You’ve drawn a customer to your WordPress site, shown them your products on WooCommerce, and convinced them to make a purchase. 

Sweet success. 

That means your job is over and it’s time to focus on the next customer, right? 

Wrong.

If you move on to the next customer as soon as the last one starts the checkout process, you’ll be leaving money on the table.

A customer who is about to make a purchase represents a wealth of opportunity, both to upsell and cross-sell.

This article will show you why upselling and cross-selling are essential for any online business and how you can increase your income using a few simple tools and techniques.

What are upselling and cross-selling?

Building a website and selling products are only the first steps to profitability. 

Upselling and cross-selling help you control what products your customers buy. This can have a huge positive impact on your revenue.

Upselling

Almost everyone has experience upselling, even if they don’t know what upselling is.

If you’ve ever been to a movie theater or a fast food restaurant and had the clerk ask if you want to upgrade your drink to a large, they’ve upsold you.

Upselling is taking someone who has already decided to make a purchase and presenting them with another, more expensive premium product. Your customer then chooses whether to continue with their planned purchase or buy the more expensive product. It’s a great way to boost sales for your WooCommerce Store.

This strategy can be extremely effective. Upselling has been proven to increase profits by 10% to 30%

Upselling is also far more cost effective than just selling a product to someone and immediately turning your attention to other new prospects. It has been proven to be 68% more affordable than new customer acquisition. 

It isn’t terribly difficult. You’ve already done the hard work of finding a customer and convincing them to make a purchase. You just need to give them one more opportunity to increase their order’s value.

Upselling also works for service-based products. If you have a website with multiple subscription levels, you can try to upsell your customers to the more expensive subscription by presenting them with value-based information. 

Upselling
Source

Let’s take a look at upselling in action. For that, we turn to Spotify, the popular music streaming service. 

Spotify Premium Offer
Example of upselling: Spotify – Source

This is a free service, and is marketed as such. It lets you sign up for an account, download the software, and even start using it, all without ever trying to sell you anything. However, after you try it for free, it offers you an upsell to their premium membership.

Spotify lets you experience the free version, which includes ads and a number of frustrating limitations. You now know the quality of the service, you’re likely enjoying it, and they’re giving you a way to make it easier and more enjoyable. 

On top of that, they offer you a one month free trial period in order to experience the difference. 

A common theme of upselling and cross-selling strategies is that they appear to the customer as helpful, value-driven experiences, instead of marketing initiatives designed to bleed more money out of them. 

It’s useful, not predatory. 

Cross-selling

Just like upselling, most people have already experienced cross-selling, even if they don’t know it.

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon.com, you’ve been cross sold to. When you go to checkout and you see the blurb that says “People who bought this item also bought these,” that’s cross-selling. 

When cross-selling, you look at the products that a customer is buying and offer to sell them another, related product to go along with it. 

Someone buying a meal might want to buy a drink. Someone buying a paintbrush might need to buy paint.

Cross selling creates a domino effect, where one product purchase can lead to another, and another, and another. 

Cross-selling vs. Upselling
Source

For a classic example of cross-selling at work from a familiar brand, check out what the Apple store is doing. 

Apple's Cross-selling
Example of cross-selling: Apple – Source

In the image above, the customer has already placed a laptop in their shopping cart, so the website displays related items, making it easier for the customer to add on to their existing order.

WooCommerce upselling and cross-selling tools

Now that you’re more aware of the definitions of both cross-selling and upselling, it’s time to talk about how this directly relates to the world of WordPress and WooCommerce. 

There are many WooCommerce upselling and cross-selling tools that you can implement on your website. 

Smart coupons

Online shoppers like feeling as though they got a great deal. 

Coupons are a proven way to generate that feeling. The reason why so many businesses use coupons is, frankly, because people want them. A massive 96% of shoppers report using coupons in the last 90 days alone.

The graph below showcases the importance of coupons as it pertains to digital purchases. 

Importance of discounts and coupons to the digital purchasing decisions
Importance of discounts and coupons to the digital purchasing decisions – Source

As you can see, it’s pretty sweeping across the board. Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Baby Boomers alike are all stating that coupons are very important to them and their online shopping decisions. 

