What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling involves recommending additional products so customers end up buying more from your store. Not only will this help boost sales, but it will also increase the amount that customers spend in your online store.
For instance, when customers purchase a laptop, you can offer related products to get them to make more purchases. You could offer a headphone, wireless mouse and USB to increase the profits from the sale.
Studies have found that cross-selling can significantly impact sales and increase average order value (AOV).
According to Business2Community, they contributed up to 35% of overall revenues in Amazon. Sessions without any engagement get an Average Order Value (AOV) of $44.41, and this number multiplies by 369% whenever prospects engage with a single recommendation. The price gradually increases until up to 5 clicks.
Cross-selling can have a big impact on sales. After all, shoppers are bound to check out products that are related to the item they bought.
12 Tips For Boosting Sales With Cross-Selling
Now, how do you boost sales with cross-selling? Here are the tips and tricks that you need to know to increase purchase orders.
1. Promote to Your Brand Advocates
You can cross-sell an improved version of a product or service to boost profits, but customers won’t always like it.
A good tip is to cross-sell to brand advocates first to find out if they’re willing to pay for it. You can offer an item at a discounted price and get their initial feedback.
If you are offering a service or feature, then get them to try it out for free. Ask them what they think of the product or service, how you can improve it, and how much they are willing to pay for it.
Brand advocates are top fans that want you to improve. They are more likely to make time for testing the product and offer honest feedback.
2. Offer Personalized Product Recommendations
Offering personalized product recommendations is a popular way to cross-sell your products.
A study found that 38% of US digital shoppers said they would stop shopping at an e-commerce store that made poor product recommendations.
Likewise, they drive 7% of visits, and a whopping 24% of orders and 26% of revenue.
Not surprisingly, personalized recommendations make shopping faster and more convenient.
We’re drawn to sections like “related products”, “products frequently bought together”, and “what customers also bought” because they’re based on our interests and past purchases. These sections strategically narrow down our choices so we’re more likely to browse them than blindly scour hundreds of product recommendations.
For example, Birchbox sends abandoned shopping cart emails to encourage customers to return to their online store. If customers don’t like these products, they get personalized recommendations for similar and top-rated products.
3. Offer Product Bundles
Product bundling involves packing complementary or related products together then selling them at discounted prices. To create bundles, look at the data and group products that were frequently bought together.
You can offer bundled products at your e-commerce store, or offer discounted complementary products during checkout.
For example, CreativeLive offers a bundle of four classes from the same instructor at a discounted price. To make it more appealing, they add exclusive bonus materials.
By offering product bundles you can encourage customers to patronize more products.
4. Educate Clients
It’s common practice to offer an additional feature, service or product to meet a customer’s needs. However, they won’t always come crawling to buy your product.
It’s your responsibility is to illustrate the benefits of buying a related product or service. Send ebooks, emails, webinars, case studies, and reviews to show your customers how they can benefit from the additional product or feature.
Don’t just focus on upselling your product. Create actionable content that offers value to your potential customers.
Hubspot—a marketing platform—offers free courses and tutorials on content marketing, social media marketing and nurturing leads through the Hubspot Academy. These let marketers learn tips and tricks to improve their marketing results and how Hubspot can benefit their business.
Once customers complete the courses, they’re more likely to consider Hubspot for their sales and marketing needs.
5. Ask for Customer Feedback
There is always room for improvement so regularly ask feedback from your customers.
You may think that customers love your products, but they also rarely complain. A study found that 67% of customers said negative experiences were a reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complained. Also, only 52% of people believe that companies acted on feedback that they get.
That said, businesses can ask for feedback and product reviews through post-purchase emails. You can also use this opportunity to cross-sell your products.
For example, Orankl—a Shopify app— lets customers leave a star rating or product review. What’s interesting is that they cross-sell other products like the leather wallet and strap too.
If you get a low response rate, then provide customers with incentives like discounts or freebies in exchange for honest reviews.
6. Be Transparent
They say honesty is the best policy, and this is true in customer service too.
We usually consider our products and services as the best out of bias, but remember to be transparent about its cons too.
Be honest about the benefits of the products to build trust and loyalty. Answer customer inquiries honestly and help customers determine if it’s a good fit. Be upfront about pricing, features, and contracts and shoppers will likely stick around. When customers become doubtful, they won’t buy your products.
7. Know the Best Time
Determining when to cross-sell can significantly impact the sale. If you offer the deal at the wrong time, the deal could likely be ignored.
Unfortunately, the best time differs based on your industry or business. The key is to find out when you’re going to drop the deal so customers will be persuaded the customer to buy the additional products.
For example, if a customer recently bought a Nintendo Switch, then that’s the best time to recommend digital games. You can even offer bundle deals to sweeten the deal.
