A Complete Guide On How To Upsell And Cross-Sell In Retail

By Sam Iontton28/06/2022

Upselling is a great way to increase sales and revenue. But what is it, and how can you make the most out of it? Our article explains all and gives you the tips you need to ensure you’re maximising your sales opportunities.



Table of contents

- What is upselling in retail?

- How to upsell in retail

  • Follow the rule of three
  • Get to know your customer
  • Know your products
  • Showcase your products
  • Display products at till points
  • Create bundles
  • Offer a perk


What is upselling in retail?

Upselling is when you persuade a customer to buy a higher-priced version of the product they originally intended to buy.

This is sometimes confused with cross-selling, which is when you persuade a customer to buy items related to the product they were initially looking for.

Upselling is usually easier than cross-selling. If a customer has come in to make a specific purchase, they are more likely to pay more for the item they had in mind than pay additional costs for items they didn’t consider.

However, upselling is a fine art. You don’t want your customers to feel too pressured and uncomfortable. To help you get it right, here are some upselling techniques in retail.




Tips on how to upsell in retail

Follow the rule of three

The ‘rule of three’ is a great thing to keep in mind when upselling. This means offering your customer three options to choose from:

1. The product they had in mind at the start.

2. A slightly more expensive option.

3. The ‘dream’ option at a high price point that may be outside of your customer’s price range.

When upselling, the ultimate goal is to persuade your customer to pick the highest-priced item, but if they pick the middle option as a compromise, you’ve still upsold on the original item they came in to buy.



Get to know your customer

The best thing you can do when upselling in retail is to talk to your customer about what they’re looking for. A personable conversation can go a long way when upselling or cross-selling.

Not only will this interaction build rapport and give your customer a positive experience, but it will also give you a better understanding of what they want.

Once you know more about the buyer’s intentions and goals, you can recommend items that are most likely to appeal to them – and increase your chance of upselling.



Know your products

This tip should be self-explanatory, but knowing your products is vital for upselling and cross-selling in retail.

Deliver training to staff so they know your products inside out and can talk about their features and benefits to your customers.

This way, they can recommend a superior – and more expensive – alternative. Or, if they’re cross-selling, they can recommend complementary products.



Showcase your products

Of course, the best way to upsell in retail is to showcase your best products. You want to place these next to the lower-priced items, so your customers can compare. Some ideas include:

  • Creating a feature wall with your star products on display.
  • Creating a display using risers, blocks, and plinths to make your top products stand out above lower-priced products.
  • Displaying high-priced clothing on mannequins in your store window and shop floor.

There are some clever tricks based on customer psychology you can use to ensure your upselling products are placed in the best position.

Remember to factor in the ‘right turn preference’ – a theory by Paco Underhill that most shoppers turn right when they enter a store. Because of this, the best place to display items is to the right.

Did you know that customers also pay more attention to items at eye level height? A study showed these products get 35% more attention than items on lower shelves.

Display products at till points

Using your till to display add-on products is a great way to prompt a last-minute purchase at the point of sale, particularly if you’re running an offer.

A conversation at the till also gives staff a fantastic opportunity to use their expertise to cross-sell and recommend extra products relevant to their purchase.

Create bundles

Another great way to upsell in retail is to create product bundles at a fixed price, or offer 3-for-2 promotions. This is a really popular cross-selling method for persuading customers to buy one or more items they didn’t originally have in mind.

For example, you could offer a bundle of shampoo, conditioner, and serum at a set price, or offer 3-for-2 on all hair products.

Offer a perk

Customers love to feel like they’re getting a great deal. So one way you can persuade them to spend a bit more on a higher-priced item is to offer a perk to go with it. This could be bonus points on a loyalty card, a free item, or a discount code for their next purchase.



Explore our display and merchandising range

Now you know how to upsell in retail, you can use these tips to maximise your in-store sales. Remember to ensure your staff are knowledgeable about products and that your store has all the appropriate signage to highlight your business’ upselling deals and promotions.

Check out our full display and merchandising range to find all you need for cross-selling and upselling in retail.