Everything You NEED To Know About Cross-Selling & Upselling

Looking to improve profitability and bolster success within your retail operation?

Cross-selling and upselling can be the keys you’re lacking.

However, in order to successfully harnesses these options, you need to know a few things about each.

Most importantly, you need to realise that they’re not the same thing.

Too many small business owners make that mistake.


Upselling is the process of moving a customer from a lower-priced product or service to a higher priced option.

For instance, suppose you sell computers.

A customer comes in looking to replace a dying home PC.

They’re looking at the budget models and price comparing.

Initially, they lean towards a bottom-end machine, but you know that it won’t really do what they want.

By focusing on benefits to the customer, you upsell them to a more capable machine with a longer list of features that will better fit their needs.

Upselling isn’t really based on customer need, so much as it is on building up the value of the higher priced item.

Again, this should be done based on benefits, not necessarily features.

Sure, doubling the amount of RAM in a computer might be a great thing, but your customer is probably more interested in the fact that they’ll be able to open and close programs faster and enjoy better productivity.


Cross-selling is the process of selling related items to a customer in addition to their primary purchase.

For instance, suppose you run a shoe store.

A customer comes in looking for a pair of work boots.

You’re able to show them a pair that suits their needs perfectly and that’s within their budget.

However, you know that the stress on the laces often causes premature wear and tear, so on the way to the cash register, you suggest a pair of replacement laces.

You also suggest some shoe polish to help minimise scuffs and soiling.

The customer purchases both the extra laces and the polish, along with the boots.

This is an example of cross-selling.

Cross-selling relies on a definite need on the part of the customer, and addresses that need through complementary products.

Know When To Use Each Approach

Both cross-selling and upselling can be powerful tools, allowing you to enhance profitability with each sale.

You’ll need to know when to use both approaches, though.

You’ll also need to train your staff in cross-selling and upselling, and encourage them to make an effort with each customer.

In addition to ensuring that your staff members are all onboard with the process, you should really consider tracking the data associated with both upsells and cross-sells.

This can be invaluable information that allows you to make connections between items that are frequently bought together, as well as with items that are often upgraded to or from.

Based on that information, you can adjust your sales process, as well as make important decisions about your inventory.

Thanks again

The Retail Sales Academy Team

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