter if you run a brick-and-mortar shop or an e-commerce store.

In fact, upselling reportedly increases revenue by 10-30 percent on average. Moreover, 70 to 95% of revenue is generated through upsells and renewals on average.

But to do successful upsells, you need to upsell the right way! In this post, we have shared an actionable guide on upselling during the complete customer journey from pre to post-purchase.

Without any further ado, let’s get started!

Table of contents:

What is The Difference Between Cross Selling and Upselling?

Upselling is a sales technique that involves persuading customers to buy more expensive items, add-ons, and upgrades to generate more revenue. Usually, it involves marketing more profitable products and services, but it can be done by simply exposing the customers to other options that they had not even considered.

For example, show customers a phone with larger internal storage than the one they searched for on your website.

On the other hand, cross-selling is a sales technique that involves selling a related or complementary product to an existing customer. This technique is often used in the e-commerce industry; for example, Amazon’s “Frequently Bought Together” section on product pages is one way of using cross-selling to sell related products.

upselling-example
Source: Amazon

If you want to learn more about upselling vs cross selling, click here!

How to Upsell at Every Stage of The Customer Journey

Upselling is not just about suggesting a better or more expensive product anywhere on your website. It’s about using the right upsell technique at the right part of the customer journey

You should upsell at every part of the customer journey with you, starting from when they get to know about your product to actually buying and using it.

We have divided the customer journey into three parts, as follows:

  • Before Purchase
  • During Purchase
  • After Purchase

Before Purchase

Before purchase, upselling happens when customers arrive at your e-commerce website and start looking for the product they want to buy.

Research shows that 20% more sales are generated by store owners who use both pre-purchase and post-purchase upselling techniques in retail than those who do not.

So having a pre-purchase upsell strategy is as important as upselling during the purchase. You are not using the full potential of upselling if you wait for your customers to arrive at your store and start looking for a product or service upgrade. Instead, you should proactively take the initiative to pitch upsells to your target customers.

For example, if they have bought a smartphone from your e-commerce store, it should be you asking them to buy a protection plan instead of waiting for them to visit your store again and buy on their own. That’s exactly what OnePlus does:

oneplus-email-upsell
Source: mail.google.com

If you’re already thinking of making some extra sales, have a look at some of the best ways to upsell before purchasing.

1. Instagram Feed on Landing Pages

To make your pre-purchase upsell more effective, you can add a scrollable Instagram-like feed to your landing pages. This feed will exactly look like an Instagram profile feed, consisting of highlighted stories, images, videos, reels, and more.

By adding an Instagram-like feed to your store, you can showcase:

  • Your best-selling products,
  • Different variants of a product, 
  • User-generated video content, and more.

Have a look at the image below for upselling example.

instafeed-for-upselling
Source: apps.shopify.com

Furthermore, you can make these feeds shoppable and empower your customers to buy directly from them, enhancing their shopping experience and generating extra revenue as well.

How do you add an Instagram feed to your store? There are several tools that allow you to embed your actual Instagram feed into your store. But we suggest you use the below-mentioned apps to create a custom feed that looks like an Instagram feed instead of integrating your Instagram account into your store.

Best Instagram Feed Apps
  • Vitals: All-in-One Marketing: An all-in-one app that empowers you to upsell effectively. From showing trust logos to a shoppable Instagram-like feed to your store, Vitals can help you with multiple marketing workflows and techniques.
  • Instafeed by Mintt Studio: Just like Instagram, this feed can contain photos, videos, and reels. Additionally, you can make them shoppable by allowing your customers to buy the products you display in the feed.

If you run a Shopify store, check out the top 7 Instafeed Shopify apps.

2. Announcement Bar

Showing an announcement bar on the top of your website can be a great way to pitch upsells to visitors. 

Other than making announcements, you can use the bar to:

  • Generate extra sales by showing discounts,
  • Add a countdown down timer to create fear of missing out (FOMO),
  • Ask customers to check out the latest or upgraded products,
  • Build your email list and more.

Here’s an example of how Apple used an announcement bar to upsell the latest iPhone models:

Apple-announcement-bar
Source: apple.com

So without any second thought, add an announcement bar to your website if you don’t have one already.

How do you add an announcement bar to your website? There are many tools that can help you create customized bars and stick them at the top of your website. Check out the best ones below.

Best Announcement Bar Apps

3. Email

If you think email is an old marketing channel that doesn’t work anymore or nobody reads emails today, you might be wrong and missing a great tool to upsell your products and generate some extra sales.

