Upselling. It’s a tricky game, trying to hit that target of being helpful to your customer, but not annoying or pestering them to get a sale. Not all retailers do it, but if you get upselling right, it’s certainly worth it. I’ve been to corner shops countless times and faced a barrage of offers, such as “Would you like to buy some fruit cakes today for only £1?” or “Can I interest you in some toffees? They’re on sale.” Each and every time, I refuse. I’m simply not interested, and because I’m only in there for a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread, I have no need for these other products. The upsell just isn’t useful or relevant to me and it often leaves me feeling irritated — this is a perfect example of how not to upsell.
Now, if I was buying, let’s say, dog food, and I was offered dog treats at the till, would I consider the upsell? I’m a huge dog lover and my chocolate lab/spaniel cross, Barney, is my fur baby, so yes, I would absolutely consider it — and will probably buy three or four packs because I’m a softie. A successful upsell!
Upsells are a great way to boost sales and sell items that customers wouldn’t ordinarily come in to buy without buying something else. It also helps to give your customer a better experience, and if they enjoy their purchase, there is a much higher chance they will return again.
Your upsell can’t just be “a great offer,” though. Not everyone will want the offer, so it isn’t going to be as “great” to them as you may think it is. The item has to be relevant to the transaction. Give the person a reason to buy your upsell. The product may work well with something in the purchase, or it may be required in order to use something that the customer has bought.
So, what upsells work in our industry?
Time for an example. Your customer brings a beautiful vibrator to the till and hands over their card to pay. You ring it up and then open your mouth and say… “Do you need any batteries at all?”
That’s it — you’ve nailed it! As long as the vibrator requires batteries, this is a great product to complement the sale. Even if your customer has batteries somewhere in their home, it’s usually easier for them to buy them there. This way they are sure, and they can be confident knowing that they will be able to use their purchase when they get home.
Once home, the thrill of their new purchase will hopefully be enough to drive them to return to your store in future.
For other upsell ideas, you just have to think of what products marry well together. For example, for butt plugs or dildos, you can suggest a lubricant as an upsell. Bondage collars can be sold with wrist and/or ankle cuffs (and vice versa), and why not suggest a blindfold to a customer buying a whip, explaining to them that it adds to the excitement and anticipation of not knowing when the next crack of the whip will strike?
Upsells are much easier in a physical store than through an online website. They don’t require programming or setting up, and the product can be placed strategically nearby within easy reach. For an online store, it becomes a slightly more complicated process.
Luckily, though, many off-the-shelf retail software packages and templates feature this type of system already built in, and just need the administrator to program in the upsells manually. These can be in the form of pop-ups (so when a customer adds a vibrator to their basket, a pop-up suggests to add the correct batteries to their order too), reminders (in the checkout, you could have a message similar to “Did you remember to add lube?”) or by related products on the product listing itself. (“Customers also purchased these” or “These products work great together!”)
Upselling can be a great way of maximizing order totals and increasing revenue, as well as giving your customer a positive and useful buying experience. These extra little sales aren’t designed to be “hard sell” purchases but will complement the sale and leave your customer feeling like they have had the complete package.