Almost all e-commerce entrepreneurs share a common goal - increasing their revenue and profit. At the end of the day, that's the reason why we do what we do, right?
The most common way to increase revenue and profit is by acquiring more customers. However, acquiring new customers can be a long and tedious process. Luckily for us, there are other ways to increase revenue and profit, and today we'll talk about one of the best ones - cross-selling.
What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling is a way to increase sales by suggesting an additional product to a customer. You need to make sure that the additional suggested product increases the value the customer is getting from your store.
What are the advantages of cross-selling?
The most obvious advantage of cross-selling is the increase in sales and revenue, but there are others. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Optimized costs - Managing one order with several products is always cheaper and easier than administering different orders that each have just one product.
- Better customer loyalty - If you are able to foresee what the customer needs before them, the customer will feel more satisfied since you'll be giving them more value. This, in turn, results in more brand loyalty.
- Better knowing your customers - Each sale brings more data that can be used to analyze your customers and learn more about their behavior which allows you to make better products and make better strategic decisions.
- Better user experience and SEO of your store - By offering other products, your customers are staying longer on your site, interacting more with your website. This all leads to better user experience (customer sessions and data can be used by your designers to better understand how to make the website better), and better rank for your store (staying longer on the website decreases the bounce rate of your website which Google loves).
- Lesser-known products - Cross-selling less popular products could be a great way to increase their popularity.
- Trial products - Is there a more perfect time to introduce a new and experimental product to your audience than through cross-selling? People that are at the checkout page are most likely to try a new product for a fraction of the price.
What tool do I need for cross-selling?
Since there are so many ways to do cross-selling, it's expected that there are millions more cross-selling tools and plugins that cover one or more cross-selling techniques. However, it's imperative you stick to a few tools as possible as more tools just complicate things.
That's why we are huge fans of LeadCart - a shopping cart solution designed to help entrepreneurs like yourself convert more sales and increase their profit. LeadCart offers 10+ features collectively called "conversion boosters" that are designed to do just that - boost your conversions by cross-selling, upselling, and down-selling.
If you are struggling with finding the right tools for your store, make sure to take a look at LeadCart - basically the only platform your store will ever need.
How do you get started with cross-selling?
Okay, now that we have learned what cross-selling is, we will share a few tips to help you get started with cross-selling.
First off, keep it simple. If you give your customers too many additional products to choose from, they can get overwhelmed, which can then distract them from the initial purchase, thus lowering the chance that they actually buy something from you. This is called choice overload and it basically means that a buyer isn't satisfied with the potential purchase they were about to make.
We all know that people love visuals so that's why you should always use high-quality photos and videos to showcase your products, provide the customer with a close look at the items, and explain how they work. Having the best possible photos and videos helps with the “related items” technique as people are more likely to buy the related items that are visually appealing.
Sometimes, recommendations or cross-selling opportunities aren't enough to show customers that they should purchase more. That's why you need to prove to your customers that the additional cross-sell product or service is worth their money. The best way to do this is to add customer reviews to the product page or use phrases like "popular related items" or "customers also bought" when showcasing the cross-sell products. Additionally, you can add customer testimonials that demonstrate the value of the purchased items to the purchase confirmation email. This reinforces the value the items provide to those who bought it.
A potential downside of cross-selling, which is rarely talked about, is that it could frustrate or even annoy customers which is why you need to very carefully consider how your cross-sell and which items are you cross-selling. Cross-selling should make the customer experience better, which is why your cross-selling efforts should fulfill your customers’ needs and provide them with value.
A great way to do this is to make sure your cross-sell items are relevant. Basically, you want to help your customers, make it easy and enjoyable for them to say "yes", and show them options that will make them feel like they are getting a better deal.
What do you need to know about your customers before you start cross-selling?
Cross-selling can happen at any time during shopping but it most commonly happens during the checkout process.
It’s important to learn a bit more about your customers before looking at cross-selling examples. Here’s what you need to learn about your customers before you start implementing cross-sell techniques:
Get to know your customers - Even though you most likely already have buyer personas and your ideal customer, it’s important to get to know your customers after they made a purchase. To do this, get all demographic and behavioral data you have about your customers and add customers’ feedback to create customer personas. These personas will help you understand the needs and pain-points your customers have and which of your cross-sell products can be useful to them.
