The Complete Guide for Upselling on Your eCommerce Store
Updated: Oct 19
Upselling is a tactic frequently used by eCommerce businesses to increase their average order value and overall revenue. Amazon, in particular, states that as much as 35% of their revenue comes from upsells. (ConversionXL)
Keep on reading to learn what upselling is and how you can use it to optimize conversion rates and generate more revenue for your online store.
Upselling vs cross-selling vs downselling
Upselling is a sales technique that involves getting a customer to spend more money by purchasing a more expensive version of a product.
An example of upselling would be an online shoe retailer presenting visitors with footwear from high-end brands when they’re on a product page for a more moderately priced shoe.
Cross-selling, on the other hand, is the practice of offering customers products that are complementary to the one they’re about to buy. According to a study, Upsells drive on average 4% of revenue and cross-sells generate an average of 0.2% of revenue which means Upselling can be up to 20 times more effective than cross-selling. On the other hand, cross-selling during checkout can generate up to 3% more revenue. As mentioned before in this article, this information suggests that these stats can dramatically change from one store to another.
In the shoe retailer example mentioned above, cross-selling would involve offering shoe care products such as leather conditioner or waterproof spray to a customer that’s looking to purchase a pair of leather shoes.
Finally, downselling involves offering shoppers a more affordable version of a product once they show that they’re not willing to spend the amount of money that’s needed to purchase the original product.
A shopper liking a particular pair of leather shoes, for example, might not be able to afford them. In this case, the retailer should try to downsell them into purchasing a similar, more affordable pair.
Why you need to upsell
Implementing upsell offers into your Shopify store comes with a number of benefits. Upselling can help you:
Improve customer retention - Upselling improves customer retention because it allows businesses to help customers solve their problems more efficiently by recommending better solutions in the form of superior products. This, in turn, results in a better experience for the customer and allows your business to build a deeper relationship with your customer base.
Increase average order value and customer lifetime value - Offering customers more expensive products will help to increase your average order value as well as the lifetime value of your customers.
Grow revenue - Upselling is a far more cost-efficient way of improving revenue compared to lead generation and customer acquisition.
What makes upselling so effective?
One of the main reasons upselling is so effective is because an upsell is offered when the customer is already prepared to make a purchase. They’ve already done their research, browsed your website, and learned more about your product.
Since you’ve most likely already overcome any objections they might have regarding purchasing the product, it’s much easier for them to consider buying a more expensive version of that same product.
How can you get started with upselling?
In this section, I’m going to show you how to get started with upselling on Shopify. We’ll go through the process of installing an upsell app, deciding which products to upsell, running your upsell offer, and performing A/B testing to find the highest-converting offer.
1. Install an upsell app
Upselling can be pretty complex when you're trying to do everything on your own. Luckily, there are a variety of upselling apps for Shopify that you can use to add upselling to your store easily.
When selecting a Shopify upselling app, you want to make sure this app provides you with enough flexibility to control how you upsells look and behave.
Later in this article, you will find my top 5 Shopify upselling apps- choose the ones that fit your needs and move to the next steps.
2. Decide when & where to upsell
As I said, upselling is a technique meant to encourage customers to spend more money on each purchase. You can employ this technique in different areas of your Shopify store, and each area might require a different approach.
The key is to add clear value to the customer so you won't jeopardize the sale, a study showed that 40% of customers are aware of upselling techniques and might get annoyed by such attempts.
When & where to use upselling:
Product page- show related product recommendations
Cart- show products related to each of the products in the cart
Post-purchase- show similar and related products, or even a different variation of the same product (recommended - this is the only time and place where you can only generate more revenue without jeopardizing the initial sale)
Follow up communication- use emails, SMS, push, etc to invite visitors to your store using similar products to what they bought/looked at before
Take advantage of seasonal events and holidays- utilize trends to make your offers more relevant.
3. Decide which products to upsell
Once you’ve installed an upselling app, you’ll need to decide which products to upsell. While there are many strategies you could employ here, you’ll most likely need to do some testing to figure out which upsell offers work the best.
Start with upselling your best-selling products and then go from there.
4. Run your upsell offer
By this stage, you should be ready to run your upsell offer.
What are you waiting for? Go and upsell customers.
