What is better for your business?… cross-sale or Upsale..

by Vineet Singh, January 9, 2013

These selling concepts intercept us everyday in our physical life. The only seller who doesn’t do it is our favorite ‘hot dog’ vendor – because that’s his specialty and he has nothing else to sell. Both Cross-sale and Upsale increase the transaction value of a customer and ultimately the LTV (Life Time Value).  Its a natural business instinct to showcase (and hopefully lighten) the inventory to a customer – with the intent of maximizing the sales.

One of the most popular cross-sale examples in our daily life is when we go for a movie in a theater – Besides the movie, we also get sold to Popcorn buckets, Coke, French fries and some other favorite family snack (every family has some) – Movies and popcorn go together all around the globe – transcending boundaries and cultures.


One of the most popular wholesale retailers of US is Costco. They have mastered the art of Upsale – ‘Huge savings’  is synonymous with Costco product bundles – Greater the volume, greater the savings. You save $9 by buying a bundle of 5 kitchen towels  and the savings would be $19.99 if you get 10-towel bundle – That’s a simple upsell. Quality upsell relates to selling similar product of a higher quality and with a higher price tag – much like trying to sell Hush Puppies when a customer is looking for a pair of Payless shoes.


Does it work?

Its all in the heart – the heart of the customer lies somewhere between his mind and the wallet. If the retailers can somehow understand the leanings of a customer, the cross-sale and up-sale strategies have a greater chance of raking in the moolah. Its almost a routine task for a great designing and development team to churn out highly functional ecommerce sites within a few weeks, but it is a herculean effort to understand the whims and fancies of your existing customers – even though you have mountains of data for every loyal customer of yours – Its time to bring all your data analysts and marketing brains on the drawing table.

Best place to pitch cross-sale and upsale… law of  ‘Zero distraction’

Ecommerce experts will vouch for the law of  ‘Zero distraction’. –  Its a criminal act to divert the attention of a buyer who is about to press the ‘Buy Now’ button by succumbing to greed – and dangling other similar products in front of him. This is one of the major reasons for a high shopping cart abandonment –  Its our first and most repeated advice to our clients to keep the checkout page as clean as possible. You make it dirty and the conversion rate will be dirty.

Some simple rules for cross-sale and up-scale placement which we have learned the hard way – but it sure does the trick…

  • Cross-sale products should be placed as early as possible in the buying process. This ensures a higher on-page time for the customer, resulting in a better outcome
  • Upsale products can be placed on the checkout page with the insurance that customer can add products without moving away from the page, and with the least number of clicks
  • The primary objective should always be to sell the primary product – This should never be upstaged by the cross-sale and upsale products
  • Zero distraction rule should be adhered strictly for the checkout page.



Well, its time to sell now and cross-sale and up-sale are only there to complement.

For more insight and services, you can reach our team at: http://www.copperbridgemedia.com/contact-us/