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10 upselling techniques to explode your average order value

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We've all experienced upselling before — and it probably worked. Whether it's a side of fries to go with a burger or polish to go with some new boots, we've all doled out a little more cash for an extra something that makes our purchase a bit better.

But just because the customers of your online store don't have a cashier to ask them if they want that complimentary product doesn't mean you can't use upselling in ecommerce too.

In fact, upselling techniques have the power to increase your online sales dramatically.

In 2012, Amazon saw a 29% increase in sales after introducing its version of upselling: product recommendations, like those "Frequently bought together" panes.

But upselling isn't reserved for the likes of Amazon — you can use the same techniques as the billion-dollar behemoth to sell more to every customer who visits your store.

In this post, you'll learn some useful upselling techniques and some tips and tricks to maximize your conversion rates.

Want to start offering upsells on your store today? Check out Bold Upsell! Install it on your Shopify store to start your free trial.

Now, let’s make some sales! But first...

The difference between upselling and cross-selling

These two terms tend to be used interchangeably. But there is a difference. Let's go over the definitions quickly.

Upselling is persuading your customer to buy something more expensive.

So technically, an upsell is swapping out the item they juts selected with a more valuable version. For example, you might give your customers the option to buy twice as much of the same roast of coffee for a just a couple more dollars.

Upsell Modal Example

Cross-selling is persuading your customers to buy something additional.

So instead of offering to upgrade an item they’re already buying, you offer an additional complimentary item like a pack of coffee filters to use with their coffee!

Cross-sell Modal

10 Upselling techniques you can use right now

You know what’s one of the most annoying things in the world?

Visiting an online store and having pop-up after pop-up offering you another product, a bigger this, a faster that.

That’s why our first upselling technique on this list is

#1: Be tactful!

Harassing your customers with an offer on every page will hinder your sales, not help them.

Remember, upselling should improve your customers' experience — not make it annoying. Your upsell should be something that will genuinely benefit their lives, not just take more money out of their pockets.

What you don’t want to do is what GoDaddy did here, constantly asking their customers to buy more.

GoDaddy upsell example

Too many options, too much copy, and generally obnoxious. This is bad, alright?

Unless you're using a funnel, keep it to one — maybe two — highly relevant upsells or cross-sells. Anything more will probably just annoy or confuse your customers.

But this also doesn't mean you can't offer more than one type of upsell during the shopping experience. Try mixing and matching different kinds of upsell and cross-sell offers ( to help customers find new products and get everything they were looking for!

#2: Don’t scare them away with a big price jump

As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to offer them a cross-sell that's way more expensive than their original selection, like suggesting they pay $300 instead $100. It might not work, unless have a deep knowledge of your customers and know exactly what they’d need.

For example, if you're selling a $100 item, don’t offer an upgrade or cross-sell item that will bring their total to over $125.

This is just a rough rule of thumb. If it’s $130, that’s probably still fine. The idea is simply not to give them sticker shock with a crazy high price.

However, this could work with a 'true' upsell of certain products. For example, if a store's selling a smart phone with 25GB of storage for $200, an upsell to a phone with 75GB of storage for $400 might work. It depends what the perceived value of the product is and if the price jump feels fair.

#3: Upsell into a subscription

You don’t have to offer a bigger, better product in order to upsell your customers!

A subscription service can be just as good as an upsell — maybe even better because they increase customer retention and bring in recurring revenue.

If you sell any kind of product that needs to be replenished; think skincare, coffee, supplements, even socks; offering your customers a regular delivery is a great way to get them more value and lock in recurring revenue for you.

Mele upselling a subscription

Subscription boxes are becoming a major player in the world of eCommerce because they offer convenience. Never having to remember to buy shampoo or toothpaste? Count me in!

#4 Make it easy

It should be super easy for your customers to add your offer to their purchase. That's why you should use an upsell app that easily adds the item to their cart. You don't want to give the shopper more work. They might not follow through.

Some apps (like ours!), allow for one-click upsells after checkout. That means customers can instantly add an offer to their purchase AFTER they checkout. These offers usually convert very highly because customers don't have to enter their payment information again. If you have Bold Checkout on BigCommerce, you can activate this functionality easily.