Make sure to track your upsells so that you’ll be able to analyze your results and make data-driven decisions to optimize your offer.
5. Perform A/B testing
No matter if you're a grocery delivery service or dropshipping cat toys, A/B testing allows you to find out which of your upsell offers performs the best, enabling you to use the most profitable upsells to generate more revenue for your business.
When A/B testing your upsell offer, you’ll want to test one variable at a time. This will allow you to learn which change helped to generate better (or worse) results.
There are a number of elements you can A/B test when looking to improve your upsell offer, including products, price, product copy, and page layout.
9 upselling strategies you can start using today
You’ve learned why upselling is important and how you can get started with showing upsell offers on your website.
Now we’re going to look into specific upselling strategies you can use to generate more revenue for your eCommerce business.
Upsell your most popular products
Upselling products effectively can be time-consuming. You need to decide which products are worth upselling, as well as figure out the most profitable pricing gap between different versions of a product.
The easiest way to get started with upselling is to upsell your most popular products. Since these products are already doing well, it’ll certainly be worthwhile for your business to create upsell offers for them.
Once you get more data on how your upsell offer is performing, you can start A/B testing to find a more profitable offer.
Offer reasonable alternatives
Keep in mind that your upsell offer needs to be reasonable. If the customer is looking at a $30 electric shaver, don’t offer them a $300 one instead. Your upsell offer needs to be subtle and provide more value for a modest increase in cost.
In general, you shouldn’t make your upsell offer more than 40% more expensive (Bitcatcha) than the original product.
Remember, not everyone will be able to afford a more expensive version of a particular product. They also might be able to afford it, but aren’t willing to spend that much.
To appeal to these types of customers, you might want to consider implementing downsells as well.
Don't offer too many options
It’s equally important not to overwhelm your customers with too many options. Having too many different options to choose from can result in customers becoming anxious and having a hard time making a decision. This is what’s known as the paradox of choice. A study showed that by reducing options of choice cross-selling can be 5-40% more effective.
The paradox of choice is a phenomenon discussed by American psychologist Barry Schwartz in his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating choice can significantly reduce shoppers’ anxiety.
Focus on providing a maximum of two to three upsell alternatives for each product to avoid making the shopping experience stressful for your customers.
Add an incentive
You can improve the effectiveness of your upsell offers by offering an incentive for customers to choose a more expensive product than the one that initially interested them.
One of the best incentives you can offer in this case is free shipping since as much as 90% of consumers cite free shipping as the number one reason (Marketing Land) for making more online purchases.
Let your customers know that you offer free shipping on orders that exceed a certain amount. Make sure to remind them that purchasing the more expensive version of a product will make them eligible for free shipping.
Apart from helping to improve the effectiveness of your upsells, offering free shipping will also help you reduce cart abandonment since it’s been shown that as much as 53% of abandoned carts are abandoned due to shipping costs.
Pop-ups are great for getting shoppers’ attention and are perfect for getting more eyes on your upsell offer.
Keep in mind that pop-ups interrupt the customers’ shopping experience, so you need to be careful not to annoy your shoppers.
Make sure only to display a pop-up once the customer either adds a product to their cart or attempts to leave your website.
This is especially important if you’re planning on driving traffic to your product pages through Facebook ads since Facebook doesn’t look kindly on intrusive pop-ups (including entry and exit-intent pop-ups).
By sticking to pop-ups that appear once a visitor clicks on an element of your website, you’ll have no problems getting your ads approved on most platforms, including Facebook.
Upsell during checkout
Customers that have added a product to their cart and proceeded to the checkout page are ready to make a purchase. This is the perfect time to try to upsell them.
When it comes to upselling during checkout, you can display your upsell offer on the checkout page, or use a pop-up instead. There’s really no best way to do it, so you’ll want to experiment to see which option converts better.
Offer add-on services
Not all of your customers will need or be interested in a superior version of your product. You can upsell to these customers by offering them add-on services instead.
Examples of add-on services you can offer include gift wrapping, support plans, insurance, extended warranty, express delivery, installation or set-up, and customization.
Gift wrapping, in particular, is an excellent add-on service to upsell. It’s a great way to increase your average order value, especially during the holidays.
