Upselling Explained – Techniques and Examples


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Upselling encourages customers to consider purchasing an additional item or upgrading to a higher-priced option.


Upselling involves employing sales techniques to convince customers to opt for a pricier, enhanced, or premium variant of their selected product or explore supplementary add-ons to achieve a higher sales transaction. In e-commerce, businesses frequently blend upselling, down-selling, and cross-selling tactics to elevate order worth and optimize profits.

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.


You can implement upselling techniques in three different phases:

  • Before purchase: Present recommendations at the bottom of the product or category page or in the sidebar, sometimes in both locations.
  • During purchase: Offer recommendations through pop-ups, in the shopping cart, on the checkout page, or in abandoned cart emails.
  • After purchase: Use personalized follow-up emails to encourage customers to return for more.

Effective upselling relies on a profound understanding of your customers’ needs, enhancing their shopping experience and ensuring they feel like they’ve gained something.

To achieve this, consider the following best practices:

  • Avoid pushiness: Offer alternatives but allow customers space to make their decisions without pressure.
  • Provide incentives: Encourage upsells and reward customers for spending more on your business, such as offering free shipping, special bonuses, or discounts on future purchases.
  • Offer alternatives without overwhelming: Present a diverse range of similar products, but avoid overwhelming customers with too many choices.
  • Create urgency: Foster a sense of urgency by displaying real-time stock updates (“only 3 items left” -uneven numbers work best) or indicating that the offer is time-limited.
  • Personalize offers: Use customer data to tailor offers, suggesting products that genuinely enhance their purchase.
  • Highlight value: Use side-by-side comparisons to illustrate the benefits of the more expensive product version.
  • Reasonable pricing: Ensure the upsell product falls within a reasonable price range. Customers typically won’t pay over 25% more than their intended budget.
  • Educate on risks: Enlighten customers about the potential risks or missed opportunities of not accepting the offer.
  • Effective communication: Use language that effectively communicates the benefits of making the recommended purchase or the drawbacks of not doing so. A compelling value proposition is essential.


Example #1 of an upsell:

  • Original offer: 1LB of protein powder for $23.99
  • Upsell offer: 2LB of protein powder for $27.99

Example #2 of an upsell:

  • Original offer: eBook for $17.99
  • Upsell offer: eBook + Audiobook for $22.99
Image showing how you can add items before purchase as an upsell technique. Image credits.
An example image showing how Google is upselling more of the same.
Example image displaying the difference between upselling and cross-selling. Image credits.
An example image of a one-click upsell during purchase, in which customers can get more at a discounted price. Image credits.
Example of an after-purchase upsell offer. On the thank you page, a discounted offer is presented to increase the lifetime value of a customer. Image credits.

Upselling Statistics

  • Upselling typically results in an average revenue boost ranging from 10% to 30%. (Source)
  • For companies that provide upsells and renewals, approximately 70% to 95% of their revenue is generated from these sources on average.
  • Compared to acquiring new customers, upsells are approximately 68% more cost-effective.

Feature image credits.



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