Cross-Selling for ECommerce: Examples and Best Practices

Getting a prospect to convert is no small feat. But when you get the customer to buy something, should you just consider it a job well done and direct her to checkout?

A good salesperson would act otherwise and will continue to sell until the customer herself says no.

But what do you sell when the customer has already bought something she was looking for? That’s where cross-selling comes in. Cross-selling refers to selling other related products that you think the customer would want to buy along with the product she’s interested in buying.

Cross-selling not only increases the average order value and profit per customer but also creates a better customer experience.

Though a customer who cross-buys ends up spending more than she originally planned, she’ll feel more satisfied and happier when she has bought the ancillary products you recommended.

For example, when you recommend a pair of pants that are color-compatible with a Shirt, you’re just being helpful as a good salesperson. Even if the customer loses money when she cross-buys, she’ll only be more satisfied in the end.

That’s why cross-selling is such a winning strategy in eCommerce. Let’s dive into some examples of how successful businesses build custom ecommerce stores and use cross-selling on eCommerce product pages.

Examples of Cross-Selling & Strategies in Action

As consumers, we cross-buy all the time. When the cashier at McDonald’s asks us if we want fries, he’s cross-selling. And when the sales guy at the phones shop tells us we should buy a protective case and screen protector, he’s cross-selling as well.

But how to use it effectively in eCommerce? Here are some examples for inspiration.

Amazon

Amazon uses customer behavior data across its site to figure out what other customers are buying. The algorithm figures out products that are frequently bought together and recommends those products in a section titled “Frequently Bought Together”.

Instead of individually defining product recommendations for each product, Amazon lets customer data do its job and gives meaningful suggestions for cross-selling.

Notice the convenient button that lets customers buy the suggested products with one single click. While most merchants display a separate Add to Cart button for each product suggestion, Amazon has bundled them with the product itself and enables the customer to buy all of them together with a single click.

Sephora

Sephora displays a section on its product page titled “Use It With” that elevates the customer experience by suggesting products that support the product being purchased. If a customer is interested in buying an eyeshadow palette, for example, she would definitely want to know which brush to buy so she can create her artistic looks with ease. She’ll also welcome suggestions of eyeliners and mascaras to create a complete eye look.

Notice that Sephora has three sections on each of its product pages. The first section only displays similar products lying in the same price range.

The second section titled “You May Also Like” is where upselling is taking place. All the products listed in this section are priced higher than the product itself.

The third section is where cross-selling is taking place.

Udemy

Udemy takes cross-selling one step further and couples it with two other strategies: product bundling and discounts.

It displays two sections on its course page. The first section uses the ‘social factor’ (also used by Amazon) and displays courses that are frequently bought together by other students. 

The second section bundles together some of the Frequently Bought Courses and offers a discount to customers who buy all three. It’s the same strategy used by Amazon but a tad bit more effective because of the discount.

Adidas

Adidas uses a bit different strategy than other retailers. On every product page, it displays a section titled “Complete the Look” where it suggests products the customers should buy to complete the look.

If customers are really in a spending mode, like during the holidays, it won’t be that hard to get them to buy all of these items to complete the look.

When you click on a product suggestion, a modal window pops up that lets you choose your size and add the product to the cart.

Apple

One would expect Apple to use the common strategy used by all phone retailers – cross-selling accessories with a phone. But that isn’t what it does.

Instead of cross-selling phone accessories, Apple offers its own insurance service as a cross-sell and drives profits through the roof.

What’s most interesting is the placement of the cross-sell offer. Instead of offering it in a separate section that’s often overlooked, it has included the offer in the buying form itself.

When you land on the product page of iPhone 13 Pro, you see an order form on the right instead of the standard Add to Cart button. At this point, the Add to Cart button is disabled. The customer has to select different options to enable it.

When the customer selects options relating to the phone’s color, capacity, etc. to enable the Add to Cart button, the cross-sell offer of the insurance service opens up inside the form. The way it’s placed inside the form makes it very unlikely to be ignored and overlooked by customers.

Tips to Get Cross-Selling Right

When done right, cross-selling can give you big wins in terms of eCommerce sales, profits, and customer satisfaction. Here are some tips to get the most from this sales strategy.

Cross-sell Add-ons, not Must-Haves

Every product has some must-haves and some extra add-ons. It makes sense if you cross-sell add-ons. But if you try to sell the must-haves as add-ons, it’s going to be a major turn-off for the customer.

For example, for a backpack, the straps are a must-have not an add-on. What’s a customer supposed to do with a backpack without any straps? Selling straps separately as a cross-sell offer would create a very negative experience. Must-haves must be included in the product itself, not sold separately as an add-on.

Present Products in a Logical Order

Try to present your product suggestions in a logical order. For example, if you’re selling a phone, a phone case would be the next logical thing to sell followed by a case decal. If you sell a case decal before selling a case, it won’t make sense.

Use Personalization

Personalization is the next big thing in eCommerce. When you enter a restaurant and the waiter already knows your preferences, it leads to a very positive experience. Thanks to AI, it’s possible to replicate the same personalization in eCommerce as well. When your cross-sell suggestions are personalized, your customer will be more influenced to purchase from you.

Conclusion

Cross-selling is a timeless sales strategy to increase the average order value and profit per customer. Learn from eCommerce giants like Amazon, Sephora, and Apple and execute the strategy well to get the most benefits out of it.

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