Upselling Techniques: 10 Proven Strategies That Work Every Time

Upselling techniques can seem complicated. 

Between strategy, timing, and pricing, it’s a lot to consider. But in reality, upselling doesn’t have to be hard. With a few simple tactics, you can generate bigger, better orders with ease.

In this post you’ll learn 10 proven upselling techniques you can add to your eCom store. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to pump-up your AOV and boost your bottom line.

Plus, you won’t feel like a shady car salesman in a badly fitting suit. You’ll learn how to upsell in a way that helps you and your customers win.

Sounds good? Let’s get upselling!

What are Upselling Techniques?

Upselling techniques are sales tactics you can use to upsell customers to a higher order value. 

The aim of upselling is to encourage customers to spend more money and generate more profit from each transaction. Beyond extra revenue, upselling benefits you in other ways too, such as delivering a better customer experience.

In an eCommerce context, upselling techniques come in different forms.

Strategies such as post-purchase upsells, product bundling, and free shipping thresholds are all examples of upselling techniques in action.

With that in mind, let’s examine X upselling techniques that work like a charm.

10 Proven Upselling Techniques for More Sales

There’s lots of upselling techniques out there. But the following ten tactics are the ones we’ve found most effective for most merchants. 

1. Introduce Your Upsell at the Right Moment

The first rule of upselling is this: timing is critical. 

See, one mistake many people make is to introduce the upsell offer too early in the sales process.

This can be problematic because you can overwhelm shoppers with too many decisions. 

And the last thing you want to do is lose the initial sale because customers ‘need more time to think about the options.

Understanding buyers' intent is crucial here. Purchase intent rises as your shoppers get closer to (and beyond) purchase.

it's important to consider purchase intent when implementing upselling techniques

So, in a nutshell, the closer a customer is to purchasing, and beyond, the more likely they are to accept your upsell offer.

For example, in McDonald’s, you only get the offer to ‘go supersize’ after you’ve already ordered (i.e. shown clear purchase intent). 

Upselling like this, after a customer has displayed intent, is natural and unobtrusive. 

Implementing the same idea in your upsell strategy will yield you far better results than trying to upsell too early in the sales process.

🔑Key Takeaway: The higher the purchase intent, the more upsell conversions you’ll get. Introduce your upsell offers when customers show clear purchase intent (i.e. at checkout, post-purchase and on your thank you page) for maximum sales.

2. Offer an Incentive to Upgrade

When upselling, both you and your customer need to get a good deal.

One upselling technique you can use is to offer an incentive to upgrade their order.

For example, if a customer buys a t-shirt, you could offer them an additional variant for 30% off. 

post-purchase offers are a great upselling technique in eCommerce

This gives you a bigger order,  and at the same time your customers get better value for their money.

Now, your incentive doesn’t always need to be a discount. Other perks like express delivery, shipping insurance, or a free gift can work just as well.

The idea is that your customers are rewarded for spending more.

🚀Pro Tip: With ReConvert, you can use upsell funnels to retain more revenue. For example you can offer customers a 10% discount post-purchase. If they decline, you can then offer them an even bigger discount to tempt more conversions.

🔑Key Takeaway: Offer an Incentive to upgrade: Use incentivized upsells to entice customers to spend more by offering discounts, free gifts, or other perks that provide better value for their money.

3. Make Your Offer Exclusive to the Transaction

When offering an incentive or perk with your upsell, ensure your customers can’t claim the same offer outside of the transaction.

You’ll get much more conversions when the offer is exclusive to the transaction. This is because the exclusivity adds a layer of scarcity and urgency to the offer.

Customers don't want to miss out on a good deal. When you limit the offer to the transaction, shoppers can’t take time to think about it. They’re nudged into action.

Using one-click upsells and thank you page upsells means you hide your upsell offers behind checkout. This allows you to offer customers good deals that non-customers can’t access.

When you add a countdown timer into the mix, you’ll crank up the urgency even higher and get more conversions on your offers.

🔑Key Takeaway: Add a layer of scarcity and urgency to your upsell offers by ensuring they are exclusive to the current transaction, driving customers to take immediate action.

4. Personalize Your Upsell Recommendations

Another foundational upselling technique is to personalize your offer to the customer. Instead of generic offers, build personalized offers based on characteristics like:

  • Cart contents
  • Shopping history
  • Items on wishlist
  • Favorite categories

In an eCommerce context, you can do this with customer segmentation and triggers. Start with some basic segments and create customized offers that appear based on predefined criteria.

Test different offers against each other until you know what product upsells work the best for you and your audience. For example, here’s a simple personalized product upsell from notebook company Grovemade:

When a customer adds a $70 notebook to cart, they’re offered to add a two pack of refills for an extra $25.

eCommerce giant Amazon is another master of personalized product recommendations. The site monitors your browsing and purchasing behavior (along with lots of other customers) to suggest irresistible offers that always get me.

