upselling and cross selling
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Upselling and Cross Selling: The Winning Strategies to Boost Your Revenue

There are hundreds of easy and hard ways to generate revenue for your business. While some strategies may work like magic and bring in immediate results, some strategies may fail to turn in your favour. But trust us when we say that upselling or cross selling your product or service to your existing customer is much easier and a sure shot way to bring immediate sales and boost your revenue for your business.

According to HubSpot, sales representative drives 30% of their revenue by upselling and cross selling their product or service. B2B businesses generate 77% of revenue from upselling, renewals and cross selling.

If your company offers a wide range of products or services but your existing customers are unaware of them, cross-selling and up selling can be an excellent opportunity to introduce your array of products or services to your customers and generate additional revenue.

If you are new to the concept of upselling and cross selling and haven’t leveraged the concept yet, then this article is for you.

In this article, we are going to break down the concepts of cross selling and upselling, the difference between the two and how you can implement them in your sales strategies.

Table of content

  • What is upselling?
  • What is cross selling?
  • The major difference between cross selling and upselling
  • Why are they important for your business?

What is Upselling?

Upselling is persuading your existing customers to purchase a finer and more expensive variation of your product or service. For example, if you are selling an iPad and a customer opts to buy a 64 GB gadget, you encourage them to buy a 128 GB gadget as an upsell. If the customer agrees to purchase the 128 GB gadget instead of the 64 GB gadget, you are upselling your product.

difference between upselling and cross selling

A well-researched data from HubSpot says that 88% of salespersons try to upsell their product or service to their customers. 49% of the sales persons say that exploring user’s needs and goals is the crucial step for upselling.

What is Cross Selling?

Cross-selling is a sales technique where a salesperson suggests related or complementary products or services to a customer who is already in the process of buying something. The goal of cross-selling is to increase the value of the sale by encouraging the customer to purchase additional items or services that are related to what they are already buying. This is often done in retail and e-commerce environments, as well as in business-to-business sales.

what is upselling and cross selling

Let’s imagine that you are running a fast-food outlet and a customer drops into your shop to purchase just the burgers. If you persuade them to buy a complete meal with fries and shakes, then you are cross selling your product.

According to a HubSpot survey, 67.6% sales person offer discounts and promotions to cross-sell their products and drive revenue up to 30%.

Major Difference Between Upselling and Cross Selling

The difference between upselling and cross selling is in their names. Though the end goal of both strategies is to increase average order value and profitability, they work a bit differently to achieve the goals.

Cross selling and upselling are carried out in the middle to the end of the sales funnel where an existing customer indicates their intention to make an additional purchase of the product or service.

examples of upselling and cross selling

Cross selling adds sales through additional and complementary products and are used as a post-purchase tactic to persuade your current customers to come back for more. Whereas upselling adds sales through an upgraded or enhanced version of the original product and focused on maximizing the total cart value.

When it comes to cross-selling and upselling, an organization’s business model ultimately determines what is more valuable. Upselling can be a more viable option for subscription-based businesses, but it may not be a sustainable option for other business models. But there’s no thumb rule as to what technique performs better for your business. You should experiment with both techniques to understand what works best for you.

Why They Are Important for Your Business?

According to Marketo, 90% of B2B businesses witness increased customer value right after their sales. The term “after sales” translates to cross selling and upselling opportunities. Other data suggests that B2B companies generate 77% of their revenue from their current customers through upselling and cross selling. How exactly does it increase revenue and benefit your business? Let’s take a look at the cross selling and upselling benefits;

Affordable than Acquiring New Customers

Agree or not, lead generation is an expensive and time-consuming process. It’s much easier and more affordable to drive sales from your current customers than finding potential buyers for your product or service. They have a first hand experience using your brand and it’s easier to persuade them than selling your products to new prospects who have never heard of your brand before.

Increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

upselling and cross selling examples

Upselling and cross selling boosts Customer Lifetime Value(CLV). Customers can be categorized under three leagues; profitable, not profitable and very profitable. Higher CLV means that the customers drive higher revenue for your business with lesser investment and effort, it also means that you can invest the money and effort in acquiring your new customers. Upselling and cross selling strategy is one of the effective ways to increase CLV and allow your customers to stay loyal to your brand.

Build Deeper Connections with Customers

upselling and cross selling meaning

Cross selling and up selling builds a deeper sense of trust and loyalty amongst your customer. By suggesting additional or upgraded products that are relevant and useful to your customer, you are insinuating that you understand their needs and preferences. It paves the way for a stronger relationship with your customers and brings repeated purchases and customer loyalty.

Reduces Customer Churn Rate

Retaining your existing customers is far more affordable than getting new customers. For this reason, every organization prefers to keep their customers as long as they can rather than achieving your new customer acquisition quota.

