By some estimates, upselling and cross-selling is responsible for generating more than a quarter of online retail revenues.

When it comes to the where of trying to entice customers to spend more than they originally intended, sellers have a number of options and each offers a variety of potential advantages when employed correctly.

Product pages

Product pages are an ideal location to cross-sell and many retailers display related products on these pages.

One of the most effective examples of product page cross-selling can be seen with Amazon, which often displays additional products that are frequently purchased together.

Amazon wisely highlights the combined price of the product bundle and makes it very easy for the customer to add all of the products to cart in a single click.

Shopping cart

The shopping cart, like product pages, offers retailers an ideal location to cross-sell.

One of the biggest advantages to cross-selling in cart is that a seller can analyze all of the products that the customer has added to cart and to make more intelligent and creative recommendations.

Frequently retailers like H&M, display products that it believes may be of interest as well as best-selling products.

Checkout

Many sellers use the checkout process to drive impulse purchasing decisions.

Software vendor Parallels both upsells and cross-sells on its checkout page by encouraging customers to purchase additional licenses and related applications.

Checkout is a particularly good location to entice customers with discounts, as customers may be more apt to add to their purchase when they believe the pricing they're receiving at checkout won't be available to them again post-checkout.

Of course, there are limits and some companies have been criticized for spoiling their checkout process with excessive upsells and cross-sells. So it's important to be judicious here.

Post-checkout

A sale is complete but that doesn't mean that the there's no opportunity to make another one right away. Effective post-checkout upselling and cross-selling is frequently seen in the travel industry. 

United Airlines will sometimes display upgrade offers immediately following a flight booking.

It's also very common to see airlines and travel aggregators cross-sell following a purchase. For example, a customer who booked a flight might see offers for hotels and car rentals in the city they'll be traveling to post-checkout.

Post-checkout upselling and cross-selling can be particularly effective for large purchases where pre-checkout distractions could create friction and delay or kill the original sale.

It can also be used very effectively to drive impulse purchases as United's post-booking upgrade offers demonstrate.

Transaction emails

Transactions don't end when the customer leaves a website. Purchase confirmation emails often provide the opportunity for a seller to inform a customer that "it's not too late" to add to their purchase.

As with checkout and post-checkout upsells and cross-sells, email-based upselling and cross-selling can work especially well when combined with discounts and special offers.

If you are responsible for a terrific ecommerce campaign, then enter it into the Retail and Ecommerce category at The Masters of Marketing awards, brought to you by Econsultancy and Marketing Week (closing date September 23).

Patricio Robles

Published 8 September, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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Neelam Kharay, Solutions Consultant at IBM Commerce

Great summary. Product pages will always deliver the lions share but when appropriate products are placed at supporting touchpoints within the user journey, then this increases the overall contribution to sales.

Let's not also forget the sharp rise in confirmation emails such as click and collect - I've seen these work wonders!

over 2 years ago

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Alexandru Rada, founder at Vibetrace

I'll also add here the "add to cart" interstitial or page. (confirmation of product added to cart).
We've seen an average increase of order value of 15% when adding some cross-sell into this small popup.

about 2 years ago

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