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10+ Upselling Techniques and Examples to Generate More Revenue

Updated on February 2, 2022

11 Min Read
Upselling Techniques

Upselling is by far one of the best ways to boost sales in your ecommerce store. It doesn’t even require a lot of additional work! On average, upselling is considered to be 20 times more effective when compared with cross-selling.

When it comes to selling online, the difference isn’t as much as you think with brick and mortar stores. The whole concept of ecommerce is that you do business in exactly the same way, except you do it online. And, just like in physical stores, you can always come up with different upselling techniques as well.

As you can imagine, social psychologists and behavioral scientists have garnered lots of knowledge about the art of selling over the past century. For instance, businesses use a range of techniques to sell goods, including upselling, product bundles, cross-selling, and a lot more.

Many big stores have learned how to effectively extrapolate their brick and mortar upselling techniques and translate them to their websites. If you check out major stores like Amazon, you will notice that the company uses an array of upselling methods.

In fact, all you need is to identify some trending products, set up an online store, and start selling!

Have you ever seen the “Add an Accessory” tab when shopping from Amazon? That’s a prime example of an upselling technique that the company uses! That’s not all; the company also regularly creates a feeling of scarcity by showing the availability of items in stock, encouraging you to purchase immediately.

This is the art of online upselling. 

Here’s a simple example: let’s assume that you can make $1 on average for each sale that you make with upselling. Now, let’s say that you make $5,000 in sales in a month without upselling. Essentially, that’s $5,000 you are just leaving on the table—which shows exactly why you should be doing it.

Translate that to a year, and you are losing a whopping $60,000 in upsells! You need to strategize and come up with multiple upselling techniques to boost sales.

Many small businesses refuse to upsell, mainly because they think it might seem a bit pushy. However, if you know the right upselling techniques, your customers will be more than happy to drop a few more bucks and get something else!

What is Upselling?

Upselling is a commonly used technique in order to convince or coax a customer to spend more than they intended by offering upgrades or add-ons that add value to their initial purchase. The add-on or upgrade is more profitable for the company and adds greater value to the customer’s purchase.

What is the Difference between Upselling and Cross-Selling?

In the simplest form, upselling is a sales technique where you offer customers the chance to buy an upgrade, or a more expensive version, of what they are already buying. What’s in it for the customer? Better value.

The concept is simple: you have to try and make the customer spend more money than they originally wanted to. It may seem a bit dubious ethically when written like this, but it’s absolutely not.

In exchange for a bit more money, you are offering a better product, something that offers more value to your customers.

Cross-selling, on the other hand, is a method for selling related products to a consumer. For instance, if a customer is buying a hair straightener, you can cross-sell hair straightening products to them.

Cross-Selling and UpsellingSource: Linkedin – Victor Antonio

As you can see from the image above, cross-selling is about offering parallel products within a similar niche. Upselling, on the other hand, simply means offering a higher value upgrade for a fraction of the price.

Upselling Example

A hotel may upsell a hotel room booking by adding more features (ocean view, unlimited Wi-Fi, etc.), and can cross-sell by offering sightseeing tours, or access to a gym at a reduced price.

10+ Upselling Techniques and Examples to Increase Sales

If you are interested in upselling to your customers, here are the 10 best tips and techniques that you should follow.

1. Maintain a Maximum Price Margin

One of the first things that you need to know about upselling is to make sure that you maintain a price margin for the maximum amount that you are going to upsell to a customer.

For instance, if a customer is buying something that is worth $100, there’s no point in offering an upsell for $200 to that customer. Ideally, your price margin should not be more than 50% of the customer’s original purchase.

You can try and upsell at a higher price margin, but the chances of a successful upsell will decrease significantly. To avoid this issue, it’s best to always keep a price margin that’s no more than 50%. Just make sure you keep the ecommerce website cost affordable to keep the prospect engaged.

Also, don’t go for the highest margin all the time. It’s always important to maintain relevance when upselling instead of just looking to maximize profits.

