Cross Selling in Ecommerce: Explaining the Concept

Cross-selling: one of the best ways to get a customer to spend more. It’s an efficient tactic that’s worked time and time again for eCommerce and traditional businesses alike.

Improving order value one customer at a time, cross-selling is one of the most useful eCommerce strategies out there. This short post will discuss the various strategies you can implement on your eCommerce store for cross-selling. With these, you’ll be able to significantly improve the conversions on your eCommerce store. So, let’s begin. 

Cross-Selling Explained 

You have a product in your eCommerce store. Really nice. But you find out that there is another product that your customers are searching for after adding the product to their cart.

Now, wouldn’t it be better to show them the product from the get-go, instead of making them search for it? Offering customers products directly related to their products is the crux of cross-selling. When purchasing, the customer’s psych focuses on improving the quality of purchase in their store

Cross-selling by an eCommerce store ensures that the average order value and the purchase value for the customer is maximized to the most possible extent. It’s not something new in eCommerce. In fact, you can even see examples before eCommerce.

You had the likes of sales associates within a store trying to cross-sell your products or product bundles that you buy in the store. But in an eCommerce setting, there is no comparison to Amazon. The giant has a powerful algorithm that showcases similar products in the form of “customers also bought” and “may also interest you”. 

Cross Selling in EcommerceWhat Is Cross Selling? - 3 Steps to cross selling to customers

Cross-selling in eCommerce is all about the placement of products alongside main products. To simplify, you have a product that the customer is ready to purchase.

How close by with the product entry are the complementary products? Are they below the product entry? On the right-hand side of the product?

You see, all these placements are good enough as they are, but it still depends on what your store is all about and what you’re trying to sell.

Apart from showing “products” you may like, there is also the concept of product bundling, which is very much related to cross-selling. However, there are downsides to it.

If you don’t have the data at your disposal, you could be selling a product bundle to a customer who just wants a simple product + complement. They’re not going to buy the product. 

How To Cross-SellWhy Cross-Selling & Upselling important for business growth?

If you’re looking to improve your eCommerce store for cross-selling, then it’s fairly easy. The first thing you need to look at is your product catalog and organize it on the basis of complementary products. This ensures that you have, first and foremost, a basis through which you will display your products to the customer. 

When you’ve organized your products into complementary groups, that’s where things become easy for you. At this point, you can get a custom eCommerce module developed for cross-selling, install a plugin or extension for it, or just bundle the product together.

In our opinion, a custom eCommerce module for cross-selling works best in this scenario. Using that, you won’t have to rely on a plugin or extension, thus reducing server space usage.

On top of that, it can give users a choice rather than simply giving them a product bundle where they have to say no if they want to purchase the product individually. 

What kind of products should you cross sell? 

Cross-selling should occur with anything that is directly related to an individual product itself. Think of a laptop. There are many things that can go along with it. Accessories are countless. From headsets, to USB sticks, mouse, and more.

However, the most crucial piece of equipment that you can purchase is a laptop bag. Having that secures your laptop from all sorts of external harm. For individuals looking to buy a new laptop, you can advertise laptop bags as “you may also like”. 

Cross Selling and Upselling: The DifferenceUp and cross selling? Sell more! - Ecommerce Result

At the surface of this debate lies the perception that both of these concepts are similar in nature. They’re not, and are very different from one another. Let’s tell you the differences between them in-depth: 

  • The cross-selling process is all about providing customers with complementary options, as we’ve discussed above. This could include headphones for your laptop, or a camera bag after purchasing a camera. 
  • In upselling, you try to sell a product that’s more valuable and expensive than the product the customer is currently buying. A good example of this is selling them a more expensive camera than the customer is already buying. 

Benefits Of Cross-Selling for Sales

With cross-selling, there’s serious money to be made if you’re strategic enough. Ideally, you should ensure that some of your cross-selling products are located very close to the product a customer is about to buy.

If not, then you should ensure its visibility to the customer. This allows the customer to view the product directly after the add to cart button. Moreover, you can also include pop-ups to alert the customer that they should buy it.

Either way, cross-selling is a strategy that can give you serious returns in the long run. With profits ranging between 10% and 30%, they can give out significant returns in the long run. Let’s analyze the many benefits cross-selling can provide your brand: 

  • The average order value for your product increases. When persuaded correctly, your customers will be able to increase the value they gain from a singular product.
  • It increases your sales margins for a particular product without you resorting to new customer acquisition plans. You can convert the existing customer even further. 
  • It helps unpopular products to get sales. There is always inventory that goes past its expiration date. With a proper cross selling strategy and efficient product bundling, you can get your unsold product across to the customer. 
  • It helps you gain a more in-depth look at customer preferences and what they need from their online purchase. 
  • It helps you analyze inventory and adjust stock orders. Again, it provides a more favorable accounting metric for your products, with multiple products sold. 
  • Provides value to customers’ shopping experience, giving them suggestions on which products will fit best with their purchase. 

How To Define A Cross-Selling Strategy?

There are plenty of ways you can go about managing your cross-selling strategy. The ideal first step is to understand the customer as much as possible. What are their preferences? Their pain points? Their demographics? All these are important metrics to understand before making a cross-selling strategy decision. 

All this data, when gathered, helps you come up with creative strategies for your business. For example, you can create product entries for cross-selling that include video so the customer knows exactly what they will purchase from your store. Alternatively, you could add a pop-up where you showcase the product as we’ve discussed above. These are all useful digital marketing strategies for eCommerce that you can take into account. 

If you’re a B2B eCommerce business, you could go on calls with customers and then cross-sell them products independent of the store. You can sell them digitally or physically, it depends on you. However, we mentioned this because B2B customers are different from B2C. The differences are significant here.


There is nothing universal about cross-selling. All the strategies you apply on your store will, of course, be used by other businesses as well. The only difference is that there will be a little adjustment or innovation towards it. Your goals and motivations for using the cross-selling will also vary. The main goal is to experiment as much as you can. This allows you to understand whether or not cross-selling strategy is for you.

Khadija Ansari
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