May 8, 2014

4 Ways to Upsell the Most Discerning E-Commerce Shopper

Posted by Faith Albert Category IconConversions & UX Category IconMarketing

I’ve always been told that I could sell anything to anyone. I started my sales career in the 2nd grade with erasers and slowly graduated to Pogs by 8th grade. If the World Wide Web were what it is today, I know I would have taken to the internet to sell my swag. I was constantly trying to find ways to get my fellow students to increase their orders. After all, that ice cream bar at the cafeteria isn’t going to buy itself.

As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered that the real fun is in the upsell, or trying to convince a buyer to purchase a more expensive product than he or she originally intended. Not surprisingly, my current job is all about maximizing revenue with current vendors. And because I am so well versed in the tricks and techniques used to upsell a customer, I am often turned off by sales gimmicks, tricks, and tactics. However, every once in a while I will spot a truly clever company, one that truly convinces me that I have to buy more from them. Econsultancy says that, “the statistics show that upselling, in which visitors are shown similar but more expensive products than the one in view, drives over 4% (revenue).” Not surprisingly, I am pressing buy and thinking, “curses, they got me.” So, here are a few of my favorite (and clearly successful) e-commerce upselling tactics.

Amazon uses This + That tactics to bring more sales.

This + That = Happiness, Or the Peer Pressure Upsell

Amazon employs the “This + That = Happiness” tactic. For example, in the picture above, I have chosen to buy a new pair of Brooks Running shoes. I have worn a previous pair for over a decade: I’m a fan. I know exactly what I need and nothing else. However. . . other people who have bought these exact shoes also bought a hydrating pack, new socks, and a watch. These are products that intense algorithms say I will probably enjoy, or at the very least, say people who like to buy the same things as me thought would be useful. Now, I’m thinking, “My old watch is getting gross, and I keep saying that I lost all my good socks.” Bam! Before you know it, I have added another $100 to my total. The idea is that other people with similar shopping patterns needed these things, so clearly I do as well. News flash: it totally works.

FREE SHIPPING (if you spend $20 more dollars)

This is an incredibly effective upselling tactic — I am a bargain shopper and I can’t help but always fall for it. I have exactly what I need, maybe even a little more in my cart. My total is $89.99. I am almost ready to hit submit and complete my order. But wait, what is that banner ad? If I spend $100 I get 20% off? That is FREE money. I only have to spend $10 more dollars to get 20% off. That’s like two coffees at Starbucks (editor’s note: it’s totally not). Before I know it, I have picked out an item that far exceeds $10, but now I have to have it and I rationalize that I’m saving money. They are practically paying me to get the item. (Do you feel badly for my husband yet?)

Spend X amount of money and get a gift.

Spend $50 and get a gift worth $150

Cosmetic companies are notorious for their high-value ‘free gift with purchase.’ However, this doesn’t mean the principal can’t be universally applied. The consumer thought process is simple. I only needed a cover for my new golf club, but if I spend just a little bit more, I can also score a new wedge. Simple. On the flip side, store owners can negotiate fantastic pricing on their “free gifts” for the shear fact that they will be buying the items in greater quantities. It really is a win win.

A surprise email from merchant can bring sales.

Inbox Surprise and Delight

Okay, so I kind of saved my favorite upsell for last. I recently ordered a dress from Rent the Runway. Basically, it is a site that allows us price-sensitive fashionistas an affordable access to high end fashion by allowing us to rent coveted clothing. I had already picked out the perfect dress. I had said “no” when the site insisted I would need fashion tape to go with the dress. (Because let’s face it, I am trying to save here). I even avoided the pitfall of ordering a more expensive dress to save $25. I was triumphant. And then I found an email in my inbox the next day.What’s is this? Only $15 for a personal stylist to pick out something special to go with my dress. Uh oh: I am officially tempted. I already see myself touting fancy jewels on my neck. I pop back on the site (a first win for them) and quickly see that many of the rental pieces cost far more than $15. I go back to my email. Only 1 day!!! Yikes, I need this now. Click. Done. Buy. I’ve been sold again.

People who shop online do so for many reasons, but one of the biggest is convenience. They don’t want to drive to the mall or deal with fluctuating inventory. They don’t want to wait in lines. They don’t want to deal with people. And they surely do not want to have to think too hard about a purchase. But they do want you to tell them what they need. Upselling is a soft sale. You already have them, so grab them. Creativity is key! And even though the childhood lemonade stand sale is far behind you, channeling that inner child-like entrepreneurial spirit can only yield mature dividends.