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Your customers can’t get enough of your most popular product. Problem is, you’re having a hard time getting customers into your other products. One popular solution? Upsell. Another great option? Cross-Sell. 

Today we’re going to talk about these options for selling and share how you can master the Selz upsell to grow your business

Ready? Let’s go. 

Upsell and Cross-Sell Mastery and the Art of the Selz Upsell

1. Upsell and Cross-Sell Definitions and Examples
2. The Finer Points of Upselling and Cross-Selling
3. Upsell and Cross-Sell Before Purchase
4. Upsell and Cross-Sell During Purchase
5. Upsell and Cross-Sell After Purchase

People are buying online, but you want them to buy more - enter the upsell and cross-sell for increased ROI

There are two perspectives to think about as you look at sales techniques like upselling and cross-selling. 

First, most of us look at it from a business perspective. It is more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to sell again to customers who already trust you.

Upsells have a much higher conversion rate than first-time purchases, almost 5x higher! This additional revenue can put your small business in a much better place for growth, and will also increase your ROI.

From a customer perspective, cross-sell and upsell offers can be fantastic. They can also be annoying. It depends on how your business approaches the offer.

Done right, your upsell can be a chance to introduce your best customers to products and offers that they might not discover otherwise. Your offers can showcase how much you care about customer pain points. This builds their connection to you.

Let’s get into the details.

A small business owner balances tasks while learning about the definitions of upselling and cross selling

Upsell and Cross-Sell Definition

It’s easy to mix up cross-selling and upselling. This is because different companies use the terms interchangeably. The two also sometimes intersect or overlap in the buyer journey.

Upsell definition and examples

Upselling is when you offer an upgraded or premium version of a selected product for a higher price, instead of the product your shopper initially chose.

Physical product upsell example: Offer a personalized version of your most popular jewelry design. For example, a chance for your customers to add their name or initials to a custom pendant.

Digital product upsell example: If you offer a Photoshop plugin with four filters, offer a premium version with six filters.

Services upsell example: Instead of your standard personal coaching package, offer a premium package that includes extra or extended sessions or support.

Cross-Sell definition and examples

In cross-selling, you make your shopper aware of other products in addition to the one they’ve already selected to add to their experience.

Physical product cross-sell example: If you are selling hair conditioner, offer a shampoo, deep conditioner or styling cream.

Digital product cross-sell example: Selling your first ebook? Offer an audiobook or a custom screensaver for mobile devices.

Services cross-sell example: If you’re teaching online, add online video rentals as a cross-sell for ambitious students to accelerate their learning.

Selling can get on people's nerves if it isn't done just right, so get to know your customers before you upsell

The Finer Points of Upselling and Cross-Selling

So an upsell = “instead of plus” and a cross-sell = “in addition to.” Now that you know the difference, how can you create the best offers for your business?


You want to keep the added cost in the neighborhood of the cost of the product that brought a visitor to your site. If your upsell or cross-sell is too much, they may abandon their purchase altogether. Keep your selling price within 15-40% of the original cost your customer was willing to pay.


Again, your upsell should center on your customer experience, not your business model. You may have extra stock that you want to unload, but your offer won’t be a success unless it specifically addresses your customers’ needs and desires. 

For B2B offers, think about how your upsell product can create a competitive advantage for your customer. For B2C businesses, think about your customer priorities. Even without a detailed buyer persona, your data should be able to tell you which of the following is their biggest priority:

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Uniqueness of product
  • Customer service
  • Urgency

Make it personal

There are many ways to create upsell and cross-sell offers that show just how much you know about your customers and how important their business is to you.

Use your analytics to create customer segments based on purchase history. Find ways to personalize communication with your shoppers’ names. Point out their relationship to your product whenever you can.

Read more: Where Customers Come From: Understanding Website Analytics

Data can help you make your upsells more personal and offer relevant cross sells

It’s all in the timing

Timing is a big factor in any purchase. Look at your annual sales cycle and think about how your products come into the lives of your customers during each season of the year. 

Limited-time offers that seem like a good idea will fall flat if you offer the right product at the wrong time. Create urgency with your upsell, but be smart about it. For instance, free shipping is always a draw, but it may get a better response at certain points in the buyer journey. Do some A/B tests before you go all in.

Speaking of timing, there are three major points in the experience of your customers to think about upsells- before, during and after. 

Let’s go over some upsells and cross-sells that you can try today using the Selz platform.

Master the Selz Upsell

Upsell Before Purchase

Share recommendations on your home page, category page, on product pages or in the sidebar. You can learn how to optimize your categories, headers and footers in your Selz store here

Highlight real-time updates on your stock (“only 2 items left” or “5 more days!”) with a custom announcement on your home page. 

Use announcements on your home page for a great selz upsell option from Selz ecommerce for growing businesses

Create content for social media, your blog, and email that talks to your customers about the risks and rewards of your offer.

Combine your upsell messaging with social proof. Add customer testimonials to your product pages that mention the value of a range of offers.

Create a free product for limited-time promotion, then communicate your upsell to that specific audience at a key time of year for your business.

Compare the average cost of your product with the value of your upsell.

Cross-Sell Before Purchase

Think about the accessories or extras that make your product more powerful or easy to use. For example, add a yoga mat to your online yoga package, and show images of the product in use.

Create bundles to share complementary products. It’s easy to create bundles on the Selz platform. Just create a new product in your online store that includes multiple items at a discount price.

Add videos to your home page and product pages that show customers how additional products work with your best selling products.

Upsell and Cross-Sell During the Purchase

Upsells in the shopping cart are common in ecommerce. 

As you choose your products for upsell, think about simple add-ons that will improve the experience of your products.

Don’t overwhelm your customer with too many choices, this can lead to abandoned carts. Be sure to have abandoned cart emails ready just in case. 

If you sell from your WordPress blog, use buttons and widgets to display recommendations for complementary products in the sidebar or in your posts. This can make any blog about your featured product more valuable.

Free or reduced shipping can be a valuable tool for upselling. You can offer a shipping discount on select items. Another idea- if the majority of items in your store cost a set amount, offer discount or free shipping to customers that spend over above that amount. This can encourage shoppers to buy an upsell or cross-sell option. 

Create content with side-by-side comparisons of your products to show the value of the more expensive upsell.

Upsell and Cross-Sell After Purchase

Use personalized follow-up emails to entice customers to come back for more. Every customer takes a look at their receipt after buying online. Make sure you customize your receipts with upsell offers to up your ROI from return customers.

Collect emails from every customer with our email integrations with MailChimp, Constant Contact, and more. Create a unique email automation for each specific group of customers. Send upsell and cross-sell offers based on their past purchases, or create a special offer for your most engaged contacts.

Use customer data to create segments for upsell outreach and personalize the offers as much as possible. Suggest products that genuinely add value to your products.

Offer discounts on future purchases in your email newsletters.

Vivid promotions to your email list are a great way to upsell and cross sell to current customers

Upsell when your customer reaches a success milestone. For example, if you sell workout plans online, you can offer an upsell to a premium plan when your customer reaches a fitness goal.

Share upsells with your customer email list and remarketing. Run ads to this audience during important times of the year for your business to prompt an upsell.

Once your customer clicks Buy Now, make sure that link sends them to another page that adds value. Use our post-purchase direct feature to send your customers to exclusive content, custom thank you pages and cross-sell offers. 

We can’t wait to see you push your sales to the top this year with Selz and these techniques!

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.