Cross selling and upselling: What they are and why you should use them

Sara Martín
18 September, 2018

Imagine that all your customers start buying all your products and become evangelist to your brand.

That would save you some efforts in capturing new customers, right?

So, stop dreaming and start using cross selling and upselling. Two marketing strategies that will help you to build customer loyalty and get the most from your current customers.


The probability of finalizing a sale with an existing customer is between 60% and 70%. The percentage drops drastically when it’s a new customer: between 5% and 20%.

What’s cross selling?

Cross selling is a strategy that offers an existing customer or prospect something that complements a product that the customer intends to buy or already did.

It doesn’t mean selling just anything with the sole objective of increasing sales. On the contrary, the main focus falls into making the buying experience more satisfactory for customers and learning their needs.

Advantages of cross selling

If you apply this strategy to your business, you can obtain several benefits:

✅ Sales increase

A 30% increase in sales can be obtained by applying the practice of cross selling.

Several studies agree that the profit can grow between 10% and 30% thanks to cross selling.

✅ Add value for your customers

Customers feel satisfied with a company that is able to cover all their needs. If you focus on them, you will better know their habits and interests. Consequently, you will attend more effectively to their demands, which will have a positive impact on your company.

✅ Build loyalty with your buyers

Cross selling is a perfect technique to persuade. Customers are more effective on their purchases since they use one unique provider to cover all their needs.

As a result you will gain a loyal customer to your business and products.


Amazon is a sale giant and a specialist at cross selling. Its CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed that 35% of Amazon’s sales come from cross selling.

What’s upselling?

Upselling is another marketing and sales technique. It consists of offering a client a similar but normally more expensive product to the one that they have the intention to buy.

This practice can be done using different sales approaches.

An example: Using promotions, giving away a product related to the product that your client wants to buy, etc.

Advantages of upselling

Exceed your user’s expectations

If the user asks you for a product but you offer one that is similar but better, you will exceed the expectations of your customer.

Increase revenues

If you offer similar products but at a higher price, your revenues will be higher too.

Cross Selling and Upselling: illustrative examples

Upselling is a sales technique to encourage customers to buy a similar but more expensive or upgraded item to the one that they are planning to purchase.

Example: A client is planning to buy 3 large bottles of Coca-Cola but he ended up buying twice as much because he was persuaded by the offer:  “6-bottles for the price of 5”.

Cross Selling is the practice of selling something that complements the item that the client already purchased or is planning to.

Example: A sales person offers a tie, belt or shirt to a client who is buying a suit.

It’s possible to combine both sales strategies to get a better profit. However, you must always keep in mind that the client comes first.

Now that you know how cross selling and upselling work, it’s your turn to put them into practice and to learn more Digital Marketing Definitions.

Sara Martín


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