Top 5 tips for how to upsell online

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One of the oldest tricks in the book for any salesman or retailer is the art of upselling – known in the simple sense of tricking a customer into purchasing a more expensive item, or an add-on / additional item, without any previous intent from the customer to do so. However, why would you attempt this when selling product online and how would you go about doing so?

When done right, upselling can be used as a positive instead of a negative, to actually build deeper relationships with your customers. If you save a customer money, subconsciously a customer will become in debt to the retailer for allowing this saving and letting them do this. This persuasion technique usually ensures a transaction or service becomes more profitable for the retailer, especially in the long run because of more repeat custom.

It is a strategy that all online businesses should consider if they wish to increase average order value, items per transaction or brand advocacy.

But first let’s take a look at how some successful retailers are already using up-selling techniques very well on their websites…

Yours Clothing

Upselling only works when you are sensible with what you are trying to upsell with. Would you buy a new PS4 Pro for £600+ if you only had £45 worth of product in your basket? Probably not. Yours Clothing have nailed this theory, ensuring that products being pushed are sensible, all priced under the value of the product that has been added to the customer’s basket. Yours Clothing also offer a “quick-buy” option at this view, allowing the customer to stay on the basket whilst still adding product to it…

Premier Inn

A simple upsell from Premier Inn displayed to customers who select the “saver” option for room booking – which attempts to persuade the customer to purchase the “flexible” option. The copy which Premier Inn use is cleverly written, front loading the sentence with reasons for upgrading and calculating the difference between the customer’s current selection and the upgrade.


Being the masters of eCommerce, Amazon use an array of upselling and cross-selling techniques including the below recent addition – upselling the consumer to a newer model of the product. Buying the latest model or version of a product is a great upsell especially for brand advocates, just take Apple for example! Here is Amazon upselling a more expensive similar product, using star ratings and availability information as a CRO technique.

Our Top Tips:

1. Upsell product which add value by solving consumer problems

When purchasing a pair of trainers, a sensible upsell would be a pair of socks to wear with them, or a bag to carry the trainers in, but not an item which doesn’t solve any current problem, such as a watch strap…

2. Only upsell your most reviewed or most sold products

Attempting to push product which is not selling well already does not work, instead try to upsell product upgrades which are already doing well and show the customer where your demand is, because it is more than likely they are part of that same demand.

3. Be relevant & minimise the options available

Too many options is overkill and will ensure your potential customer begins contemplating their purchase again, pushing them further away from a transaction. Offer a maximum of 3 product alternatives.

4. Bundle products together

Collections of products are always more attractive, especially when products are less disposable and have longevity. Bundles of multi-pack items or groups of related products can be often up-sold from the single item because of the long term saving to a consumer – for example, why wait until your saw blade goes blunt to buy a new one, when get a spare now for 50% cheaper…

5. Offer extras if total spend is above particular thresholds

This technique is usually placed on a basket/cart page, where delivery of your purchase will become free if your transaction total is above a set threshold, so products of a low cost will be placed in attempt of allowing this “saving”. This is advantageous to a retailer as more profit can be made from a transaction with an extra item and to soak up shipping costs themselves.

Here is what you shouldn’t do:

  1. Attempt to upsell and cross-sell before a customer has even chosen a product to purchase – this is off putting.
  2. Bombard customers with too many options – this will confuse your customer.
  3. Sneaky tactics like hiding pre-selected add-ons in the hope customers do not notice it – just, don’t.

In summary, any upsell and cross-sell technique should be used as marketing strategies to help customers make better decisions, faster. In hope that you achieve your number one goal: make your customers happier.

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