You know when you are ready to check out and very gracefully your cart slides out and below your order you see product suggestions with “Add to cart” or “Upgrade to a subscription?”
Well, that's a cross-sell or upsell at work! And they work! Increasing your average order value, and often your profit margins, in the process.
One important distinction, even though these two terms are often used synonymously (and we will largely just stick with “upsell” as we talk about this process), they are different:
Upsell: Upgrading a product to a larger quantity (i.e. 8 ounces to 16 ounces)
Cross-sell: Add on a complimentary product (i.e. a coffee cup when ordering coffee)
Important Metrics to Track:
- % of orders upsold/cross-sold
- % of orders upgraded to a subscription (if applicable)
- Breakdown of successful upsells by product
- Overall Average Order Value (AOV) lift
- Overall Revenue lift
Note: Upsells and Cross-Sells are often part of a broader merchandising or personalization strategy, to check out full-fledged AI personalization tools/suites in more detail, go to our blog post on The Best Personalization Tools for Ecommerce. Keep reading for a deeper outline of the apps that have more of a hyper-focus on upselling than personalization.
Why are Upsells so Important?
For starters, it allows you to increase your average order value while also promoting greater product exploration and discovery. The more products you can get into your customers hands, the better.
If a site visitor was only coming to your site to purchase one thing, they probably are not looking at other products. However, if you take that same visitor and place additional products on pages like the product detail page and cart page, based on what they are looking at/purchasing (cross-sell), it has the potential to catch their eye and allow them to further explore your site, products, and brand as a whole.
Integrating upsells and cross-sells onto your site should be a no-brainer. This is high revenue-driving, low-hanging fruit. And the revenue impact is two-fold: not only do you receive additional revenue on that first order, but the recurring orders tend to be higher as well.
Worried about upsells hurting your conversions? Post-purchase offers are a great way to utilize upsell/cross-sell strategies to see an uptick in average order sales. This way you don't have to worry about the potential of losing a conversion since it already happened.
When Should you Upsell? (Hint: Pre- and Post-Purchase Options)
This is completely up to you, your customers, and hopefully the tests you run in perfecting your upsell process. It is really never too early to incorporate upsell. I would even argue that this should be something you consider at the onset of your company, as it becomes customary on your site and a cornerstone of your marketing and growth strategy.
By far the easiest, and most common upsell is a subscription program. Most brands have a product that can easily fit into a subscription model. If that's not your product, no need to fret because not all subscription models are created the same (but their benefits are!). Anything you sell can fit into a subscription model whether it's food, beauty products, sunglasses, or phone cases, you just have to find the model that works best for you and your subscribers.
Additionally, you need to have multiple products and/or product lines to really be successful with upselling. I’ve seen some one-product brands really stagnate around this problem while they build out complementary products (or source them). If you only have one core product or a very low SKU count altogether, you should spend some time thinking about what product you can really add to your mix that is likely to be popular with your customers. In the beginning it doesn’t even have to be your product, you can test complementary brands using a tool like Carro Brand Partnerships, and use the learnings from selling those products to inform your own internal product strategy.
Upsells in Practice
The key is to be strategic and ensure that you are adding value to the user journey and not just randomly placing pop-ups or irrelevant offers in front of customers who are presumably about to buy from you.
Here are the most common areas you see upsells and how they are used:
- Home Page
- Product Detail Page (PDP)
- Cart slide out
- Cart page
- Checkout page
- Post-purchase click offer
- Order Tracking Landing Pages
- Reorder Landing Pages
You also can see upsells in emails (or SMS), as bundled offers, as subscriptions, in use with Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solutions, and even as part of your customer service teams communications with customers (more commonly, you may see some sort of downsell offer to say prevent a refund).
- Product Detail Page (PDP): subscription upsell above/below where the one-time purchase option is + towards the end of your page (common language = “You May Also Like”).
- Cart Slide Out: Subscription upsell or one-time add-ons.
- Cart Page: “You May Also Like” products.
- Checkout page: Dynamic add-ons based on products in cart.
- Post-purchase: Before order confirmation provide a 1-click upsell that will append to the customer’s existing order.
- Communication: Utilize previous order data to communicate “Suggested Products”/”Because You Bought ‘A’”
- Order Tracking Landing Pages: Manual based on strategic decisions or utilize AI suggestions
The Best Upsell/Cross-sell Tools for Ecommerce
Thanks to app designers and ecosystems like Shopify, the ability to implement programs for upsells/cross-sells has become easier than ever.
Rather than spending hundreds of hours (and dollars) on a developer, you can easily search for a tool that is all queued up to do this job for you - and we have just so happen to have a few recommendations.