Shoppers that are purchasing gifts for their loved ones during the holidays will appreciate having the option of getting the gifts wrapped before shipping, saving them of the hassle of doing the wrapping themselves.
Upsell on the thank you page
While most upselling is done before checkout, some of the most effective upsell offers are actually those presented on the post-checkout thank you page.
Since customers that have completed a purchase have already shown that they trust your business and are interested in what you have to sell, it’s much easier to sell more products to them.
With the probability of selling to an existing customer being around 70% (Groove), it would be a huge waste not to try to upsell customers on your thank you page.
ReConvert can help you set up thank you page upsell offers for your customers, as well as optimize your thank page in a wide variety of ways to improve retention rate and grow revenue.
Apart from presenting your upsell offer, the thank you page is also great for asking for referrals, collecting more information on your customers (such as their birthdays), getting more email subscribers, as well as directing shoppers to your social media pages.
Take advantage of the order confirmation email
The order confirmation email serves to assure customers that their purchase was received and reminds them of the value they’re getting from your business.
Shoppers expect to receive these types of emails, and frequently open them to make sure that their purchase went through and learn when they might expect to receive their package.
In fact, as much as 64% of consumers state that they consider order confirmation emails to be the most valuable type of email they receive from businesses.
Order confirmation emails also have the highest open rate out of all eCommerce emails, according to SaleCycle, order confirmation emails have a 61.7% open rate, about 10% click-through rate and about 9% conversion rate which makes them the perfect place to display an upsell offer for your customers.
If you decide to upsell in your order confirmation email, you’ll want to provide all the important information about the shopper’s order first, and then display your upsell offer at the bottom of the email.
You can also include a time-limited discount inside along with your upsell offer. This will help to create a sense of urgency and induce fear of missing out, increasing the chances of customers taking you up on your offer as soon as possible.
You can also upsell customers in other post-purchase emails - think about adding offers to shipping updates, and proof of delivery emails for maximum impact.
How to set up cross-selling of related services with 5 great examples
These strategies are not just about doubling or tripling your AOV (Average Order Value)- that would only happen when you are able to find the best set-up that offers a good balance between conversion rate and increased AOV.
However, this can never work without thorough and repeated testing. Despite the high popularity that upselling has, low conversion rates of upsold products are a very common issue. In most of these cases, you have one easy fix and that is adding services to your running upsells or cross-sells.
If you want to have a more thorough overview of how to upsell, cross-sell and understand the difference between the two, check out this article on 7 Proven Upsell Strategies.
Related services cross-selling is a big opportunity for your eCommerce store. In today’s times when it's getting harder and harder to differentiate yourself from the other merchants across the internet, small details can determine where a potential customer lands.
One of these details is a service they want to use, whether it's gift packaging for their boy/girlfriend, extended warranty for someone not quite handy with electronics or priority shipping because let's face it, we all forget important dates from time to time. These are potentially great unique selling points for customers, and also great ways for you to attract more revenue.
Let's Talk Money
According to Jitka Dvorakova, General Manager at CZC.cz, the biggest computer electronics eCommerce store in the Czech Republic, related services cross-sells make about 4% of their entire revenue. That's a pretty big number even if you are a much smaller shop. It's money that could be used for additional marketing, development of the eCommerce store, branding, product, data analysis or anything that can bring you some kind of advantage over your competitors. After all, extra revenue with minimum work is always great, right?
Services that could be bundled along with products could be categorized into two groups:
1, Services provided by you
This includes services like gift packing, priority shipping, premium e-mail support, etc. When working on a small scale, you can provide most of the services yourself. However, you should always compute your potential costs. If you think its doable, you should remember the 3X Rule - margin should be 3 times the value of computed costs.
2. Services provided by third parties, sold by your eCommerce store
This includes services like extended warranty, insurance, etc. In the case of third party services there is always a risk of inheriting a bad reputation, so always perform your due diligence before tying-up with service providers.
The company you wish to work with will also probably want to make some background check, so don't expect an overnight implementation.
How to Choose the Best Services to Offer
Before we get to particular examples, here are three quick tips for you to be always on point with the services you offer:
Collect the data - Use various tools like Hotjar and surveys to collect data.