In a Helplama survey, 72% of consumers reported that email is a part of their everyday life. Moreover, 60% of consumers reported using email to shop online.

why-people-use-email
Source: helplama.com

So if you’re not using email to upsell your products, you should build an email list and start pitching upsells through email.

How to Use Email to Upsell

Email is a flexible marketing channel that you can use at every step of the customer journey to upsell your products. However, here are some ways you can use email to upsell before purchase:

  • Offer discounts on upgrades: After a period of time when a customer buys a product, you can email them with an exclusive discount on upgrading to a new or better product. 
  • Additional services: Pitch your customers with additional services that enhance their experience using the product. For example, a membership or protection plan. 
  • Product announcements: Notify them through email when you release a new product or service. 

For example, you can email your existing customers with an offer to upgrade the product or service they are already using.

upsell-via-email
Source: HubSpot
Best Email Marketing Tool
  • Mailchimp: From building email lists, segmented upselling, to automating emails and tracking results, you can do it all with Mailchimp.

During Purchase

During-purchase is a key part of the customer journey, as the chances of upselling remain high. That’s because customers have already decided what to buy, and they are more likely to consider add-ons or a better product.

We have divided the during-purchase customer journey into 3 parts as follows:

  • Product Page
  • Cart & Checkout

Product Page

The product page is an unavoidable place to upsell on any e-commerce store, regardless of business type. That’s because customers are more likely to choose your upsell offer because they most likely know what they want to buy.

So you may already be pitching upsells on the product pages of your website because that is the place on websites where upsells are usually offered. 

But… you might not make the best use of your product pages to upsell your products. Recommending related and better products is one of the types of upsells that are often used on product pages.

Here are some other best types of upsells for your product pages:

1. Recommend Better But Affordable Products

Suppose you visit a website to purchase a product priced at $50. On the product page, an upsell popup appears with a better product priced at $150.

Would you buy it?

Most likely not, because it may be way out of your budget. 

Here’s how Amazon shows the product variants in a similar price range. Customers are likelier to buy a better product worth $11.99 instead of $7.99. But they may not buy a $50 alternative.

Amazon upsell
Source: Amazon

For this reason, you need to make sure the product you want to upsell is reasonable. In this manner, you can increase your average order value (AOV) in no time. So, instead of suggesting products that are way out of your customer’s price range, show them something more affordable.

2. Suggest Necessary Add-ons

This is a great strategy to upsell and increase the average order value. It is often used in e-commerce, SaaS, and service industries.

Furthermore, you can earn a huge margin by selling add-ons. That’s because add-ons often consist of additional services instead of products.

Here are some popular types of add-ons that you can use to upsell:

  • Protection plans,
  • Extended warranty,
  • Expert Advice/Service,
  • Priority customer support,

Have a look at this example of Walmart suggesting add-ons to increase the order value:

walmart-upsells
Source: Walmart

So, definitely sell add-ons on your product pages if you’re not already. They increase not only your average order value (AOV) but also your profit margins.

3. Sell Compatible Items

Upselling is not just about selling better options. Your primary motive for upselling should be to increase the order value. 

Suggesting a better product might not work when the customer is sure about what they need to buy. In such a case, you should show the compatible products.

How to suggest the right compatible products? Just ensure that the recommended product:

  • Enhances the usability of the primary product, or
  • Increases the lifetime value of the product.

Look at this example of Walmart suggesting compatible products for a grill burner.

walmart-complementry-products
Source: Walmart

Furthermore, you can show bundles of “frequently bought together” to make it easy for customers to buy compatible products with a single click.

Tools to Upsell on The Product Pages

If you run a Shopify store, use these Shopify upselling apps to enhance and automate your product page upsells:

  1. Wiser – Product Recommendations: It includes AI-powered suggestion features that you can use to automatically present related products to your customers on product pages. 
  2. PickyStory – Bundle Upsells: Known for offering AI-powered personalized bundle offers at the right time, you can use it to automatically offer product bundles on your e-commerce store.
  3. CandyRack – All-in-one Upsell: Combine pre-purchase and post-purchase upsells to create an upsell funnel of your own. Free for the new Shopify stores with less than 20 orders per month.
  4. LimeSpot Personalizer: Deliver 1:1 personalized shopping experiences across web, mobile, SMS, and email. It can help you increase conversion rates, average order value (AOV), transaction size, and customer engagement.

