As you may know by now I am a huge fan of maximizing customer lifetime value! Attracting a shopper to your store is too expensive and time consuming to not maximize the transaction. This includes the first purchase as well as future purchases with a retention marketing strategy.

One of the best ways to maximize a transaction is with product cross selling. When a store uses cross selling effectively they can increase your average order value (AOV) and boost your store’s profitability. In fact, it has been reported that Amazon sees 35% of its sales from cross selling.

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This type of result might be unrealistic for other ecommerce merchants, but cross selling still provides an amazing opportunity for your ecommerce site.

What is Cross Selling?

Cross selling is a sales tactic to increase the amount of products (and dollar value) a shopper will purchase by presenting other products besides the one they are buying. You generally use cross selling to present items that are used in conjunction with one another, like a cell phone and a case.

Basically you are recommending products that a shopper would be inclined to purchase alongside what they already were there to buy.

4 Cross Selling Tips

Now that we understand what cross selling is we can begin to talk about how to maximize cross selling’s effectiveness. Here are four cross selling tips for ecommerce!

1. Speak to the Individual

Messaging is more powerful when it speaks to us directly in a personal manner. We pay more attention when someone uses our name. That is why we pick up on our name being mentioned in a crowded and noisy room.

At the very least you should present your cross sells with language that speaks to the individual. Using words like: you, your, and yours make the shopper envision the products as their own. Here is an example from that I saw recently.

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The use of the word “you” makes cross selling effective, but it can be better. My cross selling tip here is to make it even more personal. If you have a way to identify each shopper you can increase the effectiveness by using the shoppers name. Check the second example below - which is more convincing?

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Personalization is king in ecommerce right now and it is super effective for cross selling.

2. Motivate Shoppers to Accept Your Cross Sells

Personalizing your cross sell presentation makes it much more likely a customer will take a look, but that does not mean they will accept it. Your shoppers need a reason to accept a cross sell offer. There are a few ways to accomplish this, but I will give you my two best cross selling tips.

Use Social Proof

I am still unconvinced that there is a greater influencing power in the world than good old fashioned social proof. If you need a refresher on social proof you can check out this “ecommerce psychology” article.

Social proof is an amazing way to encourage a shopper to accept your cross sell. Often times a shopper does not know everything they need when making a large purchase (like a big tv).

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If I know very little about tvs I will be likely to do what others have done before me. In this case I can see that “other customers” are buying mounts and chromecasts with their tvs. If others need those then I must need them too!

Use Points

You can also use rewards points to motivate action. With some online rewards programs like our Magento loyalty extension you can reward extra points when items are purchased together. If you sell shoes you can give bonus points for purchasing shoelaces as well.

A shopper is much more likely to accept your cross sell when they are motivated to do so with points.

3. Keep Cross Selling Relevant

You cannot just present random products as cross sells. You are not going to convince someone buying a toothbrush that they should also buy a big screen tv. You need to make your cross sells relevant to what a shopper is buying. The best way to do this is by offering products that are needed together or work well together.

In the example below Best Buy shows ink and a printer cable as a cross sell on the printer product page. This is a great cross sell! If a shopper is buying a printer they will no doubt need ink. Ink is needed to use a printer.

cross selling printer ink

You can also offer cross sells that go well together but are not necessarily need to use the other. An example would be offering sunscreen as a cross sell when someone is looking at towels.

4. Show Different Cross Sells Depending on Page

When a shopper goes to the checkout page they have an idea of how much they are going to pay. They generally have anchored themselves at this price and trying to increase that can be difficult. When a shopper is anchored you need to show small products to entice a purchase. Think of what the checkout at a retail store looks like.

cross selling low inventory sold at checkout

The checkout in retail is filled with low priced and low involvement items. These items can easily be added to the cart with little thought, and that is why they are at the point of purchase. You can use a similar strategy in ecommerce.

Show small items or on sale items when cross selling on the checkout page. You want to use a similar strategy to the chocolate at the counter of your favorite drug store. You can show larger cross sell opportunities on product pages when a customer is still deciding what to include in their cart.

An Overview of Cross Selling Tips for eCommerce

Cross selling on an ecommerce store presents an amazing opportunity but only if you maximize your efforts. If you want to have the best results you should follow these cross selling tips designed for the online world.

  • Use words that talk to the individual
  • you, your, yours, or the shoppers name
  • Motivate your shoppers to accept a cross sell
  • use social proof
  • use loyalty points
  • Keep it relevant
  • show products that are also needed to use the first
  • show complementary products like sunscreen and towels
  • Change your cross selling strategy based on the page
  • small offers at checkout
  • larger offers on product pages

Follow these cross selling tips and you will be on your way to boosting your profitability with this proven ecommerce tactic.