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Cross Selling Strategy : How Easy It Is to Increase the Value of Your Shopping Cart

22. Feb 2022 09:00 | Adding Shopping Cart Value

Discounts and promotions are real boosters that significantly increase the value of your customers' shopping carts. However, they only work in the short term. Other techniques, such as cross selling, are time-consuming but cause long-term benefits and lead to a significant increase in sales. This article is your guide to cross selling strategies, from the definition of cross selling to increasing cart value through the targeted sale of complementary products.

 

In this blog article, we will cover the following topics:

What is cross selling?

How does cross selling work?

Cross selling vs. upselling

3 Cross selling examples you can learn from
1. Madewell
2. Lush
3. MeUndies

Personalisation as the cherry on top of your cross selling strategy
Product recommendations with relevance
Examples of personalised cross selling recommendations

5 Practical tips for your cross selling strategy
1. Bundle products
2. Offer discounted prices for bundled products
3. Use visual aids
4. Include complementary services
5. Convince customers right before purchasing a product

When is the best time for cross selling in the digital customer journey?

Conclusion: Increase your e-commerce sales with a well thought-out cross selling strategy

 

What is cross selling?

The cross selling strategy is about getting customers to buy a product that complements the goods they already bought.

Stationary salespeople traditionally use cross selling in sales conversations when they inform existing customers about complementary items. But shop operators can also suggest suitable products to customers at different stages of the buying process. In doing so, they benefit from the possibilities of innovative personalisation tools.

How does cross selling work?

In cross selling, a seller points out services or goods that complement services or products the customer already wants to buy. Because the items are often relevant to the customer, shops can increase the cart value this way. The implementation of this technique varies depending on the motivation to buy, the capabilities of the salesperson and the target group.

E-commerce is predestined to find out which services and products are a good fit for a particular purchase because of the wealth of data available. Online retailers can also hit the perfect moment with high receptivity to an offer. Most online shops, for example, suggest additional products that complement the product in the shopper’s cart when they pay or browse further in the shop before checking out.

Cross selling vs. upselling

Cross selling and upselling have the same result: they increase the retailer’s sales, though in different ways.

Upselling is about increasing sales by offering a higher priced quality product, while cross selling is simply offering other goods of a similar price category for sale.

Another difference between these two approaches lies in the client’s intention.

When customers are offered complementary products, they often had no intention of purchasing them beforehand. They will consider buying them only through the suggestion.

Upselling, on the other hand, aims at the consumer’s desire to buy a product that satisfies his needs or wishes particularly well. If the salesperson now offers a higher-quality product and shows how this product is even better suited to it, he can increase the cart value in this way.

3 Cross selling examples you can learn from

In the following, we present three examples, each of which uses a specific cross selling strategy.

1. Madewell

Madewell is an all-women’s clothing brand that focuses on dresses, shoes, jeans, and T-shirts. The company’s items include the “Linen-Blend Hilltop Shirt”. Customers can get more information about the shirt by clicking on the top of the page, such as pictures, sizes, colour options, etc.

As customers move down the page, they come across a “You might also like…” section that leads to other items with complementary products that have been combined in shoppers’ carts in the past. This way, the clothing brand can easily recommend relevant items that a customer is likely to like without risking friction.

2. Lush

Lush is a brand of handmade cosmetics. A soap called “Honey I Washed the Kids” is one of their best-known products, appropriately shaped like a honeycomb. Customers can get additional information on the product page itself, the FAQ page, the ingredients page, and the reviews page.

At the bottom of the page, under “Related Content”, you will find other honey-based products that the customer might also like, such as the “Scrubee” body lotion.

Again, the company uses a customer preference and the trend theme of honey-based products to recommend relevant further items. For its part, the company benefits from lower acquisition costs.

3. MeUndies

The brand boasts of having “the cosiest men’s underwear”. On the website, customers can find many unusual designs such as underwear printed with milk and biscuits to match Christmas. When customers want to buy an item, it is added to their shopping cart. They are then taken to an overview page with details of the product before proceeding to checkout.

