You’ve probably experienced it yourself: you’re shopping online and almost ready to make a purchase, when you're bombarded with annoying pop-ups screaming at you to upgrade now! Instead of making you want to spend more money, they’re making you want to click away and take your business elsewhere.
Many new business owners and marketing teams struggle to strike the right balance of upselling effectively without being pushy.
If you want your upsells to actually work instead of harm your customer’s experience, you’ll need to understand the best ways to do it. In this post, I’ll share everything I’ve learned from my own experience, and throw in a few expert tips as well.
What Is Upselling?
Upselling is a business tactic used to get customers to spend more in a single purchase than they originally intended. It’s a great strategy for increasing profits, because it’s relatively easy to sell to customers who are already about to make a purchase.
Upselling is similar to cross-selling, but there are some key differences. Cross-selling promotes similar products that compliment the original item. Upselling, on the other hand, promotes upgrading or customizing the original item, to earn more profit from the single purchase.
I’ll focus on upselling in this article, but some tactics could also be adapted for cross-selling.
7 Best Ways to Upsell Your Products and Services
There are many ways to work upselling into your business model, but I’ve listed the best ways to do it. They add value to the customer experience while also increasing your profit.
Use Product Comparisons
Online shoppers are more research-oriented than ever before. Understanding that customers are primed to compare while they shop, built-in product comparisons are a useful way to promote higher priced items.
A great example is software companies that offer a 3-tier model. The basic tier is the cheapest, but offers only a few features. The middle tier is good value and has a decent amount of features. The premium tier offers a ton of appealing features, but is most expensive.
When examining 3 options, many people will opt to spend a few extra dollars to get the middle package with some extra features. Displaying all the tiers side by side is a great way to convince customers of the value of the high-tier packages.
Add-ons are a cost-efficient way to upsell. Typically displayed on the checkout page, add-ons are designed to enhance the original product in some way.
One example of an add-on for a tech product is an extended warranty or product protection, such as AppleCare. An example for a physical product is customization, like unique color or design options, like Vans offers for its shoes.
Show Relevant Alternatives
Upselling will only be successful if you understand your customers’ wants and needs. To get a customer to opt for a higher-priced product or service, you need to prove to them that you’re the expert and that an upgraded version would be of benefit to them in some way.
For example, if someone visits your website looking to buy a specific backpack, you could display alternative backpacks that may be similar in style, but at a higher price point. As the seller, you need to convince them of why the higher-priced item is better.
We’ve all seen it on Amazon. When you search for a product, the site will show you other products under “Customers who viewed this item also viewed,” many of which are higher valued.
Offer Discounts for Long-Term Users
One way subscription-based businesses can upsell is by incentivizing longer-term commitments. You’ve probably seen software or subscription services that offer a discount of 10-20% for buying an entire year’s worth of service, instead of paying monthly.
Customers get to pay less for their subscription, while you get increased profit upfront, reducing the churn of customers on monthly membership.
This can also help you build your customers’ loyalty. Over the course of the year, you can engage your subscribers and convince them of your value, making them more likely to renew their subscription after the initial period.
Incentivize Higher-Priced Purchases
A subtle way to upsell is to incentivize higher-priced purchases. For example, maybe a buyer has to reach a minimum order value in order to qualify for free shipping. If your business has a rewards program, you may offer additional points for higher value items.
Incentivizing higher purchases through bonuses like free shipping can be a form of both upselling and cross-selling. This is because customers could reach the minimum order value with additional items or a higher priced item. It’s a great technique that actually works.
Use Urgency as a Trigger
Another great tactic is to create a sense of urgency by offering upsells for a limited time or in a limited quantity. This works well as people will be more inclined to purchase quicker to feel like they’re getting a deal. Just be sure the upsell actually adds value to them, or this may backfire with a bad review.
With online shopping, it’s easy to add timers that are triggered by certain actions on the website, such as going to the checkout page or clicking on certain links. These timers can be associated with deals and discounts to entice the customer to add-on or upgrade.
Promote Cost-Efficient Upgrades
One way you can get people to buy higher-priced items is by showcasing the savings they can get. This can be a great option if you're looking for ways on how to upsell food or beverage products.
For example, if someone wants to purchase a case of 24 water bottles, you can suggest that they’d save 10% by purchasing the 30-bottle case instead. This works well with multiple-quantity items, as you can list the per-item price, which becomes cheaper the more the customer buys.
It’s best to push this type of upsell once the customer has already added the product to their cart.
Another great example is when you order a burger combo from McDonald’s and they ask if you want to “supersize” it for only a dollar more. As the customer, you feel you’re getting a cost-efficient meal.
What's the Best Way to Accept Payments Online?
No matter how you choose to upsell, you’ll need a reliable and easy way to accept payments. Pay.com lets you accept a variety of different payment options and takes care of payment processing for you.
You can create an account with Pay.com in just a few easy steps. With the simple onboarding process, you’ll be set in no time. Plus, with customizable checkout pages for your site and the ability to A/B test different options, you can provide your customers with the optimal checkout experience.
The Bottom Line: Start Upselling and Reap In the Benefits
Upselling is a great sales tactic to add to your arsenal. By offering additional value to customers who are already interested, you can boost your bottom line without having to invest much.
There isn’t one right way to upsell, and you might not know what works for your business right away. With a little bit of trial and error, you’ll be able to find what works and sell to great success.
Now that you’re ready to increase your sales with upsells, it’s important to make sure your payment processing is up to scratch. Pay.com makes payments simple both for you and your customers with customizable checkout pages, automated services, and plenty of payment methods to choose from.