How to Optimize Your Upsells and Cross-sells on Shopify: Practices for Every Shop

How to Optimize Your Upsells and Cross-sells on Shopify: Practices for Every Shop

When you’re seated at a restaurant and the waiter coolly asks “would you like to add fries or a salad to that order?” you’re experiencing cross-selling.


If instead they said “our burgers are great but you might like our new york strip steak better,” now you're experiencing upselling.


Cross-selling and upselling are everywhere. When executed properly, they can provide deeper value to customers and help better solve their problems.


For online shop owners, optimizing cross-sells and upsells increases the average order value and shuttles more product off the shelves. 


Let’s explore the power of these two practices and identify how to optimize them in Shopify.

Power in Simplicity

Power in simplicity.

Your waiter asking if you want to add fries or a salad to your entree is just the cherry on top. 

The challenging task was winning your business over competing restaurants and getting you there in the first place. Now that you’re seated, hungry, and ready to order, cross-sells and upsells are positioned as simple “yes” or “no” offers you can accept or deny.

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to a meager 5-20% chance of selling to a new customer. Restaurants and retailers recognize this, and as an online shop owner, you should too.

According to a McKinsey statistic cited in this Verifone article, cross-selling may increase sales by up to 20% and profits by up to 30%. Imagine growing your profits by nearly one-third just by strategically presenting products you already sell. That should be a no brainer.

How to (Meaningfully) Implement Cross-Sells and Upsells 

There’s an art to offering meaningful cross-sells and upsells. 

These additional products or add-ons must align with a customer’s current purchase, or better yet, feel like a fully personalized curation.

Complementary products are the most logical and straightforward cross-sell to offer. These products act as add-ons that boost the value and functionality of a customer’s current product selection.

Allswell, a home goods retailer who we run ongoing design and revenue optimization for, serves up beautifully-placed cross-sells on the product pages for their line of mattresses.

Allswell mattresses product page

When customers arrive on the product page for “The Allswell Luxe Hybrid”, one of their mid-grade mattresses, they are presented with a “complete the set” section which displays “add to cart” buttons for a mattress protector, sheets, and even a memory foam mattress topper. 

These cross-sells are portrayed in a helpful light, directly enhancing the value of the mattress itself. Now, customers can conveniently purchase a protector and new sheets for their new mattress in the same order, instead of having to place multiple orders or shop elsewhere.

If instead, Allswell placed lamps and bathroom decor in this section, it might confuse and annoy customers, since neither of those products complement the use of a mattress.

GLDN, a jewelry retailer we run development and support for, crafts gorgeous pieces composed of various materials. Their “Curve Necklace” comes in 14k gold fill, sterling silver, and 14k solid gold. If customers went to purchase the sterling silver model but were prompted to upgrade to gold, this would be a direct form of upselling.

GLDN product page

Think of an upsell as an upgrade, and a cross-sell as a separate addition to an existing product.

Upsells and cross-sells can appear in different forms. You may directly nudge a customer to purchase a specific upgrade or add-on, or you can be more subtle in your up-selling approach. 

Offering discounts for future purchases and free gifts or samples are all segues to a future purchase and are considered more discreet methods of upselling. 

Build Your Offers ASAP

There are countless customers out there who, if offered a crispy side of fries, will gladly say yes. But many forget to scan the menu and ask for them.

Offer your customers cross-sells and upsells and place them in convenient, visible locations on your site.

The worst a customer can say is no. The ones who say yes will be gaining greater value from their purchase and bringing greater profits to your shop.

Need help implementing a thoughtful cross-selling and upselling strategy across your site?


We can help.


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