Guest posts

How to Improve Your Online Store Revenue with Upselling and Cross-Selling


Jason Chow is an Outreach Manager and marketer for, where we provide content and marketing for startups and online businesses.

According to Infusionsoft’s 2018 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, close to one in three (31%) small business owners have driving sales as a top business goal for the coming year. One quarter (25%) said that re-engaging and retaining customers was a priority.

This is encouraging, but it also means that about 75% of businesses are missing opportunities in their current customer base. Since it is infinitely more expensive and more difficult to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one, these businesses are leaving a lot of money on the table by not selling to current customers.

But, how can you do this effectively and efficiently? The answer is through systematic upselling and cross-selling programs.

What is Upselling?

If you’ve been around sales or e-commerce for any length of time, these terms might seem interchangeable, but they’re slightly different. Upselling refers to suggesting that your customer increase their purchase to a more premium version of something that they already own or are looking to buy.

A classic example is a hungry customer who is asked by the McDonald’s worker, “Would you like to supersize that?” “Well, sure. Why, not?”

What is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is a close cousin to upselling. In short, you are suggesting a product or service that would go well with the original purchase instead of suggesting an upgrade.

Using the McDonald’s example once again, the friendly checkout person might ask, “Would you like fries with that?” when you order your Big Mac. Well, who wouldn’t?

Does Upselling and Cross-selling Work?

Yes, they both work to increase revenue, but with varying degrees. For example, one statistic from Forrester shows that cross-selling techniques can boost revenue anywhere from 10% to 30%. On the other hand, Predictive Intent reports that upselling can perform 20 times better than cross-selling on product pages.

How to Improve Your Online Store Revenue with Upselling and Cross-Selling

Whether you focus on upselling, cross-selling, or both will depend on a variety of factors such as your business model, your customers, and your goals. Whichever path you choose, there are several things you can do to improve your online store revenue with upselling and cross-selling.

Automate the process with add-ons

It can be a tall order to upsell and cross-sell to each customer on a personal level, particularly if you do a high volume of online business. The best solution is to automate this process by using a plugin that will create a personalized experience for the customer.

If you are using CS-Cart—one of the best online shop software that is popularized and supported by hosting company such as SiteGround, here are several options to do this besides built-in upsell and cross-sell functionality:

  • Similar Products by Feature. This is an add-on created by Simtech Development that shows items related by product feature on your products page. This gives customers additional choices and increases the chances of making a sale.
  • Automatic Cross-Selling. This is a cross-selling add-on developed by Bnet – WebGraphiq that uses the data from the existing product to generate additional items for cross-sells and upsells.
  • Up-sells And Cross-sells. This is an add-on developed by eCom Labs that will show related products in the “Add to Cart” notification on the customer’s landing page.

Put the customer first

Upselling and cross-selling aren’t underhanded or sneaky tactics if done correctly. Since your business isn’t about you (it’s about your customers), it makes sense to provide as much value and as many choices as possible. If you’re only offering one widget on the page, customers will soon get bored, disillusioned, or both and go elsewhere.

Avoid overdoing it

While you should upsell and cross-sell, you should avoid flooding customers with offers. Most hate this. If given too many choices, a customer is also likely to give up and click away. Instead, provide a few relevant and appealing offers that are more likely to get chosen.

Demonstrate value

Let customers know that they are going to get something of value by trading up or buying an additional product. If there are reviews, make sure they are visible. Otherwise, make the features and benefits of the products and services visible to increase the chance of a conversion.

By creating the right upselling and cross-selling strategies for your website, you will begin to see an increase in your online conversions. Focus on delivering offers that are relevant to your customer’s interests and needs and optimize the timing to catch customers when they are most likely to be ready to make a purchase.


By automating these steps with the right add-on to your website, the hard work will be done for you, and you will be able to capture even more sales with less effort.

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Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.