- Carro Brand Partnerships
- CartHook Post Purchase Offers
- One Click Upsell
- Ultimate Special Offers
Note: always consider your options and what works best for your store, as well as the other tools you are currently utilizing. Everything in your store should have a purpose and contribute to your greater goals.
Smart Product Recommendations & Cross-selling
Bold Upsell is a robust, comprehensive upselling app. It offers rich funnels that adapt to the customer’s choices, offering a series of alternatives if a given upsell offer is declined.
Bold Upsell also gives you full control over the design of your upsell flow, so you can match it to your store’s theme.
- Automated smart product recommendations
- Strategic upsells that match customers’ contexts
- Complex funnels
- Full design control
Starts at $9.99/month
Thank-you Page Optimization for Upsells & Cross-sells
ReConvert provides custom messaging and robust features on a store’s order status, or thank-you, page. Upsells are part of the package, of course, but with additional functionality around birthdays, social shares, and videos & imagery, ReConvert gives store owners considerably more creative latitude over their thank-you pages – in far less time than rolling your own code.
- Social sharing widget on thank you page
- Discount pop-ups with countdown timers
- Reorder upselling
- Birthday SMS
Starts at $7.99/mo for up to 100 orders.
Transactional Optimization Platform
If you’re not leveraging Shopify’s existing transactional emails, then you should be.
Spently allows businesses, both small and large, to leverage their notification emails within Shopify with marketing components. Most importantly, you can turn your most important emails, tracking notification emails (among others) into marketing collateral for cross-sells and upsells.
- Optimize notifications emails with event-based upsells, personalized discounts and referral components
- Automated follow-up email for Shopify’s native notifications emails
- Integration with Limespot, Kit, and Sufio
While some ESPs help with creating notification emails, Spently focuses specifically on solving the problem from within Shopify and has robust tracking/analytics for understanding the business impact.
All plans are based on total monthly orders.
For Shopify businesses who generate 50 orders or less per month, Spently’s Starter plan is completely free.
For businesses generating 500 orders or less per month, Spently’s Essential Starter plan is $99/month and allows for follow-up emails, personalized discounts, referrals and integration with Limespot, Kit and Sufio (which is not available in the Starter plan).
Pricing goes up from there.
Merchandising Complementary Products for You to Upsell/Cross-sell
While Carro doesn’t necessarily help with displaying your offers, they do help you find great products that you can offer on your site, which makes them a perfect partner tool to many of the tools listed here.
It starts by installing their tool and browsing their massive library of other Shopify brands looking to cross-promote/cross-sell their products. Find the dog leggings that go perfectly with your dog sweater, for example.
Once you’ve loaded that product to your site, figure out how to offer it in a bundle, as a cross-sell on your cart page, or wherever else it seems fitting.
And watch the revenue come in.
- Browse Massive Product Directory
- Pass Shipping Through to Partner
5% of sales through their platform.
In-checkout Upsells – Without Checkout Replacement
Order Bump is an upsell app that only adds upsells to your checkout page – without the need to replace the checkout wholesale. Since OrderBump focuses exclusively on this part of the checkout process, it can deliver upsells without needing to replace the entire checkout.
- Upsells within the checkout page
- Mobile & desktop friendly
- Shopify Plus stores only
$99/month, 10-day trial.
Scalable personalized recommendations
Limespot is perhaps the only provider that uses their data across all customers (merchants) to personalize the journey of each individual consumer.
This tool has a serious advantage because they are studying the past buying history of not just your store, but complementary products and possibly even competitors.
Their advanced AI combines full catalog data with customer browsing and buying behaviors to deliver 1:1, real-time personalizations to each user.
By personalizing recommended products at each step of the user’s journey, Limespot is able to shorten the timespan between the user’s awareness and consideration phase, and relay information that is completely unique to their needs.
- Complete plug-and-play solution
- Sitewide upsell and cross-sell recommendations
- Optimize product recommendations sitewide
- Multivariate a/b testing
- Integration with popular loyalty tools, transactional email providers, review apps
They do have a free plan available for merchants doing under $5,000/month in revenue, but you’re going to want the power of at least their $20/month program, which gives you access to email personalization, deeper integrations, and better split testing. They do have enterprise plans and more advanced feature opportunities as well.
Personalized Recommendations, Upsells, Cross-Sells, AI, Frictionless Re-ordering, and more.
Rebuy is an established market-leader for Shopify/Plus brands, having started in 2017 with the specific goal of helping upsell and cross-sell for Ecommerce merchants. Their tool works on increasing average order value, testing offers, personalizing the customer experience, and improving retention. Rebuy holds several use cases for enhancing the customer experience from pre-purchase, the check-out flow, to post-purchase. Utilizing Rebuy’s smart cart allows you to include a free shipping bar threshold, product cross-sells, and upgrade to subscribe and save (that is only one use case!).
