A glance at cross-selling and upselling along with practical tips to make it work perfectly

Are you a brand holder? If you answer positively, you’d agree that almost every business owner wants to know how to increase profits without putting in a lot of extra work, especially if you own a small company.

Leading an online brand, you strive to be present in people’s feeds so that they pay attention to your product and consider buying it. But social media ads aren’t the only tactic to let your brand thrive.

In running a company, many owners overlook one way to improve their businesses – to cross-sell and upsell to their current customers. This article will take a quick look at cross-selling and upselling, how they can benefit your business and some practical tips on making them work perfectly.

What are cross-selling and upselling?

First, let’s define the terms, as they are often mixed up and misused. Cross-selling and upselling are two common sales strategies. The former involves suggesting related products or services to customers who are already interested in what you’re selling.

The latter, by contrast, aims to convince customers to buy a more expensive version of what they’re interested in. Cross-selling can happen in any industry, but examples include a car salesperson suggesting add-ons like extended warranties or service plans.

Another example is a retail store employee suggesting complementary items to customers already buying something. Finally, it could be a company you work with on a marketing project that offers you to create a Facebook cover design as a bonus to the chosen package.

How can these selling strategies benefit your company?

There are a few critical benefits of cross-selling and upselling. First, these approaches allow businesses to make more money per customer. They can also help improve client satisfaction by providing additional products or services they may not have known they needed or wanted.

These strategies can help build a better and more personalized rapport with customers. Experiencing an individual approach, customers will more likely come back to a business that meets their needs in multiple ways and provides selected products tailored to their preferences.

In addition, cross- and upselling include advantages like increasing the average order value and reducing customer acquisition costs. 

cross selling example

Tips for successfully implementing cross-selling and upselling

There are a few key things to keep in mind when attempting to cross-selling or upselling to your customers successfully:

  1. Make sure your products complement each other: If you suggest a customer buy two products, ensure they go well together. For example, don’t try to sell a customer a book and a pair of shoes – that’s just weird.
  2. Be relevant: Only suggest products pertinent to the customer’s needs and interests. There’s no point in telling a customer to buy a product they have no use for. There’s nothing worse than a hard sell when the customer has no interest in what you’re offering. 
  3. Don’t be pushy: Avoid being too aggressive with your cross- and upselling – no one likes to be pressured into buying something they don’t want or can’t afford. Instead, make suggestions and let the customer decide whether or not they’re interested.
  4. Know what you sell: Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the products you’re trying to sell. If a customer has questions, you should be able to answer them quickly and precisely.
  5. Offer incentives: Offering incentives can help entice customers to buy more from you. You can reinforce people to purchase from your brand by providing them with personal discounts and vouchers.
  6. Train your employees: If you have employees responsible for cross- and upselling, ensure to train them properly. In turn, if you run an automated website, try setting your AI chatbots or algorithms so that they analyze users’ carts and search history and offer relevant products.

A few examples of successful companies leveraging these strategies

McDonald’s frequently uses cross-selling by asking customers if they want fries with their burgers and upselling by asking if they’d like to “supersize” their meal.

Nike often uses the first technique by suggesting customers buy a pair of socks to go with their shoes and the second one by offering different tiers of shoes (e.g., premium, mid-range, budget).

Apple is well-known for using a mix of cross- and upselling tactics when customers buy iPhones, iPads, and other devices. For example, when purchasing an iPhone, customers are often offered the option to buy a case or screen protector. They are upsold to higher-end models if they express interest in features like a better camera.

Adidas often uses such techniques to promote similar products to customers who have already shown an interest in one of its products. For example, they might show clients who have searched for “running shoes” things like “yoga pants” or “water bottles.”

Regarding upselling, this involves offering customers higher-priced items or items with more features than what they initially looked at. Assume the person expresses interest in a less expensive pair. The seller might show a more expensive pair of running shoes in that case. 



Cross-selling and upselling are potent tools to help businesses close more sales and boost their bottom line. Companies can increase the average order value by employing these strategies, significantly impacting their overall profitability. When used correctly, the mentioned tactics can be highly effective in boosting sales and generating more revenue.

Also Read:

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