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Sell one product… or rather, two!


When you buy a pair of trousers, do you often also end up buying a matching T-shirt? Or were you planning to buy a basic camera, but did you end up with a more advanced (and more expensive) model? You’re not alone! Many customers are prone to this so-called cross-selling and up-selling, which increase your opportunities to give your sales a serious boost!

But before we go any further, let’s see what cross-selling and up-selling are all about.

  • Cross-selling: enticing visitors to buy not only the product they were looking for, but additional products too.
  • Up-selling: enticing visitors to but a more expensive version of the product they were originally looking for.

At physical stores it is easy to achieve this, because customers can see and touch all the products. For online stores it is a little more difficult, because once visitors have found what they were looking for, they can buy it with a few simple clicks. Yet online stores can also rely on a few smart methods to boost their chances of cross-selling and up-selling.

Method 1: Offer a range of similar products

Trigger your visitors’ attention by offering similar products, preferably with the same features. That will encourage them to keep browsing your store and maybe even buy more than one product. 

This method is suited to both expensive products, which are well-thought-out purchases, such as a Nespresso machine, and to cheaper, more accessible products like T-shirts. If you’re selling more expensive products, the best approach is to display similar products with slightly better features. For more affordable products, show products with the same features, such as the fit and color. That encourages visitors to keep browsing and possibly even buy more than one product. This is an example of cross-selling.

Product selection
Manual product selection is best. It may be a little annoying, but it prevents the wrong product from being displayed, disrupting the visitor’s flow. An example: watches and shoes may be displayed when your visitor is actually looking for a T-shirt. And that’s not very wise of course…

Avoid boring words such as ‘variants’ or ‘suggestions’. Instead use messages like:

  • Others have watched… (tickle the visitor’s interest)
  • Selected especially for you (special attention)
  • We think you might like these too (special attention)
Up-selling for products with a higher threshold (image: Macy's)

Method 2: offer matching products

For many products you can offer matching items, such as jewelry with clothing, cushions with a couch, etc.

Product selection
Take this method into account when you purchase your products. Selecting matching articles by hand may be quite labor-intensive, but we suggest you try it, because it really can boost your sales.

Use accompanying texts such as:

  • Combine with 
  • We’ve created this look especially for you (for clothing) 
  • This goes well with
  • More products from this collection
Offer complementary products (image: H&M)

Method 3: Offer complementary products

You’ve probably bought cartridges with a printer, or a sleeve with your phone before. Many products can be combined with complementary products. Displaying these items is a subtle, yet effective way of cross-selling, because it triggers your visitor psychologically:

  • “Do I really have everything I need to use this product?”
  • “Wouldn’t it be better to buy an SD card with this camera?”
  • “If I order this now as well, I save on shipping costs.”

Below you’ll find a few examples of effective texts to highlight complementary products:

  • Accessories for
  • Have you thought about...?
  • Get the most out of your [product name]
Displaying complementary products: printer accessories (image: Amazon)

A nice little extra: search engine optimization

Cross-selling and up-selling not only boost your conversion rate, they also increase your visibility in search engines, because your product pages now contain more new and relevant (and therefore high-quality) content, and because related product pages are linked. This shows Google and other search engines that these pages are useful for people looking for these product types.

How to apply these methods to your online store

You can display matching items in just a few simple clicks. Go to ‘Modules’ and select ‘Matching products’. For more detailed information go to our Questions & Answers section. To edit the text displayed above the products go to the ‘Standard texts’ menu.

Do you have any other good tips and tricks for cross-selling and up-selling? Do you apply these principles yourself? We’d love to hear from you!