Trends & Features

How to grow your sales by upselling

Top tips from Chris Barling, CEO of ecommerce software supplier Actinic

Attracting visitors and persuading them to buy is a challenge for online retailers, but a sole focus on this area can lead to underperformance. Selling to customers should not end when they place one item in their basket. Increasing the average order value can mean the difference between moderate and major success – or between success and failure.

Fortunately, there are established merchandising techniques that can encourage additional purchases. If your ecommerce solution allows these to be implemented, they can help maximise turnover.

1. Product bundling
One basic rule of price merchandising is: don’t discount – give more for more money. Everyday low prices seem to work for supermarkets, where buyers shop regularly and understand the true value. For most stores, there are better ways.

Offering ‘bundled’ packages by combining main products with relevant accessories at a slightly reduced price provides a double whammy, giving price-sensitive shoppers extra value while encouraging additional purchases.

2. Upselling
‘Would you like fries with that?’-style techniques can also impact revenue. In this case, shoppers selecting the main product can choose additional options, such as batteries, simply by checking a box. The buyer saves time in finding the extras, and has the assurance that they will work with the main product.

Discounts can also be applied to multiple purchases of particular products. Shoppers save money through buying two or more products; merchants save on postage and sell more at the same time.

Upselling can also be done in the shopping cart. After one or more items have been added to the cart, the buyer receives a message in the form of: ‘Buy another x and you can receive any of y at half price’.

There are many variants on this theme, but the principle is to spend more and get a better deal. Never try to upsell once the shopper has entered the checkout process, though. Here the rule is to provide as few distractions as possible, to encourage them to complete the purchase.

3. Product lists
Another technique is to provide lists of top sellers and/or new products on the home page and elsewhere. Best sellers are the products that the most people are looking for, and therefore, the ones most likely to attract interest.

4. Also bought
Another approach, pioneered by Amazon, analyses the previous and current purchasing history of the buyer. They are offered a list of products that they might be interested in, because similar buyers also bought them. This is particularly effective for products like books and CDs.

5. Worth a try
Selling online is about offering what the customer wants at a price they are happy with, winning their confidence and making it easy to purchase. With careful application of merchandising techniques, there is scope to increase both sales and net margin to maximise the potential of your online store.

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