How to Sell More: 10 Effective Cross-Selling Examples

/ 7 min read
Justina Bakutyte

The key to winning big online sales is to capture the interest of your website’s visitors. Not every person who visits your online store is going to purchase something, but you never know when they will come back for more.

Having a successful sales ratio means that your company will surely grow. But, is it growing fast enough?

To make sure your ecommerce website is a well-oiled profit generating machine, consider this surefire tactic–cross-selling. It is an effective method to increase revenue that's been adopted by many vendors online.

Let's unpack cross-selling, along with 10 examples of ecommerce cross-selling that are bound to inspire growth and expand your bottom line.

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a sales strategy that involves suggesting complementary items to a customer in order to increase sales and average order value.

While cross-selling may seem like a simple, straightforward thing to do (and it can be!), there is a certain tact with which you must approach cross-selling for it to be effective.

The key? You don’t want to bombard them with irrelevant suggestions, or else they may decide you are being too pushy and cancel their sale altogether.

What's the difference between cross-selling and upselling?

Cross-selling and upselling are often used interchangeably, but it's important to understand the difference.

  • Upselling specifically gets the customer to spend more by upgrading (think buying an iPhone 11 Pro instead of an iPhone 11).
  • Cross-selling suggests additional purchases that the customer might want to make because they go well with the initial purchase (think buying an iPhone, then buying a pair of AirPods as well).

10 cross-selling examples from leading brands

Xanti research shows that cross-selling to repeat customers increases sales prospects by 60%-70%. It is essential to implement cross-selling strategies as a part of your sales plan in order to see growth in your e-commerce store.

There are a lot of different cross selling strategies you can implement on your e-commerce store, below you’ll find examples of product page cross-sells, checkout-page cross-sells, customer experience cross-sells, and even cross-selling in cart abandonment emails.

1. Amazon

Amazon is a stellar example of cross-selling. In fact, with any e-commerce tactic you wish to employ, it is a good idea to look to Amazon for examples of success.

The company has created an automated formula that shows customers related items and frequently-bought items to influence them to continue their purchasing habits.

This uses an important piece of information known as customer data. Essentially, Amazon’s algorithms track what kind of items are bought together and use the information to suggest those items to new customers moving forward.

But it’s not just about the tactic, but about the language used as well; phrases like "Customers who viewed this item also bought," or "Frequently bought together," makes it seem more sensible, and the buyers can relate to others based on this buying behavior.

It also puts the power in the customer’s hands, making them feel like they’re making the additional buying decisions on their own.

2. Target

Target takes a unique approach to cross-selling on its international e-commerce website. The best part about Target’s tactics is that they are mostly visual, making them easy for customers to see and even easier for them to take advantage of.

But Target doesn’t stop there; in fact, the company has multiple techniques to cross-sell different items in different situations. Much like Amazon, Target also has a "Frequently bought together" section.

With furniture, there is also a "Complete the set" option that shows other pieces of furniture related to the one the customer has in their shopping cart.

The cross-selling tactics used depends on what the customer is buying, and how much money they are spending. It might be a good idea to employ several strategies at once.

3. Apple

Apple is an enormous company with many strengths. Nobody would argue that branding is one of them. Apple’s branding is tight and focused; it is impossible not to recognize an Apple product immediately on sight.

Needless to say, the company’s cross-selling tactics are just as expertly-driven as its branding strategies. When a customer visits Apple’s check-out page on its e-commerce site, they can see suggestions based on which products are about to be purchased.

Apple does not go overboard with these suggestions, choosing to keep its cross-selling as passive and visually simple as its branding. The company will suggest some accessories or add-ons that can make your purchase more complete.

If there’s anything to be learned from Apple, it’s that a little can go a long way.

4. REI

REI is quite different from the others on this list so far because it is more straight-forward with its suggestions.

Customers visiting REI’s website will see a list of complementary items suggested just beneath the original product, making it hard not to look at the other items available.

Using customer-driven data, REI can suggest items that will pair well with the item in the shopping cart, helping buyers complete the whole purchase package at once.

5. ASICS

ASICS is known for selling shoes and other athletic items, as well as clothing and accessories. The company’s ecommerce website avails an exhaustive list of products and items separated by category and size.

ASICS takes cross-selling to the next level. They don't just stop cross-selling on the checkout page; if a customer has an abandoned shopping cart, ASICS will email that customer and suggest additional items while also promising a discount or free shipping on their order.

Combining different offers and deals is a stellar way to encourage cross-selling success and build your company’s growth.

6. IKEA

This famous international furniture and home goods store is unique in every meaning of the word, especially when it comes to its cross-selling tactics.

IKEA has undergone years of extensive customer research and data collection to get behind not just the mind of the buyer, but the feelings of the buyer as well.

By suggesting additional pieces of furniture in the same set, IKEA is taking the stress away from the customer having to look for everything on their own while offering a deal that is just too sweet to resist.

It's all about making life easier for the customer, which helps the company make money in the long run.

7. Sephora

Sephora is a famous makeup and beauty products company with over 300 different beauty brands in stock on their e-commerce website at all times. What’s the key to Sephora’s cross-selling strategy, you may ask? Bundling!

Sephora offers both pre-packaged bundles and per-customer offers, giving the buyer a little bit of control over what items they add to the deal. There are also weekly rotating offers, highlighting different brands each week while giving new opportunities to repeat customers.

Putting the power in your customers’ hands can be an incredibly powerful cross-selling tactic. Let them make their own bundles and packages and see how much more eager they are to buy from you again!

8. Dollar Shave Club

As a completely online company, Dollar Shave Club has e-commerce down pat. The company operates by selling subscription-based boxes filled with customized and recommended items. Dollar Shave Club relies heavily on email marketing and social media advertising to increase sales and generate more customers.

This company uses its cross-selling techniques to suggest add-ons and other additional products to customers who are already subscribed to receive a monthly Dollar Shave Club box.

It uses a sense of urgency to compel customers to buy now, convincing them to add more to their box before it is shipped out for the month. If your site operates in a similar way, you may want to take a page out of Dollar Shave Club's book.

9. Away

As a company known for high-end luggage and travel products, Away has to strategise when it comes to cross-selling.

Since items already come with a high price ticket, suggesting additional items may not be the best tactic to use if customers are going to spend more money.

Instead, Away offers bundles for customers looking to buy entire sets at once. Instead of buying individual items at full price, buyers have the option of investing in a package where each item is discounted together.

While the company is technically dropping its prices, it is still earning a profit because the bundle may not have been sold otherwise.

Away also cross-sells customized products. If you can customize your own products, you can add even more bundling options that will put the control in the consumers’ hands.

10. Wayfair

Wayfair is a huge online marketplace where you can constantly find deals on various items and products that can be shipped internationally.

Wayfair’s cross-selling strategy is quite simple. Since there are so many different kinds of items to buy, it is more difficult coming up with specifically-targeted tactics; rather, Wayfair offers cross-selling on the customer’s check-out page.

The wording they use is quite different from the way other companies work. "You might also need" is a phrase seen under each product on the company’s e-commerce page. This adds a sense of need and urgency, which may be a good tactic for you if you are in a similar business.

Cross-sell your way to success

Coming up with a cross-selling strategy does not have to be difficult.

It can be as easy as suggesting complementary items that pair well with the initial product or even sending an email reminder to your customers about an upcoming promotion package.

Take inspiration from the successful methods used by the companies above and start your own strategy for growth and success.


About the author
Justina Bakutyte
Justina Bakutyte is a Growth Marketing Manager at Yieldify, a customer journey optimization and website personalization solution for eCommerce websites.

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