Easily Increase Your Ecommerce Conversion Rate With Up-Selling, Cross-Selling, And Down-Selling

If you’re selling products or services online, you’ve likely tried a number of techniques to improve your eCommerce conversion rate.

Along with boosting traffic and enhancing user experience, increasing your conversion rate is one of the most important factors affecting your site’s performance.

So, how exactly do you get more users to make purchases? In this article, I’ll present some easy tips for increasing your eCommerce conversion rate using the up-selling, cross-selling, and down-selling methods.



As an online marketer, you may have come across the term “up-selling” many times. Up-selling is a popular eCommerce technique used for convincing a customer to purchase a product that’s more expensive than the one they were originally considering. It involves encouraging customers to spend some additional money in exchange for bigger, better, or extra products.

For instance, paying an extra $1 for a McDonald’s cheeseburger costing $2 can get you a double cheeseburger. Most people accept this offer because the double cheeseburger by itself costs $4. This is a simple, yet effective, use of the up-selling method, which can be adapted based on your line of business. Another example of up-selling is presenting customers with options to upgrade the processor for a mid-range laptop that they’re intending to buy.

According to a study conducted by Marketing Metrics, you have a five to 20 percent chance of selling to a new or prospective customer. On the other hand, there’s a 60 to 70 percent likelihood of selling to an existing customer. These statistics suggest that applying up-selling techniques to a current customer could be the best move to make more sales and increase eCommerce conversion rate. Research conducted by Predictive Intent shows that up-selling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling for eCommerce sites if displayed on product pages. Cross-selling seems to be more effective when presented on checkout pages.

Case study

Mindvalley Insights conducted a case study to determine how a $500 up-sell impacts their up-sell flow. Their first move was to offer a $500 up-sell after selling a product worth $100. This brought about an eCommerce conversion rate of 4.3 percent. They followed this up with a second up-sell of a related product costing about $50, which converted at five percent.

After this observation, they decided to reverse the flow and offer the smaller up-sell right after the purchase. This was then followed up with the more expensive up-sell, which yielded a page conversion of 7.3 percent. From this case study, it can be concluded that the way you implement up-selling techniques to your site can significantly impact the eCommerce conversion rate.



Cross-selling is another effective sales technique that’s often confused with up-selling. Rather than offer a more expensive product, cross-selling suggests an additional product that’s related to the ones customers are intending to buy. It could be used in recommending products that were also bought by customers who purchased the same ones.

For example, fast food restaurants often offer the addition of a beverage at a lower cost when you order your meal. Another useful model of cross-selling can be by suggesting related products, like balloons, chocolates, and teddy bears, when you order flowers from an online flowers shop. This is highly convenient for the customers and is bound to drive more sales for the site. If you own a tech company, you could offer accessories, such as printers, headphones, and software licenses, to customers planning to buy a computer? These are all great instances of how cross-selling can be implemented to increase sales and improve the eCommerce conversion rate.

Case study

To gain a better understanding of how cross-selling impacts eCommerce sales, let’s take a look at the case of Australia’s Qantas Airways. The airline was among the pioneers in successfully implementing cross-selling to their online sales strategy. During various stages of the booking process, customers were offered a selection of travel insurance policies. They also added car rental options where customers could add a rental to their air booking or even reserve a car independently.

After these cross-selling solutions were launched, Qantas immediately saw a return on investment within a few months. They were able to achieve an eCommerce conversion rate of four percent on their car bookings and seven to eight percent on the insurance policies. These results prove that cross-selling can be effectively used for online businesses to increase conversions.



Down-selling is mostly used as a last resort to retain customers who seem to be abandoning the website before making a purchase. This technique requires you to adjust your offers according to the customer’s budget. Down-selling involves offering cheaper products that have similar features as the product customers were originally intending to buy. In addition to increasing your eCommerce conversion rate, down-selling can improve customer retention and promote brand loyalty.