🔑Key Takeaway: Key Takeaway: Tailor your upsell offers based on customer characteristics like cart contents, shopping history, wishlist items, and more to increase the chances of conversion.

5. Give Upsell Options, But Not too Many

It’s intuitive to assume that the more options you provide to someone, the more likely it is you’ll offer something they like.

However, this is a common error of judgment. As psychologist Barry Schwartz writes in his book ‘The paradox of choice’; “Just because some choice is good, it doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better.”

See, when we’re presented with too many options, the opportunity cost of the options we didn’t choose add up. This creates a psychological friction in the mind of your customer, which can lead them to simply decline all additional offers.

To illustrate, think about the last time you were in McDonald’s and the cashier asked ‘Would you like fries with that?’

Notice how they didn’t say ‘Would you like fries, or an apple pie, or a drink, or a Mcflurry with that?’. This is because it’s too much to consider at once.

So, instead of trying to offer everything, limit your upsells to a maximum of 3 personalized options. Alternatively, split your offers up over checkout, post-purchase page and thank you page, so customers aren’t overwhelmed at any point.

This prevents shoppers from having to invest too much time into considering the benefits of each one, and lets them get on with the decision.

🔑Key Takeaway: Limit the number of upsell options to a maximum of three personalized choices to avoid overwhelming customers and reduce decision-making friction.

6. Offer frictionless one-click offers after checkout

example of a one click upsells, one of the best upselling techniques in ecommerce

One of the most powerful Shopify upselling techniques is to use one-click upsells. One click upsells are offers you display immediately after checkout.

There’s four reasons why every retailer should deploy them:

  • OCUs are served when purchase intent is peaking
  • They don’t require customers to re-enter payment details
  • OCUs don’t risk interrupting the initial sales journey 
  • They’re easy to personalize based on order contents

Of all the upsell techniques in this article, one click upsells are worth testing on virtually any eCommerce store. We regularly see ReConvert users convert up to 15% of customers to an additional sale with this strategy.

🔑Key Takeaway: When designed properly, one-click upsells satisfy every principle of upselling we’ve discussed so far. They allow you to offer exclusive, personalized, timely upsells, with a dash of scarcity and zero friction.

7. Add Product Upsells to Your Thank You Page

The thank you page (also known as the order confirmation page) is the most underutilized upselling real-estate in eCommerce.

When a customer lands on your thank you page, they’re in peak buying mode. What’s more, data from ReConvert shows that customers view the thank you page 2.2 times per order, on average.

Thank you page offers are a great upselling technique

So if you’re not upselling on your thank you page, you’re letting a lot of high-intent impressions go to waste. With a solid upsell offer, you can expect to tempt from 2-15% of your customers into a second purchase.

For example, B2C bidet retailer Tushy used ReConvert to add a few simple cross-sell offers to their thank you page. If a customer purchased a bidet, they offered complimentary lower-ticket products and accessories on the thank you page. Overnight, they added almost 200k to their monthly revenue, while also creating a smoother front-end buyer experience.

The beauty of post-purchase upselling is that you can set it and forget it. As you drive more traffic and sales to your store, your post-purchase funnel works in the background to amplify your front end efforts. Boosting both your AOV and more importantly, your profitability.

📖 Suggested Reading: How Tushy used thank you page cross-sells to generate an extra $191,786/mo.

🔑Key Takeaway: Leverage the underutilized upselling real-estate of the thank you page to target high-intent customers, leading to potential second purchases and increased revenue.

8.Offer Product Bundles 

Product bundling is one of the oldest upselling techniques in the book. With bundling you simply offer products that naturally complement each other.

Amazon uses product bundling to upsell customers to a higher cart

For example, the big mac meal is a bundle. The fries and the soda enhance the experience of the burger. And what’s more it’s a discounted bundle. Bought together, the meal is cheaper than purchasing each item individually.

You can create similar bundles in your store. For example, here’s a bundling example from guitar maker Epiphone. This type of bundle is geared towards new players - it helps them get everything they need to start playing.

Bundling is also a great way to offload slow-moving stock sitting in your ecommerce warehouse. You can bundle less popular items together with more popular ones and offload them at a discount.

🔑Key Takeaway: Create product bundles that naturally complement each other, providing customers with added value and potential discounts, while also helping you offload slow-moving inventory.

9. Create a Free Shipping Threshold

Another great upselling technique to increase order values is to offer free shipping to customers who spend over a certain amount.

Nobody likes to pay for shipping, so lots of customers are happy to spend more to get products instead of forking out for delivery.

Now it’s important that you set your free shipping threshold correctly. Setting it too low may end up cannibalizing your profits, especially if your fulfillment costs are high.

How to Offer Free Shipping & Calculating Your Free Shipping Threshold
Source: a better lemonade stand

It’s important to analyze the numbers yourself, but a good rule of thumb is to take your median order value (i.e. the most frequent order value in your store) and add 15-30% to it.

