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Effective Upselling Techniques To Increase Your Sales In 2021

March 14, 2021

It’s simple. If you’re not trying to upsell your customers or provide them additional value you are missing out on a ton of revenue. In today’s competitive digital e-commerce jungle, just making a sale is simply not enough. 

In order for your business to do well you have to actively work to upsell your customers in order to increase your average order value. Would you rather make $100 from your customer selling them a single pair of sneakers or would you rather make $150 dollars from your customers and sell them shoes, a t-shirt and socks? 

The answer is obvious. 

In this article we will take a look at exactly what upselling and cross selling are, some common upselling and cross selling techniques and how to effectively build these strategies into your current business in order to increase your sales.

Upselling Explained

There’s a subtle, but effective method to upselling. But first let’s explain what upselling actually is and what it involves. 

Upselling is the process and practice of encouraging your customers to upgrade their current purchase with added extras which are meant to enhance their shopping experience. This typically involves purchasing a product or service which offers different levels or models. 

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One way to accomplish this is to compare similar models of a product or service and convince the customer that the more expensive option is better for them long term. Help them to understand that a long term approach to the product or service will be better. 

Amazon is extremely effective in the way they upsell products and recommend them to their customers. 

Original Search (digital cameras )

Upselling example (digital cameras)

Upselling has to make sense for the customer in order for it to be effective. Therefore the way the customer is presented with upsells makes a huge impact.

Difference Between Upselling and Cross Selling

Now that you know what upselling involves, let’s take a look into what cross selling is and how it differs from upselling. Cross selling is the practice of recommending other relevant products to customers which can help them or improve their shopping experience. 

Recommending a complimentary purchase to someone’s order is a great way to increase the average order value and help the customer. 

Upselling is getting the customer to essentially upgrade their current purchase order to the next level, while cross selling involves buying additional related purchases to the customers existing order.

Below is an example with digital camera’s from Amazon.

Amazon uses the frequently bought together method to cross sell additional related products to their customers. It’s a great way to improve the customer experience and increase the average order value. 

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The key with cross selling is to enhance the customer's shopping experience by helping them realize their purchase would be much more valuable if they also purchase another complimentary product or service. 

Cross Selling and Upselling Strategies

Now that we know what cross selling and upselling is, the differences between the two, let’s take a look at some cross selling and upselling strategies to help you drive higher sales.

Upselling Strategies

The Product or Version Upgrade

One of the most effective ways to upsell that is used both online and in retail is to offer clients a product, service or version upgrade. You can ask customers to purchase a different version of a product you have. This would include things such as:

  • Added features
  • Product enhancements
  • Additional options 
  • Value 
  • Exclusivity 
  • Etc.

The best way to sell product or version upgrades is to have the customer realize that paying more will equate to a better long term experience for them. 

Upselling Example -  iPhone

The iPhone is a great example of a product or version upgrade because the customers can get features such as a better model, storage size, color and more. 

Customization Upgrade

People love the idea of having something unique and still fit in with the crowd. This is where the customization upgrade upsell is extremely effective. The customization upgrade is a series of smaller upsells on the same product and people absolutely love this option because it allows them to create something truly unique.

Upselling Example - Nike Shoes 

Nike has mastered the customization upsell on their website and allows customers to fully customize their own pair of Nike shoes, with custom options such as:

  • Shoe base type
  • Collar/lining
  • Swoosh Color
  • Hellp Clip
  • Lace color
  • So much more

Warranty Or Product Protection Upgrade

One of the oldest methods and perhaps the most rudimentary is the warranty or product protection upgrade. These upsells are common in every type of industry and are a great way to help you insure your expensive purchases. 

They are also a great source of revenue for companies because they know their numbers and how frequently they have to put the warranties in effect for. Common industries that use warranties include:

  • Car dealerships
  • Appliance stores
  • Cell phone carriers
  • Outdoor equipment stores

They are great for customers who are about to make a large purchase and want to have a piece of mind.

Upselling Example - Warranty 

Cross Selling Strategies

The Frequently Purchased Together 

Amazon is well known for the frequently purchased together cross selling technique. It is meant to increase the average order value and also provide assistance to a customer who is making a purchase that could be enhanced with other value added items. 

Upsell Example - Frequently Purchased Together

This is a very effective upsell that helps the customer, increase the average order value and improve your margins. 

Customers Who Purchased This Also Purchased This

This is an upsell technique that has a bit of a social element to it. It works a slight FOMO element into the upsell which is meant to show customers similar products that were also purchased by customers. 

Cross Sell Example 

Amazon does this quite frequently and it not only produces extra revenue for them, but it

The Bundle Discount

The bundle discount is one of the best cross sell strategies because it focuses on adding value to the customer while also giving them a discount for their “bundled” purchase. 

It gives them the perceived value that they are getting a better deal when they bundle everything they need into one transaction and it also helps you to increase your average order value. 

Cross Selling Example - The Bundle Discount - Dollar Shave Club

If you want to see cross selling done right, take yourself through the DollarShaveClub website. They are constantly trying to pair different items in order cross sell their customers and it works perfectly for their niche line of products. 


Upselling and cross selling are extremely effective ways to not only increase your sales, but also build a better and more enhanced relationship with your customers. It’s important to note that upselling and cross selling should be done when it adds value to the customer and improves their shopping experience, not simply for improving your bottom line. 

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