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This is the second article in a five part series on structuring your website for conversion.
Part 2: 5 Key Guidelines for Upselling and Cross-Selling
The art of upselling and cross-selling has been around since humans began trading seashells for leather. Throughout history, many businesses have incorporated upselling and cross-selling as part of their selling strategy. McDonalds, for example, typically asks, “Would you like fries with that hamburger?” Unfortunately, the art of upselling and cross-selling isn’t always incorporated into ecommerce sites, and as a result, online merchants often leave money on the table.
This article suggests ways that you can incorporate the concepts of upselling and cross-selling directly in your ecommerce site and see a direct boost in your sales.
First, a quick definition of upsell and cross-sell:
The real art in upselling and cross-selling begins with an intimate understanding of your products and how they solve problems your customers may have. Your job is to understand these problems and align your product presentation to provide the solution.
For example, a customer arrives on your site looking for a mid-range SLR digital camera. His main concerns (problems) may be:
The above list provides is only a small sample of the concerns your customers may have upon arriving at your site. Your product pages should speak to these concerns and offer accessories (cross-sells) where necessary.
The above product page pro-actively identifies cross-sell opportunities.
The suggestions below can help guide you in your efforts to upsell and cross-sell products and services on your site.
Make a list of all your products (or at least a large sub-set of your most popular products) and itemize all the corresponding upsell and cross-sell products. Of course, you can’t upsell something that is already at the top of the line, but you can always think of ways to accessorize (cross-sell) compatible products. Even if you’re just selling batteries or spare memory cards, the customer will always need something besides the product he’s currently purchasing. Then use this list to modify your product pages as appropriate.
If possible, track the upsell and cross-sell sales on your site. This is important because it will provide an ROI (return on investment) on your upsell and cross-sell efforts. These efforts require an investment of your time, so you should probably understand how that investment is paying off. Like any other business decision, if the investment shows value, you may decide to put more effort into your upselling and cross-sell efforts.
Don’t overdo it! If you’re too overt about your upsell and cross-sell efforts, customers will feel as though you’re treating them as the next sale rather than as human beings. Your upsell and cross sell messages should never get in the way. See the example of the “You May Also Like” cross-sell ad from Staples below. This cross-sell actually appears well below the fold, and it only scrolls into view when you get to toward the end of ordering business cards.
Don’t give away your possible upsell opportunities. For example, you may advertise free shipping on all your products. Consider using your free shipping as an upsell opportunity instead. You could say something like, “Free shipping on all orders of $75 or more!” This may compel people with $50 dollar orders to add a few more accessories that they were going to purchase elsewhere, but now they’ll order them through your site just to get the discount on shipping.
Use purchasing data from your existing customers to help determine cross-sell opportunities. Analyze what they put in their carts and see if you can draw relationships between the products. Keep in mind that this may not be possible if you’re not selling the right accessory products. If you suspect this is the case, you can poll some of your customers and ask them to help identify cross-sell opportunities.
By the way, if you haven’t already set up your ecommerce site, you may want to head over to the Business.com’s report for ecommerce software. It itemizes side-by-side comparisons of the most popular ecommerce software packages. You’ll see that all ecommerce packages offers upsell and cross-sell features, though some are add-on packages that may increase your software cost.
Recommended for you: Double Your Sales with Awesome Live Chat Upselling Techniques
Though the art of upselling and cross-selling products has been around for a long time, not all ecommerce merchants have been using it. You can put a lot of time and effort into identifying and implementing these features on your site, but if done properly, the effort will yield more sales. This article describes how you might implement upsell and cross-sell features on your site and identifies some key points to guide your way.
In the next article in this series, we’ll discuss ways to keep your visitors engaged on your website using clear and focused messaging.
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