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Increase Spending with Cross-sells, Up-sells, and Related Products

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eCommerce Strategy

Utilizing cross-sells, up-sells and related products in your online store not only serves to increase spending but can help give your customers a better shopping experience. In a physical store you can have sales associate help your customers find the right products and suggest additional items that help round out a purchase but online we’re missing that middle person between the customer and checkout.

Customers are coming to retailers with a problem – “I need a dress for an upcoming wedding” or “I need tools to build this project” – and our job is to provide them with the best solution. The important part is not just the right solution but their experience while getting to it. Making it easy and enjoyable getting from their problem to the solution will help keep your customers returning and purchasing more.

The Customer Journey: Offer Them More

upsell cross-sell related products eCommerce
Online stores lack physical interactions that can bring the opportunity for more business and better service. With eCommerce you can’t have a conversation with your customer, but you can get try to get the same results using different techniques. Having a website that is easy to search and provides good search results, along with the ability to narrow down products further through filters can greatly increase customer satisfaction. These interactions like search are the equivalent of asking a sales associate for help.

In addition to search, once the customer is able to find a product they are interested in we need a way to show them more products – ones that continue to help give them a better solution. For example if a customer is looking for a new dress for a wedding we can assume they might be interested in new shoes or accessories too. This is where offering additional items on a products page can increase exposure of new or better fit products to those customers without them navigation away from a product page. We need to anticipate that they may not have even thought of these additional items they might need or want, so suggesting them is an easy and helpful way to increases their satisfaction.

Related: Next Practices vs. Best Practices – Winning in Retail

How do Cross-selling, Up-selling, and Related Products Help?

Offering cross-sell, up-sell and related product lists on your site can make ones experience more comparable to an person-person interaction customers are used to in a physical store. If you are new to the idea of these product offerings here’s a summary of their offerings and where they can be found:


Online: These are typically found on the cart page.

In Store: These products are usually found on your way through the checkout.

Purpose: The purpose of a cross-sell is to increase what customers are spending by offering them additional items just before they checkout. These products can be priced lower and be easier to sell as an addition. A customer is unlikely to buy a big-ticket item just as they are about to checkout so price points are typically lower.

Cross sells in shopping cart

Related Items:

Online: These are found on the product page.

In Store: These items are usually in close proximity to the product they are related. This type can either be offering the same product but in a different colour, or other products that would compliment the one they are looking at.

Purpose: This list can recommend other products that compliment the one they are already looking at. For example on the product page of an iPad the related products could be iPad cases, covers and stands. Another way of using related items is to show all the other colours the same style of product. This approach will depend on how your item can be configured and how many options you want available on a page. The example below from Artizia uses their list of ‘Picks for You’ show other items a customer could be looking for either to complete the look such as pants or a shirt, or as an alternative product like a sweater in another style or colour.

Related Products on Product Page


Online: These are typically found on the product page or as promotional pages.

In Store: These products are typically found near each other as they are part of the same category, just positioned at different price points.

Purpose: The purpose of an up-sell is to entice the customer to purchase the higher end model or version of a product. For example, on a product page for a 16GB iPad you offer the 64GB and 124GB options too. In the examples below, the category page of Mac offers the latest version of  the Macbook, the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air. Offering customers a product comparison chart helps them see the difference between products more clearly and get the right product in front of them quicker.

Apple Upsell Products

Providing a Better Experience


By offering related and up-sell lists on the product page the customer is more likely to click from product to product as opposed to back to the listing page which can help keep them engaged and on your site. As a physical store is carefully laid out to put collections of products together, so should your online store. Just as you might pass the accessories section of a store before heading to the checkout with a new top, online customers should also be provided with the same attention to other products they may be interested in before they checkout. One way to replicate that experience is by giving carefully selected and helpful information to the customer as they are shopping the site. Giving the customer a more personalized experience will provide a better customer experience.

Personalized product offerings can help bring your customer new products they didn’t initially plan to purchase or may not even know you offered. Being able to not only deliver great products, but introduce your customers to other products you know they will like can be the difference between a average and great experience, and becoming a brand the customer trusts and continues returning to. Entire companies now exists from this very concept alone – offering new products, carefully selected to introduce customers to. These companies offer personal subscription packages of products like makeup, wine, or organic foods. Each month you can be introduced to new and exiting products that are already tailored to fit your needs and wants, and include an element of surprise. Having the most accurate profile of a customer is what can help you introduce them to products you know they are going to like. Applying these ideas to how we can more consciously select cross/up-sells and related products is about helping the customer find products they may not have known about before.

Related: The Transition from Acquisition to Retention – It’s Do or Die

It’s All in the Details


Depending on what type of products you are selling, the description above your related, up-sell and cross sells can also help sell your customer on them. These small details help tell the story of a product and keep buyers engaged and clicking in the right direction. Here are some examples of how you can word these offers to your customers:

Attention to detail and the ability to personalize a customers shopping experience are what helps take cross-sells up-sells and related products to the next level. The more accurate picture you have of your customer, the better you can anticipate what they are looking for today and what you should be trying to offer them on their next visit.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Customer Lifetime Value

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