Designing Cross-Sells Right

Web-Op has always been interested in maximizing cross-sell opportunities. On our new King Supplements project, it’s become an obsession. And why not? With a cross-sell, you’re dealing with customers who are already ‘pre-sold’, saving you the initial cost of acquiring another lead. It also offers excellent research potential, as you can pair products to see which perform well, even on products which might not be viable for direct pay-per-click marketing.

Some guidelines can make your cross-selling attempts more effective:

  • Cross-sell related products. If a customer is already open to the concept of “spray vitamins” by purchasing Vitamin D3, selling him B12 in the same package may be an easier push than the same product in capsules.
  • Conversely, don’t cross sell too close to your initial product. If you buy a widget, and the cross-sell is “Special offer on 3-pack widgets”, that runs the risk of customer confusion and irritation that they missed the better deal.
  • Cross sell at the right time. Too late in the checkout process, and people will already be comfortable with a displayed price and shipping total, creating anxiety about adding another item. Too early, and you run the risk of customers ignoring it entirely in a rush for the “add to cart” button. We’ve been performing the upsell on the “view cart” page, prior to the actual start of checkout, to avoid these fates.
  • Cross-sell isn’t about “discount” so much as “discovery”. If you try to create a “positional price”– where the item costs less solely because it’s bought as an upsell– you’re likely to find that’s a feature most carts don’t support, or don’t support well. “Combo Discount” systems can be added, but they often add their own look and feel, bypassing your carefully styled theme, and may require tricky configuration.
  • Is an interstitial worth it for an upsell? Probably not. Remember, every click you leave between a customer and “order complete” is an opportunity for a drop-off, and if the upsell is presented as a full-page message, it gives the whole site a cheap “infomercial” flavour to it. If your branding isn’t compatible with “But Wait! There’s More!” on TV, would it be on the web?
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