Are you looking to increase your revenue and boost customer satisfaction? Cross-selling and upselling are two powerful strategies that can help you achieve these goals. By offering relevant additional products or enticing customers to upgrade their purchases, you can not only increase your average order value (AOV) but also enhance the overall shopping experience for your customers.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the difference between cross-selling and upselling, their benefits, and how you can successfully implement these strategies throughout the customer journey. We will also provide you with tools and examples to help you create your own cross-sell vs. upsell strategy. So let's dive in!

What is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is an e-commerce strategy where you recommend complementary products to a customer who has already made a purchase or has items in their cart. The goal is to suggest additional products that enhance the original purchase and make the customer's life easier. For example, if a customer buys a new pair of shoes, you might recommend matching socks or shoe polish.

Successful cross-selling campaigns include products that are highly relevant to the original purchase and provide value to the customer. By suggesting additional items that complement their purchase, you can increase the customer's satisfaction and encourage them to spend more.

What is Upselling?

Upselling, on the other hand, is a strategy that invites customers to upgrade their orders by purchasing a more expensive product or a better version of the original item. Instead of recommending additional products, upselling focuses on offering customers an improved or premium option. For example, you might suggest a larger size or a higher-quality version of the product they are considering.

The key to successful upselling is to leverage the customer's interest in the original product and convince them that the upgraded version will provide added value and benefits. By presenting them with a better option, you can increase their overall satisfaction and potentially increase their spending.

The Difference between Cross-Selling and Upselling

While cross-selling and upselling are similar tactics that aim to increase revenue, there are some key differences between them. Cross-selling suggests additional products that the customer had no previous interest in purchasing, whereas upselling recommends an upgraded version of the original product.

Cross-selling focuses on enhancing the customer's experience by offering complementary items, while upselling aims to capitalize on the customer's existing interest in the product and convince them to invest in a higher-tier or more expensive option.

Both strategies have their benefits and can be effective in increasing AOV, customer satisfaction, and customer lifetime value (CLV). Now, let's explore how you can successfully implement cross-selling and upselling throughout the customer journey.

Cross-Selling and Upselling Throughout the Customer Journey

To effectively cross-sell and upsell, it's important to identify the key touchpoints in the customer journey where you can present relevant and enticing offers. By strategically integrating cross-selling and upselling opportunities, you can guide customers towards making additional purchases and upgrades. Here are seven ways to implement cross-selling and upselling throughout the customer journey:

1. Pre-Purchase: Promote Cross-Sells and Upsells on the Product Page

The product page is a crucial touchpoint where you can introduce customers to complementary products or upgraded versions. By displaying related items or highlighting the benefits of an upgraded option, you can pique the customer's interest and encourage them to explore additional offerings.

For example, if a customer is considering purchasing a camera, you can showcase compatible lenses, camera bags, or other accessories that enhance their photography experience. Alternatively, you can present an upgraded version of the camera with advanced features and improved performance.

2. During Purchase: Promote Cross-Sells and Upsells in the Checkout Process

The checkout process is an opportune moment to present cross-selling and upselling offers. As customers are finalizing their purchases, you can suggest complementary products or incentivize them to upgrade their order.

One effective way to do this is by incorporating order bumps, which are additional product options that customers can add to their cart with a single click. These order bumps should be relevant to the customer's purchase and provide value without disrupting their checkout experience.

3. Post-Purchase: Promote Cross-Sells and Upsells After the Customer Has Made a Purchase

Don't let the customer journey end after the purchase is complete. Follow up with customers through email, SMS, or personalized recommendations on your website to introduce them to more relevant and complementary products.

For example, if a customer has purchased a skincare product, you can send them an email suggesting additional products from the same skincare line or complementary items such as moisturizers or serums. By providing personalized recommendations based on their purchase history, you can create a seamless shopping experience and encourage repeat purchases.

4. Offer Product Bundles

One effective cross-selling strategy is to offer product bundles that combine complementary items or variations of the same product. By grouping together related products, you can encourage customers to purchase multiple items at once, increasing both their satisfaction and your AOV.

For example, if you sell kitchen appliances, you can create a bundle that includes a blender, a food processor, and a juicer. By offering these products as a bundle at a discounted price, you can entice customers to purchase more items and increase their overall spending.

5. Suggest Bulk Orders

Encouraging customers to buy in bulk is another effective way to increase AOV and provide convenience to your customers. By suggesting bulk orders or offering discounts for larger quantities, you can incentivize customers to purchase more of the product they love.

For example, if you sell coffee beans, you can offer a discount when customers purchase multiple bags of coffee. This not only increases their spending but also ensures that they have an ample supply of their favorite coffee, enhancing their overall experience.

6. Pitch a Subscription

Subscriptions are a popular way to generate recurring revenue and increase customer loyalty. By offering customers the option to subscribe to your products or services, you can secure long-term revenue and provide a convenient and hassle-free experience.

For example, if you sell beauty or grooming products, you can offer customers the option to subscribe and receive their favorite products on a regular basis. This not only ensures that they never run out of their essentials but also fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment to your brand.

7. Leverage Cross-Sell and Upsell Tools

To streamline your cross-selling and upselling efforts, you can leverage various tools and software that are designed to help you identify relevant products and automate the process. These tools can analyze customer data, recommend complementary items, and optimize your cross-selling and upselling strategies.

For example, tools like OrderBump allow you to create hyper-targeted promotional offers before and after a customer's purchase. With features like frequently bought-together bundles and cart page upsell funnels, you can present personalized offers that enhance the customer's shopping experience and increase their spending.


Cross-selling and upselling are powerful strategies that can help you increase AOV, revenue, and customer satisfaction. By strategically implementing cross-selling and upselling opportunities throughout the customer journey, you can guide customers toward making additional purchases and upgrades that enhance their overall experience.

Remember to offer relevant and complementary products, incentivize upgrades, and personalize your recommendations based on customer preferences and purchase history. By leveraging cross-sell and upsell tools and following best practices, you can optimize your sales funnel and maximize your revenue potential.

So, start implementing cross-selling and upselling strategies today and watch your revenue grow while providing an enhanced shopping experience for your customers.