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Cross-Selling: Convincing Customers That They Do Need 1 More Thing

“But wait, there’s more!” That’s the phrase we love most from those late-night infomercials that come on when we should be sleeping. What else can they add on, and will it make these terrible knives seem worth it? Are we going to get a great deal? And, can I add similar e-commerce cross-selling and get the same excitement?

The answer is absolutely, yes, and there are plenty of ways to get there. But, as a seller, the excellent news for your online store is that you don’t need to pack an offer with additional things like an infomercial. 

The cross-sell is your weapon, and you get to choose how to wield it. Here are a few of our favorite options for your e-commerce store.

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Include Batteries: On-Site Opportunities

Ecommerce cross-selling on your product pages is all about identifying what customers need to make the most of your product. And making it easy for them to get that without a lot of effort. You can go the route of showing what people also purchased, have overlays that indicate what someone might need, or even less direct methods such as including additional products in that page’s videos and photos.

We all remember those “batteries not included” statements in commercials, especially when talking about the latest toys during the holiday time. This cross-sell is your opportunity to let someone know that your equivalent of batteries isn’t included, but that the customer can get that with just a simple click.

What the “batteries” are, can vary wildly.

If you’ve bought anything large or electronic on Amazon, you’ve probably also been shown one compelling cross-sell: the warranty. These are great options to increase revenue and total customer lifetime value. Depending on your customer service model, you were likely already going to replace units if damaged or other issues, so this formalizes that agreement and helps you earn a little more.

Protection plans can be expensive too, without hurting your reputation. If you’re considering pairing your cross-selling opportunities with bundles, warranties give you plenty of options. Best Buy, for example, offers up to a 20% discount on warranties if you also sign up for its Total Tech Support program, which costs $199.99 per year.

Be helpful with these options, and you can even boost your brand image.

The Boredom Bonus: Additions in the Shopping Line

When was the last time you tried a new snack? For us, it was the other day in an Aldi line that had half a dozen customers. A little bit of boredom and a cheap opportunity led to an increased sale.

Your online store can do the same, thanks to a captive audience.

Make the customer an offer that sounds like a great deal to get just a little more out of what they’re about to buy. If you offer discounts based on cart size — such as free shipping on orders over $45 — remind the customer of this deal and then suggest related items that’ll get them over the hump.

Keep products related and costs low, with few options on each, to prevent people from feeling overwhelmed or wanting to abandon the cart altogether. If your product-page cross-sells are relatively muted — like a “Customers also liked” section underneath your products — move this e-commerce cross-sell directly next to the products or the cart total to push a little harder. The better you can connect these products to what’s in the cart, the more likely you are to pick up a little extra. Just don’t get greedy.

WooCommerce says you’ll see the best success when you put smaller items on the checkout page. It recommends things that cost 10% or less of the current purchase price.

The Big Benefit: Email and Ecommerce Cross-Selling

Most initial e-commerce cross-selling efforts focus on the site, but there are plenty of additional opportunities to earn a little more. First up, email marketing. The good news is that you’ve got quite a few options to choose from throughout the customer journey.

Your most obvious opportunity is a small inclusion of a “customers also purchased” listing at the bottom of the “thank you” email you send after each purchase. It’s quick, easy and can keep people interested — even if you don’t make a sale from it, it’s a small reminder to the customer that you have more to offer. Keeping it minimal without a direct CTA will also help prevent you from seeming pushy.

After the customer gets their order, shoot them a note a week or so later asking them to review your product. It’s a wonderful way to see if people like what you’re selling. Plus, you can include coupons, discounts, or other elements in this email that prompt a potential new sale.

As long as you don’t overwhelm them with sales pitches, your audience will stay receptive.

Cross-Selling: Convincing Customers That They Do Need 1 More ThingAnd here’s one idea we really like from Smartrmail: the abandoned cart cross-sell.

Instead of asking someone to come back and buy big, you can also ask for a smaller purchase to encourage a sale. This establishes the relationship and makes it easier to get a bigger sale in the future. They shared an amazing Ralph Lauren example that’s given below:

Match new offers to old offers.

It’s simple and easy, but it should definitely be related to the products in their cart. Your best bet here is if you have a baseline version of a product or kit and that’s what you pitch when someone picks some of your higher-tier items.

Don’t Get Greedy

Those are our three favorite e-commerce cross-selling opportunities that you can use. But there are more. For example, retargeting paired with social media — especially on Facebook — is great and utilizes the same principles as the email approach. You’ve got options to target both people who’ve made a purchase as well as those who visited your site and then left. Facebook’s retargeting tools keep it simple to target someone who has gone to a specific product page or even reached the checkout page.

Your options are amazing but don’t use them all right away. Try and segment your list and A/B test it to find what people see. The chief reason for doing this is to avoid coming off as greedy and annoying to your customers. According to Inskin Media, when a customer sees your ads (including these cross-sell pitches) more than four to five times, they get frustrated and even a little angry.

Avoid that like the plague. Being greedy also can lead to situations where you promise too much and can’t deliver, which is especially harmful if it impacts holiday season order fulfilment.

Your mission isn’t just a sale. You also must provide additional value to the customer. Stick to things that are related and boost the enjoyment of your products, with minimal pushes. Keep it straightforward and simple and you’ll be fine.

If there’s any doubt with your cross-sell, stick to marketing’s golden rule: Advertise to others as you would have them advertise to you.

Use Interactive Content

You can also use interactive content to upsell and cross-sell products. You can use outcome quizzes and e-commerce recommendations to show your customers what you have to offer. Here is an example of an e-commerce recommendation for ‘Which Make Up Product Is Best For You?’. You can use this to recommend makeup products, along with related products. For example, you can recommend a blush palette to a customer and sell them a brush separately.

You can include the CTA in your results and drive users to your website. This engages a large number of users and increases purchase intent.



Cross-selling is a great tactic when it comes to improving relations with your customers and improving their experience. It allows you to showcase your products in a better way. It engages your customers and drives more traffic to your website. And these are some great methods of efficiently cross-selling products without coming off as ‘too salesy’!

Author’s Bio

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

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