7 Easy but Innovative Cross-Selling Strategies You Can Implement Today

Cross-selling is crucial for boosting long-term growth, customer retention, AOVs (average order values), and shopper satisfaction.

The secret is finding just the right product incentive to pair with the primary product — and the right time (touchpoint) in the eCommerce buying journey to recommend it. This is where cross-selling strategies come in.

Strategic cross-selling doesn’t just increase sales; it boosts profits as well. To put it in numbers, according to a McKinsey report, these strategies, when optimized, can amount to a 20% increase in retail sales and a 30% increase in profits.

Do you want to boost sales and profits? Of course, you do.

In this post, we will help you do just that by giving you seven cross-selling strategies you can implement on your store today.

But first, let’s very quickly review the difference between cross-selling and upselling and highlight the key benefits of a well-optimized cross-selling strategy.

Upselling vs. Cross-Selling

Upselling is designed to encourage customers to opt for comparable yet slightly more higher-end products than the ones they are interested in. This is done before the final sale is made.

Cross-selling, on the other hand, encourages shoppers to buy complementary or related products. This can be done before or after a sale has been completed.

Here is a great graphic explanation from Hubspot that explains the difference between upselling and cross-selling.

Difference between Upselling and Cross-selling

[Source: Hubspot]

Cross-Selling Benefits

What are the benefits of implementing a cross-selling strategy? Let’s look at the top four:

  1. Increased AOVs. Cross-selling, when used effectively, can be incredibly powerful in increasing your average order values.
  1. Long-term profitability. We know acquisition is more costly than retention. Therefore, for brands using personalized cross-selling to build repeat business and retention, they will see higher ROAS for their retention efforts and lower advertising costs. This means higher profits.
  1. Increased revenue. Suggesting the right complementary add-ons at the right time can help boost sales.
  1. Improved customer satisfaction. The right cross-selling incentive doesn’t just boost sales but adds value. The more value you are able to give shoppers, the more satisfied they will be. And continuously adding value means building long-term customer loyalty.

Now let’s get to how you can reap all these benefits with the right cross-selling strategies.

7 Innovative Cross-Selling Strategies

1. Include “Add to Cart” Cross-Sells on Product Pages

Brands should take advantage of the above-the-fold area of their product pages to suggest complementary products. The key here, though, is to include a user-friendly “Add to Cart” option for these recommendations.

The simplest example of this in practice is online flower and plant stores. Here shoppers can add things like a vase, a card, or a pot to their order — depending on the occasion.

Or, like The Sill below, they cross-sell compatible add-ons within their product pages. Here they have opted for an “Add $15” CTA button text instead of “Add to Cart,” but the concept is exactly the same.

up-selling in product page example

[Source: The Sill]

However, you can take this strategy even further by forgoing the traditional product recommendation block, and instead, enabling quick upsell options for the cart. Here’s an example from Casper.

cross selling example in product page

[Source: ReConvert]

However, when using this strategy, you want to ensure that you don’t put too many options. This could ruin your shopping UX and draw too much attention away from the original product, killing conversion chances.

2. Optimize Your Cart with the Right Cross-Sells

When used strategically, your cart page can help push cross-selling promotions. It doesn’t always need to be in the form of a product recommendation.

An excellent example of this would be highlighting how many more dollars a shopper needs to spend to take advantage of the free-shipping threshold promotion.

free shipping upsell

[Source: Webology]

That’s not to say cart recommendations aren’t practical. Here’s an example from Di Bruno Bros. As you can see, they include recommended add-ons in the cart — with an easy “Add to Your Order” button.

cross selling strategy example

[Source: ConvertCart]

The ideal would be to combine cross-sell incentive promotions, like a free-shipping threshold, with personalized product recommendations.

Here’s a straightforward example of a brand, Outdoor Voices, using both these cross-selling strategies in their cart.

product cross sell example

[Source: Shopify]

It’s not just on your main cart page that you will want to consider cross-selling. Your “cart drawer” is another good place for enticing incentives. You can do this easily with apps like iCart, designed specifically to run cross-sell and upsell promotions in Shopify cart drawers.

The bottom line is that you don’t want to settle for just one strategy; combining cross-selling strategies within even one visual merchandising area can be highly effective.

3. Take Advantage of a Well-Timed Pop-Up

With the right incentive, a strategic pop-up can be a very effective delivery system for a cross-selling suggestion. In fact, according to an OptiMonk report, pop-ups have an average of a 11.8% conversion rate.

