9 Powerful Ways to Upsell Your Products During Checkout

9 Powerful Ways to Upsell Your Products During Checkout

Let’s take a look at how and why you should start upselling during checkout in the customer journey, increasing your AOV while building rapport with your audience.

Do you want to learn how to boost your revenue without finding new customers? If so, upselling can help!

Put plainly, upselling is the process of encouraging people to spend a little extra on another product during an order. It's a great way to add value to the customer's order and introduce them to products or services that they may not have known about.

It's also an excellent way to build brand loyalty, as a well-timed upsell shows customers that you understand their needs and care about their interests.

In our experience, the checkout page is the best way to upsell. If you've ever ordered food online, you've likely seen something like this: You order a cheeseburger, and you'll be asked if you want to add fries or a drink at the end of the checkout process

This is upselling in action!

Today, we will share 9 actionable strategies that you can use to start upselling products during checkout. These strategies have proven useful for us and plenty of other businesses, and I believe they'll help you, too! 

The Benefits of Upselling

First, let's quickly go over the benefits of upselling so you can see what you stand to gain:

  • Increased Revenue - Upselling can increase your revenue by 10-30% without needing to acquire new customers. In other words, you can consistently earn more without increasing your marketing budget. 
  • Higher Profit Margins - On average, upsells are 68% more profitable than obtaining a new customer. Why? Because you're not spending extra money on marketing and acquisition costs, you can pocket a larger portion of each sale.
  • Improved Customer Lifetime Value - When customers see value in your upsells, they're more likely to return for repeat business, increasing their lifetime value. This translates into a more sustainable and profitable business model.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction - Well-picked upsells can actually improve customer satisfaction by providing your audience with a more complete and satisfying shopping experience. By anticipating their needs and offering relevant products, you demonstrate care and build stronger customer relationships.
  • Reduced Cart Abandonment - Strategic upselling can make customers more invested in their purchases, making them less likely to abandon their carts. A compelling upsell can be the tipping point that encourages them to complete the checkout process.
  • Opportunity for Personalization - Upselling presents a prime opportunity to provide personalized recommendations, which can enhance the customer experience and foster loyalty. When customers feel understood, they're more likely to trust your suggestions and make additional purchases.

Image Source: OptinMonster

Understanding Your Customers and Products

Before you start suggesting extra items, you need to understand your customers and their relationship with your products. Offering upsells that don’t align with the needs, goals, and pain points of your customers will only lead to frustrated shoppers and missed opportunities, and you don’t need that for your business.

So, here’s some advice: Not all customers are created equal. You’ll need to segment your audience into groups with similar needs and behaviors so you can show them offers that align with their needs.

Every business has different customer segments with unique interests. You’ll need to figure out your segments through feedback and marketing data, like past purchases, demographics, and browsing history. Breaking down your audience in this way will make it easy to offer each person the products that matter most to them. 

For example, an online pet supply store might ask new subscribers what type of animals they own when they sign up. This information would help them make relevant upsells while avoiding awkward situations like promoting cat litter to dog owners. 

The key is relevance and value. Focus on complementary products that naturally pair with the items already in their cart. For example, a person purchasing a brand-new phone might appreciate your upsell offer for a protective case or screen protector. 

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s much easier to upsell to existing customers. Research shows that, on average, current customers spend over 30% more than their new counterparts. So, when you’re thinking about who to upsell to and what you might offer, keep this fact in the back of your mind. 

9 Ways to Upsell During Checkout

Okay, now it’s time to dive in and explore some of the best upsell strategies you can use when a customer is close to placing an order. These are techniques I've seen work time and time again for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.

1. Offer Bundles at a Discount

Bundling is an old-school upsell technique that has worked long before digital marketing became the new normal. The idea behind this strategy is to create an irresistible bundle by combining related products and offering them at a discount. For example, a camera company could offer a bundle that includes a camera, lens, bag, and memory card for less than if you were to buy each item separately.

This works because it gives the customer a sense of value and convenience. They get everything they need in one go, often for a price that’s more attractive than buying each item individually. 

When implementing this strategy, I suggest thinking carefully about what products to bundle together. I aim for products that naturally complement each other and create a well-rounded customer experience. 

To maximize your results, don’t forget to highlight the discount or savings associated with the bundle to tempt the shopper to take action! 

Image Source: OptimizePress

2. Limited Time Offers

If you want to create a sense of urgency to get the shopper to act fast, offer limited-time discounts during the checkout process. For example, you could show a customer a related product and let them know that the bundled price is only available for a short time. Similarly, you could show a stock count so customers can see when something is running low. 

These strategies spark fear of missing out (FOMO). Put simply, FOMO in marketing is a strategy based on the fact that people are more likely to do something if they feel like they have a short window to act. 

The key is to create scarcity and excitement. When customers feel like they might miss out on a good deal, they’re more likely to buy. Use attention-grabbing visuals like countdown timers or flashing banners to highlight the limited-time offer. Clearly communicate the deadline and emphasize the value proposition to get the customer to convert.

3. Set a Free Shipping Threshold

If you’ve ever shopped online – and I’m sure you have – you know free shipping is a big motivator for online shoppers. By setting a minimum for free shipping, you can encourage customers to spend a little more to hit that threshold. This works particularly well for customers who are already very close to qualifying for free shipping.