The Dollar Shave Club has one of the best upselling examples of this. Their add-ons are illustrated below:

Dollar Shave ClubSource: The Dollar Shave Club

As you can see, the value of the upsell is considerably low when you take into account the base value of the purchase ($18.90). The lowest price is shown at the left, and most people don’t even think twice before adding a $1 item to their cart!

If you want to learn how to upsell, emulating these examples is a wise idea.

2. Make Upsells as Easy as Possible

This one is fairly simple: you have to make it very easy for your customers to add upsold products to their cart and check out quickly. Here’s an example:

Trusted ShopsSource:  Trusted Shops

These are the options that are shown when you are about to place an order for a laptop on Apple’s website. You can easily decide to change the configuration however you please.

All it takes is one click.

When it comes to upselling, laptop configuration pages are a great example. Go to any major hardware manufacturer and check the options available. It takes just one click to change the configuration, and you can check out from the very next page. Even if you sell on Facebook Marketplace, optimize your upsells accordingly.

The aim here is to make this whole process as simple as possible, so the customer doesn’t have to think twice. Because if they do, they might decide against the upsell!

This being said, it’s imperative that you provide complete information about the offer. It’s one of the most important upselling tips that I give to readers: be as transparent as you can.

3. Offer Bundled Products or Services and Make it Convincing

One of the most effective upselling techniques that you can follow is to offer a bundle to your clients instead of upselling an upgrade or another product. The key here lies in making sure that you create strategic bundles, or else nobody would buy them.

If you are using Shopify, you can use a plugin such as Bold Bundles in order to create different product bundles and upsell to your clients. Here’s a fine example from the Shopify App Store:

Shopify App StoreSource: Shopify App Store

Instead of simply upselling a laptop bag, the offer above bundles the whole thing into one package. And, while the customer is getting a good deal, you are also making a bigger sale! It works both ways!

4. Add Recommendation Options and Popups to Your Store

One of the most effective upselling techniques to follow is to add recommendation options and popups in your store. Almost every ecommerce app now gives you recommendation widgets that you can add to your store.

Showing a row of product recommendations at the end of a page or on the side is a fantastic way to entice a shopper to add something else to their carts. Of course, it all depends on the relevancy of the products!

PersonalizationSource: Personalization

As you can see in the example above, the user is simply browsing dresses, and at the bottom of their screen, a whole bunch of similar dresses are also shown. It’s a fairly simple way to get a customer to buy something else at the same time as well.

Then, you have the classic Amazon example:

Classic Amazon ExampleSource:

It shows you what other customers have bought when you are about to buy something similar. It’s a common recommendation widget that almost everyone knows about, and it’s highly effective.

Here’s a tip for upselling: the layout should be non-intrusive, so that it doesn’t seem that you are trying to be too pushy with the upsell.

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5. Always Give Multiple Choices

There’s no point in upselling just one offer to your customers. Instead, you should try and upsell multiple offers to your clients. A combination of upselling and cross-selling usually works best, because it will increase your chances of generating additional revenue.

For instance, you could upsell something on the product page, and then cross-sell something else on the cart page. This will increase the average order value and your customers will find it much easier to buy whatever they require (or desire).

WooCommerceSource: WooCommerce

As you can see above, Apple offers a range of different products, and you can easily choose whatever you want and add it to your cart right away.

They don’t just bake in one offer and repeatedly upsell the same thing over and over again. From the protection plan to the adapter to the length of the lightning cable, everything is available at the touch of a click.

Always remember to offer different choices to your customers, so that they don’t get bored. It’ll also increase the chance of a successful upsell.

6. Use the Right Language

When we talk about successful marketing, language plays a very important role. Without the use of power words, your chances of a successful upsell will decrease dramatically.

When writing a statement for an upsell, your aim should be to make a reader understand just how much value the upgrade offers. Through your writing, you must make the reader imagine how this upgrade could be useful for them.

Alternatively, you could use the psychological fear of missing out in order to get them to buy. Here’s a simple example from Spotify’s page:

SpotifySource: Spotify

As you can see, FOMO clearly highlights just how much better your experience will be if you opt for Spotify Premium. Obviously, this also plays a role in the overall ecommerce experience of your store.

7. Offer Free Shipping

This one ties in with the second point: make upselling as easy as possible. The best way to do that is by incentivizing the upsell and offering free shipping.

