Guiding your customers through the sales funnel is a tricky task. So when the opportunity arises, it’s important to make the most of every step of their customer journey.
One of the most powerful marketing strategies to help your online store increase sales, promote customer loyalty, and improve average order value is cross-selling your products.
And with the right practices, cross-selling can add great value to your store, whether you’re new to the technique or looking to revamp your marketing strategy.
In this article, we will explore 20 examples of cross-selling for eCommerce stores in 2023, their specific use cases, and how to apply them to your business.
- Cross-selling is a sales strategy where a sales representative suggests add-ons of related items to customers who expressed interest in another product.
- There are different ways to apply cross-selling to your eCommerce marketing strategy, including making bundled products, recommending similar products or complementary items, subscriptions, and more.
- The aim of the different cross-selling scenarios is to make the customer buy an additional item they wouldn’t have bought otherwise.
- A customer gets a discount, free shipping, or other benefits in cross-selling – or the additional items enhance the original product they bought.
What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling is a sales technique where a company encourages customers to purchase more or complementary products in addition to what they are already buying or have shown interest in.
In other words, it’s the practice of recommending or suggesting related or additional products to customers to increase their average order value (AOV).
Types of cross-selling initiatives
All the cross-selling strategies discussed in this post fall roughly into one or more of these categories:
1. Bundled products
Bundling products involves cross-selling two or more products together for a discount. Offering bundled products is a great way to increase average order value and encourage customers to purchase multiple items from your store.
2. Recommended products
This is a type of cross-selling where you recommend relevant products based on what your customers have viewed or are viewing. This gives buyers the opportunity to discover new products that they are more likely to buy and, in turn, increase the total purchase amount.
3. Complementary products
Recommending products that go with the item your customers are buying will increase the chances of them buying both of your items. Some examples of this cross-selling strategy include a case for an electronic device or accessories for clothing.
This cross-selling method involves offering your customers the option to sign up for a subscription service for the products they are buying to receive deliveries on a recurring basis. This helps to increase customer loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.
20 examples of cross-selling in eCommerce (steal these tactics!)
There are dozens of creative ways to cross-sell customers, especially for eCommerce websites. Here are some examples of cross-selling and how they can be used effectively:
1. Upselling higher-end versions of the same product
While cross-selling and upselling are distinct marketing techniques, you can make them work together to benefit both your customers and your sales.
Upselling in eCommerce websites involves offering customers a higher-end or more expensive version of the product or service they are interested in.
For example, for an electronics retailer, a customer looking for a mid-range model of a smartphone could be offered an upsell to a higher-end version with better features such as cameras or storage capacity.
Then, try to cross-sell by recommending higher-end versions of complementary products. For instance, you can show different options of accessories such as chargers and phone cases and suggest more premium versions of them.
2. Showing related products that customers have purchased previously
Showing related products that your customers have previously purchased is another effective cross-selling example, especially for online retailers.
Every so often, you’ll log into your Amazon homepage and see a “Buy it Again” section with the opportunity to re-purchase products based on your purchase history.
(And yes, we will be using a lot of examples from Amazon in this post because, let’s face it, they’re the best in the business.)
An additional benefit when you analyze customer data and create customer cohorts is to gain insights into what products an existing customer would more likely be interested in and offer personalized recommendations to them.
This can be effective for businesses with a wide range of products.
3. Suggesting additional items to complete an outfit or look
This method involves suggesting coordinating or supplementary products that pair well with the original product your customer is interested in.
For cross-selling examples like this, you can show a customer who is browsing for a dress on your store suggestions for shoes, jewelry, or a bag that could complete the look. You can also post photos with the product in a complete outfit. This encourages your customer to purchase multiple items from your store.
This is the same effect that fashion mannequins have in traditional clothing retail: you want to “complete the look” – like what you see on the mannequin.
By offering relevant suggestions as add-ons to your customer’s original product, you can add more value to your sales and provide added value to your customer.
4. Displaying complementary products, such as accessories for a phone or tablet
Displaying complementary products is a more common cross selling example. This involves showing related or complementary products either on the product page or the checkout page.
Probably the most well-known example of this time of cross-selling is Amazon’s “Frequently bought together” section, which bundles similar products and even offers the opportunity to add them all to your cart.
For example, on the product page for the Shure SM57 (a very popular studio microphone), Amazon recommends some essential gear like a pop filter and microphone cables.
These suggestions can personalize and improve the customer experience while providing protection or enhancing their original purchase.
This marketing strategy helps your business provide a more complete solution to your customer’s possible pain points and make their shopping experience more seamless. These thoughtful suggestions with relevant products can also encourage repeat purchases.
