Down-selling Explained – Techniques and Examples


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Down-selling is the strategy of countering a prospect’s price-based objections to a sale by offering a lower-priced alternative or discount that better suits their budget—typically employed after the customer has turned down an initial offer or opted not to purchase a more expensive product (in case of upselling).


Down-selling involves addressing a potential customer’s concerns about pricing by presenting a more affordable alternative or providing a discount that aligns better with their budget.

Down-selling should be reserved for situations where it’s evident that your prospect has firmly rejected the initial product or service offer due to budget constraints, as indicated either by their explicit statement or a clear lack of interest in the higher-priced option.

It’s crucial to avoid introducing a lower-priced alternative too early in the sales process, as doing so prematurely could potentially jeopardize the sale or cause confusion for the prospect.

Difference Between Upselling, Cross-selling, and Down-selling

Image showing the difference between upselling, cross-selling, and down-selling.

Upselling, down-selling, and cross-selling are three distinct sales techniques. Upselling involves enticing customers to buy more by suggesting additional items or upgrading to a pricier version. Down-selling, however, addresses price objections by offering a more affordable alternative when the initial offer is declined.

Cross-selling is about recommending related products or services based on customer interests or previous purchases, enhancing the overall shopping experience and potentially increasing the total transaction value.

Each technique serves a unique purpose in optimizing sales opportunities and customer satisfaction.

Down-selling Techniques

  • Exit Intent Pop-Up: Engage leaving visitors with a pop-up offering a budget-friendly alternative product.
  • Offer Basic Packages: Create different package options, appealing to cost-conscious customers even if the package options lack some premium features.
  • Dynamic Homepage Section: Use visitor data to personalize your homepage with cheaper alternatives based on their previous interactions.
  • Free Trial Period: Attract customers by offering a free trial period with an easy opt-out option for low-risk, high-return conversions.
  • Offer Discounts: Use discounts, but do so strategically, informing customers about limited-time offers or providing incentives like signing up for a newsletter.
  • Avoid Pushiness: Pushy sales tactics can lead to a lost sale, customer dissatisfaction, and reduced repeat business.
  • Timing Matters: Downselling should be introduced only when it’s clear the customer won’t purchase at a higher price point to avoid losing high-value sales and alienating potential customers.
  • Continuous Testing: Regularly test and refine down-selling tactics, including price points, different offers, shipping options, and personalized triggers based on customer behavior, using data-driven insights to improve strategies over time.
  • Payment Plans: Offer payment plans as a down-selling strategy, with options like monthly or quarterly installments.


Example #1 of down-selling:

  • Original offer: How to Build a Website Online Course, $497.
  • Down-sell offer: How to Build a Website eBook, $47.

Example #2 of down-selling:

  • Original offer: How to Paint Digitally eBook, $26.99.
  • Down-sell offer: Digital Art Brushes, $9.99.
Image showing down-selling example. Image credits.
Image showing an example of how down-selling works in an upsell scenario. Image credits.

Benefits of Down-selling

  • You Still Get Value: While not making the desired sale, successful down-selling ensures you gain something rather than nothing, making it a valuable sales tactic.
  • Build Brand Loyalty: Offering reasonably-priced alternatives that align with individual customer needs demonstrates thoughtfulness and understanding, fostering brand loyalty and potential future upgrades.
  • Cart Abandonment Reduction: In e-commerce, where cart abandonment is common, down-selling can help re-engage users who have abandoned their carts, increasing the likelihood of completing the purchase and improving overall conversion rates.

Feature image credits.



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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