Cart & Checkout

Cart is also a great place on your website that you should use to recommend related products, add-ons, and upgrades to the products in the cart.

For instance, here’s how Samsung offers upsells in the cart.

Samsung-cart-upsell
Source: Samsung.com

Let’s take a look at some actionable ways to upsell in the shopping cart.

1. Show Wishlisted Products

If you allow your customers to “wishlist” products or “save for later,” you can make use of that list to upsell in the cart. 

Since your customers have already shown interest in these items, reminding them of their wishlist items in the cart is a great opportunity to upsell.

Look at this example of how Urbanoutfitters.com uses this upsell strategy in the cart:

cart-upsell-example
Source: Urbanoutfillers.com
2. Spend More, Get More!

This is how Viktor & Rolf got their customers to buy more, which made their average order value go up.

cart-upsell-example-1
Source: us.viktor-rolf.com

How does this strategy work? When a customer adds an item to their cart, a pop-up notifies them of how much more they must spend to receive a bonus item. Instead of directly displaying related products to customers, you entice them to keep shopping and stay longer in the store.

So without a second thought, use “spend more, get more” to upsell your products and increase your overall revenue.

3. Show What Others Buy

In e-commerce, phrases like “customers also purchased” can be extremely effective.

They draw the attention of your customers and prompt them to consider, “If others purchased this, do I need it too?”

Have a look at this example:

cart-upsell-example-2
Source: homedepot.com

Also, you should know that 72% of people who shop online trust user reviews and recommendations just as much as recommendations from people they know.

By using this strategy, you can create a sense of trust while suggesting products.

4. Add-on Services (Insurance, Protection Plans)

If your product is pricey or includes a protection plan, think about adding it as an upsell in the Shopify shopping cart or as a pop-up that appears after the customer adds the item to their cart. Make sure to take the design of your cart into account; you might want to display this option as a separate popup or within the cart itself. 

Here’s how you can show a popup asking customers to buy an add-on service for the expensive product they are buying:

Add on upsell
Source: Guitarcenter.com

Moreover, you can also upsell shipping protection if you sell expensive products that run the risk of getting damaged in transit. For example, furniture, home appliances, etc.

Tools You Can Use to Upsell in The Cart
  1. In Cart Upsell (ICU): Turn on upsells on autopilot with the AI-powered auto-suggest feature. The app also features customer tags and A/B testing.
  2. Slide Cart: Add a rewards bar to your cart along with recommending products in the cart and entice customers to buy more to get an extra discount or reward.
  3. Simply Shipping Protection: Create custom insurance plans to upsell on e-commerce stores. Using this app, you can build an extra income by encouraging your customers to buy shipping insurance plans.

After Purchase

You should not leave a chance to upsell even after your customers make a successful purchase.

Some retailers’ post-purchase upsell offers have conversion rates of 10%!

After-purchase or post-purchase upselling should be a key part of your upselling strategy because it not only increases your revenue but also brings long-term benefits of upselling by improving customer retention rate (CRR) and customer lifetime value (CLV).

To upsell post-purchase, you can suggest products on the thank you page after checkout, through email, customer service, and more.

To help you build an actionable post-purchase upsell strategy, we have divided the post-purchase upsell into 3 phases:

  • After Checkout
  • Post-purchase Surveys
  • Customer Service

After Checkout

Even though you can use upselling techniques at different points in the buyer’s journey, after-checkout offers are often thought to have the highest conversion rates.

That’s because the customer has already made a decision regarding their purchase and is more likely to buy more items as they complete the checkout process.

The “thank you page” is the most common place where upsells are often used. But it is not the only way to upsell after checkout.

Let’s take a look at some great ways to upsell after checkout.

1. Ask If They Forgot Something

There’s no one universal strategy that works best for every e-commerce website. So you can start with this post-purchase upsell strategy, where you ask customers if they “forgot something” to buy and pitch them a related product or service after they checkout.

Now you might be wondering what you can ask them to buy. Here’s an example of this strategy in action:

Forgot something upsell
Source: digismoothie.com

In the above example, the customer is asked if they forgot to buy the extended warranty. Depending on the type of business you have and the industry you are in, you can also sell other relevant products or services.

2. Offer Discount On Next Purchase

Just recommending products on the “thank you page” may not work, and your customers may ignore the recommendations.

To make the after-checkout upsell more enticing, you can customize your upsell offer. For example, you can offer an additional discount on the after-checkout or thank you page.

post-purchase-upsell
Source: digismoothie.com

Now that you know how you can make your after-checkout upsell effectively, have a look at the tools that can help you implement these strategies.

