Up selling and Cross selling: What is it and how do they differ?


When you have just started in the digital marketing sector and you hear about upselling and cross-selling, you think, what will these techniques mean and how will they be applied?

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling have existed since before the internet since they are two terms related to cross-selling, something that if you are commercial or have been, you will know what I am talking about.

Any business needs to know how to capture a customer through a star product or core product and build a path that leads to acquiring another product with more profit margin and more interesting (through cross-selling), thus creating a relationship with the Customer maximizing the benefits.

Also, according to Marketing Metrics, companies have a 60% to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer while a new one from 5% to 20%, so today I’m going to show you what it is an upselling and cross-selling, how they are defined, as well as examples, differences and the uses that you can give to each one so that in the future you know how to use these forms of sale on your website and thus increase your conversions.

What is Up Selling?

The Up-Selling is a marketing technique (digital or traditional) consisting of selling a more expensive product than the customer already bought or are interested in buying.

For example, if I have a client who has hired me in digital marketing training, and once I have trained him I offer my digital marketing consulting service, which is something more personalized and more valuable, I will have offered him an upsell.

And you may wonder, why do we do upselling campaigns? Well read on that later I will explain.

I guess you’ll know, but upsell is an incredible way to increase sales and maximize profits since we can sell a very cheap product and increase profits by selling another more expensive one. Do you see the idea?

I am going to put an example of an up-selling on a web page so you can see how it would be online since the consulting example can be offline.

If I have launched a Digital Marketing course for € 375 (for example) and a subscriber of my Newsletter buys it, once I have checked in and paid, we will send you to a thank you page with a recommendation of an SEO course from € 575.

I’m going to show you graphically so you can see how it works.

Another very good example is that of McDonald’s and its hamburgers since with the small hamburger on its menu its profit margin is very small, but at all times they offer you to take the same hamburger in a larger format to obtain a higher margin.

You must understand that an upsell is not an offer, but a related product of a higher price and value.

Therefore, it is interesting for any company or project to have a hook product for the first stage of the life cycle in which the user is in the sales funnel, and thus manage to take the customer to where we want by upselling.

Many companies do not earn profits with these product hooks, but this does not mean that the company is not making money since they depend on many other products with much larger margins.

What is cross-selling?

The Cross-Selling is similar to the upselling, cross-selling but this is a complementary product to which the user is interested or has already bought previously.

With this marketing technique we will achieve that, apart from buying the product they were looking for, they also carry the extras or complimentary accessories that we may be selling.

An example of this would be a printer. When you buy a very cheap HP printer, they immediately offer you the ink cartridges so you can print.

Following the previous example of McDonald’s, the company sells its hamburgers at € 1 with those that have a minimum profit margin (if they do have one), but then they sell you a Coca Cola or other product such as potatoes along with your hamburger.

Another example of complementary products for these types of campaigns would be if you buy a car (although this example is a bit more offline). When you are going to take the car right away, they offer you their extras such as tires, digital display, metallic color, speakers, etc.

But if you have an eCommerce or sell online you will wonder how to do cross-selling campaigns correctly, right?

Well, easy, you can do like Amazon and include them below as a section that says “Purchased together regularly” or you can include them as a “bump offer” or offer box within the sales page.

If you have not understood me with this last Bump, I will explain it to you.

Bump Offer is a technique in which we must include in our purchase forms a box with an offer of a complimentary product along with the product that the customer is trying to acquire.

Of course, the product of this offer must be related and also be of an affordable price, since otherwise, the cross-selling with a bump offer will not be successful.

I want to emphasize that although in the previous examples I have put an upsell on a thank you page and a cross-sell at checkout, it has nothing to do since these processes can occur both before purchase and after.

Differences between Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

If you still have not been clear what it is and what is the difference between up-selling and cross-selling, I will detail it by points:

  • The Up-Selling is selling a more expensive product than it is to buy or purchase. For example, if I dedicate myself to marketing, in my training I sell a valuable course.
  • The Cross-Selling is based on selling a product-related or complementary to that which we are interested in. For example, sell extra weekly support in my marketing consulting.
  • Both are about cross-selling since they are based on suggesting another product or service along with the main product or service.
  • These two strategies can occur when a user is visiting a product ( before purchase), during the payment process or after.

Also, if in the end, the client decides not to buy the product or service, in both we can use the Downselling technique, that is, offer a different product if you have not bought the one you were interested in for a lower price than the previous one.

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