Below this overview page is the “Complete the Look” section with relevant items that customers might like and that complement the product they are buying to create an outfit, including socks and bathrobes, for example.

Instead of relying on a generic “You might like”, MeUndies is aware of the typical male weakness of not being able to put individual products into an overall context. The male target group naturally wants a complete look, MeUndies helps with that.

In this way, the company can use cross selling to increase profits and average order value (AOV) from its perspective, while making it easier for customers to find items they might never have thought of.

Do you have other exciting cross selling examples you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments!

Personalisation as the cherry on top of your cross selling strategy

This e-commerce feature means that different product recommendations are displayed, which are adjusted according to the profile and behaviour of the individual shopper.

If you sell items online, you need to constantly engage your customers to keep them in your online shop. Showing customers product recommendations through a recommendation system and personalising them is a great solution to efficiently cross-sell and upsell goods.

Product recommendations with relevance

Many shop systems already offer the option of displaying recommendations at various positions in the shop as standard. Therefore, this feature is often available, but usually only offers limited options with regard to the choice of items displayed. Often, simply the top sellers are displayed. However, it is better to go one step further and provide personalised products as recommendations for each customer. Products, that correspond to personal preferences and therefore are of particularly high relevance. You also achieve high relevance if the products displayed are actually available (in the right size) and complement the article viewed or added to the shopping cart in a meaningful way, for example by ensuring technical compatibility.

You can work with so called recommendation widgets to show your customers product recommendations on various shop pages that they would like to buy.

All these techniques lead to a longer dwell time and thus increase the opportunities for sales.

Examples of personalised cross selling recommendations

Personalisation is a particularly effective strategy for delivering recommendations. We have compiled some examples of personalised cross selling for you below:

 

Relevant cross selling recommendations on the product detail page

For product detail pages, the use of product recommendations based on a cross selling strategy is suitable. You can display articles that match the selected product and that might not have been discovered by the customer in the product range. The relevance of the displayed product recommendations is particularly important. You can ensure this by taking into account the personal preferences of your customers, ensuring the availability of the products, only offering products of the right size and presenting articles that match the content (e.g. a matching style for an outfit, compatible accessories for technical articles, or harmonising flavours for food).

Cross selling strategy on a product detail page from Gepp's
Product detail page on gepps.de with cross-selling recommendations (Source: Screenshot from gepps.de)

Furthermore, it is possible to offer customers a so called like/dislike function on the product detail page in order to give them the opportunity to tell which suggested additional products are of interest to them. Shop customers can (dis)like recommended products with one click. This information can then be used in the further course and the liked products can be recommended in the shopping cart or shopping cart layer.

Product detail page on mobilezone.ch with cross selling strategy
Product detail page on mobilezone.ch with cross selling offer in the form of product recommendations that customers can (dis)like (Source: Screenshot of mobilezone.ch)

Matching outfit as a personalised product set

By offering entire product sets, customers can put together a complete outfit with just a few clicks. This saves your customer time and you can increase your sales. Product sets are also useful in other areas outside of fashion. In the electronics sector, for example, a shop operator can offer a matching smartphone case, a protective film or compatible headphones. Here too, of central importance: the compatibility of the products must be guaranteed, the customer’s preferences should be reflected in the recommendations and, as here in the example, the complementary products should correspond to the customer’s correct size.

Cross selling strategy on outletcity.com
Cross selling offer in the form of a complete outfit for women on outletcity.com (Source: Screenshot from outletcity.com)

Sophisticated cross selling strategy in the shopping cart layer

With a click on the “Add to cart” button, you can use a so called cart layer widget to calculate personalised recommendations in milliseconds and have them displayed via a layer. If a customer is about to make a purchase, as in this case, the use of a cross selling strategy makes a lot of sense. By displaying suitable products in a targeted manner, you can create further buying impulses at this point and add relevant items to your customers’ shopping carts. Here too, it is important that the products shown are available in the customer’s preferred size, etc.

Cross selling strategy in the shopping cart layer on zero.de
Cross selling in Zero’s shopping cart layer (Source: Screenshot from zero.de)

5 Practical tips for your cross selling strategy

In the following sections, we will show you five helpful tips on how you can successfully implement a cross selling strategy in your online shop.

