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eCommerce UpSell vs Cross-sell vs Related Products – The Complete Guide

You would be surprised to know that among the estimated worldwide population of 7.7 billion, nearly 25% of the global population do online shopping. What is more interesting is that this figure is dramatically increasing and is expected to reach a massive 2.14 billion by 2021. The line between physical commerce and ecommerce is getting blurred, however, the difference in growth trajectories between retail and ecommerce is still stark.

Now the manufacturers and many brands are bypassing the retail outlets and selling directly to the customer. As technology is getting in the hands of every age group, online shopping is becoming common for children, millennials, or even old ones. Everyone loves to shop from different e-stores and getting their parcel delivered right at their address.

What is eCommerce?

Electronic commerce or internet commerce, ecommerce refers to buying and selling of products or services across the internet. Mostly, you can relate ecommerce to the sale of physical products online, but it is not limited there. It also includes any kind of commercial transaction that is facilitated through the internet. Whereas e-business refers to all aspects of operating an online business, ecommerce refers specifically to the transaction of goods and services. To increase revenue, many companies are coming with new shiny ways of business and start focusing on the things that can make a huge impact on business. Among these ways, three main techniques which the companies are using for increasing their sales are, upselling, cross-selling, and related products.

In this article, we will go through each method of business and what are the underlying differences between them.

What is Upselling Products in eCommerce?

ecommerce upselling
Upselling products on ecommerce is simply meant cajoling the customer to spend more money on your site than they initially planned while making a purchase. Sounds difficult? Let’s make it easy to understand…

Let’s take an example you are buying a bean bag online for $100, however, without beans. Then on the checkout page or at the cart page, you would be able to see an option of purchasing beans at $10 if you purchase them along with the bean bag, else they can even cost you $15 if purchase alone. This is a perfect example of upselling in which you are attracting the customer to purchase more on your site.

Another example; suppose you are buying an Apple Macbook Pro 13”, whose costs is $1,299. If you click on the Add to Cart button, you will be navigated to the configuration page. Now you will observe, that on the configuration page, you’ll be shown an “upgrade” for each component (both hardware and software).

In upselling you mostly offer a better version of the product to the user for purchase, in order to make a bigger sale. However, showing other relevant products is also a part of upselling cross-sell that we will discuss later. You offer your customer the chance to purchase an upgraded product with better features, better specifications, more volume, or simply an expensive version for maximizing the value of the purchase.

It can initially sound unethical or spammy, but it’s not. Upselling is the reason why we have a 40 inch TV in our drawing while we planned for a 32 inch TV.

What are Cross-sell Products in eCommerce?

ecommerce Cross Sell
Cross-selling products on ecommerce is a strategy to sell related products to the one that a customer is buying. These products can be of any category but will be complementary to each other, such as beans for a bean bag. Suppose a customer is buying a smartphone on your ecommerce site. Then as a cross-selling strategy, you can suggest products like screen protectors, phone cases, or headphones. If the user is buying a pair of sneakers, then you can come with recommendations like socks, shoelace, polish, or other shoe care products.

The aim of ecommerce cross-sell products strategy is to make customers purchase items they didn’t have in mind when they came to your ecommerce platform. It is similar to those salesmen in the brick & mortar stores that help in your shopping.

You can clearly observe the examples of cross-selling products on every purchase on Amazon. In 2006, Jeff Bezos revealed that 35% of sales on Amazon is through cross-selling.

What are Related Products in eCommerce?

Related products section you must have definitely observed on an ecommerce site. There is a section of the similar products you are currently buying on the footer of the page. Don’t get confused between the cross-sell and related products. While cross-sell products are the extra products related to the product you are buying, related products are similar to those you are buying.

Here is an example of Related Products view if you are purchasing a fitness product:ecommerce related products

The related products block appearance can increase the buyers’ demand for other products. It increases the quantity of the products in the cart. Mostly, the related products are showing on the product details page. When using this recommendation tool, store owners hope to increase the number of items per order.

Also Read: How To Develop An eCommerce Website?

Benefits of Upselling products:

The sales techniques are not unethical for businesses by any means. In fact, they are like a win-win situation for both the sellers and buyers. Online retailers rely heavily on these upselling products techniques for better sales. Some of the benefits of upselling products are:

1. Building better relationship with customers

Upselling is not a dirty play if you put it into perspective. If you see the other side of the coin, then you will realize that you are helping customers by suggesting better, premium products and upgrades, which can deliver more value to them, and make them feel that they have made a better purchase. In fact, it will turn out to be a customer happiness tactic that also generates additional revenues.

2. Upselling to existing customers is easier than gaining new customers

In many scenarios acquiring new customers is a costly strategy. So, sometimes it is better to make profits by making better sales to that customer who already trusts you and had made orders in the past or is about to make a purchase now than to sell to a new prospect who has never heard of your brand. As per a study, you have nearly 60-70% chances of selling to an existing customer. On the contrary, selling the item to a stranger has only a 5-20% chance. It is a highly reliable option for businesses that want to accelerate their growth.

