Increasing Sales With Online Marketing Enabled Upsells

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UpsellingThe basic tenets of marketing have not changed much with the arrival of Online Marketing even though the approach is vastly different. Whether doing things the traditional way or marketing online, one effective approach to increasing sales- the up-sell, remains a viable consideration for any business.

What Is Upselling

Upselling is the art of persuading customers to purchase something additional or more expensive. You may think of something along the lines of convincing the customer to buy a better model of a car or one with advanced and luxurious features than what initially caught their attention.

Although similar, upselling should not be confused with its close counterpart- cross-selling. Whilst upselling aims to get more from a customer by convincing them to purchase a pricier alternative in the same category, cross-selling aims to get more from the customer by offering them complementary products or services. You may think of a retail store offering a customer a deal on peanut butter when they are purchasing bread as an example of a cross-sell.

The basis of the practice is to play on the psychological disposition of consumers and encourage a sale. Granted, I admit either practice does come off as being dodgy and some may debate the ethics of increasing sales this way. Despite the appearance of not being above board, an upsell is a legitimate and ethical sales approach as long as it has roots in a sincere commitment to provide better value to the customer.

Mechanism For The Upsell

There are several approaches to be taken to implement an upsell, whether you are following the traditional approach or the online approach. The online approach is however more flexible and offers a lot of options including automation and better measurement of metrics. 

Furthermore online marketing upsells have the advantage of broad and extensive reach of customers at your disposal. The blog post Why Internet Marketing Beats Traditional Marketing goes into depth on the advantages of Internet Marketing when compared to the traditional marketing approach.

The Lure and The Value Proposition

The basic approach that online businesses use is to lure customers in with a cheaper price offering and then spring on them the higher price offer. I know, it does sound sleazy, but that is how it essentially goes down.

Bear in mind that offering the upsell does not take the intelligence of the customer for granted. Ofcourse customers see the upself for what it is but yet they sometimes go ahead and take the offer. Why is that?

The answer to this question is that for an upsell to be effective, it has to be a genuine upgrade on the level of value being offered.  If you offer poor value and do not provide substantial apparent gains, your customers will see through your sharade and your business’ reputation will ultimately suffer. 

To add weight to the value of the upsell, the value gains have to be evident and apparent to the customer, otherwise they will see no advantage in taking up the higher priced offer. 

For instance, you might offer new and improved features on the upsell with a relatively small price increase in comparison to the level of benefits the customer will receive by taking the upsell. If I see that the Big Mac at McDonald’s costs less as a bundle when compared to buying the burger, fries and cool drink seperately, I am more likely to get the upsell even though my original intention was just to buy the burger and fries.

Using Social Proof

Human beings are social animals and the endorsement of our peers carries a lot of weight in our decision making. You can take advantage of this fact when implementing your upsells. Social proof should be used with your marketing upsells in order to increase the upsell uptake.

One of the best ways to showcase social proof is to include customer reviews on your website. Customer reviews are customer sentiments recorded on your website regarding your product or service offer or even the quality of customer service. Including social media cues such as number of likes and shares also helps.

There is a temptation to include “fake” reviews in order to beef up your social proof equity. Whatever you do, do not do this as it is a moral slippery slope. Instead, invest in your customer acquisition efforts and request to get their feedback on your site. You may even offer incentives such as discounts in exchange for reviews.

You might go a step further in providing social proof by indicating which products or services are popular with your customers. This should be done in a visually appealing manner. Again here, make sure you are hgilithing actual poplar offerings, otherwise it can backfire really quickly. 

Offering Better Terms

One way to make upsells more attractive is to offer better terms for the upsell when compared to the base-sell. For example, you might have a longer warranty on the upsell compared to the base-sell.Better terms will make the upsell more attractive to customers and increase the likelihood for its uptake.

You may also offer an opt-out for the upsell that is not available in the base-sell. For example, you might offer a money-back guarantee within a stipulated period when the base offering does not have the option or the opt-out might be over a longer period if the base-sell does have one.

Using The Marvel Of Real-Time Customization

The power of the Web comes into its own when online marketing and a website are used. Using technologies readily available today, you may offer product or service customization in real-time online. This way customers can have valid and instant knowledge on the cost of their intended acquisition and possibly how it will look.

Being able to customize a possible acquisition in real time is a high selling point to the customer and they can try out the upsells in real time. BMW does this very well on their website where you can customize your model car of interest.

Things To Remember

If you are going to make a success of up-selling your products or services, there are a few things you should keep at the forefront of your mind. You should always aim to provide value and not only focus on making a higher sell. Only upsell your hottest selling products and services and only upsell products from the same category, otherwise that is cross-selling. And last but not least, try to personalise the experience for the customer and you will be glad you did.

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