- Smart Cart
- Manual + AI Product Recommendations
- Pre-populate carts and check out with product recommendations, discounts, free gifts
- Built-in conversion tracking
- No coding experience need
FREE up to 50 orders per month, then $4.49/month + $.09/order where Rebuy worked (and enterprise plans are available)
Example: Utilize the Smart Cart feature to set a foundation for your post-purchase experience. Include in checkout cross-sells. In your replenishment or win-back flow include re-order landing pages with pre-populated carts.
Specific to Offer Post-Purchase offers
CartHook has an easy drag and drop editor that allows you to create custom upsell offers to increase average order value, without the potential of risking a conversion. The 1-click post-purchase, allows you to run A/B tests to see which performs best, even building up to three conditional upsells based on conversions.
- Drag and drop editor
- A/B testing
- Create additional upsell or downsell
- Conditional upsells
- One-click accept (no need to re-enter shipping or billing info)
- Upsells utilize your Shopify theme automatically to create a consistent experience
$50/mo (plus 1% of post-purchase revenue)
Example: (This is on the “Thank you” or post-purchase page) Create a post-purchase upsell flow with conditional logic starting with what the customer ordered to whether the customer accepts or declines the post-purchase offer.
One-click Post-purchase Upsells For Your Store
Zipify’s OneClickUpsell, or OCU, replaces your checkout and creates comprehensive upsell, downsell, and cross-sell funnels for your store. It’s easy to get started, with robust integrations with your existing email automation and payment workflows.
- Easy setup
- Custom, multi-step upsells & downsells
- Native split-testing functionality for funnel optimization
- Mobile-first design
$56/month for their essentials plan, plus 2.5% of all upsell revenue.
Create a branded post-purchase experience including order tracking pages + transitional emails
Malomo allows you to create a post-purchase experience that is more in line with your brand and the branding associated. With Malomo, you are able to move away from Shopify's default for a more branded experience that you can fill as you see fit. You can fill order tracking pages with upsells, education, and/or community building.
- Customized Branding
- A/B Testing
- Multiple post-purchase experiences
- Additional transactional touchpoints
- Real-time Notifications
Based on # orders per month (Plans as low as $.02/shipment)
Example: Create branded experiences for one-time shoppers and subscription shoppers including educational brand and product content, social media, rewards/loyalty programs, subscription programs, etc.
Note: Incorporating tools on your site for upsell are great. However, do not forget to optimize your site to allow for successful usage of upsells. For example, an “Add to Cart” button on any upsell/cross-sell is a necessity. Another is, not having 2 upsell carousels right above one another.
1-Click Cross-sells and Bundles
Zoorix helps you boost revenues *without* attracting more users to your store, increasing sales by raising your average order value (AOV) through one click upsells of frequently bought together items. Zoorix offers bundle upsells, volume discounts, warranty upsells, product page and cart upsell & cross sell.
- Boost your store revenues *without* attracting more users to your store and increase your sales by raising your average order value (AOV)
- Bundle sell & promotion landing page
- Support multiple languages and translations
- Automatic bundles based on store orders
- Conditional & contextual in-cart upsell, cross sell, app sale & cross sale
- Customized of upsell and cross sell rules
Pricing is free for up to 50 orders/month and goes up to $29.99 month for up to 500 orders.
Take Your Cross-Selling and Bundling Game to The Next Level
Compat.io is a unique cross-selling recommendation tool that helps merchants’ customers to build curated carts that represent more complete purchases. For example, customers would be guided to add multiple recommended products to cart, creating something like a complete fly fishing set. Similarly, they could add to cart via a “shop the look” experience, or add all the ingredients needed for a particular recipe.
- Smart Builder
- Expert Recommender
- Smart Bundler
- Headless Compatible
- Expert Cross-seller
$2950 Annual Subscription (plus 3.5% of all sales sold through their widgets).
Offer Focused Upselling and Cross-Selling
Ultimate Special Offers, by Pixel Union, is an easy to use flexible app designed for merchants who are starting to create upsell and promotional campaigns. They offer eight campaign templates along with info on what you might expect to achieve from each different offer (helping you determine the best one to use).
Starts at $19/month and goes up to $49/month depending on which Shopify plan you are on (Basic, Standard or Advanced).
If you came across this blog post, you probably are about ready to start implementing or adjusting your upsell/cross-sell strategy.
If you haven't already, know what your end goal is and how you will measure success. Once you have that set, you will easily be able to understand whether or not a tool fits into your greater strategy.
Start demoing apps, and play around with different interfaces to see how they could work for your store. The Ecommerce space is ever changing, and there might be a new tool introduced in a couple of months. However, regardless of the tool, if you have a strategy behind your upsells and cross-sells you will be able to utilize various tools to your advantage.
In short, find a tool that works for you, test test test, make changes, and continue evolving with the space.