3. Increase in Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV is defined as the net profit your company earned by a customer over time. There are three main categories in which you split your customers: not profitable, profitable, and highly profitable. If the CLV is higher, it indicates that each customer is generating profit for your business without the need for any major investment. It also signifies that your company should now spend more on acquiring new customers. Upselling is one of the most effective ways to turn shoppers into very profitable customers and keep them coming back.

4. Customer returns for more

Upselling is a great technique that compels customers to come back to your store for purchasing more. By some simple suggestions to your customers you are ensuring that they will come back if they require more what you are selling. Make sure to offer great purchasing service and value-added services to make them your regular patrons.

Benefits of Cross-selling Products

Cross-selling is always in sell. When you help a customer solve a problem or fulfill a desire, you gain his trust. Always look for cross-selling but without forcing. If you listen to your customers and have true expertise in your offerings, you should have no trouble honing in on the cross-sell. Some of the benefits of the cross-selling are:

1. Building Customer Loyalty

By cross-selling you are solving the customer’s problem of finding the extra products, thus building trust. For instance, take the epitome of mobile insurance. If a customer is buying a mobile of Rs.10,000 from your ecommerce store and you are offering Rs.500 insurance. If the customer buys it, and find it a profitable deal for him in the future, then probably he will not elsewhere for buying other products. This is building trust.

2. More Profitability, Lower Prices

In most cross-selling strategies, a discount is involved. It means that the company will make less profit on the product than if sold alone. However, there are chances that without cross-selling it wouldn’t have sold at all. So rather missing a sale, sell the item on low profit.
On the other hand, the customer is happy because he gets the item at a low price. Henceforth, it is a win-win situation for buyers and sellers.

3. Makes You Distinguishable

The exciting of cross-selling is that there are many different ways of doing it. Whatever is your technique, it becomes the Unique Selling Advantage that makes you different from your competitors. If your approach is reasonable and valuable, you’ll add to that customer loyalty that’s so important.

4. Build Customer Relationship

As long as you don’t force the customer to purchase those products which they don’t need, as long as you are okay to accept a no from your customers, cross-selling will build your relationship with the existing customers. Cross-selling should seem like you care for the customer’s needs, not just trying to make profits.

5. Develop New Leads

The other advantage of cross-selling is that it can give you more leads. If you have loyal patrons who feel that you care for them, then they can recommend your store to their kith and kin. Remember, mouth publicity is the most powerful way of publicity at all.

hire ecommerce developers

Benefits of Related Products

Related Products, as earlier mentioned, is the most observable category in the product details page. We often find ourselves clicking on many other related products and getting baffled for which product we should go for. Here are some of the benefits of the Related Products section on an ecommerce site:

1. Safest way

Related products are the safest way for the ecommerce beginner to boost their sales. It requires just choosing better products with slightly higher prices and them on the product fly page.

2. Gives more options to the customers

Mostly a customer searches a product on an ecommerce site and tends to purchase it. Yet, there are chances, that the user will check out the other related products. Let’s take an example, suppose a user wants to buy a chopper of a highly reputed brand say Penguin, the user will go on your site and search for “penguin chopper”. On reaching the product details page, he can also see that there are similar choppers available at quiet lower prices from different local brands. It is up to him whether he will go for a branded product or tries something new. But yet, this gives a cost-saving experience to the user.

3. Builds more Trust

Related products are a great deal for the frugal users who better to go for quality rather than a brand name. Taking the above example of a chopper, there are chances that a frugal user will give a chance to a local product.

Also Read: How To Create A Mobile App For eCommerce?

What is the Difference Between UpSell vs Cross-Sell and Related Products

ecommerce Up-selling vs Cross-Selling
Upselling is the business strategy to encourage customers to purchase a comparable higher price product than the current one, while in cross-sell strategy you invite customers to purchase the extra or complementary products that may be essential with the product you are currently buying. On the other hand, related products are just similar to the product you are currently buying of different ranges and configurations.

These terms are mostly used interchangeably, but offer distinct benefits and can be effective in tandem. You can understand in a better manner by this table:

CaseUp-sell ExampleCross-Sell ExampleRelated Products Example
1. User is purchasing a pair of shoes

2. User has added a smartphone in the cart

3. User is going to book a room in the hotel from your site

1. Offer similar shoes, yet somewhat expensive and better than the current pair

2. Offer the smartphone which has better features than it, and is more expensive

3. Offer higher-ranking hotels or more sophisticated suites at the hotel you have chosen

1. Will come up with product recommendations like shoe polish, shoelaces, socks, etc.

2. Suggestion of products like Screen protector, mobile case cover, 1-year extra insurance, etc.

3. Coming with up extra luxuries, sight-seeing, cab facility, or any other service you can offer.

1. Will come up with different similar variety and designs of shoes that may or may not be expensive than the current pair.

