Upselling is the process by which a store encourages customers to buy a more expensive item, an upgrade, or add-ons that will improve their experience. This can have several benefits to both the customer and the seller. On the customer’s side, it helps make sure that they get the best bargain for their money and that they get the exact item they want. For the seller, it increases overall revenue and builds a relationship as you assist the customer in the buying journey.

What Is an Upsell?

An upsell is about getting a customer to buy a more expensive version of an item or an accessory to the item they have decided to purchase, but that doesn’t mean it’s about blind consumerism. The key to a successful upsell is that the customer gets something out of the experience. Instead of just buying a more expensive version of the product they want, they upgrade to something that provides more features, has better customer reviews, or provides better quality for the money they spend on a dollar for dollar basis. Upselling is something which all online businesses should consider, but they key to doing it right is to make sure that the customer gets more satisfaction out of the new product than the old one.

Making the Upsell Relevant

An examination of the products you sell can help point you in the direction of how to properly upsell your customers. For example, if you sell shoes to somebody and you also have socks made under the same brand, then the upsell becomes natural. Pointing the customer to the matching socks provides them a way in which they can spend slightly more but still get a good return on their purchase – they buy something that they need and which has relevance to what they were looking for. By contrast, a shoe sale that then offers a hat as an upsell item fails in the goal of being relevant to the sale. While the customer may like a hat, they didn’t come looking for it. Such an upsell attempt seems more gimmicky and random than useful.

Make a Product Road Map

To figure out which items make for relevant upsells, create a product road map that helps get you in the mindset of somebody buying a specific item for the first time. For example, if somebody goes to an online store that offers photography equipment and purchases a new camera, then one of two things is probably true. Either the person is a skilled photographer who knows what they want or the person is new to photography and only knows the basics of the camera. In the former case, the expert probably knows where to go to get what they need. The newcomer, though, might not be purchasing the best camera for them or might not know all the useful accessories. Thinking from the perspective of somebody growing into the hobby allows you to generate more upselling options.

Leverage Limited Time Offers

One of the greatest tools you have at your disposal for the upsell is the ability to create limited time offers. Identify high-end items and accessories that you want to make more appealing and provide them at a limited time discount. This can convince many customers to pay just a little bit more in order to take advantage of a great deal. A flash sale on a popular brand, for example, provides the customer with a reward for choosing the higher end option. Certain accessories might be available at a discount to customers who order a related product within a certain time frame. Creating limited time offers gets customers in the habit of seeking upsell options in the future. It also creates a sense of urgency that can drive sales immediately.

In order for upselling to be successful in your online store, you need to make sure that it meets several explicit goals. You need to keep the customer’s interests in mind at all times. If you can’t engage customers with offers that meet their needs, any upselling attempts just create noise that makes your store less useful. You need to think about each sale as an investment that the customer is making in a certain area and ensure that any upgrades or additional products will help them grow as a user. Finally, you need to be sure to leverage limited time offers to your advantage, giving customers a sense of urgency and ensuring that they have a good reason to make the upgraded purchase.