• Identifying Logic and Emotion in Cross-selling and Up-selling

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    Cross-selling and up-selling on a digital platform is something that has only recently been taken seriously by online business owners. Eight years ago, only about 24% considered up-selling. That’s a criminally tiny percentage, considering the profit potential that cross-selling and up-selling boasted even back then.

    Reading that particular percentage made me wonder if business owners truly understand the ideas behind cross-selling and up-selling. Sure, there are now those who implement some form of them on their shopping carts, but I would guess that there are more who don’t understand why they work.

     

    First, let me preface this post by saying that cross-selling and up-selling are concepts that aren’t truly solid. They definitely exist, and they are definitely advantageous, but somewhere along the way, their definitions became muddled and almost interchangeable. Even amongst the most seasoned marketers, variations between definitions exist.

    To save us some headaches, let’s just say that one definition hinges on the activity of offering products that are related to the initial one that the prospect was interested in and the other relies on the idea of “upgrading” or trying to sell a more valuable version of the product to the prospect.

    Despite semantics, the goal of these two marketing strategies is simple: to make more profits.

    Now let’s get to the philosophy behind these two concepts.

    Both of them are incredibly viable marketing strategies because of two contradictory notions.

    The first is that humans are logical. The second is that they’re also emotional.

    The logic

    The reason you want to offer a product related to the original is because the related product will appear to have more value than an unrelated one. Your prospects’ initial interests are what make the related product valuable to them.

    For example, if a prospect added a pen to their shopping cart, they would most certainly find stationary a more valuable suggestion than a wall calendar. In addition, they might take you up on an offer to sell them a new, improved smudge-proof version of the pen.

    Both of these examples show you how carefully-chosen suggestions can mean more products in your prospects’ shopping carts and more profits for your business.

    As a side note, this type of selling also has the curious byproduct of helping a prospect find exactly what they need, even if they initially made the mistake of adding an unwanted product to their shopping cart. It’s very likely that a prospect could add a certain product, only to realize while in the shopping cart that the product that you suggest is the one that they actually wanted. Hey, it’s happened more than once.

    The emotion

    Up-sells and cross-sells are usually positioned in prospect’s shopping carts because business owners hope to take advantage of impulse buying. It’s assumed that impulse buying lead a prospect to the shopping cart to begin with, so business owners try to milk that situation a little bit.

    And why not? From a purely commercial point-of-view, there’s no riper of a time to ask a prospect to buy more from you than when he already has his wallet out. To be sure, impulse buys have always accounted for a great chunk of online sales. This hasn’t changed. Not even during this recession.

    Struggling economy or not, discounts are always popular with prospects- especially those who want to justify impulse buys.

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    Whether that discount is on a related product, on a bulk purchase of the initial item or integrated into a specific bundled package (think: Amazon’s infamous “buy together” offer), prospects really respond to businesses that give them a chance to save money. However, there are limits to up-selling. Bob Leduc points out one when he says that the price of the offered product should be less than 60% of the initial product’s cost. Any more, and your prospects just might pass it over.

    So, before I start going off into tangents, I’d like to ask you: are you doing anything special to appeal to both the logic and emotion in your prospects? Do you approach the two differently in the same space (shopping carts)?

Ayat Shukairy

My name is Ayat Shukairy, and I’m a co-founder and CCO at Invesp. Here’s a little more about me: At the very beginning of my career, I worked on countless high-profile e-commerce projects, helping diverse organizations optimize website copy. I realized, that although the copy was great and was generating more foot traffic, many of the sites performed poorly because of usability and design issues.

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Ayat Shukairy

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3 thoughts on “Identifying Logic and Emotion in Cross-selling and Up-selling”

  1. Avatar Mr. Wizard says:

    Whether that discount is on a related product, on a bulk purchase of the initial item or integrated into a specific bundled package (think: Amazon’s infamous “buy together” offer), prospects really respond to businesses that give them a chance to save money. However, there are limits to up-selling. Bob Leduc points out one when he says that the price of the offered product should be less than 60% of the initial product’s cost. Any more, and your prospects just might pass it over.

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