According to UPS, 43% of online shoppers research delivery costs before shopping online. It’s something you can leverage in order to make your upsells more attractive. 47% of online shoppers do not like to pay for free shipping.

If you have a minimum spending threshold for a customer to qualify for free shipping, you can remind users of that, and then upsell something which puts them over the threshold.

Blackbelt CommerceSource: Blackbelt Commerce

As you can see, the shopper is reminded at the top that they are still a bit away from qualifying from free shipping. You’d be surprised to know just how big of a role this plays in convincing a person to buy more!

8. Always Be Transparent About Pricing Breakdowns

One of the things that you want to do when upselling to a customer is to be as transparent as possible about the pricing breakdown. If you are upselling something, you need to provide detailed information to your customer about what they are getting by breaking down the product features of the various options made available to them.

Here’s a simple example:

Cloudways PricingSource: Cloudways Pricing

As you can see, they provide a detailed comparison and breakdown for the upsell. You get to know just how much value you are getting if you decide to go for the upsell.

If you are selling a product and not a service, make sure you use the right ecommerce product images for it as well. Product images may seem like simple upselling techniques, but they play a critical role in convincing customers to buy, especially when they can visualize features that clearly position the upsold product as “bigger and better.”

9. Leverage Social Proof to Convince Buyers

As humans, we thrive on validation. Social proof plays a critical role and makes it easy for us to take steps that we would normally think twice about. When going for an upsell, leveraging social proof is a great way to make a customer buy from you.

Amazon, the leader in ecommerce, does this really well:

Amazon - other customers have viewed exampleSource: Amazon

They even show you what other customers have viewed. There’s obviously a high chance that people would follow through on these links.

10. Always Use the Rule of Three

Marketers often talk about the “rule of three,” but few people actually know what it is. The answer to this is simple: humans like patterns, and using the rule of three when it comes to upselling is a wise idea.

There are a bunch of studies which show that people tend to respond best when they are given options. Three pricing options, for instance, or three upsell options, are both great choices.

Easy Digital DownloadsSource: Easy Digital Downloads

This is a simple example of how the rule of three works. However, when giving different pricing options, it’s important that you provide details about the value that the customer gets for the pricing difference. There are other similar upselling examples littered all over the web.

You will notice a major uptick in sales.

11. The Decoy Effect

The decoy effect is a clever strategy that marketers use in order to make a person switch from one product to another more expensive one.

Let’s assume that you are looking at two products; one that retails for $500 and comes with five attachments, and another that retails for $800, but comes with 10 attachments.

However, it’s not really clear which one offers the better value for money. Now, what if you introduce a product at $600, with 8 attachments? For a mere $100 more, you get 60% more value.

This is the decoy effect. The key here is to place the decoy at a price point that makes one of the products more attractive. The concept is quite simple: when consumers have multiple choices, they experience what is known as a choice overload.

To mitigate their confusion, consumers focus on just a couple of factors: usually quantity and pricing. So, the decoy effect is simply designed to “nudge” a person towards selecting a particular product.

Get the Upsell—You’ve Got This!

These are some of the most effective upselling techniques that you can use. You can incorporate these upselling tips in your website, and you will notice positive changes in the way of customers opting into more product purchases, meaning more money for you. Once you have learned how to upsell and cross-sell, you can read our articles on 35+ Best Dropshipping Products and 15 Best Print on Demand Products to Sell in 2022.  If you have any more tips or techniques that you would like to share, do let us know in the comments below!

Q1. What could be a good example of upselling?

A very good example of upselling is offering a discount percentage (generally 10 to 20%) for addons. Since the customer has already bought the base model/option, the discount is a great way of inducing the customer to buy the next level of the product lineup.

Q2. What is upselling technique?

Upselling is one of the most popular sales techniques that focus on getting customers to spend more by buying upgrades or more premium versions of the product.

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Najam Ahmed

I work as a digital content producer at Cloudways. Besides that, I love to read, and i love to play the guitar. Fan of all things Arsenal and the Patriots. Occasional gamer. I like to fly drones too. Jack of all trades.


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