1. Bundle products

You can bundle different individual services or products and sell them in one package. Conditioner and shampoo sets or beach kits with care products are typical examples of sensibly put together product packages.

Some brands sell certain top products only as bundles and not individually. In this way, they motivate their customers to try items that complement their top products.

This approach has two advantages:

  • You help your customers find the most suitable items for them and prevent them from leaving your website.
  • You help your customers find other items they want to buy.
Cross selling recommendations in the form of a bundle on a product detail page of Ex Libris
On the product detail page of Ex Libris, customers receive cross selling recommendations in the form of a bundle, e.g. consisting of several books (Source: Screenshot of exlibris.ch)

2. Offer discounted prices for bundled products

Product packages can be just as beneficial for your customers as they are for you. Because if you give a discount compared to individual sales, the customer also benefits financially.

A classic example of this type of cross selling approach is games consoles sold together with games. Let’s say a customer wants to buy the new game console and is looking for it on Amazon: The console is available individually or as part of different packages on Amazon. If a buyer wants to buy the included games of a bundle anyway or they seem interesting enough given the total price, the customer will prefer the bundle over buying them individually.

But be careful: you have to keep a close eye on the stock levels to enable smooth sales both as a bundle and as a single product.

3. Use visual aids

When using visual aids, consumers are presented with a high-quality display to sell additional products.

Example:
If you want to buy a new pair of trousers, a website might show you a picture of a model wearing the same pair of jeans, along with matching shoes, accessories and a top. If you like the whole outfit, you might buy the whole set.

The same goes for furniture: you might be looking for a sofa and end up buying a matching coffee table and TV shelf as well.

Your goal is to show the potential buyer an appealing image and make it easy for them to make that image real in their lives.

4. Include complementary services

You can implement this approach in many ways. For example, an e-commerce company that ships furniture for self-assembly can offer an assembly service.

This saves the buyer a lot of time. And it minimises the risk of him damaging the item or getting annoyed because he is unskilled in assembling it. The service is also an excellent service for physically impaired buyers and elderly people who cannot assemble the furniture themselves.

You can also use this cross selling strategy to offer services such as an extended warranty or insurance.

5. Convince customers right before purchasing a product

Cross selling other items is not limited to the product page. Offering a choice on the shopping cart page can also be beneficial. This is especially true if you support adding more items to the cart with arguments.

Fackelmann has perfected this technique. When you click on the shopping cart, you will notice that you are usually charged shipping fees. However, there is an indication of the amount that is still missing for free shipping, as well as product recommendations to overcome the margin to free shipping.

Cross selling recommendations on the shopping cart page of fackelmann.de
Cross selling in the Fackelmann shopping cart to benefit from free shipping (Source: Screenshot from fackelmann.de)

When is the best time for cross selling in the digital customer journey?

The cross selling strategy is most effective at the end of a sales cycle, when the customer is already interested in buying a product. In complex sales processes, on the other hand, it would be better to combine cross selling and upselling with the entire shopping experience.

Successful cross selling starts with the right understanding of consumer needs. Train your salespeople to ask the questions that will help them gain deeper insighst into customer needs and use the data from your previous sales.

Have you already been able to successfully implement cross selling strategies? What are your experiences? Feel free to leave a comment!

Conclusion: Increase your e-commerce sales with a well thought-out cross selling strategy

Don’t be afraid to take a close look at cross selling strategies and develop suitable scenarios for your shop. Properly applied, cross selling not only increases your revenue, but is also a helpful service for your customers.

 

 

Cross selling is still one of the best strategies for online shops to sell more. Want to learn how you can achieve 5.04% more sales per session?
Check out this case study from OUTLETCITY METZINGEN.

More info on the relevant recommendations →

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to use the comment function!

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Sarah Birk

Online Marketing Manager - Content & SEO

Sarah works as Online Marketing Manager - Content & SEO at epoq and is responsible for the content area. Her field of activity ranges from content planning and conception to analysis and optimisation of the various content formats, taking into account important SEO aspects.

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