6 upselling tips to increase your ecommerce revenue

Posted by Emil Kristensen on 27 Nov, 2018
View comments Marketing
Upselling not only benefits your bottom line, it also adds value to your customers' purchases.


What’s better than one poop emoji mask?

15 poop emoji masks… apparently.

Emojimasks.com sell their poop emoji masks at $4.95 a piece.

Or you can get a party pack of 15 for $49.95, which is an excellent example of an upsell if you ask me.

Whether you persuade your customers to buy an upgrade, a more expensive item or just more of your products, the main goal of upselling is to increase your average order value.

48% of online shoppers say they have spent more than they originally planned when shopping online. Naturally, what you want is for them to spend their extra dough at your online store.

This would be great for your bottom line, of course. But you don’t need to feel shady about it.

Upsells benefit your customers, too. They add value to their purchases.

In our example above, the customer saves money by purchasing their number-two-themed attire in bulk and they can invite their friends in on the fun.

So, I’m here to give you some top upselling tips that will both increase your ecommerce revenue and serve your customers.

1. Make a reasonable offer

If a customer is about to purchase a backpack at your online store…

Then you’re not going to offer them, say, a lava lamp as an upgrade on their purchase. It makes no sense.

I know that this is an extreme example. But it is vital that you only upsell relevant items.

The cool thing is, people actually want to see your similar items. 46% of online shoppers say they would like to see more product comparisons.

When you give people more relevant options, you are more likely to make a sale.

This is what a standard upsell looks like - one product and a premium version of that product:

Upgrade plans.

The upsell is clearly relevant as it comprises the same package with more benefits.

But not every product has an obvious upsell.

If you are struggling to find relevant items to offer, here are a few more ideas...

This company offers a subscription service to up the order value:

GOBY options.

Walmart offers multipacks of the same product at a discounted rate:


Here, with Protein World, if you buy one health food product, you get a discount on the second:

2nd buy discount.

You could easily nab one of these ideas and apply them to your products.

Another way to make sure your offer is reasonable is to minimize the difference in price between the product and the upsell.

This is, of course, relative to the item in question. In other words, a $50 upgrade on an item that costs $500 doesn’t seem so bad.

But a $50 upgrade on an item that costs $50 originally, doubles the price and seems outrageous.

The takeaway here is that the purpose of your upsell is not just to bring in as much extra cash as possible.

Make a relevant recommendation with a justifiable price increase.

2. Provide genuine value to your customers

The ecommerce landscape is ultra competitive. Therefore, you need to make sure that customers trust your brand. And that they know you put their interests first.

As a consequence, they will be more likely to make additional purchases and return to your store.  39.4% of customers who are loyal to a brand will spend more even if they know they can get a product cheaper elsewhere.

loyal customers.

Source: https://www.yotpo.com/blog/customer-loyalty-survey-data/

When it comes to your upsell, emphasize the benefits of your offer. This shows the true value you provide to customers.

For example, GoPro does this by avoiding complicated tech speak and simply outlining the benefits of their different models:

Camera beginners.

Camera premium

The implication here is that the HERO7 White is an easy-to-use beginner’s model; while the Fusion is more of a premium offering that shoots “everything”.

If you really do offer added value, customers will leave your site feeling content and even grateful to your brand.

This is especially true if you are aware of your customers’ needs and desires.

Get to know your customers by listening to their feedback, monitoring social media conversations and carrying out surveys.

Then you know exactly what offer to make as an upsell, i.e. what will add value to their purchase.

For instance, if you sell tablets and customers often comment that a certain model doesn’t have enough memory…

Upsell a model with better storage space to new customers.

Know what your customers’ problems are.

This will help you not only provide a solution in the form of an upsell but also to express the value of this upsell on your site.

3. Be persuasive

Unless they are late-night, drunk-shopping, your customers will spend time considering their purchases. So, you must find ways to persuade visitors to opt for your upsell.

Firstly, use social proof to get them on board.

Displaying reviews for low-priced items increases conversions by 190%.

This jumps to a mahoosive 380% increase in conversions for high-priced items.


Source: http://spiegel.medill.northwestern.edu/online-reviews/

So, be sure to include star-ratings or testimonials alongside your product listings.

Home Depot offers a comparison chart on their product page, which includes star ratings for tools that other customers considered:

star ratings.

Including certain phrases in your copy, also adds an element of social proof.

That’s why you’ll see related items listed under phrases such as:

  • “Popular alternatives include…”
  • “Customers also bought…”
  • “Take a look at our best sellers…”

Or in this example from AO, “People who viewed this went on to buy”:

Went on to buy.

Another way to persuade customers to increase their average order value is to an offer an incentive.