Put these various demographics in a room together and they probably aren’t going to agree on much. But they all have some consistent opinions when it comes to the importance of coupons.

While coupons are a good way to drive customers to your site, you can also use them as part of an upselling strategy. The Smart Coupons plugin lets you display messages when a customer enters a coupon code. You can then use these messages to display an upsell offer or cross-sell additional products.

Checkout tools

If a customer makes it to your checkout page, they’ve probably already decided to make a purchase from your site. That makes the checkout page a prime opportunity for upselling and cross-selling.

You can use WooCommerce’s checkout plugin to display and upsell products during the checkout process. 

For example, you can add checkout fields that let customers add a tip to an order or ask if they want to upgrade to a premium version of your product.

Add-ons displayed at checkout
Add-ons displayed at checkout – Source

You can also cross-sell based on what products are in the customer’s cart, letting them choose add-on services such as shipping, insurance, or gift wrapping.

Cart tools

There are multiple WooCommerce upselling tools that you can use to customize how your website’s shopping cart page looks and acts. 

One classic upsell strategy is to offer free shipping on purchases over a certain dollar amount. This encourages customers to add more products to their cart. 

You can use WooCommerce’s Cart Notices tool to add free shipping messages as well as other notifications that encourage quick purchases, like a countdown timer for same-day shipping.

For cross-selling, WooCommerce’s Cart Add-ons let you create rules around cross-selling. These rules can be simple, such as, “anyone who buys birthday-related decorations gets cross-sold candles.” 

It could also be more complex, taking all of the items the customer has in their cart into account when recommending other products.

Product bundles

Bundling can help you upsell to customers who are interested in several products.

WooCommerce’s Product Bundles tool is an extension that lets you design bundles that customers can add to their cart with a single click. 

You can also use this tool to generate personalized bundles for customers based on their cart contents or purchase history.

Post-purchase upselling

Communicating with customers after they make a purchase is important. Clear communication, including things like shipping notifications and order details can help increase customer trust.

Follow up communications can be a perfect opportunity for upselling. 

Tools like Jilt help you manage your customer communications. You can personalize every email outreach based on the customer’s purchase history, sending product recommendations or coupon codes in order to drive future sales.

Website performance

The user experience is directly tied to customer satisfaction and conversion rates. 

That means if you have a slow buggy site that can barely get through a single order, you’re not going to be able to handle additional plugins that help with upselling and cross-selling. 

That’s where WP Rocket comes in handy. 

Our WordPress plugin improves the loading speed of your website, making it more dependable and customer friendly. It does this through page caching, which is immediately activated the second you turn the plugin on. 

Learn more about page caching and how it can improve your website’s performance

If your site already has speed issues, you’re going to need to improve performance before you add additional features like the upselling and cross-selling tools above. 

WP Rocket can ensure that your site is fast and efficient enough to handle the extra strain and provide a better experience for all of your shoppers. 

Consider downselling

A different strategy, but related to upselling and cross-selling, is downselling.

Downselling is encouraging a customer to purchase a less expensive, but similar product. 

Usually, this happens after the customer has decided against making a purchase. So to counteract this, you can show them offers or exclusive time-sensitive discounts. 

Downselling is a great way to help reduce cart abandonment, drawing prospects back to your website by offering them a better deal. 

Learn more about how you can reduce cart abandonment on your WordPress website

You can also downsell products to customers who are still thinking about making a purchase, even if it will reduce the value of your sale.

Telling customers about cheaper options that fit their needs can help improve trust in your business. That, in turn, improves brand loyalty and ensures that your customers keep coming back for years to come.  

Summary

Upselling and cross-selling are just two important parts of building an online business, but they’re only one step out of many. Before you can get to upselling, you need to get customers using your site, which means having a speedy website and a strong user experience.

Once you’ve made sure customers will visit your site, you can start looking into upselling and cross-selling. 

WooCommerce plugins are powerful tools that you can use to customize your customers’ buying experience. You can use those tools to upsell, cross-sell, and downsell to your clients, increasing sales and building a loyal base of customers for future products.

Author's avatar

Kevin J. Kessler is a published author of five fantasy novels, a professional wrestler, and a puppeteer (not all at the same time). He serves as a content writer for Codeless.

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