Post-purchase Upsell Tools

Here are some of the best tools that you can use to upsell after your customers complete a checkout.

  1. ReConvert Upsell & Cross sell: Create and deploy checkout and post-purchase upsell funnels. You can do post-purchase upselling on the thank you page in a few clicks.
  2. Checkout Upsell Post Purchase: Entice users with future discounts and related product suggestions on the thank you page. It is best if you’re looking for a free app.
  3. Upsell by Email: Automate the process of sending upsell emails to your customers and getting your customers to buy from you again.

Post-purchase Surveys

These surveys can help you collect relevant information about your customers and know how their buying experience was. Use the information collected to make your upsells relevant and personalized.

For example, you can ask about customers’ birthdays using post-purchase surveys and offer them exclusive discounts on their birthdays. This allows you to retain your customers and encourage them to make repeat purchases.

Now, take a look at some best ways you can use the post-purchase surveys.

1. Drive Email Opt-ins

As per a Helplama survey, email is a key part of consumers’ everyday life and they use it to get offers and shop online.

 You can use post-purchase surveys to generate email opt-ins. Check out some effective ways to drive email opt-ins:

  • Enter your email and stay updated with our latest offers and discounts.
  • Get an exclusive discount coupon on your email.
  • Stay updated about your order and shipping status via email.
email-opt-in-popup
Source: campaignmonitor.com
2. Collect Feedback

Before collecting feedback, you need to be sure about the goal of collecting feedback. It can be to know customer satisfaction, to improve the checkout process, to know the buyers’ motivation, etc.

post-purchase-feedback
Source: apps.shopify.com

Here are some of the best questions you can ask to collect feedback:

  • Why did you buy from our shop? You’re attempting to ascertain the customer’s motivation with this query. Here are some possible multiple-choice answers that you can include:
    • Price
    • Free shipping
    • Detailed product information
    • I am a devoted customer
    • I found you first when I searched
    • Good product reviews
    • A friend referred you
    • The thing I needed was in stock at your store
  • Are you happy with your purchase(s)? To rate the customer’s overall satisfaction, you can use a scale of 1 to 10 or stars, or you can leave a blank space for the customer to provide more information. Here are some options for questions with scales:
    • Quality
    • Value
    • The products are as described on our website.
    • A variety of size and color options

To create custom post-purchase surveys, you can use the Reconvert app because it offers various post-purchase survey templates that you can use in one click.

Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most crucial departments of any business, whether it is in e-commerce, SaaS, or a physical retail store.

customer-service-stat-helplama-survey

As per a Helplama survey, 87% of consumers want brands to innovate and set new standards of customer service.

Why are we talking about customer service in this guide for upselling? That’s because you should upsell while providing a resolution to your customers

For example, suppose you are a SaaS provider and your customer is facing issues with team productivity and efficiency. Here, you can suggest that the customer’s account be upgraded to include tracking metrics and analytics that can be used to measure the productivity of the team in detail.

Note: Your main purpose should be to provide value, not to upsell your product. First, understand their problem, and then come up with an upgrade or additional product that resolves the issue.

Now, let’s have a look at a tool that can help you make the best use of customer service for upselling.

Helplama Helpdesk

helplama-self-service-portal

Specialized in e-commerce, Helplama Helpdesk is a customer service automation tool that empowers your team to offer integrated support over Live Chat, Email, Social, Phone, and more. It can not only increase your team’s productivity but can also boost your customer satisfaction.

Let’s have a look at some of its capabilities you can use to leverage your customer service to upsell.

Key Features:
  • Automated live chat: Use the live chat to assist customers throughout their buying journey or send exclusive offers or discounts to entice them to buy more.
  • Anti-refund strategies: Helplama offers a 24×7 self-service portal your customers can use to return exchanges anywhere and anytime. The best part is – it features anti-refund strategies you can use to encourage flexible exchanges over returns and issuing instant refunds as store credits instead of refunding back to the source. 
  • View the entire customer journey: On a single screen, you can access a complete customer journey that enables you to offer personalized service and upsells.
Pricing:

Helplama Helpdesk offers personalized pricing plans as per your needs. A 15-day free trial is also available.

