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The complete Shopify upsell guide: Best practices, tips, and examples

In the business world, companies strive to earn as much revenue as they can, any way they can. While strategies abound, one strategy is always effective: upselling.

The secret is to find the most effective way to implement an upselling strategy. Upselling isn’t only about getting customers to spend more at your Shopify store. Upselling is about giving customers value as your e-commerce site generates more revenue. 

When Shopify stores combine value and effective upselling strategies, the results are impressive for both customers and stores. This approach creates a win-win outcome for both customers and shops.  

In this article, you will find the complete guide to Shopify upselling your customers. You will uncover the key to generating more revenue while delivering added value. So, let’s get started by defining what Shopify upselling involves.

What is Shopify upselling?

In essence, upselling involves getting your customers to spend more money at your shop. Shopify upselling strategies entice customers to spend more by offering promotions, deals, and product upgrades.

Please note that upselling is not selling more for the sake of it. Shopify upselling is about finding logical connections between products. When these connections occur, customers see the value in purchasing more. 

Consider this example:

A customer browses through your store looking to purchase a coffee maker machine. When the customer proceeds to the checkout, a popup message suggests purchasing a pound of premium roast coffee. The customer sees the value in purchasing the coffee maker and coffee. So, they purchase the coffee.

Voila! In this situation, your shop has just upsold a customer. 

In contrast, suggesting a pair of shoes to go with the coffee maker makes no sense. In that situation, the upselling strategy would be entirely useless. 

So, what’s the lesson?

Shopify upselling is about delivering value whenever possible. Upselling is about providing your customers with the opportunity to save time, money, and trouble. Your customers will be much more willing to pull the trigger on your upselling deals when you do that.
 

Now, let’s take a look at two main ways to upsell your Shopify customers.

First, shops upsell their customers by enticing them to purchase more items. This approach works when a deal is better than purchasing individual items. Let’s take a look at the following deal:

shopify upsell
Source: try.pickystory.com

In this deal, customers can choose any t-shirt they like. Each t-shirt costs $14. However, customers can purchase a three-pack to get a 10% discount. Each t-shirt now costs $12.60. As a result, the customer sees they get a better deal when buying three. Moreover, a six-pack qualifies the customer for a 15%. 

How does this deal work?

This deal is a great example of an upsell. The customer spends $37.80 instead of $14. Additionally, the customer gets a better deal by saving money. In this situation, e-commerce has given its customers added value. 

Second, e-commerce sites entice their customers to spend more by getting them to buy more. In this situation, an online shop doesn’t necessarily save customers money, but shops save customers time and effort.

Consider this situation:

A fashion brand offers men’s suits for $500. Customers can buy the suit, or they can purchase an entire outfit. For an extra $75, customers can add a shirt and a tie. The site suggests shirts and ties match the suit’s color and design pattern.

How does this deal deliver value?

This deal saves customers time. Instead of searching for a shirt and tie to match their outfit, customers can purchase the combo pack. As a result, the shop upsells customers by suggesting useful products.

Let’s take a look at how New Edition Fashion does it:

shopify shop the look
Source: neweditionfashion.com

On their “Shop the Look” page, customers can browse through different looks until they find an entire outfit that they like. Once they choose that particular outfit, they can click on it to see a popup with all the products included, and add them to their purchase all from one page. 

shopify upsell
Source: neweditionfashion.com

Upselling on Shopify works utilizes these strategies. You can upsell your customers by offering bundles, combos, and bulk discounts. Depending on your products or services, you can use one type of promotion, or all of them, to entice your customers to spend more. Your customers win because you offer greater value by helping them save more (time, money, and effort) in the long run.

What is the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

You may have heard of cross-selling as well. So, what’s the difference between Shopify upselling and cross-selling?

In essence, cross-selling consists of selling additional products related to a given product or service.

Consider this example:

A customer browses your site looking for pants. Automatically, your site suggests other products such as belts, shoes, and shirts. These recommended products aim to entice your customer to purchase related items. Therefore, they spend more on your site by purchasing additional products or product add-ons.

shopify upsell
Source: try.pickystory.com

In contrast, an example of an e-commerce upselling deal would mean offering a “3 for 2” deal. In other words, the customer purchases two pairs of pants and gets a third one free. Thus, Shopify upselling is all about getting your customers to buy more of the same item.

Please bear in mind that upselling and cross-selling work as long as the customer finds value in purchasing more. Generally speaking, this value entails paying less pertain when compared to the item’s regular price. Also, upselling and cross-selling can be used in tandem – you don’t have to stick to one or the other. 

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

What are the advantages of upselling on Shopify?

There are three key advantages to a Shopify upsell deal or promotion as a seller.