The idea here is to tempt the largest portion of your customers to spend 15-30% more to unlock free shipping.

A useful strategy here is to use a progress bar at checkout to show customers how close they are to getting free shipping. Shown at checkout, this often motivates shoppers to go back and add additional products to their cart.

🔑Key Takeaway: Encourage higher order values by offering free shipping to customers who spend over a certain amount, enticing them to spend a bit more to avoid shipping costs.

10. Use Pricing Comparisons to Upsell

Sometimes one of the best upselling techniques is to simply present the customer with options side-by-side.

Amazon is a master of this. Below you can see how the simple comparison chart can tempt customers to upgrade to a more expensive item:

When using comparisons, it’s important to get your pricing right. Your upsell options should be within 10-30% of the price of the original product.

Because shoppers have a budget in mind when shopping, there’s no point in offering a product that’s three times the price of the original. 

🚀Pro Tip: Implement product comparisons like this on your Shopify store with an app like Equate product compare.

🔑Key Takeaway: Present customers with side-by-side comparisons of products to show the benefits of upgrading and tempt them to choose higher-priced options.

Implement Upselling Techniques With a Single App

Implementing upselling techniques in your eCom store can be a game-changer, but it can also be a daunting task to manage and optimize all these strategies. 

That's where ReConvert comes in as your ultimate upselling solution. With ReConvert, you can seamlessly integrate and execute the following proven upselling techniques to take your revenue to new heights:

1. Intuitive Upsell Funnels: ReConvert offers intuitive upsell funnels that allow you to time your upsell offers perfectly. You can present one-click upsells to customers at the peak of their buying intent, right after they've completed their initial purchase.

2. Personalized Upselling Made Easy: Building personalized upsell offers doesn't have to be complicated with ReConvert. The platform provides customer segmentation and triggers, enabling you to create customized upsell recommendations based on cart contents, shopping history, wish lists, and more.

3. Powerful Thank You Page Upsells: The thank you page is a goldmine for upselling, and ReConvert helps you make the most of it. With ReConvert, you can add post-purchase upsells to your thank you page, targeting customers when they're in peak buying mode.

4. Incentivized Upsells: Offering incentives to customers for upgrading their orders is a powerful upselling technique. ReConvert makes it easy to set up incentives like discounts or free gifts for upsell offers. This way, you not only increase your order value but also create a win-win situation for your customers, who get better value for their money.

6. Seamless Integration with Your Store: ReConvert integrates seamlessly with various eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WIX, making it effortless to set up and manage upselling campaigns. There’s no coding, no designing and you can launch your strategy in a few clicks.

Essentially, ReConvert takes the complexity out of implementing upselling techniques. If you want to maximize your revenue and offer your customers a delightful shopping experience, ReConvert is your go-to solution for successful upselling.

Master These Upsell Techniques & Watch Your AOV Grow!

In conclusion, upselling techniques can greatly impact your eCom store's success. Here are the key takeaways we covered:

  • Timing is crucial – Introduce upsells when customers show clear purchase intent.
  • Use incentives to entice customers to spend more.
  • Create exclusive offers to add urgency and boost conversions.
  • Personalize upsell recommendations based on customer characteristics.
  • Offer a limited number of options to reduce decision-making friction.
  • Utilize one-click upsells for seamless post-checkout offers.
  • Leverage the thank you page for high-intent upselling.
  • Bundle products for added value and inventory management.
  • Set a free shipping threshold to increase order values.
  • Use pricing comparisons to tempt customers to upgrade.

By implementing these upselling techniques, you can increase revenue and provide a better shopping experience for your customers. Happy upselling!

Upselling Techniques FAQ

What Are Upselling Techniques?

Upselling techniques are strategies employed by businesses to encourage customers to purchase additional or higher-priced items or services. The goal is to increase the average transaction value and maximize revenue

What are some upselling techniques in Retail?

Retail upselling techniques aim to boost sales and enhance customer satisfaction. Some examples are Cross-selling: Suggest complementary products with the initial purchase. Bundling: Offer related items together at a discounted price. Upgrade offers: Present higher-priced versions of products or services. Limited-time promotions: Create urgency with time-limited deals. Personalization: Tailor recommendations based on customer preferences. Highlight benefits: Emphasize added value and features. Social proof: Use testimonials to showcase product value. Tiered pricing: Offer different product levels with varied features. Demonstrations and trials: Allow customers to experience upsell items before purchase.

What are some upselling techniques for restaurants?

Offer favorites and personalized recommendations instead. Let staff taste the specials to provide genuine opinions and suggestions to customers. Train staff on wine pairings to make valuable suggestions to guests as they order. Offer dessert as a to-go option. Overall, be sincere and focus on enhancing the guest's experience, not just making sales. Ultimately, you want to create a sense of higher value by highlighting the suggested upsell benefits and meeting customer needs.

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