How to cross-sell and up-sell in sales and marketing: Simple tips from practice

How to cross-sell and up-sell in sales and marketing: Simple tips from practice

Want to sell even more and have even happier customers? Cross-sell and up-sell can help you do that. What is the difference between them? How can you increase your sales with them? And how to use them correctly? 


Cross-selling: what is it? 

Cross-selling, also called cross-sell, x-sell, up-sell or cross-sell, is a sales or marketing tactic that allows you to sell more goods to your customers. In practice, it looks like you sell complementary products (waterproofing spray, medical shoe inserts and extended warranties) in addition to the main product the customer is buying (shoes, for example). Cross-selling has a few simple rules that you should follow if you want to use it successfully. 


The main rule of cross-sell: The complementary goods must be related 

Cross-selling will only work if you offer the customer complementary goods that are closely related to the main product. This means that it is much easier to sell a protective cover for a mobile phone than a kitchen mixer. Cross-selling is about increasing the customer’s benefit from the product, not just blindly selling it. If you offer unrelated products, they will get the feeling that you are trying to push products on them that they don’t want or need. 


Tip: Cross-sell products at a discount 

It will make the customer feel even better if you allow them to buy at a bargain. The customer will jump on it to save money. In the same way, you can place discounted products in the e-shop basket that are related to the goods you are buying and, thanks to cross-selling, will cost the customer less than if he bought them separately. 


Cross-sell as part of sales: When to offer additional products? 

If you sell over the phone, you probably hesitate when to offer complementary services or products to the customer. The answer depends on what the goods are. 

If it’s a complementary product that is essential to the main product (for example, batteries that the product wouldn’t work without, or a phone charger), you have two options: either offer it at the same time as the purchase of the main product, or very soon after (between 1 and 7 days). 

If these are additional products that are not strictly necessary but only enhance the main product (for example, a better lens for the camera), wait about two weeks. This is due to a psychological phenomenon called hedonic adaptation. 


Cross-selling and hedonic adaptation: what is it? 

When a customer buys a product, they get excited about it and their satisfaction level rises sharply, temporarily satisfying their need. After about a week, however, the customer gets used to the product (gets “tired” of it) and satisfaction drops to its original level. The customer starts looking for new ways to increase satisfaction again. This is the perfect time to come up with a new product option that will make the customer happy again. 


Cross-sell in e-commerce 

Cross-selling doesn’t just have to be a sales issue, you can incorporate it into internet marketing very effectively. It works best for e-shops. When browsing a product, you can very effectively and non-intrusively offer customers goods that match or are like the product.  


How does cross-sell work technically on e-shops? 


Cross-selling needs to be set up in the e-shop. Some platforms can do this automatically and offer items by related tags or by category. However, setting up more advanced options, such as sorting products by margin, is more technically demanding and you will probably need the help of a programmer. 


Want maximum results? Combine cross-selling with remarketing 

Customers are more likely to cross-sell products they know or have heard of. That’s why it’s ideal to combine cross-selling with remarketing. Find out which products the customer has browsed in your store and then offer them during cross-selling. 


You can test your cross-sell with an A/B test 

Not sure which products to pair with what and what to offer when? You’ll find out exactly when you cross-sell using an A/B test, or split test, which you may already know from email marketing. How does it work? You create two versions of the same web page, only you offer a different complementary product in each version. After a certain period, you can see which version works better based on the click-through rate and conversion rate. 


Good cross-selling benefits both the retailer and the customer 

Is cross-selling bad? Many marketers are reluctant to use cross-selling because they consider it an unfair technique. But in that case, they get it wrong. Good cross-selling benefits both the seller and the customer. 



Good cross-selling: 


  • Offering the customer, the products they are interested in 
  • does not harass or force anything 
  • saves the customer work (he does not have to search for related products separately) 
  • increases the user experience. 


Bad cross-sell: 


  • offers unrelated products 
  • tries to sell at any price 
  • forces the customer to buy something that is not really 


Up-selling or Sell at a higher price 

Up-selling or up-selling is a sales and marketing tactic that is like cross-selling. It involves offering a slightly more expensive and better product to the customer. Does he want to buy a phone? Offer him the same one, but with better memory. 