Analyze the data - See what the customer wants. What are the most common requests (at customer support touchpoints)?
Get your offerings out in the open. And double-check all of your services. Many of our clients have been offering premium services without even mentioning it to their customers, who are often willing to pay for them anyway.
5 Examples of Service Cross-Selling
1. Extended Warranty
An extended warranty is a very tempting offer for a customer who is buying a medium- to high-value product (mostly electronics). It is also proof that you have trust in the quality of the products you sell.
If you sell third party products, it would be a good idea to contact that particular brand for assistance in this regard. In that case, you would mediate the sales and receive your commission. The only thing you need to do is to discover the customers that are ripe for buying an extended warranty.
If you have your own product, you should start with two points I stated above - collect and analyze the data. For starters you can work with these:
How often do your customers take advantage of a regular warranty?
How much does it cost you when a customer applies to take advantage of his warranty?
What's the average lifetime of your product? (the one on which you are planning to offer an extended warranty)
These questions will help you adjust your pricing of extended warranty. Don't be afraid to have a bit of buffer between assumed costs and revenue. When the pricing is fixed, you can start testing it out.
2. First in Line
First in line is a premium shipping offer, and works as a prioritization tool for you.
This service is pretty versatile and you can freely adjust it to fit perfectly your eCommerce store. Another advantage is that it can be a great USP for your store, especially if your competition doesn't have any special shipping offers.
Analyze your shipping processes first - if you are able to give next day shipping to most of your regular customers, you can start testing this strategy out.
3. Gift packaging
This is a very underestimated service. Many customers might be buying from your store to gift it to someone. It would be great to offer them with gift packaging service as an add-on for a nominal price.
On the one hand, it's a great way to create a nice connection with your customer and on the other, it's an easy revenue booster, given the fact that either your logistics partner might already be offering something like that, or you might simply need to adjust your existing product packaging which goes inside the parcel. A word of caution: Never use your gift packaging as an external packaging of the parcel, it might get damaged.
Gift packaging is particularly great because you can make a quite high margin on it, especially if you already have made custom gift bags in bulk.
4. Incognito Shipping
Many events necessitate the need for surprise gifting. And if the branding on the packaging is blatantly obvious, it sucks the joy out of surprise gifts.
This calls for incognito shipping where the packaging has no branding and so the surprise element is protected. This is actually quite an easy task for you. The only thing you need is to mark orders with incognito shipping and then process them without any branding materials from the outside. And again, you can make pretty high margins with low risks on incognito shipping.
5. Premium E-mail Support
This service suits best for virtual products, where you can't really use warranty, packaging or any typical cross-selling strategies commonly used for physical products. The first thing you need to do is that you have to add some tags to customers who have paid for this service to identify them on priority when they request support.
The best part about this is that you don't really have to incur any costs besides the time you invest for support.
If you are not so sure how to start, set a maximum number of customers with premium support you can easily maintain, and stop cross-selling this service when you hit the ceiling. Wait for some time to see how heavy the workload is and then decide if you want to continue getting more customers into this service.
Pro tip: Don't specify the time within which you'll respond when you are starting with this service.
Also, you can start with time-limited support, for example, specify that the support payment is valid only for two years, or that you won’t be responding on weekends. If you decide to have some limitations like these, don't forget to state them clearly in the description of the service.
There are many tools that can help you automate your upsell/cross-sell strategies. a great tool we'd recommend for your in-cart and services upselling is Candy Rack.
The 5 best upsell apps for Shopify
Now it’s time to look at the best upsell apps that are currently available for Shopify. I’m going to go over my five top picks, and tell you what I like about them.
I might be a little biased, but I truly consider ReConvert to be the best Shopify upsell app out there.
It’s very easy to use and provides a number of advanced features that are lacking in most other upsell apps.
With ReConvert, you can implement product recommendation upsells and cross-sells, timed discount popups, and post-purchase surveys into your Shopify store.
There’s also a feature that allows you to collect your customers’ birth dates. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to send special birthday offers to your customers.
This will allow you to generate more sales from each customer and improve customer lifetime value.
ReConvert is free for up to 50 orders per month. Paid plans start at $7.99 per month.
