What is cross-selling?


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Some companies spend fortunes on omnichannel marketing to boost sales while neglecting tried-and-true mechanisms like cross-selling. This could be a blunder because increasing the average checkout price is a more effective tactic than constant painstaking activity aimed at attracting new customers – although the latter is undoubtedly a critical element of a robust business strategy. CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos once stated that a whopping 35% of the company’s sales stemmed from cross-selling.

We have all seen those eye-catching sections on e-commerce sites saying, “Customers who bought this item also bought”, “Other products you may be interested in”, or “Frequently bought together”. Being offered a complete outfit when trying on a piece of clothing in a shopping mall is another common occurrence. When you are booking an airline ticket, the travel agent may additionally recommend a hotel room or car rental at the place of destination.

These are a few examples of cross-selling done right. In a nutshell, this concept denotes a sales technique to encourage a customer to spend more by purchasing an extra item alongside the product of choice. Spanning both online and in-store shopping scenarios, it helps businesses raise sales, create additional value for buyers, and foster customer loyalty.

Cross-selling best practices

In order to put this technique to good use, it’s important to have a profound understanding of the business niche you are in. With up-to-date customer intelligence (CI) data at your fingertips, you can generate customer behavior models according to the following pattern: people who buy product X often also purchase product Y.

For instance, if a customer is buying a new laptop they are likely to need a bag and a wireless mouse for it – voila, you’ve got your perfect bundle to offer at the touchpoint. Here are a few tips to enhance the efficiency of your cross-selling endeavors:

  • Be relevant. Make sure the extra products complement the original one or provide extra benefits for the buyer. Combining incompatible goods is a no go.
  • Don’t offer too much. Redundant recommendations may confuse the customer. If you do want to offer more than two or three items regardless, the most important ones should be more conspicuous than the rest.
  • Create bundles. Combos of products are easier to sell than each item separately, plus customers really like them. All-in-one orders bring more value and reduce the time it takes to make the decision.
  • Don’t offer expensive products. The extras should cost less than the original product. Encourage your buyers to spend all the money they are willing to spend, but not more than that.
  • Use follow-up emails. This is a powerful instrument to offer useful additions to a purchase the customer has already made.

The rule of thumb is to ascertain that the bundle delivers real advantage to the customer, otherwise it may produce the opposite of the intended effect. Whereas there seems to be no harm in offering, the line between lucrative cross-selling and outright manipulation is a thin one. Therefore, it only works as long as it’s unobtrusive and suggests the right product or service at the right time. The complementarity and relevance of the extra offer are the fundamentals of effective cross-selling. Great example of cross-selling of VPN software can be found at the Cool tech zone website.

The bottom line

A famous Steve Jobs quote goes, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is why cross-selling is a must rather than a “why not” for a business to succeed these days. It is a source of mutual benefit, both for companies and the customers, from their day-to-day interaction.

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