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Fulton Bank
Fulton Bank

Cross-selling and upselling to increase sales

Both cross-selling and upselling can be useful methods for increasing your business’s sales, but there are also genuine benefits for your customers. They’ll appreciate being offered an item that either complements or adds value to their original purchase.

The art of cross-selling

Cross-selling is the art of convincing your customers to buy a complementary item to go with their main purchase. When deciding what items to cross-sell, look at what you can add to a sale to increase your profit margins, but also keep your customers’ needs foremost in your mind.

Common cross-selling techniques

Although certain methods of cross-selling are largely dependent on what kind of product or service you offer, there are some basic, tried-and-true techniques that can be applied to almost any business.

Making a habit of cross-selling is essential if you want to increase your sales and provide additional benefits to your customers.

An important part of successful cross-selling is to be prepared. Don’t improvise; think about the products or services you offer and decide in advance which ones you can sell together. What you’re offering as a cross-sell should be cheaper than the original purchase.

Some of the best and easiest ways to cross sell are:

  • Bundling products together, where it’s compulsory to buy more than one.
  • Incentivize customers to spend a bit more in return for a reward. For example, free delivery, volume discounts or complementary products or services that are cheaper.
  • Combine products and services. This is a great method if the primary part of your business does one thing, but you can complement it with another.
  • Complementary add-ons. Suggest to your customers that what they’ve just bought would be better with another product – one that they will, in fact, need at some point. Amazon wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t make offers such as “customers who bought these items also bought these.”

The key to upselling

Upselling is a slightly different technique, where your goal is to convince your customers to purchase a more expensive item or to upgrade to the next product (or service). Quite often, you can inform your customers of other options that they may not have considered, with the aim of selling more and maximizing your profits.

Common upselling techniques

In restaurants and cafés upselling is commonplace and accepted way of conducting business. It's important to understand your customers and know how much they're willing to spend and which products and services they're interested in. 

Some techniques you might consider when upselling include:

  • On your website offer additional products prior to or during the checkout process.
  • Provide two or three options at varying pricing levels, allowing the customer to choose while still increasing the sale.
  • Stock or have access to higher-priced items.

Use your experience and confidence

Cross-selling and upselling are selling techniques that get easier the more you try them. As you gain experience and confidence, you’ll get a feeling for when cross-selling or upselling opportunities present themselves.

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