Many online marketers may shun this technique, but there are many ways you could benefit from it. As few as one percent of websites are making use of this useful down-selling tactic to boost their sales. It’s true that a higher-priced item has a higher profit margin, yet an entry-level product may be ideal for building customer loyalty. Why not offer a mini version of your product? You could even down-sell your physical products by offering a digital-only version.

Down-selling can be used when you’re looking to buy a house, but the agent is showing you an option that’s beyond your budget. Naturally, the agent will show you less expensive options so that you can make a purchase. Another example is when a customer tries to buy a laptop that has all the features they need, yet it costs a lot more than they intended to spend. Rather than have them back down from making a purchase, you offer them a less expensive choice. Maybe you can suggest a different manufacturer for a cheaper computer to improve the eCommerce conversion rate.

To make things more convincing, you can provide one-time offers as a way to down-sell to your customers. Presenting a second one-time offer could be even more effective. The second offer may help you close 15 to 50 percent of those prospective customers who declined the first offer. One of the most popularly used down-selling techniques is giving out free trials or samples. These offers work by setting a limit or expiration date, so that customers feel compelled to make a purchase and continue getting the service. For instance, you could offer the first few chapters of your eBook for free or provide a free trial of your software that’ll expire in 30 days.

Another way you can implement down-selling to your marketing strategy is by initially offering a stripped-down version of your product or service for free. Customers will then get the decision to pay and upgrade to a better version with more features. This is a great way to get consumers to find out what you offer, so they don’t hesitate when making their purchase. As a result, you’ll notice a boost in your eCommerce conversion rate.

Case study

In the case of an unnamed healthcare provider, implementing a creative down-sell solution was able to help them add $2,000 to their weekly profits. They found that 50 percent of those who received a lower-priced offer for an alternative option accepted the offer. This works wonders on an improved eCommerce conversion rate.

In another case, an international marketing system training company successfully used down-selling techniques to make more profits. They introduced two training programs that cost less than their current lowest-priced option. Soon, the business determined that this change boosted conversions and created a profit stream of at least $10,000 per month. This down-selling strategy helped them retain many prospects that may not have purchased without the lower-priced discount options. The profit stream is expected to increase to about $50,000 per month over time.



You’ve seen how techniques like up-selling, cross-selling, and down-selling can be used successfully to increase eCommerce conversion rate. There are a number of ways in which you can implement each method in your online business. I recommend that you download helpful apps and tools, such as Product Upsell, Recommendify, PopupUpsell, and AlsoBought, to help you in your eCommerce sales strategy.

It’s important to remember that these techniques may drum up extra sales and augment the eCommerce conversion rate, but you shouldn’t overdo it. It’s never a good idea to hit your customers with these options page after page. You might end up damaging their perception of your brand. You should carefully consider each offer you’re trying to design before you come up with an ideal solution. Always test the offers so that you can determine which works best for which products. You might need to tweak and diversify your product lines and offers every once in awhile based on the latest trends.

Keep in mind that catering to the needs of your customers is preferred over forcing offers down their throats. A well-executed up-selling, cross-selling, or down-selling technique can help create a pleasant shopping experience for your customers. Take the time to identify the products or services they’re most likely to purchase based on their interests. Focus on improving your reputation and customer relationships to build better brand loyalty. This will help you in enjoying a steady rise in your eCommerce conversion rate.

Have any questions about increasing your eCommerce conversion rate? I’d be happy to help in the comment box below!

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  1. I am all for downselling. Although one can’t expect much in terms of profit, as mentioned, it’s a great way to gain a customer’s trust the first time. Some brands even offer FREE samples and money-back guarantees because they have absolute faith in their products. As a customer, I love it when an upsell is made for my specific needs.

  2. Conversion rate is what most businesses look forward to when they are engaging online. In fact, there are lot of strategies they’ve been trying to do just to increase their conversion rate. Your point in this post is a great help to make us even understand all factors that lies to it especially the difference using up selling, cross selling, and down selling and which of them can really work for our own brand.

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