How to Polish Your Online-upselling Program
Keep Merchandise in Mind
Of course, upselling lends itself more easily to certain types of merchandise more than others. It’s one thing to suggest a pair of shoes to go with those pants, but it’s another to suggest a pair of shoes to go with that lawnmower.
Evaluate your upsalable merchandise in terms of overall merchandise profile rather than specific product categories, Schindler Carter urges. Following are three merchandise profiles she thinks upsell best:
- problem-solving merchandise such as home furnishings and home-improvement items; there’s great opportunity for Web retailers to recognize the affinities among problem-solving products, and to then upsell consumers;
- ensembles, outfits and kits, or anything that natively comes as an ensemble but isn’t necessarily navigable on your site as such (e.g., apparel, home furnishings, cookware, outdoor furniture); and
- core product plus accessory. “I can’t think of a more annoying user experience than putting the onus onto the shopper of locating an accessory,” says Schindler Carter. “Have you ever tried to find the printer cartridges that go with a new laser printer, or the garment bag that goes with your new carry-on luggage? These are no-brainer upsells that unfortunately, too many retailers still neglect.”
When upselling may not work, she continues, is with any product whose main purchase consideration is price — whichever end of the price spectrum it’s on. She cites the examples of stand-alone luxury items as well as highly specialized purchase items such as replacement parts.
Three Upsell Downfalls
1. As emphasized earlier in regard to the product page, the most important caveat when designing an upsell is: Don’t detract from the customer’s original product focus. Regardless of which point in the process the upsell takes place, keep a visual separation between the recommended product and the intended purchase, whether it’s a physical line drawn on the page or just some white space.