What is Cross-Selling?
Cross-selling is a sales technique used to get a customer to spend more by purchasing a product that’s related to what’s being bought already.
Cross-Selling vs. Upselling
It’s easy to confuse cross-selling with upselling. Cross-selling involves offering the customer a related product or service, while upselling typically involves trading up to a better version of what’s being purchased.
Amazon reportedly attributes as much as 35 percent of its sales to cross-selling through its “customers who bought this item also bought” and “frequently bought together” options on every product page. That approach allows a retailer to prompt a shopper to buy a compatible – or necessary – product.
Examples of cross-selling include:
- A sales representative at an electronics retailer suggests that the customer purchasing a digital camera also buy a memory card.
- The cashier at a fast-food restaurant asks a customer, “Would you like fries with that?”
- The check-out form at an ecommerce site prompts the customer to add a popular related product or a required accessory not included in the product being purchased.
- A new car dealer suggests the car buyer add a cargo liner or other after-market product when making the initial vehicle purchase.
- A clothing retailer displays a complete outfit so the shopper sees how pieces fit together and buys all the pieces instead of just one.
Cross-Selling Best Practices
Best practices for cross-selling success include:
- Recommend the accessory required for proper operation or use of the product purchased, such as a power cord for a computer printer that doesn’t include one in the box.
- Bundle related products so the customer doesn’t need to look for necessary components or accessories.
- Offer a discounted price on a bundled product offer to encourage immediate purchase with a temporary price savings.
- Demonstrate how the additional products work with the product being purchased.
- Make it easy for the customer to say “yes” by addressing potential customer objections in the cross-sell conversation. For example, a waiter showing diners the dessert tray can overcome, “I shouldn’t” by suggesting that diners share a dessert.
Cross-selling in the ecommerce environment involves identifying related products and creating appropriate offers while in-person cross-selling could require training in effective approaches. In both cases, though, the goal is to make more money for the company while creating a satisfied customer.