4 Ways to Personalize Upsell and Cross-Sell in eCommerce


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Upsell and cross-sell account for more than 30% of online revenue, which means they should be a critical component of eCommerce planning. It’s the online equivalent of the salesperson showing you all the accessories to an item or standing in a retail queue stocked with “things you didn’t know you needed.”

What is the benefit of upsell and cross-sell personalization?

The benefits of personalizing upsell and cross-sell are relatively straightforward. Personalization ensures that the consumer is served a product they want; cross-sell accounts for what the buyer is looking at to make a suggestion. Essentially, they work together to improve the customer experience.

By personalizing through specific viewing history, previous purchases, and online behavior, merchants can show customers strategic extras and alternatives. This information will let the merchant know what items the customer wants in the future.

Upsell and cross-sell thrive when optimized by personalization. Here, I’ve outlined a few ways to do that.

Use what you know about customers

Personalization runs on data, so you must use all the information you have to make recommendations. A customer may have an online profile that may give access to name, age, and location. Anonymous information can also be incredibly helpful in decision-making. How did the customer navigate the website? What device are they using? What pages did they visit, and for how long? What was added to the cart or wish list?

Real-time profiles can help give the most relevant information, leading to appropriate suggestions and recommendations without violating data privacy concerns.

Make it affordable

If a consumer has just selected a mid-tier television, it’s unlikely that you will close the deal on a high-priced subwoofer to accompany it. Using customers’ previous spending can help recommend a smaller or similar-priced item to complement what they already have. Cross-sells should be customized to suggest something 60% less expensive than the product already added to the cart. Installment plans are also a popular approach to securing and selling without expecting too much from the customer all at once.

Communicate effectively

Personalization needs good communication to improve the customer experience. As human beings, we want to feel valued. Using a customer’s name when possible or words like “you,” “your,” and “yours” can show that the promotion is truly for them. Some options include “You might like this” or “Suggestions for NAME” to show the customer that these are personalized. A great way to figure out the best language for your customers could be A/B testing, which can show which phrasing elicits the best results.

Prove your value

Knowing your customer makes your brand valuable to them. Cross-sell and upsell need to be personal and relevant. It is a tool to elevate your customers’ experiences and allow them to find an item they may have missed. It also saves time by sharing an item that they may have been planning to purchase. For example, if a customer is searching for an orchid-scented body wash, suggesting the same scent in body lotion or candle can be a great way to supplement the sale nicely and further strengthen your relationship with the customer. Applying personalization to cross-sell and upsell elevates what looks like a money-grab action into one that is purposeful and beneficial to everyone.

Zohar Gilad
Zohar Gilad is an experienced technology entrepreneur and executive. In 2013, he co-founded Fast Simon, Inc. (formerly InstantSearch+), leveraging his experience to bring state-of-the-art site search to millions of publishers and e-tailers at an affordable cost. Throughout his career, Gilad has been the driving force behind more than 20 software products for millions of users worldwide.


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