#1 Shopify upsell advantage: Generate more revenue

Indeed, Shopify upsell deals generate more revenue. On the surface, it may seem like you make less money, particularly if you offer “3 for 2” or “50% off on the second item” deals. 

Here is the rationale:

Item A retails for $10. If you sell two items, you make $20. That’s pretty straightforward, right?

However, there’s a catch here. Selling both items may take longer than you anticipate. Therefore, you end up generating less revenue because it takes longer to sell each item.

Bundles and combos generate more revenue because they cut down on your time to sell an item and increase your Shopify sales. For instance, let’s suppose you run a “50% off the second item” promotion. In this situation, you sell two products at once. Sure, you make $15 instead of $20. However, you make more in the long run because you don’t need to make two separate sales. 

Now, suppose you make two $15 sales. That’s $30 instead of $20. Do you see where we’re going with this? This approach helps you move your inventory much quicker, increase your conversion rate, and generate more overall income.

On the whole, upselling generates roughly 10% to 30% of stores’ revenue. As a result, you can expect a significant short-term bump in your store’s revenue by implementing Shopify upselling strategies. The bulk of your store’s revenue will come from upselling in the long run. For instance, Amazon reported back in 2006 that about 35% of its revenue came from upselling. Imagine that!

#2 Shopify upsell advantage: High stock turnover

Speaking of inventory, upselling promotions help you turn over your stock much quicker. The shorter your sales cycle is, the more money you make in business. Therefore, Shopify upsell deals help you cut down your sales cycle as much as possible.

shopify upsell
Source: https://www.evoeaustralia.com

The logic here is that selling more items, even at a lower price, helps you sell more than selling fewer items at a higher price. After all, the last thing you want is to hang on to your inventory for a long time. Even if you sell made-to-order products, you want to make as many sales as possible in as short a time.

Here’s how to calculate how your inventory turnover is working out.

Start with a benchmark. The formula works out like this:

Cost of goods sold (COGS) / Average inventory

For example:

You sold 1,000 units at the cost of $10,000. Your average inventory value was $5,000. Thus, $10,000 divided by $5,000 equals 2. This figure means you had to replenish your stock twice during the specific timeframe (week, month, year).

Next, track the change in your stock turnover by the result you get from the formula. In short, the higher the number you get, the more often you need to replenish your stock. 

What does that mean? You’re selling more because you have to replenish your stock much more often. In contrast, a lower number means your stock isn’t moving quite as much since you don’t need to replenish items as often. 

Please bear in mind that every industry is different. Nevertheless, most industry standards consider an inventory turnover ratio of 5 to 10 as healthy. Anything below 5 is concerning, while anything above 10 is fantastic.

#3 Shopify upsell advantage: More profitability

Shopify upsell promotions improve your bottom line. When you upsell, you reduce costs, thereby improving your margins.

Consider this situation:

Product A retails for $10. The wholesale price (and other associated costs) means that the product costs you $5. That’s a 100% product margin. However, you offer free shipping. Free shipping adds 50 cents to your cost. That’s $5.50. Your margin is now $4.50 per item, or 81%. 

Let’s break it down:

Pricing factor Value
Product A retail price
$10
(-) cost of Product A
$5
(-) shipping cost of Product A
$0.50
Total profit
$4.50
Profit margin
$4.50 / $5.50 = 0.81 or 81%

In this example, product A has a profit margin of 90%. Please bear in mind this profit margin is based on a single product. Now, let’s suppose you sell two items at $15. Your cost is $10 total. That’s a 50% margin on the total sale. Shipping still costs you 50 cents. Your cost is now $10.50. That means you make $4.50 on both items. That works out to a 42.8% margin.

Pricing factor Value
Combo product retail price
$15
(-) cost of combo product
$10
(-) shipping cost of combo product
$0.50
Total profit
$4.50
Profit margin
$4.50 / $10.50 = 0.428 or 42.8%

On the surface, it appears that this bundle deal is a bad idea due to the shrinking profit margin. Now suppose you make two sales at the combo’s retail price. That’s a $9 profit compared to a $4.50 from one sale.

The lesson here is that the increased sales volume improves revenue by boosting gross profit despite the lower profit margin.

How is this possible?

It all boils down to upselling and sales psychology. Customers perceive they are getting a better deal. So, you make more sales. While the margin is higher than the regular retail price, you increase your profitability by selling more despite the lower margin.

On the whole, improved revenue generation means your Shopify store’s profitability should also increase. An easy estimate correlates directly with your increased revenue. If your revenue climbs by 10%, you can expect your profitability to climb by up to 10%. Please bear in mind that your store’s profitability depends on your cost control. So, it’s crucial to keep cost control in check.

Consider this situation:

Your revenue increases by 10%, thanks to Shopify upselling. However, your costs increase by 5%. Automatically, your net profitability increase is 5%. The ideal situation is to keep your costs in check so that increased revenue better reflects on your bottom line.

