How To Use Upselling & Cross-Selling Techniques To Boost Average Order Value For Your E-commerce Business

When it comes to marketing your ecommerce business and helping it grow at an accelerated rate, you have to get creative in ways you generate more revenue from your customers. Upselling and cross-selling can help e-commerce businesses boost their average order value (AOV) significantly with very little effort from your team. Your customers are already interested in purchasing a product from your store, your job is to provide product suggestions that further enhance their experience or complement the product they are currently looking to purchase. 

When upselling and cross-selling are done strategically, it can be seen as a positive suggestion instead of an aggressive push for more money. 

In this post, we will cover the following to help you increase your AOV using cross-selling and upselling.

  • What is upselling and cross-selling?
  • Why are upselling and cross-selling important?
  • What and how should you upsell/cross-sell?
  • How to effectively cross-sell and upsell

What Is upselling and cross-selling?


Upselling is the process of selling a more expensive or advanced version of your product to either a current customer or a prospective buyer. For example, if you sell a baby carrier and launch a new and improved version of the same product, you will want to push your new and more expensive product to your clientele by focusing on the improvements made in design and quality. 

Upselling is the reason why we have several versions of the iPhone to purchase or the reason why we purchased an upgraded hotel room with a view of Disneyland so you can watch the fireworks instead of the lame parking garage view room you were going to purchase. Upselling can bring meaningful revenue to your business.


Cross-selling is the process of selling products that complement each other to either a current customer who already owns one of the sister products or to a prospective buyer looking to buy one of the items. These complementary products are typically within the same product category. A simple example of cross-selling would be a pillow sham paired with a pillow insert. 

Why are upselling and cross-selling important?

Upselling and cross-selling are important for e-commerce businesses because it allows you to present your customers with a full suite of products and solutions that provide the best experience with your brand. By displaying complementary products and superior products, you are able to present your best product that meets the current needs of your customer. 

It is critical to use these tactics as a way to help your customers win, instead of you squeezing more revenue out of your customers. You can do this by educating your clients so they feel informed on all of their options. 

Upselling and cross-selling are important because they can:

Improve Customer Retention

Customers seek out products that provide solutions to their problems. Upselling and cross-selling allow you the chance to present a product that might be a better solution to their problem. This can increase customer retention because it exposes the client to all of the options they should consider before committing to purchase. According to recent research, upselling or cross-selling to return customers increases the likelihood to purchase to 60%-70%.

Increase Average Order Value

Upselling and cross-selling are easy ways to increase your average order value. In fact, upselling alone can increase your revenue by an average of 10%-30%. 

What and how should you upsell/cross-sell?

Upselling does not have to be an aggressive approach to obtaining more revenue. It can take on a subtle and strategic tone that helps customers see all of their product options before purchasing. 

Here are a few upselling and cross-selling suggestions:

  • Promote Highly Reviewed Products – Share testimonials that explain how your most popular item helps solve your customer’s problems.
  • Provide Relevant Suggestions – Share products that pair well with the product in their cart. Educate your audience that your store is a one-stop shop for all of their product needs. 
  • Stick to Your Product Categories – To avoid aggressive cross-selling promotions, only display relevant products to what they are currently looking to purchase. 
  • Be Aware of Price – When cross-selling make sure the item you are looking to complement their purchase with is cheaper than the item in their cart. More expensive items can deter impulse buyers. 
  • Maximize Effort with Minimal Products – Try not to overwhelm your customers with multiple upsell items. Show a few items that are closely related to avoid distracting customers.  

How to effectively cross-sell and upsell

There are a few tips and techniques to consider when implementing cross-selling and upselling in your e-commerce business. 

Provide a Limited Number of Choices

Complexity kills impulsivity, and too many choices can lead to abandonment. Recent research suggests that reducing product complexity can boost revenue by 5-40% and cut costs by 10-35%.

Reduce Complexity With Bundles 

Displaying predetermined bundles with related products can drastically reduce the decision-making complexity required by your customers. Bundles make it easy to purchase complementary products without the hassle of browsing and contemplating each item individually. 

Provide Value Not Frustration

Cross-selling and upselling should be used as an informative suggestion that provides value to the end user and not an aggressive sales pitch. Offering insight into products that pair well with their current order will be far more effective than pushing your priciest upgrades. 

Placement Matters 

Avoid displaying upsells before a customer has added an item to their cart. Bombarding them with additional considerations can overwhelm them and even lead to abandonment altogether. 

Upsell and cross-selling are powerful strategies that e-commerce businesses can use to help customers engage with additional products and to drive more revenue. 

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