So, imagine your threshold is $25, but they've only spent $20; in this case, you can show some products that cost a little more than $5. I've seen some eCommerce stores grow their revenue by 25% by simply adding a point where a customer can get free shipping. 

You’ll get the most out of this strategy if you display the free shipping threshold at various points in their journey, including the checkout page. Consider adding a progress bar so customers can see how close they are to free shipping. This visual cue can be a big nudge to get them to add another item to their cart and avoid shipping costs.

Source: Olly

4. Order Bumps

Next, Order bumps are small, low-cost add-ons that complement the main purchase. They’re presented during the checkout process so that customers can add them to their order with one click.  We discussed an example of this strategy earlier when I said someone buying a new phone might need a new case.

Another instance is a shoe company offering customers laces or a cleaning product as they’re getting ready to check out. There’s a good chance that if someone is buying shoes, especially if they are high-end, they will want to have the tools they need to keep their purchase looking new and fresh.

I would say that, generally speaking, the key to order bumps is relevance and price. Make sure your add-on is related to the main product and low enough in price that it doesn’t create purchase hesitation, and you can drastically boost your upsells.

5. Upsell to a Higher-Tier Product

Another way to get your customers to spend a little more is to convince them to upgrade to a higher-tier product. This means presenting customers with a premium version of the product they're already looking at. An upgrade can include things like a model with more features, a larger size, or a subscription option that includes extra perks.

If someone is already sold on the idea of your product, there’s a good chance they’ll decide to accept your offer, especially if they didn’t know it existed in the first place. 

The key to this strategy is to clearly articulate the upgrade's value proposition. You'll want to highlight the specific benefits and features of the premium option over the standard one. 

I suggest setting up a side-by-side comparison so customers can see the added value they’ll get. For example, a customer buying a basic software subscription might be tempted to upgrade to a premium plan if they see it includes advanced analytics or priority support.

6. Products People Buy Together

Now, let’s discuss a strategy popularized by Amazon. This strategy has many different variations, but it all comes back to one idea: “products frequently bought together.”

When people see this tag, they can get a glimpse into what your other customers are up to. Not only does this act as a powerful form of social proof, but it can also help them discover new products. 

For the best results, show these recommendations near the checkout, using clear visuals and language so people know what they’re looking at. Below is an example from Amazon on a cat toy product. You can see the original toy, then several bundles that people often buy together. This seemingly simple upsell strategy is a powerful way to motivate people to purchase multiple products from your website. 

Image Source: Amazon

7. Customer Feedback

Speaking of social proof, customer feedback next to products is a great way to elevate your upsell. People are far more likely to check out a new product if they see other people have tried it and enjoyed it. 

There are multiple ways to show feedback. The two most common strategies are showing a star or number rating next to the product or several user reviews next to the product. This works well because the average person wants to see 3 to 5 reviews before they make a purchase, and they can do that without leaving the page.

When you’re choosing reviews to showcase, make sure to keep an eye out for positive reviews that share real experiences from happy customers. You want people to understand what kind of value they’ll find in the upsell with minimal effort. If you manage to impress your audience with user feedback, they’ll add something new to their carts.

8. Exit-Intent Popups

Next, let’s discuss exit popups and how they actually help you upsell. If you’re not familiar with them, an exit popup appears after a customer adds an item to their cart and then hovers over the “X” button or browses away from the checkout page. 

Since these people are getting ready to leave, this is a great opportunity to turn a would-be lost sale into a happy customer.

In this instance, you’ll want to offer these folks an exclusive discount or bundle, much like we talked about earlier. The big difference is since you’re creating a popup to capture your audiences’ attention as they are on their way out the door, you’ll need to make it worth their while (perhaps a 30% discount instead of the original 15%) if you want them to follow through. 

If you’re worried about losing the sale, you can also downsell here. Check and see if their exit suggests they’re hesitant about the price. If so, offer a similar but cheaper product that might be more within their budget.

9. Upsell Post-Purchase

Finally, you should remember that upselling doesn’t necessarily end at the checkout page! 

You have a brief window to capture your customers’ attention and get them to buy something else immediately after their purchase. You can do this by showing upsell offers on your thank you page or through post-purchase emails. Suggest products that complement what they already have or promote a new but similar product. 

It’s a good idea to create an email campaign that includes the receipt and potential upsells. Many of the strategies mentioned above work here, too, like showing people who buy new shoes matching laces in the post-purchase email. 

You’ll want to keep it as simple as possible. There’s a slim chance they’ll want to go through the whole checkout process again. If possible, implement a one-click purchase option that essentially adds the item to their existing order. 

Final Thoughts

There’s no question that upselling during checkout is a powerful strategy for boosting revenue and customer satisfaction. By implementing these nine techniques—from offering bundled discounts to leveraging post-purchase opportunities—you can significantly increase your average order value and build stronger customer relationships.

I suggest starting by choosing a few strategies that best align with the foundation you’ve already built for your business. Spend some time implementing them, then test, refine, and optimize your approach over time. If you’re patient and persistent, you'll soon see the great benefits of upselling during the checkout process. 

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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