#4 Shopify upsell advantage: Cost reduction

Since increasing costs can erode your bottom line, how can you keep costs in check then? The answer to that lies in capitalizing on your current customers. On the whole, it’s much easier to sell more to existing customers. In fact, it’s 60% to 70% easier to sell to existing customers.

What does this situation mean?

You can reduce costs by upselling your existing customers instead of spending significant amounts of money on advertising to attract new ones. Consider this situation:

Your revenue increases by 10%. However, you experience a 5% reduction in your advertising budget. As a result, your profitability has now increased by 15%. This example underscores how truly effective Shopify upselling can be.

#5 Shopify upsell advantage: Added value

Shopify upselling allows you to add value to your traditional product offering. In particular, upselling enables you to offer customers a better deal despite paying more for it. The advantage lies in the perception of getting a better deal.

How does this situation work?

Think about how car dealers upsell customers. Car dealers offer “base” models. These models have all the standard features you can expect. However, the dealer upsells customers by offering custom features. Since these additional features are not available in the base model, customers feel they get a better product. This strategy is especially useful when the total cost of add-ons is less than other comparable models.

There is one catch to this strategy, though.

It’s essential to reduce the number of options customers have to choose. If your brand offers too many choices, customers may become overwhelmed. As a result, it will be difficult for them to choose. In contrast, by limiting the number of choices, usually by offering product combos, you can reduce the effect of decision fatigue on your customers. This approach ultimately makes decisions easier for your customers. 

What are best practices for upselling?

When exploring how to upsell on Shopify, there are four crucial best practices to keep in mind.

#1 Use discounts reasonably

Discounts on Shopify can be a great way to upsell your customers. After all, they get a better deal in terms of price. Psychologically, this approach helps entice your customers to buy more. However, there are three drawbacks to consider when offering discounts.

Using multiple discounts may actually discourage customers from paying full price in the long run. After all, why would anyone pay retail if they can get a bundle, discount code, or special offer?

Let’s take a look at how Dip shampoo does it:

shopify upsell
Source: dipalready.com

In this example, Dip offers a single item at $24. However, the brand uses the pitch “buy more, save more” to entice customers to purchase two and three-packs at a discounted rate. In this example, the brand sells more, thereby boosting its revenue despite a lower profit margin.

Too many discounts will whittle away your profitability. Generally speaking, discounts should encourage your customers to buy more. Therefore, not every item should get a discount. It’s important to discount select items. Typically, best-sellers remain at full price while new products or leftover inventory get discounts.

Overdoing discounts may cause customers to believe your products don’t sell. As such, your store is desperate to get rid of them.

On the whole, discounts should tempt your customer to buy. Thus, using them as a “reward” helps fixate the added value your customers expect to receive. For instance, you can use free gifts and product samples to reward your customers’ loyalty. This approach can lead to even more sales down the road.

A great example of a reward is a “bonus” pack. The general perception is that bonus packs are free. However, they don’t have to be. You can tack on the bonus pack’s price onto the product’s overall price. The difference is the language you use to communicate the bonus pack’s value. One study showed that 73% of customers preferred purchasing a larger item at full price (thanks to the bonus pack) to a smaller size at a reduced price.

#2 Upsell throughout your store

Shopify upsell deals ought to happen throughout your entire storefront. Your customers need to see your Shopify upsell deals at various points. To begin, the homepage is the prime location for upsell promotions.

Also, placing upsell ads on individual ads, carts, and checkout aims to pique customers’ interest. Nevertheless, you must ensure that you avoid flooding your store with upsell ads. After a while, it might get annoying to see endless ads. Consequently, placing upsell prompts on the cart and checkout pages is a great way to go.

The following table illustrates the various locations for great deals throughout your Shopify store:

Location Type of deal
Homepage
Showcase your most popular deals, and showcase a variety of deals as your customers may not be interested in a specific product this early in the journey.
Individual product pages
Suggested and recommended products should go in this section. Make sure they are related to the product on the page itself.
Cart page
Offer more specific deals based on the specific products your customer has in their cart. It’s also a great time to incentivize free shipping.

Your deals should reflect the intentions customers have as they navigate through each section of your e-commerce store. When customers hit the homepage, they should find your most popular deals. In doing so, you can entice them to make a quick decision. Then, individual product pages give you the chance to present customers with choices. 

Keep in mind that too many choices may confuse customers. So, it’s best to keep things simple. Lastly, customers at your checkout page are ready to complete their purchase. As a result, you have one final opportunity to give them a good deal. You might consider saving the best deals for last. 

