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What Is Cross Selling in Retail? The Pros and Cons

As a retailer, you’ve probably heard of cross selling and may have even tried it out in your store. But what is cross selling in retail, really?And how do you know whether or not cross selling is right for your business? This article tells you everything you need to know about cross selling including the pros and cons of this technique.

What is Cross Selling in Retail?

What is cross selling in retail? Cross-selling is when a company sells an additional product to a client. It’s beneficial for both the client and the business. For customers, it gives them the chance to purchase products they didn’t know existed. For businesses, it increases revenue.

For example, consider a fast-food employee asking if you want to add fries to your order. This is a cross-sell.

The french fries are an excellent addition to the hamburger. An up-sell would be an expensive upgrade, or an additional add-on.

The fast-food restaurant is trying to sell you a more expensive version of your original purchase.

If a client hired your agency to build a website, you might offer copywriting for each page’s content. As an agency, if you’re hired to design ad graphics, you could cross-sell the client on post-click landing page design services. If they’ve hired your agency to build a website, offer them copywriting services for each page’s content.

Sales professionals often use cross selling techniques in order to increase the value of a sale. This can include appealing to buyers who have already committed to purchase, in order to add on related or complementary products.

Many ecommerce retailers use cross-selling as a way to enhance online sales. Cross-selling can be a great way to boost your product sales and profits, and it can be used in both online and offline transactions.

How can cross-selling increase retail revenue?

Cross-Selling to existing customers is a great way to boost retail sales. By suggesting related items, you can increase the amount that your customers spend.

Cross-selling can increase retail revenue in a few ways. First, when you offer services alongside products, customers are more likely to purchase both.

Second, cross-selling can create loyalty among customers, which can lead to repeat business and referrals.

Finally, cross-selling can help you upsell customers on higher-priced items or services, generating more revenue per sale.

By offering a loyalty discount, the retail store is able to get customers to spend more. The customer loyalty program gives members exclusive discounts and free shipping on orders, which encourages them to make future purchases. 

Cross-Selling Versus Upselling

People sometimes get confused between cross-selling and upselling, but it’s important to know the difference.

Cross-selling is the practice of offering related products or services to a customer who is already interested in what you’re selling. Upselling, on the other hand, is convincing a customer to buy a more expensive option than they initially selected.

Upselling and cross-selling are beneficial when done right, giving customers the maximum value while generating more sales without the cost of many other marketing campaigns.

Enhance your Ecommerce strategy with cross-selling

Using cross-selling techniques can help increase your customers’ overall spend and deepen your relationship with them. It’s important to consider how to time your offers, what products to offer, and when to follow up.

Good cross-selling practices to follow include keeping it simple, incentivizing customers, and looking for unique opportunities for cross-selling. This can be done by focusing on post-sale opportunities.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cross-Selling

Many companies use effective sales tactics like cross selling to boost their revenue. This strategy is not just to offer them more products, but requires skills.

The primary advantage of cross-selling is that it can increase revenues for a company. When a customer buys more products, they generate more revenue for the business.

Increased customer loyalty -Another advantage of cross-selling is that it can increase customer loyalty. If a customer likes the products they purchase, they are more likely to come back and buy from the company again.

Increased profits -Another advantage of cross-selling is that it can lead to increased profits. If a company sells more products, they will make more money.

Increased customer satisfaction. The ability to upsell Cross-selling can be a great way to increase revenues, brand loyalty, and client satisfaction. By offering related products or services to your customers, you can upsell them on items they may need or want. This can be a great way to boost your bottom line and keep your customers coming back for more. 

There are some disadvantages to cross-selling as well:

The potential for returns or defaults on payments -One disadvantage of cross-selling is that customers may return or default on payments for the products they purchase. This can cost the company more than what the customer generated in revenues.

The need for extra staff or resources -Another disadvantage of cross-selling is that it may require extra staff or resources to manage. If a company needs to hire additional employees or use more materials to accommodate increased sales, this can cut into profits.

Another disadvantage of cross-selling is that it can be time consuming, require extra training for staff and can sometimes annoy customers if they feel like they are being ‘sold to’ too much.

The potential to increase service-related costs is one of the main disadvantages of cross-selling. This is because businesses need to invest in additional staff and training to be able to offer a wider range of products and services.

There is also the potential for a pushy and aggressive perception if sales staff are too forceful in their attempts to sell additional products. This can annoy customers and lead them to take their business elsewhere.

Cross-selling best practices

Cross-selling requires intuition, communication skills, and the ability to imagine yourself in the customer’s place. These best practices will help you improve your cross-selling skills.

Keep it simple

Do not overwhelm customers with too many choices for complementary products and services. Cross-selling is difficult if you confuse or dilute the customer’s attention.

Concentrate on a few items that provide a clear benefit for the customer. This is better than trying to fill their screen with every option. Customers who need more detail won’t mind a few extra clicks to find it.

Show customers the possibilities

Customers respond better to you showing than telling, as is often the case in retail sales. It makes sense. Think about it. If the salesperson demonstrated the product in action, you’d likely feel more motivated to buy.

If you are an online retailer of apparel, you might include a picture of the clothing that the customer clicked, paired with accessories or complementary pieces.

Use your customer research findings

You can use your customer’s buying habits to your advantage if you analyze them. To determine which products and services to offer to which customers, you can analyze your data. Your purchase history can help you to categorize your inventory according to customer segment. This will allow you to decide which products are most likely to appeal to each customer.

You can also access your data to capitalize upon special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. Offer customers special deals, such as a gift with a purchase and a 1-day discount coupon.

TIP – Use an automated email tool to send birthday and anniversary coupons to your customers.

Do not suggest products at the wrong price points

Consider the customer’s initial selection and offer related products within the same price range. A $50 stand is not a good idea if a customer is purchasing a $25 watch. The stand might be a good fit for a customer who is purchasing a $500 watch. The best rule of thumb is to not exceed a certain percentage the original item’s price.

This cross-selling technique has been a success for the airline industry. An economy customer may be willing to pay a small fee for extra legroom, but it’s unlikely they’d choose a first-class seat. It would be more appropriate for passengers who have business-class seats to request a first-class upgrade.

Offer customers incentives

Have you ever added more items into your cart when a retailer offers free shipping at a certain price point? This is a great example of cross-selling incentives. Other incentives include BOGO sales and discounted accessories when you purchase.

To encourage cross-selling, make sure to calculate your margin carefully.

Offer bundle packages

To encourage greater sales, create bundles of complementary products. Bundled packages can be discounted or highlighted for their convenience. Customers will appreciate not having to spend time looking on your site for all the information they need to make a product function.

Bundling products that require special accessories can be very effective. You could bundle accessories that are specific to a product with your digital purchase, which can save the customer time and frustration later.

Cross-selling after a sale

Cross-selling opportunities can sometimes be found after customers have purchased their product. To ensure customers are satisfied with the product, follow up with them and suggest related products. Follow-up emails, phone calls or text messages are all ways to reach out to customers.


So, what is cross selling in retail? Cross-selling is when a company sells an additional product to a client. Overall, the decision of whether or not to cross sell in retail comes down to a balancing act.

You’ll need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages carefully to decide what’s best for your business. If you do decide to cross sell, make sure you’re doing it in a way that benefits both your customers and your business goals.