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How to implement a cross-selling sales strategy from scratch

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The art of the well executed cross-sell opportunity is not a new phenomenon. Increasingly, e-retailers are having to rely on sophisticated ways of cross-promoting products, as the “Amazon effect” has meant that customers are no longer annoyed by the icons suggesting similar or complementary items to be added to their check-out baskets. However, there is a real danger of a retailer not knowing the difference between an effective cross-sell, and the ability to up sell effectively to a target consumer.

Want to know the basics? Here are some tips for effective cross-selling to help get you started.

Use both cross-selling and up-selling to increase revenues

Upselling is defined as the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites consumers to buy related or complementary items. Though often used interchangeably, both offer distinct benefits and can be effective when used in tandem. Upselling and cross-selling are mutually beneficial when done properly, providing maximum value to customers and increasing revenue without the recurring cost of many marketing channels. 

Think of it this way: if I am a gardening retailer who specialises in selling garden hoes, my cross-sell opportunity might be to offer protective gloves, top soil or weed-killer. But my up-sell opportunity can involve a number of effective techniques to secure garden hoe sales but also show users the latest, flashiest versions made of pure rust-proof steel that include a ten-year warranty – so an enhanced cost but with a definite upgrade included.

Read more sales-related articles:

Here’s eight tips for optimising a cross-selling strategy as an SME retailer

(1) Bundle offers to increase sales values

Bundling offers together in a package deal is not only a simple way to help users get the most out of their shopping experience, but also helps to increase the number of products in one transaction and maximises the value of the overall purchase.

(2) Give social proof

The social proof strategy can appear in a form similar to Amazon’s, “other customers who bought this also bought” section on your webpage. This soft-sell approach entices customers to make additional purchases, with users trusting other customers with similar tastes to their own, without feeling pressurised by an e-tailer to add more to their checkout basket.

(3) Ensure products are both relevant and familiar

Another key to cross-selling effectively is by introducing customers to the right products for their needs, before they realise they want them. It’s not a manipulation technique to fill a shopping basket, but whatever products you offer at whatever stage in the shopping process, always ensure they are relevant to that original product which will increase the likelihood of them coming back in the future.

This strategy need not only apply before a customer finalises their order, as you can also target users once they have made their purchase and left your site thanks to remarketing lists for search ads (or RLSAs). This involves re-targeting previous customers with products adapted especially for them, based on what they have already purchased from you.

Read on to find out how to personalise messages to consumers.

Image: Shutterstock

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