Marketing Analytics - Essentials of Cross-Selling and Upselling

Marketing Analytics - Essentials of Cross-Selling and Upselling

Cross-selling and Upselling are considered to be amongst the most widely mentioned perceptions in marketing analytics at present. This particular concept is applied in your everyday life once you visit a restaurant or supermarket to purchase something.

What exactly is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling happens to persuade clients to buy services or products in addition to the original products they were interested in purchasing. On most occasions, the cross-sold objects are complementary to each other such that consumers have plenty of reason to buy both of them.

After an item has been added by the customers to their cart, they are indirectly informing the company that they are active customers and have the intention of purchasing. At this particular point, many companies will often be implementing cross-sell by endorsing a complementary product or by offering a discount, provided both are bought simultaneously.

Since most customers are prepared to buy the item at this step, they have gotten over a significant obstacle by now, and it is likely for them to make a last-minute purchase impulsively.

For instance, if a consumer is going to purchase a smartphone, there's a high possibility of purchasing a phone case or a pair of headphones if they are provided with a lucrative deal on those items. It has been estimated by Amazon that as many as 38% of its revenue is derived from these sorts of cross-selling practices.

Cross-Selling versus Upselling

Upselling can be defined as motivating consumers to include add-ons to the service or product they are buying or even upgrade it. On most occasions, the service or product being promoted is usually a more costly add-on or product that will increase the overall order value.

Upselling, just like cross-selling, usually takes place in the part of the journey of the purchaser where they've initiated checkout or added to cart and are more accessible to final sales endeavors. As the customer has already researched the product, they might have considered the add-on or upgrade to increase the probability of ultimately deciding to make the switch eventually at the 11th hour.

For example, take the example of a smartphone which has been mentioned previously. Once a customer initiates the purchasing process, the company can provide them with an upgrade to a model with a bigger screen, more memory, a faster processor, and so forth. They might likewise offer purchase protection, or warranties, which happen to be inexpensive protections for the consumer but are extremely lucrative to the business.

Cross-Selling versus Upselling

Cross-selling and upselling are usually performed in the middle and later phases of the conversion funnel. It has been already indicated by a consumer that he or she is probably going to purchase. Moreover, both approaches promote services or products that are similar to the original product that the consumer planned to buy.

Cross-selling, as well as upselling, is vital when it comes to enhancing AOV (average order value) plus profitability, and they are often used together. Nevertheless, they can affect the business in a slightly different way. Upselling usually encourages upgrading to a product of a higher margin, while cross-selling might not always enhance the margin rate. It actually enhances the average order value by including extra items.

The business model of a company will be dictating whether upselling or cross-selling is more lucrative. For instance, in a typical e-commerce business where a high fixed cost is added to orders by shipping or customer acquisition, companies will usually intend to increase the average order value to minimize the effect of these expenses.

>Suppose you are going to sell a product worth $20 with a 50% gross margin, $2 cost of obtaining customers via marketing, and $5 flat shipping charges. While selling just one unit, the net profit is going to be just $3. Suppose it is possible for you to cross-sell them by adding an item worth $5 at a similar margin. In that case, you can probably package them together such that the shipping expenses are hardly affected, and your net profit is increased to approximately $5.50. Therefore, it will be possible to almost double your profit on that particular order by simply getting the consumer to purchase a small complimentary item.

>On the contrary, some companies find it more lucrative to prioritize upselling to get the customers to add add-ons or upgrade to a higher-end item. For instance, companies marketing high-end electrical items may find that shipping plus other flat expenses are comparatively negligible, unlike the item's price. Convincing a consumer to upgrade to a costlier version of the article can affect profitability more as compared to appending one more small item.

Cross-Selling versus Upselling

We make use of cross-selling and upselling in different types of industries and businesses. Here we have provided a few examples of e-commerce sites that have implemented these types of sales strategies:

1. Sleep Outfitters on Cross-selling Bed Base along with Mattress

Sleep Outfitters happens to be a leading mattress seller. When a mattress is purchased by a customer, a cross-sell is immediately displayed by the website by means of offering a foundation or bed base during the procedure of adding to the cart. They will also be able to suggest the correct size, given that they know exactly what size bed the consumer is shopping for.

2. Upselling Warranty plus Protection Plans along with Computers

HP is reputed for being a leading global PC manufacturer. Once a client starts buying a computer from them, the website displays upsells through various protection plans and warranties. Apart from this, they likewise include visual indicators for pushing clients toward those plans which are more comprehensive.

Ways of using upsell and cross-sell techniques

In case you like to achieve success in your business, it will be imperative to follow cross-sell and upsell strategies. Below, we have mentioned several surefire upselling and cross-selling strategies which will come of use to you.


Offer a discount

Make sure to provide special offers to your clients in the form of coupons so as to nurture them. Otherwise, you can likewise offer them a free service for 3 months provided they end up purchasing any digital product from your outlet.

However, find out the offer's ROI rate prior to making any offer. Refrain from offering too much discount, and it is imperative for the numbers to make some sense. Following this, you need to wait patiently for the responses of the customers.


Pick your dedicated customers

Your loyal customers are those who are regularly purchasing from you. In fact, these are the ones whom you should be cross-selling or upselling. Your campaign should convert given that they already had a good experience of your product on most occasions. Also, request them to provide feedback. Make use of the feedback for deciding whether your campaign is a failure or a success.


Start writing a blog post on a particular topic

It will be imperative to write a blog such that your customers will be able to relate to subjects such as cross-selling and upselling easily. In case one comes to know what exactly is cross-sell and upsell from the blog, then he or she will probably implement it.


Perform weekly business reviews

Business reviews are extremely crucial for the lucrativeness of your company, given that they provide the perfect opportunity for cross-selling and upselling the existing customer. Upselling and cross-selling are regarding comprehending customer requirements. And one cannot perform without receiving proper feedback from customers.


Inform them why they require it

Tell them that they need these techniques for enhancing the sale as well as revenue for their company. If you tell your customers directly what they require, there is a higher possibility of closing the cross-sell or upsell. It will be possible to inform your customers regarding the strategies by using email marketing or writing blogs.

Advantages Of cross-selling and upselling


Increases rates of conversion


Promotes innovation


Enhances customer service


Balances the connection between existing and new customers


Simple to sell an unwanted item


Provides flexibility and convenience


Helps to generate lead and also convert them into dedicated customers

Advantages Of cross-selling and upselling



  • There is a risk of relation getting disrupted with the existing clients
  • The consumer might not show any interest in the offers or might feel that they are being forced to buy the product


  • Provides a costlier product in the long run
  • It is quite challenging to convince the customers that a better quality product is more valuable as compared to an inexpensive product


Upselling, as well as cross-selling, are both advantageous for helping to develop the business. Consequently, make sure to cross-sell or upsell your existing clients after they have finished their shopping on your site. These strategies, as mentioned above, happen to be one of the simplest ways to get back revenue and sales for your company.