16 Proven Cross-Selling & Upselling Strategies to Sky-Rocket Sales in WooCommerce

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When it comes boosting sales in e-commerce, cross-selling and up-selling strategies can help you get more out of every customer. Here's a look at tactics you can implement on your WooCommerce store.
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Running an e-commerce website successfully could be a daunting task, especially now, when the competition is at its peak. At every step of the way, you need to put your best foot forward.

When it comes to implementing strategies that can boost sales and increase your average order value, cross-selling and upselling techniques have proven to be the most effective.

We’ve collected a list of the best and most popular cross-selling and upselling tactics that you can implement on your WooCommerce store.

But first, let’s brush up on the basics.

What are cross-selling and upselling?

Imagine you’re on Amazon, looking at phones. You have a budget in mind, say $600. Before you know it you’ve checked out multiple phones worth $749. That’s because Amazon has subtly up-sold to you an expensive phone.

Upselling is a knack of selling a better-quality product that’s higher in price as compared to the product selected by the customer.

But Amazon doesn’t stop there, does it?! It’ll show your products that are frequently bought together with the phone, like a screen guard, back cover, and insurance. This is cross-selling.

Cross-selling is suggesting related products to the one selected by a customer in an attempt to increase the overall order-value.

Traditionally, upselling and cross-selling happen on the checkout page when the customer is about to make a purchase. That’s when you have the best chance to convince the customer to make an additional or higher-value purchase.

However, there are techniques you could use during the shopping process that can lure the customer to increase the value of their purchase.

16 Proven Cross-sell and Upsell Strategies for WooCommerce

1. Add product recommendations

Product recommendations are an important strategy to increase sales in WooCommerce. In fact, 35% of Amazon’s revenue was generated by its recommendation engine itself. Product recommendations are a subtler way to cross-sell and are proven to increase sales for a lot of WooCommerce companies.

“According to Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of e-commerce site revenues.” – ConversionXL

There are multiple ways to recommend products to users. Some of the most effective methods are listed below:

  • Based on purchase history: Recommend products that are similar to those bought earlier – For example, if the customer has purchased a book, recommend books of the same genre or from the same author.
  • Email recommendations: Send personalized email to showcase products that were viewed by the customer earlier.
  • Frequently bought together: Recommend products that are usually purchased together to increase the order value and save the time of searching those items individually and adding them to the cart.

The WooCommerce extensions called Recommendation Engine and Smart Coupons can be used to personalize product upsells.

Alternatively, you can use One Click Upsells to create personalized upsells and boost your average order value by at least 15-20%.

2. Personalize messages to add emotional appeal

Generic promotional emails will go straight into the spam folder; they are robotic and old-fashioned. Every customer matters and it takes some effort to keep that customer. The effort we’re talking about here is personalization. A simple change like addressing the customer by their name makes a lot of difference and it makes them feel you are talking directly to them.

For example,  instead of a message that says, “You may also like…”, you could use “{name}, you may also like…”. Or the messages could be based on what the buyer has purchased in the past. For example, if the buyer purchases shoes often, you could offer a coupon code for shoes or show them “new arrivals” for the category “Shoes”. Research says, 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if the content is personalized or if the brand recognises them by their name.

HubSpot’s Content Management System can be used for this purpose.

3. Pitch value, not upgrades

For customers, the upgrade (or upsell) should be about the added benefit they would receiving on opting for the upsell. So, when pitching for an upsell, make sure you advertise the value they will be getting for an increased amount. For example, a higher-priced laptop than the one a customer is looking at currently can offer “faster operation, or a heightened gaming experience” as a value.

Or say, for example, when buying an expensive phone, you can upsell phone + gorilla glass as a value purchase. The upsell message should be clear that the upsell will help protect the phone – that’s the key. You could add a message like, “Past customers have benefited from investing in ultra-modern phone protection with Gorilla Glass”…

Customers are more likely to buy into the value rather than the product. Here’s a tip. The customer reviews section can be a great source of inspiration for product benefits.

WooCommerce’s Product Reviews Pro can help you out here.

4. Bundle to increase the perceived value

A simple but effective way to upsell or cross-sell is to bundle up a set of related products that are usually bought together. For example, camera, lens, and camera bag are usually bought together. Bundling is great, because it saves customers’ time and reduces their headache of decision making, and shortens the buying cycle.