Offer products that solve your customers’ problems - Before implementing any cross-sell techniques, review all your products and try to make sure they are aligned with your customer personas. By doing this, you’ll have an idea about which of your products can solve a common problem your customers might face and how to cross-sell those products.
What are some of the best cross-selling examples?
Now that we have the necessary tool for cross-selling, and are determined to increase our profits and revenue, we can take a look at the 8 best cross-selling examples that will bring your business to the next level.
1. Related products
Related products is a cross-selling technique that shows products that could be used at the same time as the product that the customer is currently viewing. They don't necessarily have to be used with the actual product.
A great example of the related product technique would be Adidas and its "complete the look" label to cross-sell related products.
This technique can be found in many retail stores. Here's another example from Asos.
2. Supplementary products
If the customers are buying from your store for the first time, you simply don't have their browsing history. That's why recommended supplementary products should be implemented across multiple (if not all) product categories) and offer items that are functionally related. Just take a look at your current product range and you'll see that's it's easy to implement this solution to your store.
Wayfair does this cross-selling technique by showing supplementary products with the "you might also need" tag.
3. What customer also bought
Another cross-sell technique is promoting products that other customers already purchased, even if those products weren't bought at the same time. Sometimes customers share similar tastes or buying habits and this technique is a great way to capitalize on shared interests.
This cross-selling technique is usually found at the checkout pages. After a customer adds a product to their cart, the cart is displayed as a pop-up with the additional recommended products show at the bottom.
Here's how Amazon does it:
4. Products frequently bought together
This is one of the oldest and most popular cross-selling techniques. This technique can be used even if a customer is a first-time visitor to your store. Basically, cross-sell products that are shown are picked based on how frequent the products were bought together by other customers.
After adding a product to the cart, Google Store recommends accessories that go great together with the product. These accessories are frequently bought together with the product - in our case the Pixelbook Go.
5. Trial products
After customers add a product to their cart, show them a heavily-discounted trial product in return for their order. This cross-selling method usually happens at the checkout page, when customers are likely to complete the purchase.
Here's an example from iHerb:
6. Additional services
If the customer is looking for an electronic device in your store, consider making a list of services you could offer to them to make their experience after purchasing the device better. For example, you could offer to set up the device for an additional small fee or you could offer a warranty extension. Doing these small services greatly improves the customer experience and builds even more trust in your store.
Let's take a look at this example from Apple. They offer an extension of hardware and software coverage, priority support and even theft and loss protection:
7. Follow-up emails
Unlike previous entries in the list, this one usually isn’t automated, but it could be done.
A few days after a customer buys a product, you send them a newsletter offering products that either improve the first product they bought or complement it.
For example, if your customer bought a carrying case for their camera, you could send him an email with complementary camera straps a week after. If a product you sold is going to need replacement parts or batteries, and you remind the customer about it, they are more than likely to buy the product from you.
Another effective way of cross-selling is packaging items that usually go well together in a way so that customers are aware that they might need additional items to use the initial item they purchased in the best possible way. Another tip for the bundle is to offer the items at a discount if all of them are purchased together. This makes the bundle more appealing to the customers and they are more likely to purchase it if they know that they will be saving money.
Cross-selling is one of the best ways to increase profits and revenue from existing customers. The best reason why you might want to start cross-selling on your e-commerce store is that it’s much easier to sell to someone who already trusts you (they gain your trust by buying from your store). Customer acquisition is costly and takes time, and we are not saying you shouldn’t acquire new customers - you definitely should - but it’s much harder to do than cross-selling.
Getting started with cross-selling should be fairly easy. Always make sure you keep it simple and never give your customers too many options to choose from, that could overwhelm them and they might nth even buy anything from you. Always use high-quality photos and videos, as people are more likely to purchase something if the item is visually appealing. Also, prove to your customers that the cross-sell product is relevant to them and worthy of their money.
Basically, cross-selling costs pennies if you have the right tools - like LeadCart - which can help you implement all the cross-selling techniques we talked about in this post.
The advantages of cross-selling (other than increasing sales and revenue) numerous - your costs can be optimized, you build better customer loyalty, you get to better know your customers, plus you improve SEO and user experience, get to test out how new products are going to sell, make less popular products a bit more popular, and so much more.
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