“Do you want fries with that?”

That right there, is one of the most profitable upsells of all time.

Mcdonald’s has made millions of dollars a year with that one line, and you can do the same thing with your e-commerce store. Okay, I don’t know if you’re going to make millions, but you’ll definitely have a good chance at increasing your average order value and/or bringing in more sales.

Upselling is a beautiful thing. It’s when you make certain offers for the customer that in turn increase their order value. These offers can be anything, from additional products to product customizations to related ongoing service, and when you're doing it through e-commerce, the possibilities grow even more.

Here’s how you can upsell the right way in your e-commerce business.

Make your ask at the right time

It doesn’t matter if you're selling 1000 retail products or 1 solo service, anytime you are selling online you are guiding your customer through a sales funnel.

Your sales funnel, or purchasing funnel, is the steps a customer takes that guide them towards making a purchase. At some point during this journey, we’ll want to attempt to upsell the customer to hopefully increase their order value.

Here are the times we can attempt to upsell the customer during the sales process;

1. While Shopping

Attempting to upsell while shopping can work in many scenarios, but the best practices for this will depend on the product(s) you’re selling.

Upselling while shopping could be offering extra features like; customization, engraving, gift wrapping, or special warranties on the product page. This can work particularly well on already higher-value products or stores that focus on selling one main product.

Another way to upsell during the customers' shopping experience would be through pop-ups that get triggered by certain customer properties, i.e) their cart value.

If your working with a store that has a large number of different products, you can also, in a sense, upsell all the products at once. If it works within your pricing strategy, you can offer free shipping or a gift when they purchase a certain amount.

2. While Checking Out

An upsell while checking out can work amazingly well. Just think about McDonald's asking if you want fries with that! Or the candy rack at your local grocery store that’s conveniently located by the register and packed with all the eye-catching goodies.

These tactics work incredibly.

To do this, you can either implement a pop-up that’s triggered when a customer clicks ‘checkout,’ or even as an extra line in the cart items that lets them add the offer to their order with one click.

It can get even better.

Because we’re working through e-commerce, and not in physical reality, we can do things not possible at your local grocery checkout. We can create even more urgency through ‘limited time terms’ attached to upsell offers and we can decide which product we want to upsell to which customers.

When you’re at the store in person, every customer sees everything on the upsell rack, but not every customer finds Mars bars as irresistible as the next, some prefer Twix.

But through e-commerce, we can offer the Mars bar as an upsell to people who are most likely into Mars Bars, and the same for Twix.

3. Immediately Post Purchase

Upselling immediately post-purchase can definitely work well in some categories. With upselling immediately post-purchase, it’s best to limit it to the thank you page or in an additional email to the order confirmation.

For example, you can ask them if they forgot any of the products that they've bought in the past, and display those products there for them to order. Or you could offer them an incentive to add products you want to sell more of to their order at a discount while the customer is still in ‘buying mode.’

4. During Delivery

Your customer just received their package and you're now back fresh in their mind. You have their undivided attention at this point, so why waste the opportunity.

This could be something like a flyer with a $10 OFF coupon in their box or an email automatically triggered when the shipment is marked as delivered.

Your customer is also in the midst of the experience you created for them, if it’s a good one, offering a quick and easy repurchase option here can let them decide to have that experience again.

For one of my clients, this has worked extremely well by including a QR code with 5% off a repurchase in the package, the QR code leads them to their customer account orders page, where there’s a ‘repurchase’ button they can click that instantly adds all the items from that order to their cart and redirects them to checkout. Simply, easy, and low-resistance.

Upselling the right way

Make a real offer

While the whole point of an upsell is to increase the order value, you still need to make sure you are offering sufficient value to the customer.

If your offer is for a separate product, try offering an exclusive discount when they purchase it together.

If your offer is for an add on to the current product, make sure you effectively communicate in which ways this add on will enhance the product for them.

Don’t just offer a ‘Warranty’ for $7.99,

offer them a ‘1-Year Warranty’ with a note that says ‘includes, accidents, loss, damage, theft. Repaired or Replaced’ for $7.99.

Types of upsell offers:

  • Offer a complimentary product to the main purchase like cases with a new phone or fries with a burger.
  • Offer them free shipping or delivery when they purchase a certain amount
  • Offer protection on the customers' purchase like a warranty with a laptop.
  • Offer popular and relatable products as a limited time offer during purchase, like an e-commerce candy rack!
  • Offer an incentive to repurchase like leaving coupons in their shipment or setting up repurchase email flows.
  • Offer them a discount on a popular product they haven't bought yet
  • Offer them related ongoing services like GoDaddy upselling a website builder after you purchase a domain name.
  • Offer faster delivery

As you can see, the possibilities are endless when you take every niche, product, and customer type into account. But hopefully, that list gave you some ideas for your own product or service.

Be Relevant

As we touched on earlier, you can also use the fact that we’re operating through e-commerce to your advantage. You can set upsells up to appear based on various characteristics of a customer's order, like total value or types of products in their cart.

For example, if you’re operating an e-commerce art supplies store, upselling premium pencils to people buying sketchbooks will probably work better than upselling those same pencils to people buying jugs of resin, to those people you may want to upsell something like a leak-proof tray to protect their floors while they pour resin on things.

Lastly, don’t overdo it

Try to not deploy all the above methods all at once, bombarding the customer with offer after offer can ultimately do the opposite of what we want them to do.

If we take it back to the beginning, we are placing this offer somewhere in the sales process, which means we’re adding another step for the customer to complete before purchase. It’s important to find the balance between upsells and providing a path to purchase with the least amount of resistance.

Thanks for reading! Got Questions? Join my weekly e-commerce newsletter here: Join the Fun, I answer any of the questions I can in the replies to each newsletter!

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