For you, bundling can easily increase the average purchase because a customer perceives a bundle as a value-buy in spite of a price increase. That’s because the price of the bundle is usually lesser than the price of individual products purchased together. This is a strategy you can use when creating bundles on your WooCommerce store. For example, buy a camera plus SD card for 10% off the total price.


The ideal WooCommerce extension for the task is Custom Product Boxes. This extension allows you to create pre-built as well as offer customer assorted product bundles.

5. Create a sense of urgency

The fear of losing out on a product can be a great motivator to purchase. People tend to postpone anything until it comes to a sort of “now or never” situation. And, shopping is no exception. Customers wait for the “right moment” or for a better deal in terms of a discount to buy a product (even if it takes a year!). That’s why e-commerce companies put up discounts throughout the year but limit it to a day or two.

Imagine if you could create this sense of “perceived scarcity” for the product itself. Sale or no sale. Having products on sale for a limited time can create a sense of FoMO – the fear of missing out on an offer that might not be available again. This makes even the laziest of customers act immediately and shoots up the chance of a purchase.

Examples of this strategy include-

  • Limited time sales or discounts – e.g., “discounted price available for 24 hours”, “the product is available for purchase only for 2 days”
  • Highlighting limited stock – e.g., “Hurry up only 4 items left in stock”
  • Adding a cart timer – for certain products, like fast selling items or time-bound items (movie/event tickets) a cart timer can be implemented. E.g., “You have 30 minutes left to complete the purchase”
  • Limited time free shipping

WooCommerce offers several extensions and inbuilt options to implement these tactics. The plugins that work to this end are, Scheduler for WooCommerce and Checkout Countdown.

6. Add social proof

The first couple of things that grab our attention before buying a product are the ratings and reviews of past customers. This number and the experiences shared by past customers can greatly influence the purchase decision.

Instead of letting customers explore for themselves, the key is to guide the customer’s decision using positive reviews or by showcasing the product’s popularity. The chances of making a purchase increase when visitors see other customers happy with a product. The same works for upsells or cross-sells.

For example, real-time updates such as “This product is in 10 carts right now” or “This room was booked 5 minutes ago”, or putting up a positive customer testimonial near the purchase button or pricing plan, has known to have a positive impact on the chances of a purchase.

A plugin like WPfomify integrates with WooCommerce to help with social proof.

7. Highlight “Add to Cart” over “Buy Now”

When it comes to making a decision, we need more time (especially when money is involved). That being said, “Buy Now” is a tough decision to make right away, while “Add to Cart” has less pressure and the customer can go on to check other products. This gives the customer the freedom of choice and more time to either buy or remove the product from the cart at the moment of checkout. Studies also back this research proving that “Add to Cart” has a higher conversion rate compared to “Buy Now”.

With “Buy Now” being a quick option for a purchase to happen, “Add to Cart” allows a customer to continue with the shopping process and increases the chances of an upsell.

8. Sell after a purchase

Pre-purchase upsells can be confusing to some customers, and might even result in cart abandonment. To mitigate this, top for post-purchase upsells.

Once a purchase has been made by a customer, we learn something about the customer from the purchase data. This valuable data can be used to make useful recommendations to the customer on products that are related to the purchase made earlier.

For example, if a customer has bought garden clippers, it means they have a garden, which in turn means, you could sell them fertilizer too.

The marketing automation platform Beeketing can be used for this purpose. WooFunnels is a great way to create relevant and timely upsells post-purchase.

9. Send offers through follow-up emails

If a customer has viewed a product or a service online, chances are that the customer is looking to buy that product or service sooner or later. Immediately upon viewing a product is high time to follow-up with the customer to and coax them to purchase.

Every email you send to a customer is a golden opportunity to make a sale. Keep emails relevant, personalized, add relevant images or happy customer testimonials for a higher click-through rate. The “Thank You” page upon purchase is also a great opportunity to make an upsell. Ask buyers to subscribe for relevant offers or discounts.

Using an exit-intent plugin can help you capture customer emails, and increase the chances of selling to them through follow-up newsletters.

10. Upsell Subscriptions

The subscription model was earlier used for newspapers and magazines where buyers had to pay a said amount to get newspapers and magazines every day for a month or year. Now, this model is also used by many e-commerce websites for consumer goods. For example, Amazon offers a ‘Subscribe & Save’ option for products a customer is likely to purchase more than once, such as toiletries or groceries.
Subscriptions offer a lock-in opportunity, to convert a customer into a loyal member. Although subscription is usually associated with saving, it’s also about convenience. You’re saving the customer the effort of having to make the purchase again, and this benefit can also be used to upsell a purchase to a subscription.

The WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin is the right tool for the task.

11. Cross-sell top-selling products

Cross-selling is mostly a one-time shot to pitch a product to a customer every time they make a purchase and as they say, the first impression is always the last. It is important to choose the right product to cross-sell, choosing the top-selling products increases the chance of purchase because people tend to like what most people have liked and approved.

It is also important to choose a top-selling product related to the product that the customer is interested in buying – For example, If the customer is purchasing a TV then it’s best to cross-sell a top-selling home theatre systems for a better experience.

The WooCommerce Advanced Labels extension can be used to add a “Best Seller” label on your top-selling products.

12. Use price anchoring with dummy pricing

Price anchoring is a great concept that can psychologically influence a customer’s buying decision. It is a strategy where you pitch options against each other and add a decoy option to make customers opt for the upsell.

For example, let’s say you sell car insurance. And you offer three options – “Basic Plan – $99/mo”, “Standard Plan – $149/mo”, and “Premium Plan – $299/mo”. Given the three variations, studies have proven that customers are more likely to select the median plan because they always compare it to the options at hand. If the median plan was not offered, customers would most likely select the lower priced plan.

Bundles Sliced Invoices
Price Anchoring Example

This works the same when you have regular products. If a product is displayed independently customers won’t be able to assess the value of the product. But when they have a range of products to compare it with, the price of the product is brought into perspective and customers are more likely to opt for a product that’s higher in price than the product they would’ve originally selected.

13. Upsell on the cart page

When a customer has added a product to the cart and goes to the cart page, it means they’re about to make a purchase. This is the best chance you have to pitch an upsell.

You know the product they’re interested in as it’s in their cart. The key is to pitch a higher-priced product that’s from the same category. A good way to make them check out the product is by adding an eye-catching title. For example, “Customers also viewed…” or “A customer recently bought x product, and here are their thoughts…”.

Amazon recommendation on Cart/Sale Page

14. Offer premium service upsells or freebies

Premium service upsells differ a bit from product upsells. In premium service upsells you offer an extra service related to the product along with the product for a higher price.

For example, If the customer buys an automobile part online, you can offer a premium installation service, and sell that as a higher-priced bundle. Coupling this upsell with say free shipping, can shoot up the chances of conversion. Premium service upsells can increase the average order value thus proportionately increasing your company’s revenue.

15. Don’t be pushy

The more you force someone to buy something, the lesser the chances of them buying. Pushing a product to a customer is a bad strategy and a waste of your and the customer’s time. Focus on the customer’s needs more than the product. Avoid too many pop-ups, ads, that block a customer’s navigation or prevent them from leaving the website.

A chatbot or survey form can help you understand what a customer is looking for and can help you subtly guide them to a product they need.

16. Care for your customer

In any case, upsell or not, the ultimate goal is to not just sell a product to a customer but to keep the customer coming back for more. This can be done by giving your customers a discount now and then as a reward for their loyalty and by listening to the customers when they have a problem and solving it immediately.

Take the time to learn about your customer. Send them personalized offers based on their needs. Don’t make false promises. Be responsive to their support queries and help them throughout the buying process. If a customer feels that you genuinely care about them and not about making a sale, they’ll want to keep doing business with you.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to successfully running an e-commerce store, you’ve got to work towards converting every visitor into a sale. And to then work towards increasing the average order value for all your sales. Cross-selling and upselling strategies can help you get more out of every customer.

Since you’ve read the article till the end, here’s a bonus tip for you! Always focus on the lifetime value of the customer and not just on a one-time sale. And in doing so, consider “Down-selling”.

Down-selling (which is the opposite of upselling), is about pitching a lower-cost product in order to increase the chances of conversion. Think about it this way, if a customer is about to leave your store without making a purchase, you’re looking at no revenue from a visitor to your store.

One of the reasons could certainly be the price of the product. Try offering them a discount code or free shipping for the products they were looking at. If they make a purchase, you’ve just earned yourself a sale and a customer you can market additional products to. That is in a way an ups-ell!

So, there you have it! A wide range of strategies you can try out on your WooCommerce store. Is there any particular idea that caught your fancy? Are there any tactics you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section below!

Nitansha Tanwar

Nitansha is a Content Marketer at WisdmLabs. She’s a LearnDash enthusiast and is determined to help readers navigate through the WordPress ecosystem.

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