How to Polish Your Online-upselling Program
One cataloger refers to online upselling as “one of the easiest things you can do to improve your revenue.”
That’s not to say that initiating online upselling is a snap. Rather, like many other e-commerce endeavors, online upselling is a balancing act between aggressiveness and subtlety in both offer type and presentation.
Because the level of communication between consumer and cataloger is less straightforward than it is with contact center upsells, the risk of alienating consumers while upselling online is greater. But with careful consideration and proper attention to detail, online upselling can become a viable source of revenue and a vital part of your online channel.
(For the purposes of this article, the term “upsell” refers to all incremental purchases added to the consumer’s intended purchase. For a more detailed list of applicable definitions, see sidebar, “A Sell by Any Other Name.”)
Begin with Brand
Experts say branding is the foremost consideration when designing an upsell program. “Customer expectations have to be managed,” explains Ken Burke, president and CEO of e-commerce consultancy Multimedia Live.
For example, if you sell higher-price-point merchandise, you may offend customers with aggressive upselling or discounting. You may get better results by keeping your upsells on a more subtle level.
Petra Schindler Carter, director of consulting services at Fry Multimedia, an e-commerce consultancy, recommends presenting the upsell from an angle of guidance rather than salesmanship. For example, she says, retailers selling apparel could offer a suggestion from a style advisor: “You’ve put that Prada suit in your cart; now how about this pair of shoes that matches it?”
Conversely, if you sell merchandise with lower price points, you can risk being more aggressive with your upsells. Regardless of price point, however, seek customer feedback and refine upsells around the information gathered from them.