12 Effective Upsell and Cross-Sell Techniques for Your Woocommerce Store
How to increase sales is an everlasting hot topic for every WooCommerce store owner. If you’ve already taken care of the basics of your WooCommerce store but still feel like there’s more you can do to increase your revenue, you are in the right place.
Upselling and cross-selling are proven strategies that bring results, regardless of the industry you are in. And since WooCommerce already comes with some useful upselling and cross-selling features, it makes all the sense in the world to learn as many different upsell and cross-sell techniques as possible. This way you will be able to take maximum advantage of WooCommerce.
In this article, we’ll provide you with an overview of the most efficient WooCommerce upselling and cross-selling techniques. But before we dive in, let’s just make sure you know the difference between upselling and cross-selling.
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Both upselling and cross-selling are used with the same goal of increasing the value of the average order. The main difference is in the approach – upselling implies offering your customers a more advanced version of the product they intend to buy, while cross-selling refers to inciting customers to buy complementary or additional products along with what they’ve already put in their cart.
So for example, when you buy shoes at your favorite shoe store and the salesperson offers you a shoe spray to protect them from wet weather, that is an attempt of cross-selling. If the same salesperson suggests you buy a similar shoe model but made of better quality material, that’s called upselling.
So, to put it simply, upselling is when you increase the value of a customer’s purchase by persuading them to choose a pricier version of the product. Cross-selling is when you convince a customer to buy an additional, complementary product related to the product they are interested in.
The key to success for both of these strategies is knowing your target audience. If you take the time to understand the needs of your customers and analyze your product offering, you will have the chance to strengthen the bond between your brand and your customers and create an offering that brings advantages for both sides.
If you are looking for a more subtle way to cross-sell and upsell, product recommendations may be the trick that you need. They are abundantly used in WooCommerce and for a good reason, as they often strongly influence the customer’s purchasing decisions.
The most common methods used to recommend products are:
Based on the purchase history – if your customer bought psychology literature before, you may want to recommend new headlines from the same niche.
Frequently bought together recommendation – suggesting that the customer buy an additional product based on the purchases made by other customers who bought the product the customer was initially interested in. Customers often appreciate this as it can save them the time they would otherwise spend searching for those additional items individually.
Email recommendations – this may be a long shot but it is worth trying. It boils down to sending personalized emails to your customers with suggestions for buying products they have already viewed before.
WooCommerce also offers some handy extensions like Recommendation Engine that can help you make smarter and more personalized product recommendations.
The moment a customer feels you are trying to take advantage and earn more on them, chances are you lost their loyalty. So, when offering either a cross-sell or an upsell, your focus should be on why your product suggestion would be valuable for your customer. You could, for example, point out that the more advanced version of the product the customer is buying (upsell) has an extended life span or guarantee. Your claim should be based on the benefit that is perceived as the most significant by customers that usually buy that type of product. Testimonials or customer review sections can be of great help in supporting this strategy. What could also help is another WooCommerce extension called WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro.
While almost everyone loves shopping, rare are the ones who enjoy paying eg. spending money. That’s probably the reason why so many people tend to postpone purchasing the products they want until some kind of urgency makes them take that final step and click the Buy button. The success of seasonal sales, special offerings that last only for a limited amount of time, and similar discounts are typical examples when the feeling of urgency and “now or never” seduces the customers to make the purchase immediately. So if you find a way to create similar situations but without having to wait for a special occasion, you will surely make even the most inert customers act sooner. You could, for example, offer a complimentary product with a small discount if the customer makes the purchase within a set time frame. If you want to avoid discounts, you could point out that only a few units of the selected product are left in stock or offer free shipping for certain sets of products. WooCommerce can also support these kinds of tactics with several extensions.
It is much easier to cross-sell and upsell to loyal customers than to new ones, as you already proved that they can trust you. But, if you turn this concept around a little bit and use subscription as an upsell for a product the customer is interested in, you could enjoy doubled benefits – you could both get the loyal customer and increased cart value. This tactic can be implemented only if your main store offering consists of subscription-based products and/or services like magazines, software (SaaS), online video games, and similar. Nowadays it is not rare for a fitness center to offer memberships based on subscription, catering services often offer discounts if you subscribe to their meals for a set period of time – there are no rules about what type of product can be sold via subscription but the question is only whether it is possible to use this model in your niche.