A company might avail of a brand strategy and content planning services from a social media marketing agency. The agency could then upsell their content creation, animation or photography services after the initial consultation.
You can even cross-sell more products during year-end sales and summer sales. However, the right time varies based on the context or client. Some customers may readily buy additional products, while others may want them to buy them at a later date.
8. Create Case Studies and eBooks
Don’t just tell potential leads that you offer the best product, prove it to them too.
B2B businesses selling solutions can leverage the success stories of their brand advocates. Include graphs and charts that show how your product contributed to the company’s sales or organic traffic. Make it a habit to collect testimonials from other users too.
Once you’ve created a case study or ebook, then send it through email. Algolia’s email has a background image that brings readers in, plus a short and simple summary of their ebook.
The email should highlight the benefits that readers can learn by downloading the content, but it shouldn’t be too promotional. You can also add research on the latest trends and research-backed strategies to make it worth their time.
Some clients may be too busy to fully narrate their customer experience, so at least try to get a quote. Short feedback that highlights their results can help you attract more leads.
9. Reward Loyalty
The sales process doesn’t end after you’ve closed the deal.
While you’ve convinced people to add additional purchases, you should let them know that you appreciate it too. Reward customers for their loyalty so they will return to your online store or consult your business.
Send a thank you letter to show your appreciation and highlight the human aspect of your brand. It may seem simple, but it’s a genuine strategy to help your business grow. In fact, 9% of customers leave to shop from competitors and 60% of businesses lost a customer since they felt that the company was indifferent to them.
Coach uses “Thank You” emails as an opportunity to show their appreciation, promote their latest arrivals and get feedback from their shoppers.
Another trick is to add next-purchase discount codes or freebies to get customers to return to your online store. In fact, 75% of consumers search for relevant discounts in their inboxes. This is one way you can keep businesses at the back of a customer’s mind.
Printshop encourages customers to return to make their purchase through an additional 40% off discount. The offer is available for only 2 days which encourages the reader to act fast.
You don’t have to offer a big discount to incentive shoppers. Even a small discount can go a long way in boosting your purchases.
10. Offer Almost Free Additional Products
Cross-selling additional products that are almost free because of hugely discounted prices is one way to boost sales.
An experiment found a 73% increase in sales of lotions that were included in a value pack. Consumers were more likely to opt for buying a product with a larger quantity sold at the same price, over purchasing a lower-priced product with fewer quantities.
Most digital games offer a standard edition at the cheapest price and a deluxe edition with extra content at higher price points. For example, the Sims 4 games have a standard edition that includes the games’ basic features, and their Digital Deluxe Edition features fun outfits, soundtracks, and interesting objects.
11. Use the Rule of Three
Three is the magic number in pricing and marketing.
The “rule of three” dictates that shoppers respond to patterns in price levels. If customers receive three options, then people are likely to opt for the middle option. You can offer the cheapest product at the lowest price point and include additional products or features at options with higher price points.
Convey boutique owners Jennifer and Danila, leverage it to offer three options at different price points which include Requested, the Alternative, and the Dream.
“The Requested is that starting line or price point. It’s accessible, easy to wear, and something that may be dressed up or down,” says Daniela. “The Alternative is something that still relates to the Requested [item] but maybe at a more mid-price point. Then the Dream is one of our personal favorites, one that we know they’re going to love, and something that may have a higher price point.”
Here’s a real-life example of the “rule of three” pricing from Trello.
The Business Class and Enterprise Class packages offer priority support, observers, custom backgrounds and stickers. The Business Class at $9.99 is for one person only while companies can onboard up to 100 users at the Enterprise-class for up to $20.83.
Make sure to educate your customers about the different features per package so you can increase AOV.
12. Monitor Sales and Metrics
Any marketer and salesperson will tell you that the key to success is analyzing metrics. The same is true in cross-selling.
Perform quarterly business reviews to analyze the profitability of your current strategy. Find out the items that customers frequently bought together, and read feedback on their product bundles.
A data-backed cross-selling strategy should consider your customers’ interests and behavior. By monitoring sales and metrics, you can easily forge a profitable path for your business.
Cross-selling has a lot of benefits for businesses.
Increasing the average order value can drastically boost sales.
To get started, sell to your brand advocates first. Offer personalized recommendations, next-purchase discount codes and ask for feedback. Let customers know that you appreciate them by sending thank you emails and rewarding their loyalty.
Understand the best time and watch the data so you can understand how to strategically implement these cross-selling strategies. Don’t forget to educate your customers through case studies and ebooks.
What are your tips and tricks for cross-selling? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote: a company that helps e-commerce brands turn their website browsers into buyers—without hurting the user experience.