Did you know that product recommendations can drive 10 - 30% of your revenue? Moreover, one way of implementing product recommendations to get that revenue is through upselling.

Upsell campaigns are great revenue boosters, and they can also play critical roles in other areas like:

  • Increasing your AOV
  • Boosting your customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Reinforcing your customer relationships

Let's dive into how you can take advantage of upsell strategies to supercharge those check-outs and your profits.

What is Upselling?

Upselling is the art or technique of encouraging customers who are already buying a product or service from you to increase that order.

A classic example of this subtle but effective profit-booster gets put into play every month by The Dollar Shave Club, which always pings its subscribers to see if they want a few things extra with their next delivery of sharp shaving razors. Whether it's a premium upgrade from standard or bundling multiple products with a price discount, customers are incredibly receptive to additional products when they are at the point of buying. Also, if they are already committed with a subscription, the convenience of merely adding one more item can boost revenue by at least 25 percent per order if successful.

Thus, if you want to see a definite upswing in your average order value, then you'll want to engage in upselling wherever possible.

How to Upsell

To plan an effective upsell campaign here are four ways you should approach it:

Take Advantage of Warm Accounts

Upselling is almost always associated with warm accounts; the customers you already have. While it is possible to do upselling on a first account or order, new customers typically want to see the initial product or service first. There are exceptions to the rule, however. Upselling can be useful on cold sales in the auto arena as well as home-selling. That’s because these transactions are once-in-a-great-while, so the pressure is on to get it right the first time for the customer instead of having regrets for a few years.

At DataQ we recommend building and targeting segments of customers that have already purchased from you, like:

  • One-time purchasers: customers that have only purchased once.
  • Product relationship based segments. For example, if you know that 80% of customers that purchased product A will also buy product B, build a segment that promotes product B to all customers that purchased product A.

Enhance the Customer Experience

Upselling is about reinforcing your existing customer relationship. You’re adding on to what they want with a cherry on top. So, aim to provide them with a product or service that speaks to them and pairs well with their go-to order.

For example, if I’m buying razors, I want something that makes using those razors more enjoyable when I shave, not a pair of slippers or a T-shirt. I’ll respond to the extra shaver handle because I travel, and a second one makes it easier to pack and go. I have plenty of T-shirts; I don't need to add to my collection.

Upselling is about getting into the customers’ heads with their specific guidance, not what you want to shove on them. Protect the relationship when you have it by enhancing their shopping experience.

Target your Existing Customers

The Pareto Rule is alive and well in upselling. Why are you going to spend all of your time on cold accounts that are hard to win and cost four times more to sell? Focus your selling energy on the market that is producing 80 percent of your revenue: your existing customers. At an average expense of 13 cents to every sales dollar made (versus 68 cents for a cold sale), upselling is your ticket to a more profitable business.

Treat it like a Customer Retention Program

In a world where Amazon can be equal parts positive and negative for your business, stand out with fantastic customer experience.

Through the upsell, you can continue to enhance your customers’ shopping experience with recommendations that match their style and preferences which can also keep them coming back for more. Additionally, this will help enforce the customer relationship and increase CLV.

It’s a bit of a cyclic e-commerce marketing strategy, and more importantly, it’s profitable. A long-term customer means both cash flow and a long-term revenue stream, which will always end up producing more for your business than a one-time flash-in-the-pan quick sale. Here’s something to think about: You’re 300 to 1,400 percent more likely to sell to a current customer than selling to a prospective customer.


Building Upsell campaigns require a little digging to find out what products to promote to different segments, but if done well your business will reap the rewards of that digging.

DataQ can help you map and find your best customers for upselling with e-commerce analytics tools, one-click segments, and audience activation to top marketing channels. DataQ will connect your shopping cart data to your campaigns, taking (in) your customer data and generating account behavior reporting (out) for your proactive upselling.