Amazon do a great job of this by offering free delivery when you reach a certain spend.

free shipping.

That’s not the only way they incentivize purchases.

Honestly, Amazon is queen when it comes to the upsell.

Recently, I personally agreed to a cheap seven-day Prime trial to save money on shipping costs.

I enjoyed the service so much that I ended up subscribing to Prime...

They upsold me.

Now I get unlimited, free, one-day deliveries and to binge watch that new, weird-looking TV show with Julia Roberts in it.

The moral of the story: free shipping is the best incentive to buy more.

Another way to incentivize an upsell would be to trigger the customer’s FOMO.

Propose your upsell as a limited-time offer.

Kiehl’s, for instance, offers $20 off when you spend more than $65… but only within a set time period:

time limited.

So, you feel as though you have to grab that bargain quick.

Essentially, social proof and incentives are ways to give customers that little nudge towards spending more at your store.

4. Personalize your offer

Your customers might as well be the Spice Girls. Because they tell you what they want, what they really, really want...

Through their actions on your site.

Personalization based on customer behaviors is undoubtedly effective.

In fact, 93% of companies that utilize personalization see an increase in conversions.

It gives you the opportunity to provide an upsell that is not only highly relevant to the product in question…

But also highly relevant to the visitor, based on products they have viewed or purchased previously.

In other words, personalization gives you an idea of which upsells are most likely to convert for each customer.

Map out your customers’ journey to discover which products to upsell to them in the future.

For instance, somebody who has just bought kids’ shoes will need an upgrade in six months’ time because they grow up so fast. *tears up*

So, you can segment customers according to their previous actions and customer lifecycles and send them upsell emails when the time is right.

Here’s an excellent example of this in action from Dollar Shave Club:

personalised suggestions.

They anticipate their customers’ needs before they themselves even know what they need.

It’s an excellent upsell tactic asking if the user wants to “toss more in”.

Because with a subscription service that has a set price you need to get creative if you want to increase the average order value.

Personalization allows you to upsell to customers over a longer period of time (not just when they reach your product pages).

5. Upsell at the right time

There are several stages of the buyer journey, during which you can go in for the kill…

And each opportunity has its own merits.

One company, for instance, found that the post-purchase upsell increased their average order value by 20%.

Let’s take a look at the different upsell ops:

i. Product page

Here, you can show products side by side and emphasize the value of opting for a higher ticket item.

Apple does this for all of their products:

Apple product comparison

ii. Checkout page

At this point, you can tempt in the impulse buyer either before or after they have checked out, and encourage them to add more to their basket with incentives.

When you head to the cart at Erstwilder, for instance, it shows how much you need to spend to qualify for free shipping (like Amazon):


iii. Popup message

You can have your popup appear at any key point of the customer journey. For instance, to propose an additional or limited-time offer at the checkout stage.

Order a bouquet at Proflowers and you can add a second at a discounted price:

2nd purchase.

iv. Post-purchase email

Think about it…

Ecommerce customers are much more likely to open an email receipt with a eye-catching subject line than a random newsletter.

So, this is a great chance to go for the upsell.

In this email receipt, Coinbase offers the chance to set up a recurring buy:

recurring purchase

And as discussed before, you can send out personalized recommendations via email.

The trick is to work out which upsell opportunity works best for you.

But don’t try them all at once… or you’ll put your customers off.

6. A/B test your offer

Now you’ve reached the final hurdle, my friend.

It’s important to A/B test your offer to get the most conversions possible.

And it works.

One company A/B tested a cross-sell (which is very similar to an upsell) and gained an extra $2 million in annual revenue.

Not too shabby, eh?

There are a few different A/B tests you can run if you hope to emulate this kind of success.

Start by testing the price point and product on offer.

Once you know which product(s) get the most conversions, you can test your copy and design elements, such as your CTA button message or color.

Take a look at this A/B test to find out which CTA button works best for an insurance upsell:

A/B testing.

The winning button got 4.8% more conversions.

The most basic way to implement your A/B test would be to make one change to your offering and see how it affects conversions in your analytics after one or two weeks.

If you want to find out why you’re getting fewer conversions than you hoped, or simply how to get more conversions and thus increase sales, then A/B testing is your friend.

Final word

Your goal is to increase your ecommerce revenue, but you can only do that by catering to the needs of your customers.

It starts by ensuring you make a relevant offer at a reasonable price.

Your offer also needs to add genuine value to the customer - why would they buy something that doesn’t?

Personalize your upsell to give them what they really, really want.

And do it at the optimal time to get more revenue for your business.

Don’t forget to run A/B tests and tweak your offers over time to make sure you get the optimal conversion rate.

So, now it’s over to you.

Find the most relevant upsells for your products within your catalog.

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