Upselling vs Cross Selling – How To Increase Your Profit?

Finding ways to continually please your customers and increase your profits are at the heart of most businesses. Creating more working capital and beefing up business funding are also high on the priority list. One strategy to boost sales and revenue many companies overlook is the art of ‘up-selling’ and its sister ‘cross-selling.’


Up-selling means asking a customer to buy something more or better than they originally intended to. For example, you planned to buy a condo but your agent convinced you to buy a mansion.


Cross-selling means asking customers to buy something complementary to their original purchase. For example, “Do you want fries with that?”

While you do not want to go overboard or start annoying your customers, studies show that asking customers if they want better or more products does lead to more sales. For example, business research data firm Forrester has found that up-sells and cross-sells account for 30 percent of e-commerce revenue.

And it tends to work best among your current customer base. Research has shown that your odds of getting a new potential customer to buy something is only between 5 percent and 20 percent, but you are 60 percent to 70 percent likely to sell to an existing customer.

When trying a new up-sell or cross-sell strategy, you can think of multiple ways to boost your business.

How to increase profit using up-selling and cross-selling?

  • Upselling tends to be more effective than cross-selling in online sales.
  • When cross-selling, choose lower-priced items to pair with purchases.
  • Accessories are great options to offer with big-ticket items like computers, tablets, gaming systems, etc. It works on a smaller scale as well.
  • The cross-sell should always cost considerably less than the main purchase.
  • With both upsells and cross-sells, the total order cost should not increase by more than 25 percent or you will likely lose the customer’s interest or even the entire sale altogether.
  • Choose upgrades, add-ons or paired products with which your customers are familiar. If they are going to spend extra money somewhat spur-of-the-moment they need to be comfortable assessing the value of that extra product.

And remember, the process of deciding what to upsell or cross-sell should be ongoing based on how your customer base responds. Listening to your clients is the key to improving your tactics and your revenue.


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