How to Maximize Your E-commerce Sales With Cross-selling

5 min read

e-commerce marketing sumodash

Cross-selling is one of the most powerful e-commerce strategies that most sites miss out on. 

Think about it….

What if a simple strategy or plugin can increase your online store’s profits by 10%, 30%, or even 100%? Wouldn’t that be huge? 

Some of the world’s biggest companies, including Amazon and Walmart leverage this strategy to boost their e-commerce sales with cross-selling. 

A few tiny changes can boost order size and profits and make a big difference.

If you’re not doing it yet, you should be. In this article, we’ll look at how cross-selling works, why you need it, and how to get started.

How does cross-selling work?

Cross-selling is a strategy to sell related products to the customer that’s already interested in a certain product from your store. 

Such products generally belong to different product categories but will be complementary in nature. An example that you can think of in the fashion industry is something like a pair of jeans that can go along with a sweater that the customer is already interested in.

This can be mixed with bundling which we can speak more of later in this article.

Cross-selling comes in a few different formats:

  • The most common method would be “related products” While those two products don’t necessarily go together, they both appeal to the buyer and can go hand to hand.
  • Another is for “complementary products” — an item that goes directly with the primary product. These might be batteries for a TV controller or ink for a printer.
  • The next most favorite cross-selling method is a cross-sell method for software and services. A good example of this would be Best Buy selling additional warranty to their products or “clean up kits” etc.

Best Buy reportedly makes much of its money from protection plans than the actual product themselves.

Let’s talk about bundling in cross-selling.

As the name suggests, these are groups of products that are included together. You might bundle a case, headphones, and a screen protector with a new smartphone. 

One of the smartest strategies for this type of cross-selling is offering a limited time discount for the bundled item.

Here’s a way you can leverage bundling for maximum potential: 

Specify a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping. Customers who are looking to buy only one item are likely to switch to the bundle in order to raise order value and qualify for free shipping.

Win win right? 😀 Amazon and Walmart loves doing this.


Benefits of cross-selling

Cross-selling works and it’s quite effective. Now that you know what cross-selling is, let’s briefly go over some of the benefits of cross-selling.

Increases Average Order Value for sure.

Who doesn’t want to make more money out of your loyal customer?

A Marketing Metric study reports that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. Upsell to existing customers to boost LTV.

Cross-selling increases the average order value of products because people are adding more items that they probably didn’t see on the homepage or while browsing your store. More money for the win again.

Cross-selling also increases customer retention. Upselling or cross-selling done right helps the customer find more value than he was expecting. You’ll have a loyal customer in the long run.

It increases profits. If you offer free or flat-rate shipping, you’ll also save money on smaller accessories that don’t cost extra to ship but bring in more revenue.

Higher order values compound over the life of the customer, and you earn more as long as the customer buys from you.

Best strategies for implementing a cross-selling strategy

There are a lot of ways you can implement cross-selling in your store, but there is only two common and effective approach.

On the product page and during checkout.

While there are no hard and fast rules, a general guideline is that it’s easier to pitch “low barrier” products at checkout and leave high-ticket items on the product page. Place larger accessories that cost 15-50% of the main item on the product page, and leave smaller items at 10% or below for checkout.

To make the most of these strategies, here are some suggestions on how to upsell:

  • Promote your most reviewed or most sold products
  • Implement a plugin at checkout that can auto-populate related products
  • Make add-on features like recommended products and other related products obvious
  • Using previous customer data as a recommendation engine
  • Make suggestions relevant by giving context: why should the customer buy this too.
  • Go for products that are easily forgotten: filters for lenses, earphones for mobile phones, most importantly get creative and be data-driven.


A quick example of a cross-sell by Amazon

Without getting too into details, Amazon is probably the most well-known and best at cross-selling. We’ll show you an example of effective cross-selling implementation by Amazon.

They’re probably the ones that use this type of cross-selling strategy best in the e-commerce world. Look how they put a twist on what we discussed: they not only add what other customers bought, they also add what customers looked at, even if they didn’t buy the item.

Try going to Amazon.com, add a few random products to your cart and take a look at the different roles of recommendations.
The products in the top row are less related and more complementary than others. They could be considered more upselling.

Don’t forget about one of the most visual representations that exist, the products that are usually compared together.

It’s so visual and so logical that it’s hard to resist adding those products to your cart. Even so, it’s so well thought out that a package deal isn’t necessary; by unchecking one of the blue checks the selected products are updated. A great tactic.

Remember package deals because they’re always a great way to increase the average purchase through cross-selling. You can recommend them in the product cards or even create a separate category specifically for a cross-sell campaign. This can usually be implemented easily within the plugin that you choose to use.

Best plugins for cross-selling

Here’s a list of plugins that will make your life 10x easier when creating a cross-selling campaign. Don’t reinvent the wheel and choose a solution that’s already made for this to save you a good amount of time and resources.


Booster for WooCommerce

Are you thinking of taking your eCommerce store globally? This plugin comes loaded with many different features, Booster for WooCommerce is a powerful tool for online stores going international. 

The most striking feature is its capability to localize your site depending on the shopper’s country. This plugin supports localization to translate your website profile, product descriptions, contents, and graphic images to match the language of your target audience. Aside from language, it is capable of automatically changing your product prices at local currency. You will be able to add 159 additional currencies into WooCommerce and display the matching currency symbol.


Beeketing for WooCommerce

If you’re looking for a solution to automate the sales & marketing process, don’t look over Beeketing for WooCommerce, one of the best WooCommerce plugins for marketing. It includes 10+ built-in apps designed to optimize conversion rates, increase average order value (AOV) and nurture loyal customers.


Personalizer – Targeted Recommendations by LimeSpot

Personalizer Targeted Recommendations by LimeSpot allows you to showcase related products on every page of your store’s website, and it enables you to customize the appearance of the box recommended items appear in.  Plus, this cross-sell, upsell, and related products Shopify app comes with support for manual and automatic curation, responsive design for mobile devices, detailed analytics and reporting, easy integration, and more.


Bulk Discounts

Bulk Discounts is one of the most interesting apps made by Shopify that lets you create thousands of discount codes (unique) with just a few clicks. It enables you to create a single-time use, limited use, or even unlimited use unique codes. Using Bulk Discounts, you can set up a custom prefix for each discount and track the usage of discounts while calculating the conversation rate of these discount sets. The app also lets you delete discount sets and export them in the form of plain text.


Are you an e-commerce store owner and looking for more organic traffic/sales to your store? Are you looking for more attractive product description or product guides?

Reach out to us and we’ll double your organic traffic with a customized content strategy.

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