What is Upselling: definition, examples, do's and don'ts

Every sales stage has its hurdles. Attracting customers is half of the task that lies in front of the sales team. The other one is how to deal with converted leads and keep them satisfied? 

That’s where upselling and cross-selling techniques can help you.  

What is upselling?

Let’s start with the upselling definition first. 

Upselling is a sales strategy of offering customers upgraded, more expensive products or services instead of what they initially wanted to buy or have already purchased. It can be illustrated with this sentence — “We can offer you a better version of what you want.”

Cross-selling vs. upselling

In most cases, upselling goes hand in hand with cross-selling, which, in its turn, is also a sales strategy used to offer complementary items to a buyer who has already purchased something or is going to. “Do you want fries with that?” is probably the most prominent cross-selling example. 

Cross-selling and upselling are often aimed at a converted lead who has already bought something rather than a prospective customer. However, these techniques are universal and can be applied at any sales funnel stage. If used correctly, your revenue will skyrocket. 

Now it’s time to take a look at some more cross-selling and upselling examples that you’ve definitely come across in most online or even offline shops. 

Cross-selling and upselling examples

People also buy with this item (cross-selling) 

It’s one of the widely used cross-selling techniques to increase your average order value. In most online shops, you can see product recommendations like “Frequently purchased together” or “Customers also viewed.” These offers appear during the pre-purchase stage, for example, after you’ve opened a product page that caught your eye. Also, they can pop up during the purchase stage at the checkout to make sure you didn’t forget anything. 

Cross-selling example
Source: Amazon

Using this cross-selling technique, you ignite people’s curiosity and make them doubt whether they got everything they needed. If there’s a rating system involved, it will trigger consumers’ interest even more: “Will I benefit from getting complementary items that have a 5-star review? So many people bought these things together; they must be really good!” 

Cross-selling example
Source: Amazon

To increase the chances of a converted lead getting something additional to the initial purchase, you can make this offer more personal by adding items that may appeal to the customer based on their previous search or buying history. 

Customization (upselling)

How to make your product more personal and suitable for your customers? Just ask them to customize what they need!

More often than not, it’s hard to predict how else to upsell to your customers. Sometimes you see that a buyer is on the verge of making a purchase, but a tiny thing stops them. A wrong color, a small size, a lack of some features, you name it. So why not give them the right to change your product? 

The idea of turning a service or product into a unique thing that fits your needs perfectly is so tempting. That is why customization is so popular when it comes to upselling! 

For example, Louis-Vuitton successfully uses this technique to upsell their bags. 

Upselling example
Source: Louis-Vuitton

Before implementing this technique, you need to think through which features of your product can be customized. 

Trade-in (upselling)  

Get a new product by returning your old one? Sounds like a sweet deal! Tech giant Apple widely uses this upselling tactic, and it works like magic. 

The algorithm is simple — you come to the Apple Store with your old device, choose a new model, and pay the remaining difference. The idea that the Apple Store will help you choose your first iPhone and later assist you in utilizing and benefiting from it sounds attractive to everyone. They create a feeling of stability and make prospects feel cared for. 

Upselling example
Source: Apple

Moreover, trade-in makes loyal customers part of the sustainable consumption campaign that leading brands promote. It creates a positive image of the brand and makes customers feel good about themselves, too. 

So if you look closely at this upselling technique, it makes converted leads feel financially safe, environmentally conscious, and welcome regardless of their current financial status. 

Limited offer (upselling) 

From time to time, companies throw in limited offers to remind converted leads they have lots in store for them. It’s a popular upselling technique that galvanizes customers’ decision-making process. 

Limited offers serve as triggers for customers to remind them how significant a product or service might be for their lives and that they need to hurry up to get it. Your converted leads would love some more benefits or bonuses, so why not push them in making up their mind?

Upselling example
Source: Restream

Time frame serves as the perfect fuel for a customer’s inner debate. You can combine it with the loyalty program that gives your clients premium access to your limited offers to achieve more results.   

Rewards / deals (both)

Everybody loves bonuses! Unlike bundle offers, deals present customers with a set of different items combined or instructions on how to benefit more from their purchase. Rewards work similarly, and often, you can see them grouped in a thing called a loyalty program.

A loyalty program and deals are a win-win combination of cross-selling and upselling. Both these techniques use rewards or deals tactics depending on the target lead. You can combine a loyalty program with limited offers, which will make your converted leads feel special and cared for. A great example of it is Starbucks, with its star rewards program. 

Source: Starbucks

58.7% of internet users worldwide cited earning rewards and loyalty points as one of the most valued aspects of the retail shopping experience. Moreover, if converted leads love your reward system, they can become brand advocates for your product. A happy client is the best advertisement for your business! 

Bundle offer (both)

The more the merrier. Why get one streaming subscription if you can get 3 with a discount, plus access to a new plug-in? This deal sounds appealing, especially to those who keep coming to a particular store for the same item or service over and over. 

A bundle offer for a converted lead (Source: Disney+)

It’s easier to upsell a product or a service to a customer if you know they need it constantly. That’s exactly what Disney+ did! It offers an excellent bundle for their converted leads. Everybody loves entertainment. The difference is in its type. So why not offer a subscription for Movies, Shows, and Sports — all in one? 

This technique is often applied in cross-selling too. Let’s come back to Disney+ with its upselling bundle offer. In the screenshot below, you can see how Hulu is promoting it, too, trying to convert new prospects by offering the same bundle but with a different price tag. 

A bundle offer to convert new prospects (Source: Hulu)

As you can see, Disney+ is focusing on converted leads by offering them a discount for Movies.Shows.Sports Bundle, thus showing how beneficial it is to be already subscribed. Meanwhile, Hulu is attracting new customers by presenting the same bundle that looks promising and advantageous.  

If you want more upselling and cross-selling examples from a real webstore, you’d like this video by Den Demsky, the co-founder of Unbound Merino and Learn with Shopify speaker. He will also give you tips on pre- vs. post-purchase upselling and cross-selling.

Upselling tips

According to Customer Loyalty: How to Earn It, How to Keep It by Jill Griffin, your business is more likely to sell to a converted lead (50-60%) than a new prospect (5-20%). The gap is quite impressive, which explains the popularity of upselling and cross-selling among retailers.

So how to make your loyal customers come back for more? Here are some tips that will help you upsell. 

The main do’s and don’t in upselling:

Do’s Do’s
Know your target leads and what they like.Don’t be aggressive and pushy with your upselling. It’s a big no-no!
Re-engage your existing customers by offering them sweet deals, trade-ins, bundles, limited offers, etc.   Don’t use too many pop-ups or annoying ads.
Show them different offers to meet their financial level.Don’t use false or dishonest deals.
Make sure the upselling deal is easy to understand and is concise.Don’t overuse trigger words and phrases.
Use personalized email drip campaigns.Don’t spam your customers with random or unrelatable offers.

Wrap-up

Upselling and cross-selling are powerful sales strategies that can boost your sales. The examples mentioned above illustrate how tightly these techniques have interlinked and how widely spread they are. 

Upselling ideas are easy to create and implement. You don’t even need to invent the wheel, just take an already existing technique and use it. And Snov.io Email Drip Campaigns will help you craft and deliver original deals, trade-ins, bundles, limited offers for free!

In case you don’t know how to format or what to say in your email — don’t worry, you’ll find lots of templates and tutorials. Also, you can make your original templates. We’ve got you covered!  

Snov.io is here to help your business flourish and grow. 

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