Top 5 Upselling Tips That Work

1. Choose the Right Upsell Strategy

There are a variety of upsell strategies used in the e-commerce industry. Following are a few that work:

a. The version upgrade: Ask your customers to buy a bigger and better version of the product they are looking to buy. It can be better in terms of size, speed, flexibility, etc.

b. Product insurance: This upsell is popular in the tech and gadgets niche. For example, mobiles, laptops, and other expensive gadgets. Here’s an example of how Amazon uses this upsell strategy:

product-insurance-addon
Source: Amazon

c. Customization: If you sell products that can be customized, you should allow your customers to customize the products in exchange for some extra bucks.
An example of simple customization is engravings on products. It can not only increase your average order value (AOV) but also enhance the customer experience. Big brands like Apple and Fossil use this strategy. However, they do not charge extra for engraving.

fossil-engraving
Source: Fossil.com

Recommended: List of the best apps that can help you add product customization options to your website.

d. Extended warranty: A common upsell strategy that e-commerce businesses use to upsell and earn some extra income without selling an additional product.

e. Bundles: Most common upsell type that can be used to upsell and cross-sell relevant products. Bundles can be used at multiple places on your website – product pages, cart, during checkout, after checkout, thank you page, email, and more.

2. Upsell Everywhere It Makes Sense

It is a fundamental rule, the more you show upsell opportunities, the more the chances of customers taking one. Here are some places on your e-commerce website where you should definitely upsell:

a. Product page: A page where you can have multiple upsell opportunities. Have a look at how Amazon makes the best use of upselling on product pages.

product-page-upsells-amazon
Source: Amazon

b. In cart: Show relevant add-ons and accessories. For example, if a customer has added a mobile to a shopping cart, you can suggest cases, screen protectors, Bluetooth headphones, extended warranty, etc.

c. Others: Checkout, thank you page, email, post-purchase surveys, etc.

3. Don’t Push Them To Buy

It’s great to show upsells to increase your AOV and revenue, but make sure that your upsell strategy is not annoying your customers. Maybe they won’t buy from you anymore if your upsell strategy is pushy.

To avoid your upsells being pushy, you can:

  • Right placement: Place your upsells at lower positions on the product pages or at the sidebar of your website.
  • Easy to skip: Make it easy for your customers to skip the upsells.
  • Do not upsell on landing pages: It doesn’t make sense to upsell when a visitor has just landed on your website.

Simply put, make sure that your upsells do not disturb the buying experience of your customers.

Pro tip: A/B test an upsell strategy with your existing upsell strategy before implementing it to your whole website or products.

4. Personalize Upsell Suggestions

Customers are more likely to buy when:

  • You recognize them by name,
  • Suggest items based on their past purchase,
  • And know their purchase history.


As per a survey, 75% of customers are more likely to buy if you offer any of the above three options.

personalization-upselling-stats
Source – Accenture.com

So, it’s a no-brainer that you should add a personal touch to your upsell suggestions. For example, if a shopper is looking for a laptop on your website, you can send an email to them with best-selling laptops on your website.

5. Offer Free Shipping

Do you offer free shipping on your website? If not, you should!

90% of customers reported that free shipping is the main motivation to shop more online.

How to convert free shipping into an upsell strategy? Ask your customers to order above a specific amount to avail of free delivery. Icing on the cake, add a free shipping bar to your cart to keep reminding them to increase order value to avail of free shipping.

Here’s how TB12 uses free shipping to encourage buyers to purchase items amounting to at least $75 to get free delivery.

promote-free-shipping
Source – tb12sports.com

Conclusion

Upselling is undoubtedly one of the best marketing strategies to increase revenue and engage your customers. You should definitely upsell during every step of the customer journey but also make sure you don’t look pushy.

We hope that this guide helped you know some actionable tips and strategies on upselling and cross-selling during every phase of the customer journey. Furthermore, the apps we suggested are top-rated and feature-rich. However, we suggest you try them before paying for or subscribing to them.

And to streamline and automate customer service, you must try the Saufter It can help you make the best use of customer service to upsell.

Start your 15-day free trial now! No credit card is required.

Reduce

Refunds

Automate Customer Support

Group-6342@2x
Refunds
Group-6342@2x
Order delay monitoring
Group-6342@2x
Subscription modifications
Group-6342@2x
Missing orders
Group-6342@2x
Subscription cancellations
Group-6342@2x
Much more
Claim Your 6 Months Of FREE Credits Now

Reduce Refunds
Automate Customer Support

Group-6342@2x
Refunds
Group-6342@2x
Order delay monitoring
Group-6342@2x
Missing orders
Group-6342@2x
Much more
Claim Your 6 Months Of FREE Credits Now