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Cross-Selling: Top Tips and Tricks

Find out what is cross-selling and explore its top tips and tricks

Cross-selling means offering additional products and services to a customer who has already decided what to buy.

It is so often when you go to an electronics store in order to buy a cell phone and you end-up with buying a cell phone, case and headphones. What has happened is cross-selling.

You come into a store focused on the cell phone you would like to purchase. It is a high involvement purchase as you will use the phone every day and it is not a cheap product. A salesperson helps you to find the phone and tells you that it is recommended to buy a case to protect the beautiful body of the phone. It’s just extra $10 and you make a very quick decision to add the case into your basket.

Then, you go to a checkout and there is a small queue. You notice a showcase that shows headphones for your new phone and it costs only $40. You also add this item because it is reasonable to enhance the sound of your new phone for such little extra money.

While companies usually use cross-selling and upselling together, these two techniques are not the same. Cross-selling occurs when you try to sell additional products to the chosen products and upselling is when you try to sell a better version of the product.

Cross-selling and upselling is not a negative action. In reality it is a win-win situation where customers get additional value and salesperson increases the revenue.

Here are top tips and tricks of how to do cross-selling.

Speak to your customer

Speak to your customer for cross-sell

It is essential to speak to your clients in your cross-selling messages referring by name or using “you”. Direct reference gives the customer the feeling of a tailored offer, an internal feeling of being treated individually and that her or his needs are understood.

Often, companies write something like “Recommended items”, but this may not work well because this is considered as a general information and the customer might think that the recommendation will not necessarily work in this case. However, if you re-write the cross-selling message as “Recommended for you items”, your customers will treat it as a truly customized set of complementary items.

Do your homework

Combine products for cross-selling

In order to be ready to do the cross-selling you should study your offers and find complimentary additional products and services to each offer. Use your target market knowledge and expertise to find the best pairs for your customers.

If someone buys a red laptop you should offer a red mouse and a red case. If you are not sure which offer will suit the customer better you should prepare at least several items that might be a good offer for cross-selling. When you communicate with your client you will understand what they need and you will be able to offer the right item. Your customers will tell you what they need.

Show the items together

Demonstrate cross-selling products

When someone buys something and you decide on what to cross-sell, show the pairing so that the customer can understand how the two items will work together. In a store you can place two items next each other. For example, a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. If you use an e-commerce platform you can show the additional items on the same page, or on the image of the product. Placing snowboards and snowboard goggles into different departments is a big mistake that will harm your cross-selling.

Be reasonable

Cross-selling pricing rule of 20%

Pay attention to the price when bundling your offers for cross-selling. If your customer buys a suit for $700, suggesting to add a $40 tie is a good idea, but not vice-versa. Don’t try to cross-sell items that are more expensive than the chosen item. It is recommended to offer additional products that cost not more than 25% of the initiative purchase.

Easy buying decision

Easy buying decision for cross-selling

The beauty of cross-selling is that it is associated with a much shorter and easier buying decision. Customers are involved in deciding on the initial item they would like to buy and it will be much easier for them to decide on the much cheaper and less complex item. Therefore, items for cross-selling should be simple, so that you don’t need to explain too much, like a hamburger with fries.

Choose place

Cross-sell technique sell at check out

If there are items that can be offered to virtually any of your products and services place such items closer to the check-outs and to where the customer usually queue or stay. If these items are simple and do not require any explanations on how they work then it is very likely that your customers will decide to add these impulse products to their baskets without your help. This will maximize the probability of unplanned purchases and cross-selling.

Empower your e-commerce

Ecommerce cross-selling technique

E-commerce gives you a lot of opportunities to maximize the revenue from cross-selling. If you choose a good ecommerce platform or develop one in-house you will get access to tons of valuable information about your customers.

Use website analytics tools to find out which products to cross-sell. Base your conclusions on the customer's behavior, what pages they visit, for how long and in what order they browse the products. Combine this information with your knowledge and the common sense and create a structure of what to cross-sell on each page. Obviously you can offer more than one item if this makes sense.