There’s also a free 30-day trial you can use to see if ReConvert is the right app for your needs.
The next app on our list is Recomatic.
With Recomatic, you can show product recommendations to shoppers using the app’s predictive algorithm. It works by combining dozens of different attributes to come up with product recommendations that make sense for each specific shopper.
Getting started with Recomatic is fairly easy. You just insert the code that the app generates and insert it into your theme.
You can also customize the way Recomatic’s recommendations will look to ensure that they fit your website’s theme perfectly.
Recomatic offers a 14-day free trial. After the 14 days are up, you’ll need to pay $69/month to continue using the app.
3. Candy Rack
Candy Rack is an app that enables Shopify stores to implement one-click upsells.
You can use it to create your own upsell offers and bundles. There’s also a smart automatic upsell feature that you use to have the app’s product recommendation engine create upsell offers automatically.
Apart from product upsells, Candy Rack also supports upselling add-on services such as premium support and gift wrapping.
All the upsell offers are shown in a responsive pop-up window that looks great on both desktop and mobile devices.
Candy Rack comes with a free 14-day trial. Paid plans start at $39.99/month.
4. Personalized Recommendations
Personalized Recommendations, as its name implies, helps you provide personalized recommendations to your shoppers.
The recommendations can either be handpicked by you or automatically generated by the app.
The app also comes with Related Products and Frequently Bought Together widgets which you can display on your homepage, product pages, cart page, and thank you page.
Using these on your website can help to significantly improve average order value and enable you to generate more revenue from your existing traffic.
Personalized Recommendations offers a free 15-day trial you can use to test the app. Paid plans start at $9.99/month.
5. Frequently Bought Together
Frequently Bought Together is a Shopify app that can help you create product recommendations, upsell offers, and bundles with ease.
The app’s Frequently Bought Together Widget can help you boost average order value and generate more revenue from each customer.
The product recommendations the app offers are generated through the app’s AI which analyzes customers’ previous purchases to determine the most appropriate recommendations and product bundles.
The app offers a free 30-day trial. The paid plan costs $6.99/month.
Start upselling with ReConvert
You can get started upselling with ReConvert in just a few steps thanks to our featured product widget.
Featured product is one of the most powerful widgets in ReConvert. It allows you to display a specific product to the customer, possibly with a special offer, on the thank you page.
The featured product supports our "2-step checkout", which means that the customer will be redirected directly to the payment page in the checkout process, and will skip the cart, customer information and shipping method pages.
Let's go through the steps of creating an upsell offer in ReConvert.
1. Select product
After adding the featured product widget in the page builder, first we’ll have to select which product to display. There are 4 options:
Most expensive product purchased: will dynamically display the most expensive product purchased for each order.
Cheapest product purchased: will dynamically display the cheapest product purchased for each order.
Shopify product recommendation: will dynamically display related product by Shopify.
When selecting one of the first 3 options you can add "exclusion tags" - select tags that in case the product is tagged with, it will not be displayed.
In case the product is tagged with an exclusion tag you can choose to either hide the featured product or to display an alternative product, if you choose to display an alternative product, you can select it manually.
Specific product: this option allows you to choose a specific product from your store and display it on the thank you page.
When selecting this option, a new button will show app enabling you to select the desired product.
You can also choose what happens in case the selected product was already purchased.
You can choose to either hide the product, display it anyway, or display an alternative product.
In case you choose to display an alternative product, another box will open in order for you to select the alternative product.
2. Add product title
After selecting what product to display, the next stage is to configure the product title settings.
You can either leave the text box empty, in this case the default product title will be displayed, or you can use the free text box to use a custom title.
Below the product title text box, a drop-down will allow you to choose whether to display the product title above or below the product image.
3. Customize product description
Check “Display product description” checkbox if you’d like the product description to be displayed, and uncheck it if you’d like it to be hidden (by default, product description is hidden).
In case you choose to display the product description, another free text box will appear.
Keep it empty if you’d like to use the default product description (not recommended if you have long product descriptions), if you’d like to create a custom product description, write it down in the free text box.
4. Choose secondary images
You can select one of 3 options:
The first option is to hide secondary images, in this case only the main image will be displayed (when selecting a variant with a different image, the variant image will still be displayed).