Cross Selling Definition and Meaning: Cross Sell vs Upsell

Joshua Weatherwax
Table of Contents
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    Do you find yourself with products in your inventory that you just can't sell?

    Try cross selling!

    Whether you use the B2B business model or sell direct to consumer, cross selling can have a dramatic effect. It can help you sell less popular products and increase your average order value.

    We've put together a guide to help you understand what cross selling is, how it differs from upselling, and some tips to make it easier.

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    What Is Cross Selling? Cross Selling Definition

    Cross selling is a sales method used to convince a customer to purchase an additional product related to what they're already buying.

    It’s  used to increase the value of a sale and sell underperforming products. And it’s one of the most effective forms of B2B marketing (see what is B2B marketing) and DTC marketing.

    Cross Sell vs Upsell

    Though they sound similar, there are actually a number of differences between upselling and cross selling.

    They are:

    • Product relationship. Upselling is aimed at increasing a sale's value by selling a more expensive option. The product is essentially the same but costs more. Cross selling is intended to sell additional products, not change what the customer already intends to purchase. Think of products that would appear together on a line sheet.
    • Purpose. Upselling is intended only to increase the value of a sale. This is done by offering a "better" version of the same product. Cross selling also increases the sale value, but it also helps sell additional products and reduce the amount of sitting inventory the business has.
    • Difficulty. Upselling is harder to do than cross selling, as it is often more costly for the buyer. This is because the customer has already shown an interest in buying a particular item. The business just wants them to buy a more expensive version, so they need to know the best selling points to make it work. Cross selling requires presenting an entirely new product and relating it to what the customer wants. However, since the items are related, customers are more likely to agree with the pitch.

    Cross Selling Example

    There are many types of cross selling, and they vary greatly by industry and the product being sold. Here are a few examples.

    If you:

    Run a business that sells electronics like televisions, computers, gaming systems, etc.

    When selling a new computer, you would offer to the customer items like additional power supplies, a mouse, keyboard, etc. These products help "complete" what the customer is buying and these additional products can make their lives easier.

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    You're a food supplier with a large amount of gravy packets in your inventory that aren't selling. You can offer a bundle where each purchase of a 5lb bag of potatoes comes with a free packet of gravy.

    Luckily for the food supplier, the BlueCart Digital Storefront offers a number of cross selling opportunities. It is an all-in-one DTC and online marketplace that takes all the hard work out of the equation.

    If you:

    Run a restaurant or bar and want to increase your average order value, you'll want to look at selling more drinks. Drinks have a much higher profit margin than food and you generally can control the cost of ingredients. Cross selling drinks with meals is a great way to increase revenue, particularly by running drink specials. This is something the best coffee roasters also do with their business and products.

    How to Cross Sell

    Cross selling isn't the easiest, but it can be easier than it seems if you approach it thoughtfully.

    Here are a few tips to help:

    • Try kitting. This involves combining multiple SKUs to be sold in a bundle for a single price. By creating a kit that combines low-performing items with popular ones, you can sell off inventory at risk of becoming dead stock (see what is dead stock). One great option for this is to create a themed subscription box to pair products and use the value of best-sellers to move under-performers.
    • Offer discounts. It's much easier to convince a customer to add new products to their order when they're offered a discount. The best way to use this method is offer a percentage off the less-expensive product. It will keep your profit margin higher but still feel like valuable savings to the customer.
    • Make sure the products are related. This may seem obvious, but don't try to cross sell products that have no logical connection. It will make customers feel like you aren't trying to serve their needs, and can damage the relationship. Stick to related products and highlight how the additional sale will benefit the customer.
    • Use widgets. In the best eCommerce business ideas, cross selling is usually done on product pages and in the cart. You may have seen things like “frequently bought together” or "you may also like" when shopping. These can be done by using cross selling widgets in your DTC to B2B eCommerce platform. These make it much easier to increase your average order value with little work showing both less-known and high demand products.
    • Use retargeting. Retargeting is a form of advertising used to convince previous customers to return and buy more. Since you already know what they've purchased, you can target them with products that complement that product. These ads can run on social media sites or by email and have a great return on investment.
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    Sell Out with Me

    Mastering cross selling can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. It also lets you sell products that would otherwise sit in inventory or have to be written off.

    If you're a food supplier looking to increase your revenue and sell more of your less popular items, BlueCart Digital Storefont may be the solution. It’s a simple, all-in-one ecommerce platform that takes care of store design and structure, payment processing, cross selling, and more. It takes the hard part out of your hands and lets you get back to selling.

    Book a Demo
    Streamline order management, grow your bottom line, and get back hours of your time with BlueCart. Schedule a demo now:
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