Use upselling to increase ecommerce sales

Business Benefits

Increase your revenue with bigger purchases.


Analyze customer behavior and purchases on your website.

Ask questions like:

  • What do customers look at before settling on a purchase?
  • Are the products they buy more or less expensive than the products they look at?

This will give you insight into customer motivations, and whether they tend to be more price-focused or feature-focused.

Offer cross-sells, add-ons, and bundles to complement your upsells.

A cross-sell suggests a product that compliments the customer’s existing purchase, but is from a different category or vendor. A classic (and useful!) example is offering batteries when a customer is purchasing a battery-operated device; this is something many people forget about, and it’s often appreciated rather than resented.

Bold Upsell cart addon for Shopify.

Add-on sales are the extra little services - like protection plans, tech support subscriptions, or product training - that give your customer extra peace of mind. These can significantly increase your customer lifetime value, as many customers don’t need to take advantage of the service and instead buy it “just in case.”

Bundle sales recommend two or more products that complement each other and make it easy to add them to the cart from the product page or checkout. Product bundles are often sold at a discount to raise the perceived value of buying multiple products at once.

Bundle + Discount upsell.

Research by Vineet Kumar of Harvard Business School analyzed handheld game systems, a popular bundle sale item, and found that customers are more likely to buy when both the bundle and the individual products are available.

Offer customers just one slightly higher-priced version of the product that they’re looking at.

Presenting your prospect with too many choices can be paralyzing, often resulting in no choice being made at all. Look at the higher-priced models (and alternatives) that sell well or get better reviews as a starting place for your upsell offer. Why get the 30-day supply when the 60-day supply is $20 more but will last twice as long? Why get the 49? television, if the 55? is bigger and only €180 more?

Explain the benefits of picking the higher-priced version over the current one.

For example, the Microsoft Surface 2 includes additional context as to why you should consider the 4G LTE model when you purchase their tablet. Adding that little extra, like “do more on the go” or “for serious photographers,” can boost the value of your recommendation.

Microsoft Surface - do more on the go messaging.

Automate your upselling using a product that adapts to your customer’s browsing behavior.

Headphone retailer SkullCandy switched from Google Analytics to Adobe Marketing Cloud. Despite a small dip in traffic, they increased upsell revenue by 30%. Personalization provider 4-Tell offers stories of clients seeing anywhere between 29-70% lifts in revenue and cart value.

There are a number of tools you could use for this:

  • Conductrics: Real-time optimization combined with machine learning to understand visitors behavior and optimize itself to serve the most profitable recommendations.
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud: Full-featured solution that enables product upsells, multi-channel analytics, remarketing, and more.
  • Marketo: Another solution that enables personalized upsells. Also included is personalized email, ad spend optimization, and a host of other features.
  • Evergage: Software suite that focuses more closely on personalization and optimization of ecommerce websites without extra features offered by full blown marketing suites like Adobe Marketing Cloud or Marketo.