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The Art to Profitable Ecommerce Cross Selling

Last Updated on Aug 27, 2012 by Jenna Scaglione

Cross-selling has become one of the top Ecommerce sales techniques to capture additional income. The practice has been used by businesses for hundreds of years. When Best Buy and Radio Shack sell computer accessories and batteries by the checkout line, they are not just doing this for your convenience—they are taking advantage of cross-selling.

Cross-selling can not only increase untapped revenue, but it can also provide exposure for items, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase conversions by providing customers with alternatives that suit their needs better.

Where can you cross sell?

Similar to how retailers attract customers at the checkout line, you can employ the same technique, but be careful. Cross-selling on an Ecommerce checkout page is different than a cross sell in a retail location. The customer is already on line in a physical store and expects to be inundated with last-minute items. They already drove their car to the store and they will not leave the checkout line simply because they think someone is trying to sell them more items.

However, for an Ecommerce store, this process is not as straightforward. It’s all too easy for a customer to leave your cart and take a few seconds to click to another store. They do not have to get in their car and drive to another physical location. Reserve the checkout cross sell for items the customer would need to operate the cart item properly, as well as additions that would enhance the product.

Appropriate checkout cross-sells would include:

  • Batteries for an electronic item
  • Power plugs to operate an item
  • Gift wrap for birthday purchases
  • Related products needed for the item to function at maximum capacity

The checkout cross sell should not be used for upsells, or for displaying items the customer may like such as popular accessories or related items. This may work in certain situations but it is not recommended for all Ecommerce sites. If implemented, test each scenario to ensure you are not lowering conversions and increasing checkout abandonment rates.

Product Pages

Product pages are the most common location for cross sells since customers are in buying mode and shopping to decide on the items they want. When engaging in this strategy, keep these tips in mind:


Only display items that are related to the product. For example, if the product is a leather bag, you can offer leather cleaning polish as an accessory. Also, don’t cross sell a competitive product or the customer may think their purchase is not worth the price.


Make the cross sell compelling to click. Use words that speak directly to the customer like “You might like” or “Customers like you also purchased.” Make the cross sells stand out by using attention-grabbing words like “special deals” or “one-time offers.” Create a sense of urgency and communicate the savings and value to the customer.

These same cross sells can be utilized for the View Cart page; however, relevant offers work the best on product pages. Use the discount offers on the view cart page since customers are already ready to buy and they won’t want to shell out any money for an accessory, but they may take advantage of a discount. Provide enough detail so the customer does not leave the cart to check on the item or you risk the chance of forfeiting the sale.

Cross sells are valuable opportunities to earn more revenue from a sale. As long as the user experience isn’t diminished and the cross sell doesn’t interfere with conversions (test this to make sure), this strategy is a win-win for savvy Ecommerce storefronts.


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