There’s no such thing as an unimportant sale. Every customer is crucial and, with the right strategies in place, they could end up being even more valuable than you expect. 

As an eCommerce retailer, it’s vital that you don’t take your eyes off the ball at any stage of the buying journey. According to Shopify, first-time buyers are 27% likely to return, but after the second or third purchase, this increases to 54%. 

One of the most effective ways to make the most of every customer is cross-selling. If you’re not already employing this strategy on your eCommerce website, now is the perfect time to start!

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a valuable sales strategy that encourages customers to purchase a product that is relevant to the product they’re already buying. For example, if a customer purchases a new television, cross-selling would mean offering them the speakers to go with it. Traditionally, cross-selling was a tool used in physical stores; however, thanks to developments in eCommerce, there are tools and strategies that business owners can use to suggest relevant products to their customers during the buying journey.

One of the main misconceptions surrounding cross-selling is it being used in place of upselling. Cross-selling involves offering complementary products, whereas upselling offers more quantities of the same product or an upgrade to a more expensive option. Although both tactics are incredibly effective ways of increasing your average order value (AOV), we’re going to focus on how you can boost your sales with cross-selling strategies. 

1. Showcase related products

The aim of cross-selling is to add value to your customer’s original order, so showing them products that will enrich their experience is a great way to do this. One of the best examples of cross-selling through related products is Amazon, who present customers with a ‘Customers Also Buy’ selection at each stage of the buying journey. This tactic is incredibly useful for cross-selling as it acts as a reminder to the buyer of things they may need, rather than just what they may want. For electronics, this could be something as simple as a packet of batteries or a relevant connector cable or a keyboard or mouse to go with a new computer. Typically, these products work best presented at the checkout stage of the buying journey as the relevance of the products offered will increase the likelihood that customers will add them to their overall purchase. 

There are many ways to incorporate related product features into your eCommerce marketplace; here are some of our favourites:

Shopify – Also Bought

Magento – Product Recommendations

WooCommerce – Recommended Products

2. Introduce discounted bundles

Another highly effective cross-selling tool is to create product bundles. By combining specific products and offering a discount if bought together, it’s providing value to the shopper who would have likely purchased these items separately in the future. This strategy is commonly used in the electronics industry, especially for the release of a new games console or media player. Although a console can be bought individually, by pairing it with popular games or additional controllers, it’s highlighting to customers that they will be saving money that would probably be spent later down the line. It’s also adding the critical ingredient for successful cross-selling: value for the shopper.

Top Tip! If you are looking to offer product bundles for your customers, you must ensure that your inventory management is suited for maintaining accurate stock levels. The Expandly platform has an inventory management tool designed to keep track of products sold within kits & bundles and automatically deduct the individual items from stock. This ensures that your overall stock levels stay aligned, regardless of how the item was purchased. 

3. Create a ‘Shop the Look’

If you’ve ever shopped at ASOS or other big name clothing stores, you will probably have noticed this cross-selling tactic as you browse the latest styles. The ‘Shop the Look’ strategy presents the customer with an image of a model or a scenario in order to sell more than just the original product. For example, a product page for a dress will showcase a model wearing the dress along with matching shoes, a jacket and accessories, presenting a complete ‘look’ to the shopper in order to make them increase their purchase. Clothing retailers typically place a ‘Shop the Look’ function on the product page to make it easy for the customer to click through to these complementing products quickly. This strategy works by presenting an ‘inspirational image’ that is made easy to achieve by pointing customers in the right direction. 

This article is an excellent exploration of how ASOS uses inspirational product discovery to encourage cross-selling.

4. Explore post-sale cross-selling

Your opportunity for cross-selling doesn’t end when the customer has checked out. Post sale cross-selling is a great way to extend the buying journey through personalised incentives. A customer who has recently purchased from you is highly likely to buy again, and a well-timed email campaign is a great way to touch base and remind your customer of items they may wish to purchase. By keeping your post-sale communications relevant to the original item purchased, you offer value to the customer by suggesting relevant products to go with it or simply offering some tips for the upkeep of their purchase alongside a time-sensitive discount. 

There are tools available to help craft the perfect automated post-purchase cross-selling campaigns, such as ConvertFlow for Shopify and Klaviyo and Omnisend for multiple marketplaces.


Remember: Always add value.

Whether you choose to cross-sell via related products or you’re looking to create discounted bundles and kits, you’re guaranteed to increase your AOV if you always remember to add value for your customer. Remember, first-time buyers are 27% likely to return, increasing to 54% after the second or third purchase. By stepping back and viewing your buying journey through the customer’s eyes, you will start to see big (and small) ways that you can add value to their shopping experience. 


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