Upselling isn't just a sales tactic; it's the art of persuasively whispering "you know you want it" to customers. In the spirit of inquiry (and perhaps a bit of retail voyeurism), we analysed a number of ecommerce websites during BFCM to explore their various upselling strategies, their effectiveness, and delve into their pros and cons.
This involves recommending a higher-end version of the product that the customer is already considering. For example, if a customer is looking at a pair of jeans, you could recommend a higher-quality pair of jeans that are made from a better material or have more features.
ASOS & Selfridges: Both merchants often upsell higher-priced versions of their products by displaying them in the “You may also like” section of their online stores. I added a £36 pair of jeans to my cart and most of the products in this section are much more expensive than the product I am looking at - none of the products are cheaper
Effectiveness: According to a study by Baymard Institute, 31.5% of customers click on at least one product in the "You may also like" section. Of those customers, 17.7% make a purchase.
What kind of merchants should use this upsell: Ideal for fashion retailers and tech stores. If you're selling products where the latest model or a premium version holds significant allure, like ASOS & Selfridges do with fashion, or the latest tech gadgets, product upsells are your go-to strategy. It's like offering a silk scarf as an upgrade to a cotton one - some customers can't resist the allure of luxury.
This involves recommending products that are complementary to the product that the customer is already buying. For example, if a customer is buying a pair of running shoes, you could recommend a pair of running socks or a water bottle.
Currys PC World: Currys often upsells accessories to its customers by displaying them in the cart. For example, if you are buying a new laptop, Curry’s suggests buying AirPods and a laptop charger
Effectiveness: According to a study by Moosend, 35% of online shoppers are willing to add an accessory to their cart if the product is relevant to their purchase
Gymshark: If you are looking at a pair of leggings, Gymshark will show you the matching top so that you can “Get the look”.
Effectiveness: according to a study by Criteo, 30% of customers who view a product page will also view the "Get the look" section. Of those customers, 10% make a purchase.
What kind of merchants should use this upsell: Perfect for stores with complementary product lines, like sports goods or home appliances. This strategy works wonders for businesses like Currys PC World or Gymshark, where buying a laptop screams for a fancy pair of AirPods, or a pair of leggings naturally pairs with a stylish top. It's about creating that irresistible combo meal, where fries just belong with that burger.
This involves recommending services that can add value to the product that the customer is buying. For example, if a customer is buying a new laptop, you could recommend an extended warranty or a tech support plan.
Pink Boutique: Pink Boutique upsells “ProtectMyOrder” at checkout. For a small additional fee, consumers can pay to protect themselves from loss, damage and theft, receiving a prioritised resolution when something goes wrong. 65% of their customers pay for ProtectMyOrder which generates them an additional £400K per year in net profit
Effectiveness: On average 3 out of every 5 consumers will pay for ProtectMyOrder at checkout. Check out how much profit you could make through ProtectMyOrder here (Yes - we are a little biased!)
Boohoo: They upsell “Boohoo premier” at checkout. Boohoo premier gives the subscriber free next day delivery and free returns for 1 year
Effectiveness: According to a study by Edited, it is estimated that 10% of ASOS customers are ASOS Premier members. ASOS reports that Premier Delivery accounts for 77% of all orders delivered to its UK customers, suggesting that Premier membership may be even higher in the UK.
What kind of merchants should use this upsell: Perfect for any merchant sending physical items to customers and AOV is over £10
This involves recommending that the customer buy a larger quantity of the product that they are already buying. This can be a good option for products that are consumable or that the customer will use up quickly.
Wild: Wild offers the customer the ability to subscribe to regular deliveries of their deodorant. They also offer customers the ability to purchase extra refills for a higher price
The Body Shop: They have a free shipping bar which encourages the customer to add more items to their cart to reach the free shipping threshold
Effectiveness: A study by Shopify found that 73% of customers were willing to add items to their cart to reach a $50 free shipping threshold. Another study, by UPS, found that 69% of customers were willing to add items to their cart to reach a $75 free shipping threshold.
What kind of merchants should use this upsell: Great for consumables and everyday essentials. Merchants like Wild, dealing in items like deodorant or coffee, find this strategy a game-changer. It's akin to buying a larger pack of cookies because, let's face it, who can have just one? This strategy thrives on the principle of 'more is better and often cheaper in the long run.'
A common issue we've noticed in all upselling strategies is their lack of customisation. For instance, if a customer looks at a red t-shirt on a different merchant's website, your site should offer them a similar red t-shirt, potentially boosting the success of your upsell. This approach seems to be the future direction of technology in this field. To excel in e-commerce upselling, it's crucial to find a balance between offering additional value to customers and respecting their shopping preferences. Our review of over 50 merchant websites during the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) period showed a variety of upselling techniques, each with its advantages and disadvantages. We hope these insights will be useful for improving your website.