5. Offering bundles and packages as discounted deals
Bundles and packages, especially with discounted prices, are a common cross-selling technique designed to attract customers into spending more in your store. This is done by grouping together closely related products and offering them as a single purchase or package deal for a reduced price.
For example, if your store sells beauty products, you can offer skincare bundles for the summertime, such as lotions and sunscreens.
You can also try to bundle products for a complete step skincare routine, including a face wash, toner, and moisturizer. These packages are usually cross-sold for a discounted price that is less than the individual product’s combined prices.
By offering bundles, you can encourage your new or existing customers to buy additional items they might not have considered otherwise. This can also help you clear out the inventory of slower-selling items by bundling them with more popular products.
6. Recommending similar products to ones that customers have viewed or added to their carts
If your store sells similar products of the same category, you can leverage their similarities by recommending them to a new or existing customer who has viewed or added an item to their carts.
This example is very similar to the aforementioned “Frequently bought together,” but a bit broader.
While the above category will often recommend items required to get the best experience out of the original purchase, this cross-selling strategy recommends items in the same niche, vertical, or category.
For example, if the customer ends up purchasing the SM57 (the microphone listed in a previous example), you may also send them follow-up emails in a few days or weeks prompting them to purchase other audio gear, such as higher-end microphones, MIDI keyboards, or audio mixers.
7. Offering free shipping for additional items in a customer’s order
Incentivizing your customers to purchase additional items is often an effective technique for cross-selling. This method involves offering shipping discounts when a customer buys items together with a specific product.
Again, Amazon is the gold standard here.
For some eligible items, Amazon will offer same-day shipping so long as those items exceed a certain price threshold (usually $35 or more).
This marketing technique encourages customers to purchase additional items and, in turn, spend more money on their marketplace.
It can also improve customer satisfaction by reducing the cost and timeline of shipping their items. These offers, when done successfully, can increase the likelihood of repeat purchases.
8. Recommending products that complement existing purchases in the customer’s cart
Cross-selling products from your customer’s cart involves analyzing the items in your customer’s shopping cart and cross-selling items that complement or enhance what they have already selected.
For cross-selling examples like this, if your customer added a camera to their cart, you may suggest additional products like camera bags, tripods, or memory cards.
This goes the same way if you’re running a fashion store and a customer selected a dress. You can suggest complementary products like a purse, jewelry, or shoes for them.
Again, Amazon shows us how it’s done with their cart cross-selling user experience:
Implementing this cross-selling campaign can make your customers’ shopping experience more comprehensive. Knowing what to offer your customers can also help show you as an expert in your industry.
9. Including relevant reviews of products that customers are viewing
This is a bit of an indirect cross-selling strategy, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
The point of a product page is not only to facilitate the sale of a given item but to give customers all the information they could ever want to know about the product.
This includes, but isn’t limited to, its features, benefits, and customer reviews, along with other product details.
Including reviews of related products on your product page creates cross-selling opportunities that increase the chances of making a sale since it helps build trust and credibility with your online store.
When your customer sees genuine good reviews on frequently bought similar products, they are more likely to trust your store and feel confident in their purchase.
10. Selling extended warranties for products the customer is interested in
One possible concern for your customers is the longevity of the product and potential repair costs or replacements. To mitigate this, you can try cross-selling products with extended warranties that can help you provide customers with security and peace of mind.
For example, a customer interested in purchasing a laptop may be more likely to buy a product with an extended warranty. This usually covers repairs or replacements for a longer period of time than the standard manufacturer’s warranty.
By offering additional protection, your customers will see that you are confident with your products and will be more likely to trust your business and stay loyal to your brand. This is more likely to result in increased customer lifetime values.
Here’s how Samsung does it during the smartphone checkout process:
11. Offering upsells on shipping or delivery services
Customers are often willing to pay extra for expedited shipping or delivery options since that can give them greater convenience and faster service. Apply cross-selling strategies like upsells in shipping or delivery services to complement the item they want to purchase.
For example, a customer who bought an item as a gift may be willing to pay extra fees for expedited shipping to make sure their gift arrives on time.
By offering a wider range of delivery options or more convenient shipping choices, you can also provide a more customer-focused experience for your customers.
12. Recommending spares and consumables that customers can buy to replenish existing items
This is another one of those cross-selling techniques that help build trust with your customers by showing that you are committed to their long-term satisfaction.
Cross-selling spares and consumables such as high-quality replacement blades for razors or ink cartridges for printers will help your customers continue using their products for a longer time.
13. Displaying deals and promotions related to products customers have already purchased
Displaying deals and promotions for related products your customers have already purchased is a powerful cross-selling and upselling technique.