Upselling and cross selling strengthens the relationship with your customers and reduces the churn rate. After all, you constantly keep tabs on what your customer wants and what not. It helps you to understand their needs better and offer them the best service and experience and that eventually leads to repeat purchases.

Increases Product Knowledge

Cross selling and upselling builds awareness about your product or service amongst your customers. By suggesting relevant suggestions or additional products or services to your customers, you are educating them about all the features and benefits your product offers. It increases product knowledge and helps them out in making informed decisions.

Maximises Average Order Value (AOV)

upselling and cross selling techniques

Cross selling and upselling boosts AOV. When the customer adds another item to their cart or upgrades to an expensive variant, it automatically increases the AOV. Amazon confirms that they have witnessed 35% spike in revenue with their cross selling strategy.

How to Upsell and Cross Sell Your Products or Services?

There’s no thumb rule to follow when it comes to cross selling and up selling. It can happen at any time in the buyer’s journey. One of the important strategies to drive more revenue through cross selling and up selling is to identify the opportunity and leverage it at the right time. Let’s check on the other important strategies;

Research Your Customer’s Business

upselling and cross selling in retail

You might have done your research on your potential customers before they purchased your product or service, but your customer journey doesn’t end it. It’s more important to get to know them more after they turned into your customers. You can track their demographic and psychographic data to figure out their business goals and challenges to pitch the most relevant products or services during your cross selling and up selling process.

Check for buying patterns in your past purchases

Before you attempt to sell your product or service to an existing customer, take some time to understand their buying history. Try to find answers for the below questions;

  • What are their existing business goals?
  • Are they in need of any additional features or services?
  • Do they have the budget?

It will help you find their current spot in your customer journey and present your offerings accordingly. That way, you will have a more winning ratio and fewer failed attempts at cross selling and upselling your product or service.

Build Customer Loyalty

upselling and cross selling strategies

Customer relationships are all about establishing loyalty and trust. You can do this by understanding more about their business and the challenges they are facing and presenting your product or service as a solution for them. But how can you do this effectively?

There’s no better way to do it than by communicating your key points in a clear and engaging way. When you make them understand what they want in a simple and clear way, you eventually build their trust and win over their business.

Check With Your Customers Regularly

Since there are not any successful patterns found in upselling and cross selling rule book, it’s wiser to check on your customers at regular intervals, if you do not want your potential revenue to slip through the cracks. Based on the nature of your business, you can set timings to reach out to your customers or post a pop-up permanently on the cart page where your customers can purchase additional products whenever they need.

Score More with Less Information

Too much information can always be frustrating and distracting, especially when it is a sales pitch. Your customers get confused when you bombard them with too many options and information. They might get frustrated and decide to never read your emails or listen to your sales pitches at all.

If you plan to leverage cross selling and upselling tactic, then do your groundwork to understand their win. Direct them to the signup page with a short and customized sales pitch.

Be Persistent; Not Pushy

According to a study, 51% of salespeople give up on their prospects after their initial conversations. Persistence is the key when it comes to closing deals. You should touch base with your customers at regular intervals to understand their stance in making the buying decision and persuade them accordingly. The key line for follow-up is to help your customers and not to push them to buy your product or service.

You can focus your pitch on eliminating any troubles they may already be facing while using your product or service and enhance their experience better. You can offer the upgrade feature as a self-serve option for your customers and check back in the future to persuade them with a better proposition.

Hot Spots to Leverage Cross selling and Upselling

Now that you have explored the basics and some of the killer strategies for upselling and cross selling, let’s check out the hot spots where you can implement these strategies in your business.

Offer Recommendations

upselling and cross selling definition

According to a study shared by McKinsey, Amazon drives 35% of its revenue through customized and personalized product recommendations. You can trace the buyer’s pattern and use the data to bundle the product or service and list them under the recommended section of your website. They look attractive on your websites and gently push your buyers to buy more products or services.

Create One Time Offers and Hourly Deals

Create an urgency amongst your customer to buy your product or service by making a one-time offer or hourly deal. One of the best ways to do this is to set up a timer at a discounted price and make it pop visibly on your website. This strategy has worked like magic for many brands in increasing sales and will definitely help you in driving revenue for your business.

Make Use of Pop-ups, and Banners

Use Pop-ups and banners wherever possible to make your upsell visible to your customers. you can either place them on your product or service page, at the checkout stage, or on your log-in page where your customer often checks in to your site. While placing the pop-ups and banners make sure that you make the messaging easier to understand and personalize it with unique offers for your customers. So that they are not frustrated while searching for the information they need and drop off before they could be cross sold.

