What is Upselling, how to do it and how is it different from Cross-selling?

Have you ever gone to eat at a restaurant asking for the dish you usually order: your cheeseburger and fries that you normally order and you wonder how can locals with regular customers like me increase their profits? At that moment you see a waiter pass by with a hamburger with double meat, bacon, baked bread and special sauce, the waiter approaches to offer it to you as an option and you accept. I have to tell you that you fell for the Upselling strategy.

Like this, there are many other varieties of applying Upselling in different businesses, and it is a strategy that precisely helps to increase your sales and also to promote new products, but first you have to know what exactly this way of increasing sales is.

It is the technique in which, during the sales process, ideas are provided to offer a higher quality product to the customer (at a higher cost), so that the latter obtains a greater benefit.

There is another term that is often heard when talking about upselling, and it is a similar technique but has a different approach, it aims to increase sales, but with additional items in the purchase process, which are not necessarily better quality products as is customary in Upselling, and this technique is known as cross-selling or simply Cross-selling.

Upselling often uses comparison charts to market high-end products to customers. Showing visitors that other versions or models may better meet their needs can increase AOV (Average order value) and help users feel more satisfied with their purchase. Companies that excel at upselling are effective at helping customers visualize the value they will get from ordering a higher-priced item.

Cross-selling and upselling are similar in that they both focus on providing additional value to customers, rather than limiting themselves to already-known products. In both cases, the business objective is to increase order value by informing customers of additional product options they may not be aware of. The key to success in both cases is to truly understand what your customers value and respond with corresponding products and features that truly meet those needs.

Now that we are experts in being able to differentiate both ways to increase sales and how they work, now we will see ways to implement them effectively in addition to not making it look "forced" for the client.


The right moment

Taking the situation of the restaurant as an example again, we can know that the perfect moment to offer this product change was when the waiter noticed the customer's interest and also took the opportunity to explain the difference or "improvements" by comparing both products. Another example can be when buying shoes or a cell phone, when they are about to bring you the size you requested, there is a brief time where the customer sees more products while waiting for the ones they have already ordered, then the shopping assistant approaches to persuade the customer by mentioning that they have a discount or the characteristics of this product that they are looking at.

Don't be "aggressive"

It must be made clear that this technique is an addition to the purchase process, it is not mandatory and it is not necessary to implement it to your collaborators. Although there may be many ways to apply it, we must keep in mind that it is a technique that is somewhat "aggressive" for your clients and must be used carefully. 

Help the purchase process

All this has to be easy to apply and “fluid” when it comes to something to help your client, it has to be like giving a simple click on the web page when ordering an item. Let's take into account fast food chains like McDonald's or Carl's Jr where they optionally made the Upselling process by offering you the menu by sizes, the price you usually see is the small size and you choose whether to make it bigger for an additional price, but previously they asked you all the time "Would you like to enlarge your combo?" but by not asking this question and only leaving this menu option visible, sales increased since it was not something forced. Incredible! Do not you believe it?

Cross Selling

Before explaining the ways to apply cross-selling, we must be aware that it is also an optional process but that it can be more profitable than upselling on certain occasions. Let's take Amazon for example, who assure that 35% of their sales are usually through cross-selling. For an online sale it is a process that provides a benefit of between 10% and 30%.


All of us in some purchasing process, we have been somewhat annoyed by a seller who was trying to sell us a promotion or an item on sale, far from our interests. The SUGGESTIONS (Highlighting that it is optional) of cross-selling must be based on fundamentals and in a way that does not overwhelm the client because we can lose their loyalty or interest in our products.

Include things that add value to the purchase

Let's go back to the example of Amazon where when you click on a product in which you are interested and go to the next step, it recommends you also purchase products that help the initial product, such as a case and charger for your new cell phone, or a game and a controller extra for your console. And the best thing is that it is optional and not mandatory, but it makes you wonder if you should buy an extra product for the main one you just bought.

As you can see, both techniques are very helpful to increase your sales or if you want to introduce something new to your market, but without omitting a step that is not less important because it is not the last, it is KNOWING your client, it is useless. Being able to offer additional things or something of better quality if your clientele would not be interested in acquiring it, that is why you should research it beforehand to make sure that it is something that can be profitable for your business. You can also find these types of strategies with marketing agencies and the experts will tell you how and until when to apply them, we at Nimbus have experts who can help you, don't forget to contact the creative storm to find out more. Subscribe!