Shopify Store Guide for Upselling and Cross-Selling More Products (+8 Customer Retention Tips)

This scenario has likely happened to you before — you went online to buy a specific item, and ended up with a shopping cart full of other fun and exciting products you hadn’t planned on buying.

This is the power of upselling and cross-selling — offering your customers product recommendations and premium upgrades that can increase their average order value and sell them more products thoughtfully.

Upselling and cross-selling are common in ecommerce to increase profits by 10% - 30%, improve ROI, and move more products.

In this article, we’ll discuss upselling and cross-selling techniques to use with your Shopify store to sell more products easily. 

Plus, we’ll review the top tactics you can use to retain your customers and drive repeat purchases for more upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

What is considered an upsell in ecommerce?

Upselling is a common term in ecommerce that can have multiple meanings — usually upselling refers to increasing the average order value (AOV) of the customer’s shopping cart by recommending product upgrades, bundled or bulk purchases, and more. 

Sometimes upsells are used synonymously with cross-sells, even though they are technically different, which we will cover later in this article.

Upselling can occur during different phases of the customer journey, not just on the product and checkout pages, but also through post purchase emails.

For example, during the checkout page, your customer may have added one cosmetic item to their cart. An example of an upsell can include:

  • Offering a 3-pack bundle of cosmetics for a discounted price, while still increasing AOV
  • Suggesting a more expensive, premium version of the cosmetic
  • Offering different tiered pricing, recommending multiple versions of the same upgraded product at different price points (basic, standard, premium) or (bronze, silver, gold)

How is a cross-sell different from an upsell?

Cross-selling and upselling are both strategies that can increase your customer’s AOV and boost sales, however, there are key differences between the two.

Cross-selling works by recommending related or complementary products as easy “add-ons” that your customer can quickly add to their cart during checkout.

Upselling works by recommending more expensive versions of the cart so your customer will swap out the less expensive item with the more expensive item, or opt for bulk purchases.

A great example of cross-selling occurs at the grocery store — candy bars, magazines, and gum are conveniently placed right before the cashier’s checkout, making it easy to grab and add to your shopping cart, increasing the price of the order.

Another example of cross-selling is recommending “related products” or “customers also bought” at the bottom of the checkout page. 

For example, people shopping for rock climbing equipment might have chalk, rope, and shoes recommended as easy cross-sells. 

Sometimes cross-sells come in the form of bundles — a photographer buying a tripod might have a photography bundle that includes the tripod, self-timer, and light reflectors suggested to them to increase the sale’s value.

What are the most common forms of upselling?

The odds of success of selling to an existing customer are 60% -70%, whereas selling to a new customer is more difficult, with only a 5%-20% success rate. 

Because it’s easier to sell to an existing customer or a new one, upselling is an essential ecommerce sale strategy that can improve ROI and retain customers.

Let’s look at the most common ways you can upsell to your existing customers.

Product upgrades

Have you ever seen the “compare to similar items” section while browsing for products?

Usually, these product comparisons are at the bottom of the product page, and provide additional info about each of the products, including specifications, pricing, and even reviews.

By offering multiple priced tiers of the same product, you can quickly get your customers to swap out their base model product for a more premium product.

One example can include selling laptops. By comparing different laptops at the bottom of the product page, your customer can quickly realize the base model they selected doesn’t have enough storage and will replace their selected model with the premium, more expensive model.

Upselling at checkout with special plans or services

Another way to increase your customer’s AOV is to offer special protection plans, warranties, or adding a special touch like offering gift wrapping. 

Adding the option for gift wrapping is an easy upsell, especially during the holiday season.

Offering free delivery for orders over a certain amount

If you want an easy way to encourage your customers to add another product to their cart, consider offering free delivery for orders over a certain amount, such as $50 or $75.

Bundled purchases

If your customer is purchasing a single pair of organic cotton socks, an easy way to upsell is to offer multiple bundles of socks — 3 packs, 5 packs, or 10 packs. 

To incentivize your customer to make the upsell, offer discounted pricing that gives them a better deal to purchase in bulk — they’ll feel like they’re getting a better deal and you’ll increase your sales.

What are the most common forms of cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a popular technique that can subtly encourage your customer to add to their shopping cart, usually by recommending similar or complementary products to enhance their order.

Below are some of the most common cross-selling techniques that can easily boost sales figures.

Order bumps

Order bumps are those easy add-on products that are recommended on the checkout page, usually only requiring a single click to add.

For example, after your customer has added a dog bed to their cart and proceeded the checkout page, a recommended product such as a dog toy or treats will be recommended.

To encourage the cross-sell and make it easy to purchase, these order bumps may already be selected to add-on, and the customer will need to click on the recommended product to de-select it if they don’t want it.

Recommended products

Using AI, Shopify store owners are able to recommend related products based on their store’s sales history to make smart product recommendations that your customer will be interested in adding on to their order.

Another common way to recommend products is to add a “you might also like” section at the bottom of the page to show complementary or related products. 

Discounted products

If you’re overstocked on a particular item, an easy way to sell it is by recommending it as a discounted product.

This discounted product could be the recommended product used in your order bump, being shown immediately after your customer has added a product to their cart and proceeded to the checkout page.