Some of the most popular pop-ups are;

Daily offer pop-ups: Daily offers are a surefire way to persuade customers to visit your website often and cement sales. Flipkart leverages this pop-up to announce their daily and hourly deals to boost their sales.

difference upselling and cross selling

Limited-time deal pop-ups: Expedite the sales journey by offering limited-time deals and creating a sense of urgency for your customers. Holiday season such as Thanks Giving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas is the best time to make use of these limited-time deal pop-ups.

upselling and cross selling difference

Live chat pop-up: Live chat pop-ups are super helpful when your customers are struck with their purchase process. You can create interactive pop-ups with customized questions to direct your customers in the right direction.

Promote Free Shipping

When making online sales, you woo your customers with irresistible offers and discounts and lead them to the cart page. But they back off from making the purchase only to find the outrageous shipping fee. It would be a lost opportunity when the customers abandon the cart and leave the site.

You can leverage upsell and cross sell opportunities by offering free shipping for your customers for orders over a certain cart value. For example, if your customer’s purchasing orders exceed the cart value of $150, you can offer free shipping for the customer to boost the cart value.

Upsell Via Thank You Email

An email is a perfect opportunity to encourage post-purchase upsells without being pushy. If you do not want to bombard your customers with too much product information during the initial purchase and encourage post-purchase upsells, a persuasive email is the best way to do it. Check out some of the best ways to draft persuasive emails that immediately cross-sell;

  1. Send personalized greetings: Personalise your mail for every customer, either by using their first name or company name, so that they will be impressed by the fact that you took an effort to prepare emails with keeping that one person in mind and give all their attention to your email.
  2. Display last purchased items: Congratulate them on making the right decision and thank them for purchasing your product or service. It fosters positive feelings right away and they will be keen on reading your recommendations when you suggest them based on their past purchase.
  3. Offer best sellers: Once you gained your customer’s trust and attention, you can start suggesting your product or service based on their last purchase. Rather than hard selling with the “Buy now” attitude, you can bring out the core values of the suggested products and emphasize the benefits they are going to bring to their business.
  4. Include contact information: Always include your contact information in your email and make it easier for the customers to reach out to you if they have any questions regarding the products or the payment process.
  5. Include social sharing buttons: People value personal experience from your customers more than the advertisements you promote. Encourage your customers to put in a good word about your product or their experience on your social media platforms.
  6. Add unsubscribe button: Saying goodbye to your customers is hard, but it’s quintessential to give them an open option to opt out whenever they want. Make sure you follow national and international compliances to build a smooth and positive experience for your customers.

Upselling and Cross Selling Example: Brands That Nailed It Better

According to a study shared by Xant, cross selling and upselling increase revenue growth for business by 60%-70%. Some of the real-time examples are listed below;


Apple is a well-known brand that has seen an astounding growth of $8 billion to $2274 billion in revenue from 2004 to 2020. All because of their robust and powerful marketing strategies and that includes upselling and cross selling tactics. It has a sleek, modern, and easy-to-navigate website where you can find all their products categorized and posted neatly on their website. When the website visitor adds a product to their cart, they are instantly offered a list of premium versions of the same product to encourage additional purchases and boost revenue.

For example, if a customer intends to buy an iPhone14, he is presented with different variants and expensive versions of the iPhone14 as recommendations below. It’s a discreet way of upselling and encouraging customers to increase their cart value.

statistics on upselling and cross selling


Amazon is an e-commerce giant selling apparel, accessories to gadgets and personal care products under one roof. Amazon is by far the best at upselling and cross selling their products. Every time a customer adds products to their carts, it recommends other products from the same company under the frequently bought together category, thus managing to apply cross selling efficiently and in a non-intrusive way.


McDonald’s is one of the largest food joints with more than 38,000 outlets in 118 countries. With their iconic catchphrase, “Would you like fries with that?”, the company is selling more than 9 million pounds of fries every day. Not every customer walks into McDonald’s with the intention to buy fries, but their simple question often persuades their customers to buy one. The company also creates value for its customers by creating value meals and combos and offering them at a discounted price. It makes it easier for the customers to choose over the options and increases the cart value for the company. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

what upselling and cross selling


This prominent Swedish-based furniture and home goods store not only offers premium products but leverages cross selling to drive revenue. They constantly collect their customer data by tracing their buying patterns and other sources and offer the best experience for them.

It takes shopping stress away from customers by suggesting the same set of furniture and home goods and offering them a deal that’s too sweet to resist. It makes their customer’s life easier and helps them make more money in the long run.

definition of upselling and cross selling

Wrapping Up

Coming up with cross sell and upselling strategy for your business is not a difficult task.

It’s easy as recommending your fast sellers and the premium products on your website or sending a thank you email and a reminder about your ongoing promotions.

Take inspiration and learn patterns used by successful brands and figure out what works best for your business growth.