What is upselling and how you can use it to grow your business

When you are ordering a pizza, the person on the other side often asks, “Should I add a Pepsi or a Coke?”


When you are buying a mobile phone from an online retail store, the shopping cart interface asks if you would also like to buy a screen guard or a back cover for the phone. This is called upselling.


It simply means encouraging or persuading a customer to buy something additional, or something more expensive than what he or she is buying right now.


If you sell online as a small business and you want to add these features in your shopping cart, you may need business funding, or you may need quick business loans to get the job done. Good news is that there are multiple instant business loan options available to you and a wide array of easy business loans are at your disposal.

Is upselling good or bad?

Many customers get upset when you are upselling to them and sometimes, there are valid reasons.


When you are upselling, you need to keep in mind whether you are actually giving something better to the customer or you simply want to make more sales.


Generally, upselling is frowned upon by customers because aggressive salespersons have this negative reputation of trying to fleece money out of unsuspecting customers.


Hence, the purpose of upselling must always be to make the customer aware that additional benefits are available with the product he or she is buying, and, better options are available for his or her needs. If done properly, you can use upselling to grow your business.

The right way of using upselling to grow your business

Remember that short-term goals of making more sales are always counter-productive because ultimately, what helps you grow your business is the satisfaction that you provide to your customers. Hence, never sell them something that they don’t need or that will create a bad association in their minds with your business.


In a digital shopping cart, upselling works better because it is nonintrusive. When a person is buying something, he or she is simply shown some additional options that can make his or her experience better with the product. For example, suggesting a screen guard with a new mobile phone being purchased, or offering headgear when someone is buying a bicycle.


Depending on your shopping cart interface, these suggestions can be subtle, and they can also be aggressive.


Aggressively upselling is a double-edged sword – it can also lose you the original sale by distracting or annoying the customer, but in many cases, it also has the potential of making more sales. You will have to analyze your results for a few weeks or a few months and then tweak your shopping cart interface accordingly.


Just as you have a sales and marketing strategy, since upselling has massive potential of growing your business, you must also have an upselling strategy.


As you have read above, a misplaced upselling strategy can misfire and begin to lose your customers instead of gaining your new business.


Here are a few things to keep in mind to define an upselling strategy that helps you grow your business.


1. Gather metrics and study them: Data analytics is one of the best ways of formulating your upselling strategy. Don’t expect to have a killer upselling strategy on the very first day. Use analytics tools that come with your shopping cart interface to collect as much data as possible.


2. Try out various combinations: A mobile phone that has a reputation of by default being shipped with a sturdy and high-quality screen may not be a good candidate for upselling a screen guard. You can try out upselling back covers or pouches. Maybe the default earplugs are not good so you can offer better alternatives. An insurance policy or an annual maintenance contract may be?


3. Make upselling as non-intrusive as possible: Remember that many customers are already uncomfortable spending money on a product and any sort of aggressive upselling can turn them away. Hence, you need to devise a system that makes upselling an integral part of the entire experience on your website or retail store so that the customer himself or herself makes the decision rather than the decision being imposed on him or her.


4. Offer upselling by email later: You don’t need to upsell right when someone is buying from you. You can email the offers later. For instance, if someone has purchased a musical keyboard, maybe after a week, you can email details about a backpack or a folding table for the musical keyboard.


5. Invest in building lasting relationships with your customers: Marketing research shows that the probability of selling to new customers is 5-20% whereas the probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%. So, keep your customers happy and stay in touch without annoying them.


You must make upselling an integral part of your entire business growth strategy and avoid using it just an afterthought or leaving it on chance.


Many shopping cart frameworks use artificial intelligence after gathering big data not just from the e-commerce website where the framework is installed but also from data that has been gathered and is publicly available. The AI closely studies user behaviour on the website and then automatically decides which products and features should be upsold to make the most out of upselling.


As mentioned above, upselling doesn’t mean you’re being sneaky and trying to trick your customers into buying something that he or she doesn’t need. The basic tenet of selling must always be to sell something that actually provides value. The interest of the customer must be paramount.

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