Popular items

If you have a top-selling item that’s trending, make the most out of its popularity and include a “most popular items” or “best sellers” section at the bottom of checkout pages.

Tactics for improving your upselling and cross-selling sales

Are you looking for more ways to successfully sell more add-on products? 

Try out these tactics to increase your customer’s cart value and sell more products from your Shopify store.

Create a sense of urgency

You may consider adding a time-sensitive offer during the checkout process, such as offering a limited-time discount on an add-on product.

For example, you may show a recommended product and say “while supplies last” or even add a timer to the checkout page to prevent cart abandonment. 

Use replenishment emails 

Replenishment emails remind your customers they’re almost out of their current supply or product and need to make another purchase.

For example, you may send an email that says, “Is it time to restock on X again?” 

Replenishment emails are great for consumables, such as food, toiletries, and cosmetics where the customer constantly needs to stock up on the same supplies every few weeks.

AI “smart product recommendations”

Using AI, you can recommend products to your customers based on their sales history, ensuring that you’re both recommending products related to their past purchases, and recommending products they haven’t yet browsed on your store.

You should avoid recommending the same products your customer has previously purchased during checkout. While this is appropriate for replenishment emails, it’s not the best technique for product recommendations.

Use winback emails

Winback emails are sent to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a long time to get them to come back to your store.

Usually, winback emails are triggered by a set amount of time decided by the Shopify store owner.

They can be sent weeks or even months after your customer’s last purchase to remind them to come back to your store.

To sweeten the deal and encourage an easy purchase, offer a limited use discount code to bring them back.

8 customer retention tips to increase repeat purchases

Have you spent time investing in turning your existing customers into loyal customers? 

If not, you should because your most loyal customers can be worth as much as 10 times the amount of their very first purchase!

Marketing to existing customers should be part of your customer retention strategy — because 65% of a company’s income comes from repeat customers.

Returning customers also spend more on average than new customers, making it easier to increase profits through more cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Let’s review eight customer retention tips to increase customer loyalty, drive more upsells, and generate more income for your Shopify store.

Create a loyalty program

Some ecommerce brands create a loyalty program that offers points that can be redeemed for later discounts.

However, there is another way to create a loyalty program — sending limited-use discount promo codes in post purchase emails such as order confirmation or shipping confirmations.

These special offers are only available to customers who have made a purchase, and encourages them to redeem their discount within a certain period of time, thanking the customer for their continued loyalty. 

And don’t forget to add recommended products at the bottom of order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails!

Ask for their feedback and reward them

Asking for reviews on your products has a two-fold benefit—more reviews on your products will increase their popularity and profitability, and the act of asking for a review also shows your customer you value their feedback.

To show your thanks for a product review, you can send your customer a special limited-use discount code as a sign of thanks. 

Just be careful not to promise any gift in exchange for a positive review, as this breaks many ecommerce store policies.

Send personalized emails

A simple way to create loyalty with your customer is addressing them by their first name, either in emails, or in subject titles.

Personalized emails have a 29% higher open rate compared to general emails, and it’s simple to automatically send personalized emails with UpOrder.

Not only should you personlize emails with your customer’s name, but you can also recommend “smart product recommendations” to include recommended products based on your customer’s shopping history.

Brand and optimize your email notifications

Don’t settle for generic and plain Shopify notifications to send transactional emails to your customers following a purchase.

Instead, brand your post purchase emails with your store’s logo, styling, and aesthetic to become an extension of your store to increase brand recognition and trust with your customer.

While transactional email rates have naturally high open rates, promotional and commercial emails have more difficulty getting opened. 

If you can familiarize your customer with your branded transactional emails, they’ll be more likely to open up future promotional emails.

Offer a great ecommerce customer experience

Providing an outstanding ecommerce experience and selling great products is the surest way to improve customer retention.

By using transactional emails, you can keep your customer informed and happy through every step of their order and fulfillment process, providing clear expectations on when they can expect their product.

Include helpful blogs in post purchase emails

Sometimes certain products need additional information to help your customers use the product.

For instance, if your customer has just purchased a tent, why not include a blog post in their order confirmation that explains how to set up the tent they just purchased.

Adding blogs to transactional and post-purchase emails is a quick way to redirect your visitor back to your store, where they can make another purchase.

Referral links

Let your best customers do the advertising for your company—they already love your brand and want to share it with their friends and family.

Create referral links that you can send to shoppers to reward them for sharing your store with their friends.

Create unique discounts

Using UpOrder, you can create dynamic discount codes that can instill urgency in your Shopify notification email.

Limited use discounts can be set up and personalized for individual customers. One great technique is using your customer’s name in the discount code itself. 

For example, a discount code named “REBECCA20” can provide 20% off, and because it uses the customer’s name, they will be more likely to take advantage of the discount.

Try UpOrder — smart upsells, email notifications, and unique discounts for Shopify stores

UpOrder is a Shopify app that makes it easy to recommend smart product upsells, create unique discount codes, and send branded email notifications to your customers.

Instead of using boring Shopify notification emails, use UpOrder and watch your sales increase by at least 15%.

See how Nudestix was able to turn their post purchase emails into money makers using UpOrder.

Get started with your free 30-day trial and see how UpOrder can generate more revenue for your Shopify store.

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