5 Upselling Methods to Try in 5 Different Online Shops

The best time to sell to someone is when they’re already convinced. Your soon-to-be customer is about to be a full-fledged, real-life customer — but have they really gotten everything they need from you? This is the perfect time to upsell them.

However, it’s a little more complicated than that. These days, there are many different ways you can sell, and many businesses combine two, three, or sometimes more than four channels to sell their inventory. Each channel is different, with its own advantages and disadvantages, so upselling will naturally be different on each channel too. This article will go through an upselling tactic you can try for five different types of online shops.

1. Upselling on Your ECommerce Website: The Upgrade

Your website looks exactly the way you want it to. You’ve fully designed it and built it to represent your brand, optimize usability, and highlight your inventory. Unlike selling in marketplaces — which we’ll get to below — you have complete control over the buying experience. That makes it the perfect place to try to upsell your customers on an upgrade!

An upgrade can be pretty broad — it can be a better product, a larger size, or even just a longer warranty. When you’ve decided what the best “upgrade” is for your product, set up your site to show an option for them to upgrade to it when they have already clicked the buy button on the chosen product. Are they sure they don’t want a little more storage space? Added protection in case something goes wrong? Give them one last chance to spend a little more.

While you’re there, your website is also a great place to A/B test what is working. So lay out a few different upgrade options to test which one is the best option to move the conversion needle. 

2. Upselling on Seller Marketplaces: The True Upsell

A true, pure upsell in its original form is simply more of what they’re already getting. The buyer gets some sort of benefit — lower costs per product, free shipping, etc. — and you get to move more of your inventory at the same time.

On seller marketplaces like Amazon or eBay, you are limited to their layout, but it actually affords the perfect opportunity to showcase your upsold options in the same place. On Amazon, for example, the same item page will show your buyer how much it costs for one item, a pack of three, a pack of five, or a pack of 10. Break that down into, say, price per ounce, and they’ll see how much cheaper it becomes per ounce when they buy more. That’s an upsell! By simply giving them that coveted “spend more to save more” feeling, you can convince them to buy more of what they were already intending to.

3. Upselling on Specialty Marketplaces: The Cross-Sell 

Specialty marketplaces differ a bit from traditional marketplaces. You can find anything and everything on eBay, for example, but on a place like Etsy, it is only handmade or vintage, or on Poshmark, more geared towards apparel and accessories. However, before you get started, it is well worth it to do your research on selling tips for Poshmark, Etsy, or any other specialty marketplace you’re considering. A more targeted marketplace calls for a more targeted selling, and upselling, strategy.

For a specialty marketplace, try the cross-sell. A cross-sell requires having a good idea of why your customer is buying what they are, and knowing what to suggest to complement it in a way that makes sense and doesn’t feel intrusive. This can be anything from an add-on, like special filter lenses for a DSLR when they’re buying the camera, or something else used for the same end result, like suggesting paint brushes when they’re buying paint. 

4: Upselling on Social Channels: The Subscription Box

The unboxing experience of a great subscription box is perfectly suited to social media, which makes it a great upsell choice for your social selling channels. Between the Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shoppable Tags, and Shoppable Pinterest pins, you’ve got your hands full of options to sell on social media. But how to upsell?

When selling on any of these social channels, you’re likely promoting individual products. When you have an interested customer who follows the post/tag/pin to your site, you know you have them hooked. This is the time to try to upsell them to a subscription box that includes the item they’re interested in. If you’re stuck on how to best implement a subscription box into your business, check out this complete guide to subscription boxes for some ideas.

You can double this up with marketing and promotion of your subscription box on your social media profile by sending boxes to influencers in your space, promoting customers who share their opening experience on their profile, and teasing contents of the next box. 

5. Upselling Email Marketing: The Bundle

Your email readers are some of your truest and most loyal fans — and this is the perfect opportunity to reward them with a bundle of products just for them. If you’re already landing in their inbox, then they’ve likely already bought from you, so encouraging them to buy again with a special promotion should be a walk in the park.

A good bundle includes some mixture of high-quality, highly rated, and popular items at a lower cost than buying them separately. If it works for your business model, try targeting previous customers who bought one of the items in the bundle, or left it in their cart — you can upsell them to a bigger purchase that will get them the item they originally wanted, plus a few others to try out.

The Perfect Upsell

Of course, each of these methods can work for multiple channels, and there is no “perfect upsell” that is guaranteed to work. These methods were suggested because of the unique advantages of each online shop, but feel free to mix and match! The truly perfect upsell is the one that leaves your customer satisfied and feeling like they got what they wanted.

Jake Rheude
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.