Even better if you could combine it with a promotion, like Speedo does, below.

[Source: OptiMonk]

The secret is being selective. You want to ensure that product recommendation pop-ups aren’t random, are timed perfectly for where a shopper is on their journey, and doesn’t distract from their current purchase.

4. Use Advanced Product Sorting for Cross-Selling Product Recommendations

One of the most common cross-selling strategies are strategically placed product recommendations. These are products that would complement the products a shopper is already interested in and are often shown in the form of:

  • “Frequently bought together” sections
  • “Related products sections”
  • “Buy/shop the look” sections

As you can see below, ASOS has two such product recommendation sections.

ASOS cross-selling strategy example

[Source: Drip]

The trick to making these work is in harnessing the power of automation to ensure they are tailored to each shopper. Amazon are big trendsetters with this type of cross-selling strategy, but that doesn’t mean medium-sized online retailers can’t duplicate this strategy.

However, to truly make this strategy profitable, you will need to think far more advanced than just personalization for your product recommendations. This means also using marketing and retail KPIs to push these recommendations.

Pro Tip: Want to recommend the right products to the right shopper at the right time? Then you will want to use advanced product sorting and selection that takes all your marketing and retail KPIs into account.

Even better if it is powered by AI and automatically adjusts to real-time changes. Kimonix offers just the features you need to do just that.

Want to see this innovative cross-selling feature in action? Book a demo here.

5. Build High-Value Bundles

The next easy, yet effective cross-selling strategy is bundling. Bundling is a great way to increase AOVs while also boosting value.

Bundles can be mixed — products also available as individual units — or pure, where products within the bundle aren’t available to purchase separately. The former, mixed bundling, is an effective cross-selling tool.

But to get it right, it takes some maneuvering to ensure that the bundle offers more perceived value to a customer than they would get from individual sales. A good way to do this is by offering a repeat purchase or a subscription that saves the customer money.

An example of a brand doing just that is Cleancult. Not only do they cross-sell with a strategically placed bundle in their product pages, but they offer deals on long-term subscriptions.

product bundle cross sell

Another way you can use bundles in your cross-selling strategies is to let buyers create their own recommended product bundles to qualify for a discount.

recommended product bundles

[Source: ConvertCart]

Pro Tip: Got slow-moving stock? Include them as a cross-selling bundle incentive to not only increase AOVs but move inventory. You can read more about these and other non-moving inventory strategies here

6. Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Post-Sale Landing Page

Your cross-selling strategies should not be limited to your pre-purchase touchpoints. In fact, it can start as early as your thank you landing page.

One-click, post-purchase cross-selling can be incredibly effective.

Why? Because shoppers are already in the purchasing funnel and therefore primed for a second purchase. Plus, they have just committed to the brand.

It also offers an alternative to cross-selling in your cart if you feel that would disrupt the sale. In other words, it allows you to cross-sell without interrupting the buying experience.

Here’s an example thank you page template from ConvertCart that includes a personalized flash promotion as a post-purchase upsell.

promotion cross sale strategy

[Source: ConvertCart]

7. Improve Satisfaction with a Well-Timed Post-Purchase Email

Cross-selling strategies can also be used to help boost retention — especially when combined with personalized email product recommendations.

This can be as simple as including product recommendations in your transactional emails — such as thank you and delivery notifications. Or tying in a personalized product recommended with a monthly awareness day or seasonal holiday email campaign. 

Here’s a thank you email example in which Sambag includes some additional curated products.

Sambag email cross-sell example

[Source: SaleCycle]

That’s not to say email isn’t a great pre-purchase cross-selling tool.

Take a look at this Uniqlo example email where they remarket traffic with a personalized email announcing when a specific product dropped in price. You can see the emails include a cross-sell “You May Also Like” section as well.

Uniqlo Email cross-sell example

[Source: Privy]

Wrap Up

There you have it; seven easy, yet effective ways to use cross-selling to drive sales, improve AOVs, and build long-term profitability. There is no doubt that the right cross-selling strategy can be very effective — and it doesn’t need to be overly elaborate to do so. The trick is finding the right strategy for your brand.

Want a demo of how Kimonix product recommendation features can help you automatically choose the best products for your crossing-selling strategies — in real-time? Get in touch here.

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