Customers love subscriptions because they often offer some type of convenience, and once you get a customer to return to you regularly you will have more opportunities to offer them upsells and cross-sells. If setting subscriptions in WooCommerce seems intimidating, make sure to check out our tutorial on using a free plugin to set WooCommerce subscriptions.
Bestsellers are popular for a reason, and people tend to trust the choice of the majority, so when offering a cross-sell product make sure it is a popular one. But, bear in mind it also needs to be related to the product the customer is interested in, since offering a complementary product just for the sake of it will not do you good and could even discourage the customer and make them reevaluate their decision to buy the product in the first place.
In some situations offering the customer a more advanced version of the product they are interested in can backfire and make the customer feel like he/she can’t afford the best. If you want to avoid this but still offer an upsell, you could, depending on the niche you are in, offer a special service related to the product for a slightly higher price. So for example, if you’re selling phones, you might offer the customer a more expensive model, but also throw in a longer warranty period or premium support services for free. This way, the customer’s perceptions of the value they receive for their money will be adjusted accordingly and they will not feel their first choice of the product wasn’t good enough, but that they can get much more for a slightly different price.
The safest moment to offer an upsell or a cross-sell without risking the customer giving up on the purchase is when they hit the cart page. At this time the product they are interested in is already in their cart, which means their decision to buy is strong. To make them consider an upsell, you might nudge them slightly by letting them know that “Customers who use XX often buy XX”, or that “Customers also viewed” or something similar.
One of the biggest changes in consumer behavior in the modern age is that customers put the least trust in commercials and rely mostly on ratings and reviews provided by other consumers. Testimonials can be a real game-changer for any online business. So, if you showcase a positive review related to the upsell or cross-sell instead of simply suggesting the customer directly add another product to their cart, you will have a much higher chance to upsell or cross-sell. The thing is that people tend to listen to the advice of another user, while anything a seller proposes is usually perceived as an ad. Plus, people also usually go for the most popular products and want to have “what everyone else has”. Social media can prove to be of great help in this technique, and it is also a good idea to integrate Facebook with your WooCommerce store.
Shopping in bundles is popular for many reasons – it saves time for customers who know what they want so that they do not have to browse and add each item to the cart individually and it reduces any potential headaches by making the decision for customers who are not sure what they need. If on top of that you offer a discount for shopping in a bundle, you are on the best way to upsell or cross-sell (or even both at the same time). If you don’t have experience with creating product bundles in WooCommerce you can rely on our tutorial on making WooCommerce product bundles.
Many marketing and sales experts claim that too many choices can confuse and ward off even those customers who were very willing to make a purchase. That means you have to be very subtle when offering upsells and cross-sells, and in some cases even wait after the customer has made the purchase. When the purchase is done, you know something about your customer and can use the purchase data to create useful and custom-made product suggestions that will really intrigue the customer to come back to your store. If, for example, the customer bought an anti-aging eye serum for a woman of 40+ age, it means she will probably be interested in other anti-aging cosmetic products for that age group, like lotions, creams, etc.
Each customer who accepts your product recommendation and goes for an upsell and/or cross-sell has huge potential to become your loyal customer. To ensure this happens, make sure you follow up on their purchase – send the customer an email, ask kindly for a review, rating, or recommendation, invite them to subscribe, and point out how their satisfaction is important for you. Nurture customer loyalty by rewarding it – offer a special coupon, discounts, or freebies for all the customers who accepted your suggestions. This way you are building a relationship with your customer and increasing the chance they repeat the purchase and trust your recommendations in the future too.
Offering a down-sell (a lower-cost product) to customers who seem indecisive is a great way not only to prompt them to make the purchase but also to earn their trust. Once you enjoy a customer’s trust, you can be sure they’ll come back to you. And the more often a customer comes to your store, the more chances you have to upsell and cross-sell.
Some of these techniques may seem complicated, but the essence is very simple – always care for your customer. The best way to show that you care is to get to know them first. Make sure you understand the motivation and the needs of your target audience as this is the key to making reasonable, practical, and useful product recommendations. If your customers feel like your business depends on them, they will feel pressured and that’s not how they want to feel when they go shopping. Focus on creating an atmosphere of reliability and trust, and then you can slowly work on your upselling and cross-selling strategies. Also, make sure to explore the various available WooCommerce addons as they can likewise give you ideas on how to make successful upsells and cross-sells.