#5: Offer a product bundle

Another cool upselling technique is to offer a product bundle instead of a different product. For example, buy-one-get-one offers can entice your customer to buy a little more so they can snag a deal. 

Make sure you pick your bundles strategically so you're offering them something useful and you're not scaring them away with a big price jump. 

If you want to offer product bundles on your Shopify store, check out Bold Bundles!

#6: Incentivize your upsell

Online shoppers are a spoiled bunch. They expect free, fast shipping on every order. You can use this to your advantage
 especially if you already have free-shipping set up on your store.

Instead of succumbing to the “free shipping, every time” method, offer free shipping as an incentive for your shopper to spend more. You know they want free shipping, so give it to them
 just not for free.

For example, you could offer free shipping on orders over $50. Now when you offer them an upsell, they'll have more of an incentive to accept it!

One trick you could try is to trigger an upsell when they reach a certain cart value. For example, if they're at $45 and they need to get to $50 to qualify for free shipping, trigger a $10 upsell item, that way they get to minimum, plus a little bit more!

#7: Use a recommendation widget

As we discussed earlier, product recommendations are a great way to increase sales.

Displaying a row of personalized recommendations, similar to Amazon's "Frequently bought together" widget, is a great way to entice people to add more items to their order or show off new products.

#8: Leverage reciprocity

For those of you who don’t know, reciprocating means returning a favor for a favor. That’s right — people actually do that!

Reciprocity is an INCREDIBLY strong tool when it comes to online sales.

That’s because reciprocity is wired directly to our psyche. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely explains:

“Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct. If somebody does something for you, you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.”

Now the million dollar question is...

How do you leverage reciprocity in your upsells?

Give away stuff for free.

For example, superfood supplements brand ALOHA offers a free 5-day sample of their products.

This sample gets their stuff in their customers' hands (and tummy). Not only do their customers get to try the product, they’ll also feel obligated to buy something because they were given something for free.

#9: Upsell your most sold, most reviewed, or most relevant products

We’ve covered how to upsell. But what should you actually be upselling?

Remember: When offering a product as an upsell, it should add value and improve your customer’s life. Keep that in mind when you choose products.

For example, Apple upselling you to a better, faster computer. This upsell actually helps the customer. Maybe they don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on the better product!

Here's how you can determine what products can make great upsells:

  • Your most sold products are simply great products. You know your target audience loves them based on raw data — sales volume. Can’t go wrong with these.
  • Your most reviewed products offer social proof, which has been shown to increase conversions.
  • Showing irrelevant products, regardless of how many reviews or sales they have, probably won’t convert. Make sure the products you show are relevant!

#10. Make multiple offers throughout the shopping experience

Why build multiple offers into your shopping experience? Like offering both upsells and cross-sells to your customers, making their order better and making you some extra revenue.

For example, you could offer an upsell at the product page, and a cross-sell at the cart page, increasing average order value and helping customers find everything they need.

So with a coffee store, it would like this: A customer adds a 2lb bag of espresso to their cart for $10 and gets an upsell offer to buy 3lbs for just $5. Then at the cart page, they're offered a cross-sell for an espresso cup for an additional $4.50.

Without the offers, this transaction would have been just $10. With the offers, the transaction is now $19.50 — that's an increase of almost 100%.

You can mix and match when and where you these offers, and even include upsell funnels, until you find an effective method.

Upsell apps, like Bold Upsell, allow you to strategically choose when you offer upsells. For example, you can do a "true" upsell at the product page, then do a cross-sell at the cart page, all with the click of a button.

Bold Upsell: it makes upselling easy

If you want to make upselling a reality, it's easy with Bold Upsell. We genuinely believe it will help you make more money. It's worked well for a lot of merchants, evidenced by over 1200 five-star reviews in the Shopify app store! 

We're hoping you’ll take action on this new information and implement these upsell techniques on your store to start making more money.

We offer an app for Shopify called Bold Upsell that allows you to offer upsells on your product and checkout pages with just a few clicks. It works like this

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