The difference between cross-sell and up-sell 

Up-selling is often confused with cross-selling, so let’s explain the difference with practical examples. 


A customer wants an ordinary chocolate cake for £2: 


  • Cross-sell: You sell him a chocolate cake, a vanilla cake and a coffee. 
  • Up-sell: You sell him a premium chocolate dessert for £3. 


The customer wants hotel accommodation: 


  • Cross-sell: You sell him not only accommodation, but also a voucher for dinner in the hotel restaurant and a massage in the hotel spa. 
  • Up-sell: You sell him accommodation in a bigger and more expensive room than he originally intended. 


The customer wants a cell phone: 


  • Cross-sell: You sell him a protective cover, tempered glass, charger and insurance. 
  • Up-sell: You sell him a more expensive, newer model. 


You must be careful on the up-sell 

Customers are usually more cautious with up-selling than cross-selling. So, it’s a tactic you’re more likely to encounter in face-to-face or phone calls with customers, where you can sense subtle nuances in their decision-making and respond quickly to the situation. The important thing is to hit the point where the up-sell is both profitable for you and acceptable to the customer. If you offer him a car for £15,000 instead of a car for £150,000, he will quickly see that you are not concerned with his needs, but with your profit. 

Tip: Increase the price in small increments. Research shows that customers are willing to spend a maximum of 25 % more on goods than they originally intended. 


When up-selling, you need to offer goods that are significantly more profitable 

As with cross-selling, up-selling is all about making the purchase convenient for customers. This implies a simple rule: Offer goods that are just a little more expensive, but a lot better. Customers won’t buy a more expensive computer for nothing – it must have a more powerful processor, more memory and better speakers. 


A quality up-sell increases your profits and the customer’s utility 

If you want to do up-sell well, you need to think about the customer first and foremost. A good up-sell will increase both your profits and the customer’s utility. This gives you something more important than increased sales: customer satisfaction. And that’s many times more profitable for you in the long run than a one-off sale that makes you lose customers. So always keep the customer’s needs in mind first and your own profits second. 


Is cross-sell or up-sell better for you? 

Which tactic is more profitable for you? Which should you use? The answer may surprise you a little: use both. You’ll get the best results when you combine cross-sell and up-sell. You can offer product enhancements when you add to cart (for example, choose a hardcover planner) and then offer additional products (for example, a pen) when the product is already in the cart. 


If you want to cross-sell and up-sell effectively, you need to know your customers 

There are several issues associated with cross-selling and up-selling: 


  • What to offer? 
  • When to offer it? 
  • Who to offer it to? 
  • In what combination? 
  • How much? 


To find the answers, you need to analyse your customers’ buying behaviour. In marketing, analytics tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel can help you do this, in sales, customer databases or merchant observations can help you do this. 

Once you’re clear on how which customer personas make decisions, you can personalize the buying arguments for them. Imagine that two different personas want to buy the same phone. You know from previous purchases that the first persona often buys yellow goods, so you can offer them a more expensive version of the phone in yellow as part of an up-sell. The second person, on the other hand, often buys technological gadgets, so you are more likely to convince her to up-sell if you offer a more expensive, technologically superior phone. 


Cross-sell and up-sell well with myTimi 

myTimi knows that selling repeatedly is much more effective than constantly finding new customers. That’s why it does quality up-selling and cross-selling for you, which not only increases your profits, but also increases your customer satisfaction.  

Why work with us? 


  • Our team consists of experts in marketing, sales and customer service. As a result, we can set up sales to work across the board. 
  • We work with real data. We analyse your situation thoroughly first and then we act. 
  • Cross-selling and up-selling will be continuously evaluated and optimized to be as effective as possible. 
  • With us, you know exactly what you are paying for. All costs are transparent, and you only pay for the time we spend on the task. 
  • We’re fair. If you’re not happy with the service, you don’t pay. 






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