Upselling: How To Do It Without Spamming Your Customers

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What is Upselling?

Upselling is a sales technique where a seller prompts a customer to also consider buying additional products. Upselling can help your customers find other products they're interested in and help boost your revenues.

Unfortunately, many salespeople use it in a way that is off-putting or seems a bit dodgy by pushing products we know we don't need onto us. You don't have to be like that. This post is about learning how to successfully upsell while maintaining brand integrity. 

How Do I Upsell So That It Doesn’t Look Like Spam?

Upselling is far more complicated than just offering a customer an additional item to purchase, it includes anticipating your customers interests based on their purchases and predicting their future purchases.

The key is to make your recommendations seamless. You have to think like your customer, and follow their intuition so you're offering things they actually want to buy. 

Know Your Customer 

Knowing who's purchasing your products is hugely important for growing your business. Understanding what else they're buying will be helpful for figuring out how to advertise well to them. 

There are plenty of companies that will sell you in-depth audience research if you want it. If you want to do a bit of DIY market investigation, try the following:

  • See all the demographic information you can find from your Facebook Ad campaigns and Google Analytics
  • Use your Shopify reports to find out what products are often bought together
  • Dig through your business's instagram followers, see where they are and what other businesses they're following. 
  • Dig through your Twitter followers and see what they're talking about
  • Find stores like yours and see what their product bundles are
  • Hold a focus group of potential customers and see what their budget is and what they'd be interested in buying. 

If you can get in the mind of your customer, you can aim to sell them things they actually want. 

Know Your Products 

You might have a particular idea of how people are using your products, but your customers may be more creative. Understanding all the benefits of your products and all the ways it can be used is an asset in understanding how to market. For example, say you make pencil cases that you think are going to be great for secondary schoolers, and therefore market to kids, teens and their parents. However, maybe you're using a material that's waterproof and therefore happens to be really useful for people who work at pools, water parks and docks. You might have a whole new customer base (with different budgets and interests) that you didn't think about before. 

Go over all of your products and figure out who might possibly be using them, and in what ways. Choose different types of products to recommend based on those different groups you're marketing to. You'll then need to choose indicators - signals that people from group A are buying and therefore should get recommendation X. 

Wait For It

We know, we know... but the best time to upsell something is after the customer has already decided to purchase something. Once they've shown some form of tangible interest (have already clicked on their cart, for example), you can suggest a couple of recommended products.

Trying to upsell an item before you close the deal on the original item might scare off your customer and interrupt their experience. 

Where Do I Put a Product Recommendation?

Insert A Recommendation At The Cart

The simplest way to recommend products your customers might want is to insert a Product Recommendation content block in your online store. These recommendations can pull a product’s title, price, and image based on a product’s collections.

Email your customers with a follow up 

It's a longer wait - but you can send your customers emails with product recommendations in the emails they're already expecting, like tracking info or order confirmation. MailChimp and Shopify have a new feature that allows you to recommend really easily. You can find out how you're doing with your email campaigns using Shopify Reports or Mailchimp's clickrate analytics.

Use a Popup on Your Product Page

Popups are those boxes that appear and take over your screen when you're browsing a site. They don't go away until you click the x. They can be annoying - but they work really well. 

The idea behind them is to provide a strong call-to-action. It might be a product recommendation or requesting an email subscription. Just like any advertisement, your popup should grab your customer's attention and clearly state how it will benefit them. 

Don't put a popup on too quick - allow your customer to browse for at least 15 seconds and get interested in your products before letting them know about special product packages, discounts or releases.

Bundle It Up

One way to get your customers to buy more than one thing is to make a great deal of a bundle with products you think your customers want to buy together. Much like a discount code, it creates a bulk discount set (monetary or percentage) if you buy certain items (usually three) together.

A couple golden rules about bundling:

  • The total price of the bundle must be lower than buying the products separately
  • Use your most popular items as an anchor for a bundle
  • Use your analytics to see what items people are already buying together, and add another related item to the mix

You can learn more about the types of discounts you can make with Shopify here.

Talk to me about pricing

There isn't necessarily an exact science to setting the right price, because your customers know their own budgets better than you do.

However, the general rule of thumb is to make your upsell recommendations add up to about 25% to the total bill.

Don’t Overdo It

Your brand should be trustworthy. Try to position your recommendations as a friend would, rather than a sleazy salesman. That means avoiding pitches for items that your customers don't want or are clearly just trying to get them to spend more money. Stick to pitching a few items that are well targeted and are probably within their budget. This means you have to start by learning more about your customers. 

Take No for an answer. It's way better to get a customer to buy one small thing than nothing at all. Upselling is a good business practice, but being too aggressive or pushy can be a huge turnoff. 

Take a look at your analytics after you start upselling, and see how many people abandon carts. If there seems to be a correlation, you might be pushing it too much. Remember - you're trying to gently encourage them to add to their order, but they're already making a purchase so you don't want to change their mind.

What Now?

Upselling is a valuable skill for anyone delivering customer service, because it can help you achieve your number 1 goal: building your business. However, because everyone's customer base is a little different, no upselling technique works for us all. Experiment, check your data, and see what's working. 

For more information on upselling or other marketing techniques, contact Elkfox today.