eCommerce Blog on Running an Online Marketplace

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:

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.

More useful eCommerce articles and infographics are coming your way. Follow CS-Cart on Facebook and Twitter not to miss them!

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Author Profile

Yan Anderson
Yan Anderson is the Social Relations and Content Manager at CS-Cart. He's passionate about creating content that explains complicated things in simple terms. Yan loves writing and making videos about the ecommerce industry and technology trends. He manages this blog as an editor.
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