How to upsell and cross sell on Shopify

Acquiring a customer is always exciting and usually the consequence of significant marketing efforts along the way. To make the acquisition of this customer profitable, you need to cross sell and upsell – you need to take the interest you have garnered and maximise the revenue. This truth of business growth is the same across the business world, but more so in the hugely competitive eCommerce sector. Here we offer some essential hints and tips to help you scale your business by selling more to each customer.


What is upselling?

Upselling is a strategy intended to drive up your average order value. The easiest way to exemplify this is with a smartphone. Your customer clicks on the model from two years ago, and you show a placeholder with the latest model. Equally, the customer might click on the 64 GB model, showing them the 128GB one as the upsell. You hope that the customer will replace their original selection with the better version and increase the order value for you.


Cross selling can appear like you are being helpful and supportive to your customer. You are offering products that can compliment or improve the experience of the original purchase. For instance, you may offer batteries when selling a battery-operated toy or a cover for the smart tablet just purchased. Offering free shipping if the customer adds cheaper products to the basket to a set limit is also a great way of using this strategy.


Types of cross selling and upselling 

There are some common upselling strategies, including:

Soft Upsell: this is the least intrusive way to offer an upsell on the product page. It sits within the product description and doesn’t distract the customer’s attention. It might be a “customers also viewed” section, for instance. 

Pop-up: a pop-up is a lot more aggressive, as it seeks to override the original selection with this more expensive option. It requires the customer to click to remove the pop-up, usually by accepting or declining the offer to continue. This puts an additional step in the conversion funnel and needs to be used sparingly.

Post Purchase: The post-purchase sell is more for cross-selling but can also upsell by including upgrade options after receiving the confirmation page. The customer has already committed to the buy at this point, and this final message helps you to suggest they make the most of the need they felt.



Pushing sales tactics on your customer randomly can feel intrusive to the customer and can drive away sales rather than increase the average value of orders. Therefore, you need to be tactical in your choices, and here are some vital techniques to apply.

Be relevant:  The upsell has to be an obviously better option than the purchase the customer is considering. You need a product that costs more but still speaks to the original need fulfilled with the original click. The cross sell needs to be relevant.

Go multi-tiered: While some customers will never feel comfortable going for a top tier item, they may be happy to go for one in the middle. Therefore, if you can offer multiple upsell opportunities, the original selection is the lowest of three or four, then the customer might not click the most expensive, but they could go more expensive. 

Buy again: The increased baset size might be as simple as to purchase more than one. Imagine you have bought something luxurious and feel guilty at the extravagance, and then someone suggests buying it for a friend or loved one. Now, as a consumer, you can reduce those guilty feelings by treating someone else too. 

Native feature: it is best not to present these tactics as what they are – a blatant attempt to sell more. Instead, having a section of alternatives displayed with every purchase makes it appear native to your flow and not an aggressive sales tactic.

Creative messaging: When trying to increase the value of this order, use creative messaging to encourage the buyer. Find a way of making it logical to go for the more expensive option or a choice based on love for the person they are buying for – why wouldn’t they want X if you have bought them Y.

Discount: One of the most commonly used tactics, and most effective, is discounting the cross-sell or upsell option. While the customer still buys more than they expected, they feel they are getting a better deal. It is an opportunity to offer a win: win scenario to the customer.

Scarcity: Make it seem like the opportunity for this upsell and cross-sell is limited in time or scope. You may only offer this upsell deal for the next 24 hours, or it might only be available to the first 100 customers. Not only does this position the upsell as a unique opportunity, it builds pressure to make the click.


The takeaway

When increasing the value of each acquisition, you need to remember you are in a relationship with the customer, and you do not want to lose a sale to make more from this basket. Therefore, use data and your instinct for your customer to choose the tactics that will work for you.



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