Cross Selling: what it is, advantages and strategies to increase sales

Have you ever heard of Cross Selling? It’s a sales strategy widely used to increase sales both in offline and online commerce.

If you want to understand better what Cross Selling means and how it is implemented, read the article! I will explain:

  • what Cross Selling means;
  • the advantages you can obtain;
  • the best techniques to apply it effectively.

I will also give you some real application examples of Cross Selling, so you can see how widespread and applicable this strategy is in various fields.

If you want to become a sales strategist for the online market, my advice is to take the Digital Sales course. It will provide you with the necessary skills to grow your online business or become one of the most sought-after professionals by companies.

What is Cross Selling

What is the definition of Cross Selling? It involves offering customers who are purchasing or have just made a purchase, complementary products or services to those chosen in order to integrate, complete, or even enhance the purchase.

Cross Selling techniques are applied, for example, in e-commerce and aim to:

  • satisfy the customer’s needs by understanding their latent needs;
  • build customer loyalty;
  • increase e-commerce sales and customer profitability.

Cross Selling and Up Selling

In addition to Cross Selling, there’s another interesting and effective sales technique: Up Selling. What are the differences between them? While Cross Selling aims to sell complementary products/services, with Up Selling, you offer a customer a more advanced product or service compared to the one initially chosen.

A classic example is Ryanair, the well-known low-cost airline, which, before completing the purchase, offers the customer alternative tariffs higher than the cheapest one (which includes only basic services such as the flight and carry-on baggage). This way, the company can propose additional services at an upgraded price.

Up Selling is useful when:

  • the customer is about to make a purchase;
  • the seller knows the potential buyer very well;
  • the buyer is not precisely sure about what they want, while the salesperson knows what can be helpful and has a more expensive product with advanced features available.

For completeness of information, there’s also a third sales strategy: Down Selling. It involves offering a lower-priced product to a potential buyer when they don’t have the financial means to purchase the top-of-the-line option or when they are clearly undecided. Take the automotive industry, for example: generally, the seller starts by showing the most accessorized model; when they realize that the potential customer doesn’t have the required amount or is looking for something less expensive, they don’t hesitate to provide information and guide them towards purchasing the base models.

Watch the video and learn how Cross Selling and other strategies can turn your sales into profits and increase your customers!

Advantages of Cross Selling in Marketing

If you are still unsure whether to apply this technique to your business, it might be useful to know its benefits and understand when it makes sense to do Cross Selling.

By implementing this sales strategy, you can:

  1. Improve your Brand Identity: if you show attentiveness to the user’s preferences, they are more likely to trust and return to you.
  2. Generate engagement: positive interactions with users may lead them to recommend your products/services to others.
  3. Enhance market segmentation: you can understand customers’ needs and preferences.
  4. Verify which products perform best.
  5. Increase sales.

Considering these positive aspects, I recommend doing Cross Selling in direct sales, when closing the deal, in e-commerce, just before check-out, or when you have products or services that will provide a better experience when combined with what the customer is purchasing.

However, you need to be aware of some potential disadvantages of Cross Selling. These may arise from improper use of user data, such as proposing products they have already purchased or items they have been previously offered, which could be counterproductive. Also, not all customers are suitable for cross-selling: avoid those who return goods or raise complaints with Customer Service.


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How to do Cross Selling: 5 techniques for online

How to do successful Cross Selling? If more and more companies are using cross-selling to increase revenues, it means that this strategy is truly effective, especially online. To do it successfully, you must always start with a thorough analysis of customers’ preferences and interests. Only then can you anticipate their needs and offer them the right products or services related to their choices.

Before explaining in detail how to implement a good sales strategy, it will be useful for you to understand how a Cross-Selling purchase is made:

  1. A user searches your site for the product/service that meets their needs.
  2. The user finds what they need and decides to purchase it.
  3. The customer relationship could end here: they buy, and you sell. However, this is where you can apply Cross Selling by proposing one or more products or services related to what the customer is purchasing or has purchased. You aim to create a new need in them, leveraging an emotional trigger – the greater receptivity of someone who has just solved a problem.
  4. At this point, you can respond to the newly created need and sell them a second product or service.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the Cross Selling sales process, here are the 5 techniques I recommend adopting to make it effective online.

Offer additional valuable products or services

Quality is always the right answer. If you offer your customers complementary products and services that provide real added value, it’s highly likely that they will proceed with extra purchases. So, focus on fulfilling their other needs rather than solely aiming for additional profit.

Build an exclusive customer relationship

By using the sales data you possess and analyzing it correctly, you can create targeted strategies for specific customers or customer groups. If you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management), you can analyze user and customer behaviors to anticipate their desires and needs. This way, you can foster loyalty and increase brand loyalty.

Use Inbound Marketing campaigns

If you’ve launched Inbound Marketing campaigns, which involve attracting target users with relevant content, use them for Cross Sell activities. By creating quality content dedicated to selected customers for product lines or service categories, you can offer them related services and items that are consistent and useful, thereby improving customer satisfaction.

Encourage customer interaction

Online communities are spaces for customer interaction that can encourage sales of additional products and related services. Shared experiences can inspire product buyers to acquire an item or service that enhances the value and performance of what they’ve purchased. The satisfaction of one customer can positively influence others.

Collaborate with influencers

Similar to customer communities, influencers on social channels serve as valuable means to reach broad audiences. Collaborate with influencers who promote your products and encourage them to feature other related products and services on their channels.

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Examples of Cross Selling

Regardless of the Cross Selling strategy you adopt, the secret to success lies in two variables: your products and the type of target audience. It’s not just about offering anything; you need to be able to anticipate customer needs. Based on your catalog and your target audience’s behavior, you should correlate your products in a way that offers real benefits to the user.

Here are 3 areas where Cross Sell works, with examples of real cases.

Cross Selling in-store

You may have experienced this yourself at a famous fast-food chain: along with the hamburger, they offer fries and a drink, or chicken nuggets followed by a sundae. This is an example of Cross-Selling in-store, which can be done both offline and online.

Another example is proposing items purchased by other customers along with the product you are currently viewing and considering buying. This is often used as an automatic feature in e-commerce.

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To understand how these strategies work, just think about how many times you have clicked on products or services offered in this particular part of a website.

Cross Selling in the Banking Sector

Even a bank can propose cross-selling. Think about the offer to add a credit card when opening a current account or the opportunity to take out an insurance policy along with a mortgage. It’s a customer retention strategy that is very important for a financial institution in the long term, especially for building trust and creating a relationship with the customer.

Cross Selling in the Hotel Industry

You might find it strange, but the cross-selling strategy is also used by hotel chains. The application involves offering customers additional services at the time of booking, such as car rental or purchasing airplane tickets, or even customizing the offer.

what is cross selling in retail page screenshot

Knowing the customer is crucial for this purpose, to enhance their stay. Examples are numerous: from using the SPA and related services (massages and beauty products) to bike rentals, beach umbrellas and sunbed rentals, and tourist activities like guided tours.

Conclusions and Free Consultation

I have shown you how cross-selling is a widely used and highly beneficial sales strategy. I have listed the benefits you can gain: rapid increase in revenue, customer engagement, and loyalty. Cross-selling cannot be improvised; it must be based on data analysis and user research to define their preferences and identify their needs in order to anticipate them. After that, you can propose useful and valuable additional products and services that complement the purchase.

These Digital Marketing strategies, if applied correctly, can offer better earning opportunities and contribute to the growth of your business. If you also want to apply the Cross Selling strategy to your business but don’t know where to start, contact us. We will provide you with all the information you need.

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