This is because offering promotions on related items they are already more likely to buy would further attract them to buy from your store instead of going to another website.
For this cross-selling example, if your customer buys a gaming console, you could proceed to recommend deals and promotions related to their purchase, such as a controller or charging dock.
Cross-selling strategies like this can also work when offering useful and special deals that create a sense of urgency. This can make them feel like they get a limited offer that’s exclusive to them.
14. Upselling subscription packages that offer added benefits or discounts on future purchases
Again, Amazon is the best when it comes to this strategy.
For perishables or renewables, Amazon’s Subscribe and Save option allows customers to save 5% on their initial purchase and 15% on all repeat deliveries.
Customers can then select their delivery frequency and cancel at any time. Now, Amazon enjoys recurring revenue from the customer and the customer gets essential products conveniently delivered at a nice discount. It’s a win-win.
15. Showcasing multi-buy offers for select products
Showcasing multi-buy offers for select products is a common cross-selling technique used by many eCommerce stores. It involves offering your customers a discount when they buy multiple quantities of a particular product.
In cross-selling examples like this, if your store offers beauty products, you can give discounts on a particular brand of lipstick if they purchase two or more tubes.
These deals can improve customer satisfaction and clear out excess inventory while boosting overall sales for the store.
16. Displaying discounts for customers who purchase multiple items together
Just like multi-buy offers, cross-selling by displaying discounts for customers purchasing multiple items together is a great way to increase AOV.
Basic offers like “buy this ____ with a ____ to get 10% off on your total purchase” can encourage your customers to buy multiple products together.
In turn, you are giving them a good deal, all the while increasing your sales and promoting your other products.
17. Offering loyalty programs with exclusive deals and rewards for regular customers
Loyalty programs can also be a way to cross-sell products to repeat customers. Offering exclusive deals and rewards encourages customers to continue making repeat purchases.
For instance, you can offer your customers to sign up for a loyalty program. In turn, they will receive a discount for their next purchase or earn points every time they spend.
Remember punch cards from your local car wash or coffee shop? Same principle.
These incentives can help increase customer retention and, in turn, drive additional sales.
More importantly, loyalty programs can help your business continue to understand your customer’s preferences and behavior. You can use this information to adjust your cross-selling strategies in the future.
18. Suggesting additional services such as installation, delivery, or repair
Some consumers care less about the cost of a product and more about the hassle of having to assemble or put it together.
Or perhaps particular disabilities or physical limitations may hinder customers from being able to assemble the product themselves.
You can both solve the customer’s pain point and increase their AOV by cross-selling or up-selling an assembly service like Amazon does here with this TV mount:
19. Offering gift wrapping or personalization services for customers who are buying items as gifts.
Another supplementary service you can cross-sell to your customers is personalization services for customers buying items as gifts.
By cross-selling gift wrapping or any other personalization service, you can enhance your customer’s purchase experience by providing convenient options.
20. Offering one-time-use store credit for accessories at checkout
When purchasing a Samsung smartphone from their official website, eligible buyers get a one-time credit of $100 to spend on add-ons or accessories.
This is a genius tactic, as no consumer in their right mind would throw away $100 (the offer expires as soon as you check out), and yet most buyers will likely spend more than $100 to get the accessories they really want, thus increasing their final purchase price.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: What is cross-selling?
Cross-selling is a marketing technique that encourages customers to purchase additional products related to the ones they have already purchased. It helps increase sales and customer loyalty.
Q: What are examples of cross-selling?
An example of cross-selling could be an online electronics store suggesting accessories for a laptop when a customer purchases it.
Another example could be an online clothing store suggesting a belt when a customer purchases trousers.
Q: What are the benefits of cross-selling?
The main benefit is increased revenue for the eCommerce store, as customers end up buying more than they originally intended to. Additionally, it helps build loyalty by increasing satisfaction and convenience.
Q: How do you implement cross-selling in an eCommerce store?
It’s important to start by understanding your customers’ wants and needs. Then you need to identify which products are related to the one a customer has purchased, and display them strategically on the website.
Offering discounts or promotions on these additional items can help encourage sales. Finally, you need to monitor the effectiveness of your cross-selling efforts and make changes accordingly.
Cross-selling is an important element to continue and increase revenue, build customer trust, and increase customer retention over time.
We encourage you to experiment with and combine the examples of cross-selling we provided to help improve the customer experience and achieve your business goals.
If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this: don’t be afraid to study the competition or Amazon.
We know that sounds simplistic, but your competitors (especially larger ones) and Amazon have spent hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of dollars studying cross-selling psychology and forming best practices.
If those techniques work for them, they’ll very likely work for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also be creative and devise your own effective cross-selling strategies.
Good luck, and happy cross-selling!