Check-out is another great place where you can offer additional products. The trick is that you have to analyse all items that are in the basket and their prices in order to make the right offers. Of сourse you can base your cross-selling propositions on the most expensive item in the basket, but you will ignore the rest of valuable information that you can get from the basket.

Some advanced e-commerce platforms have tools that help you to organize your cross-selling activities. Such systems can analyse all the previous purchases and decide on the set of items to offer without your help. This may work but you should pay attention to the algorithm and check the results regularly. Also, the system must leave you some freedom to customize the algorithm because it will be great to be able to make some special offers for holidays and other seasonal events.

If you are not using any e-commerce platform read this article in order to understand the benefits and return on investment of e-commerce and this article about how to choose an e-commerce platform.

Bought together items

Cross-selling box users who bought this also bought

This is a great cross-selling technique that is also more applicable to e-commerce than to in-store selling. Based on the information about how your customers browse your online shop and what they buy you can create a list of items that are frequently bought together with each item.

Show the items in a special section called something like ‘Customers who bought this also bought these items’. Make sure that your customers can read about the additional offers without leaving the current page, as they may not lose their intended purchase. You can show more information about the items when customers hover on the items or click on a ‘Show More’ button.

Add stimulus

Free delivery stimulus for cross-sell

You can draw more attention to the additional products by adding some kind of a stimulus or incentive to it. For example, you can offer free delivery or free gift wrapping if another product is purchased. Make sure that this incentive costs you less than you can earn from cross-selling the additional product.

Bundle offers

Bundle offers for cross-selling

If consumption of some items is very connected you can bundle these products together. For example, if you sell beds and mattresses than you can bundle each bed with a corresponding by size and price tag mattress.

Moreover, discount the bundle and promote it so that your customers could notice the value of your offer. Again, you should find the right size of discount in order to make the offer attractive for your customers and profitable for your company.

Use your products

Сross-selling of spare parts

If you sell products that should be used together or one after another then you should mention it on the products to inform your customers about that. For example, if you buy a car it is very likely that the manufacturer or the dealer will promote original spare parts and motor oil of certain brand. Even though some of the items can be substituted with similar products from other stores, you can write that it is recommended to use them together.

This great cross-selling technique works better when the main item bought is expensive and important for the customer. In this case it is likely that the customer will follow your recommendations in order not to damage the purchase and not to sacrifice its benefits.

Add credibility

Review of cross-selling items

If you are able, involve some experts or celebrities to recommend using some items together. This will give more credibility to your bundling and cross-selling offers.

Another way of increasing credibility is to create a review of how the items work together and how this may benefit your customers. This may be presented in the form of comparison of the performance of one item and the performance of the bundled items together. Use the features, advantages, and benefits (FAB) model in order to make it clear for your customers how they will benefit from using the combined items together.

Mention on the early stages

Mention cross-selling products on the first stage

No matter how long or short the buying decision process is try to mention items that you are going to cross-sell on the early stages of the process. If you do it later your customers may already decide on the budget and your new recommendations will surprise them. No need to describe the additional products in detail when you first time mention them. This is rather a preparation for the actual offer. In this case your customers will be prepared and understand where this offer came from.

Next order discount

Next order discount cross-sell

Next order discount is a great cross-selling technique that gives your customers the opportunity to decide on their further purchases later without losing the discounts. You should promote the discount so that your customers can notice it before they decide to buy anything. This will maximize the effect and give more incentives to buy even if the customers don’t use the next order discount.

Don’t push it too hard

Cross-sell push level

When cross-selling do not try to push your offers too hard. Remember that the main object is to create value for your customers instead of making them buy what they don’t need. If they feel that your recommendations work and that they benefit from your expertise you will get many recurring clients.

Closing notes

All these cross-selling tips and tricks are powerful, but you should find out which work better in your case. This may depend on the industry you are in, your position on the market, your target market etc. Try different techniques and you will be surprised of how cross-selling can boost your sales and increase the customers retention.

Read more about Cross-Selling:

6 effective cross selling strategies by Dario Wilding

Simple Upsell and Cross sell Techniques That I Use by Tips and Tricks HQ

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