2. Coming up with the range of similar mobiles, probably in the same price range.

3. Suggesting different other hotels that the user can book.

How to use UpSell Products for eCommerce?

Nearly, 4% of the customers can convert through upselling. Probably, you would think that it is not that much, but it is better than no sale. One of the commonest ways to upsell is to suggest the next higher model. But when it’s just 4% that you are targeting, the margin for error is as thick as the edge of a blade.

Here are some ways of upselling products on your ecommerce site:

  • Promotion of most viewed and most selling products
  • Display testimonials for upselling
  • Always remember that the upsell products shouldn’t be 25% costlier than the original product
  • You can add features like insurance by default and ask customers to deselect if not required
  • You can give proper suggestions by giving context: why should I buy that instead of this?
  • Narrow down the choices, as too many choices can be paralyzing. Don’t bombard your customers with too many choices
  • Make the decision ability of customers easier. Try to reduce the number of actions required for making a purchase. Remember, we have a limited amount of energy to be spent on decision

How to use Cross-Sell Products for eCommerce?

Cross-selling is a strategy that you need to implement quite carefully. You should seem caring for the customer while making profits. It is not just limited to increasing revenue but builds customer trusts as well. Here are some tips for using the cross-selling strategy on your ecommerce site:

  • Customer experience should be the utmost priority: Make sure that your cross-selling strategy doesn’t frustrate or annoy the customer. It should rather enhance the customer experience so your cross-selling attempts should provide value and fulfill customer needs — not come across as a sleazy sales tactic.
  • Cross-selling should be simple: Don’t give your customer a high number of suggestions to choose from. Too many choices can make the customer baffled, and distract them from the item they were purchasing. In fact, it can reduce the chances they will make a purchase. This is known as choice overload, which can leave a buyer dissatisfied with their original potential purchase.
  • Begin with best-selling products: You should initiate with your top-selling product and look for related or complementary products to suggest with it on the product page or at checkout. If the user is purchasing a high priced item, you can offer the insurance plans or extra warranty services.
  • Try Bundling: Bundling is a highly effective method for selling items through cross-selling. Bundling means selling products in a group or a package, at a lower price than if they sold individually. Bundling is a great deal for customers as well. For e.g., if a customer is buying a DSLR then you can offer an extra lens, tripod stand, carry bag, etc. in a discounted package.
  • Use visuals: Leverage high-quality images and videos to showcase your products. Also, explain their working, and provide the customer with a close look at how the item can benefit them.
  • Showcase the value: Just showing the necessary products and giving recommendations is sometimes not enough. You need to prove to the buyer that the extra product they are buying is worth their money. You can add phrases such as “customers also bought” or “popular related products” for evidence, and can also link to case studies, or data about how the product has benefited customers.

How to use Related Products for eCommerce?

Related products are the easiest strategy for showcasing the extra relevant products that you can sell. As mentioned above, it can help customers who are looking for quality rather than just a brand name. Here are some tips for you for a better Related products strategy:

  • The recommendations should be smarter: You should make personalized recommendations of related products depending on the individual’s preference or social data. You can use AI to determine the consumers’ behavior patterns, purchase history, and wishlists. You can then present recommendations that will vary from shopper to shopper.
  • Use HD product photos: At Kate Spade’s store, you can observe that when you hover the mouse on a bag you can see a model carrying it. This makes it easier for people to visualize how they’ll look if they buy it for themselves.
  • Use the Phrase “Customers also viewed”: Customers also viewed works by data collection, other user preferences. It then considers how often these items were present together in their purchase or browsing history. The items displayed are tailored or personalized for every user.
  • Suggest products based on Google Search: You can also suggest products in the Related Products section on the basis of browsing and purchase history of a user. It requires a lot of behavioral data on users, which is not available for most first-time customers. This is why ecommerce stores often have a “fallback scenario” when implementing it.
  • Use the phrase “You might also like”: This is another powerful strategy to suggest products that are similar to the ones you’re viewing. Similarity can be based on very different metrics. Some advanced recommender tools filter meta-data (descriptions, tags, product names, etc.) based on similarity. It can also be based on category, color, brand, or business.

Wrapping Up

I hope you have easily understood the importance of each marketing strategy and how to implement it through this article. eCommerce has become a highly competitive industry. Thus, you can’t afford a single strategy forego. At Emizentech, the best ecommerce development company in India, we develop an ecommerce site with every trending technology and strategy that can give you maximum results.

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence And Its Impact on eCommerce

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About Author
Author Name:
Amit Samsukha

Certified Magento 2 Consultant

Author Bio:

I am a certified Magento developer and Magento 2 consultant with a decade of experience in the ecommerce development segment. My expertise can make your business objectives overcome any obstacle you are dealing with the Magento ecommerce platform!

About Emizentech:

An acclaimed IT solution provider and a leading Magento 2 development company with its expertise lies in delivering top of the line ecommerce solutions, Salesforce commerce cloud services, mobile app development and many more verticals.

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