#3 Upsell related products

Shopify upsell and cross-sell deals should consist of related or relevant items. Attempting to upsell or cross-sell unrelated products may confuse customers, leading your customers to disregard your store’s prompts. Moreover, customers may get upset and leave your store altogether.

Consider this example:

A customer browses bicycles. Then, a Shopify upsell deal suggests kitchen appliances. In this situation, what are the chances that selling a bicycle leads to selling a blender? 

If a customer browses bicycles, your site should suggest something like athletic apparel or safety equipment. Naturally, this approach increases your chances of upselling your customers, and also helps your customers feel like you understand their needs and are helping them (virtually) to find what they’re looking for.

Let’s look at a real-life example of how you can upsell customers. Here is how Huon Aquaculture does it:

Source: shop.huonaqua.com.au

In this example, we can see a great bundle deal for gourmet salmon products. The “Master Hamper” pack represents a $5 discount. But here’s the kicker: at the top of the homepage, we see a message that says, “Free shipping for orders over$149.” 

What does this mean?

You can purchase the Master Hamper for $79 and pay for shipping or spend $149 and save on shipping. Does this strategy work? According to a recent article in the Atlantic, “The ‘pain of paying’ is a psychological discomfort that keeps people from completing purchases.” In other words, if you can keep people from paying for something, your chances of improving your sales increase. Free shipping is one of the ways you can help customers avoid paying for something. Of course, you can always include shopping in the price, but your customers won’t know that.

#4 Use popups wisely

Popups are highly useful Shopify upsell prompts. They allow your store to suggest relevant products your customers might want. However, they can get quite annoying after a while. Too many popups can quickly overwhelm your customers.

Thus, your store should limit its use of popups for upselling – don’t use more than one popup per page, and don’t use them on every page. Make sure they provide genuine interest to your customer – if upselling via a popup, make sure the product or deal offered is specifically related to the products your customer is viewing/has in their cart. 

Let’s take a look at a great example from Past Outdoors:

Source: pastoutdoors.com

We see a popup right after adding a t-shirt to the cart in this example. Why does this popup appear? The popup aims to entice customers to purchase a complementary item to their purchase. Consequently, you present customers with the opportunity to complete their bundle. When customers complete their bundle, you upsell.

How can PickyStory help you upsell on Shopify?

PickyStory helps you generate more revenue by offering product deals throughout your store. PickyStory enables you to maximize your store’s ability to drive sales by upselling to your customers at various points throughout their journey through your store. 

Create Combo Products (an aggregate of several products, sold as one), or offer Kits (with tiered pricing to encourage bulk purchases) on your product pagesYou can also utilize the in-cart upsell offer, an eye-catching popup that’s specifically tailored to your customers depending on the products already in their cart. 

Part of what makes PickyStory so powerful is that you can offer deals throughout your entire store – on product pages, in collections, on dedicated pages, as a popup, and anywhere else you like. Thus, you can maximize your store’s ability to generate profit and drive sales. 

You can create enticing opportunities to upsell your customers from the homepage to the checkout. Best of all, you don’t have to rely on any single Shopify upsell strategy. You can leverage multiple strategies to get the most out of your products’ value.

Some inspiration to get your Shopify upsell deals going

When creating your Shopify upsell strategy, it’s helpful to look at other stores for inspiration. So, here are two great practical examples of e-commerce upselling.

Phase Zero Makeup: A great Shopify upsell example

Phase Zero Makeup has some clever strategies to upsell to their customers. The thing is, you don’t even notice them at first, which is part of what makes them so powerful. 

Source: phasezeromakeup.com

In the example above, Phase Zero Makeup has created a Combo Product with PickyStory. They are offering a three pack (available in different shades) to entice their customers to stock up. Because the Combo Product is displayed as a separate product, rather than an add-on deal, it looks like a regular product rather than an upsell.

The lesson: 

E-commerce customers are savvy. While customers love bargains, they are also able to recognize upselling deals and know when to opt-out of an upsell that doesn’t meet their needs. 

PickyStory Combo Products are an amazingly subtle way of upselling to your customers – you can create packs of products rather than offering your customers the individual items, and because they are sold as a single listing in your store, they convert extremely well.

#2 Samara Bags

Samara Bags has taken a different approach to upselling. Their team has used PickyStory Kits to create an upselling deal for their bags and purses. In this deal, customers can choose from one of four pricing tiers, with different savings at each tier. The savings increase as more products are purchased, incentivizing higher spending and boosting your AOV.

shopify product bundles
Source: samarabags.com

The lesson: 

The messaging used here is almost as important as the savings themselves. Note that “bundle and save” is front-and-center in the title, which ensures that customers are immediately thinking about saving money. Plus, the tiers on the right-hand side focus on the overall savings, rather than the total cost. Telling a customer what they’re saving, rather than what they’re spending, is a great way to encourage them to buy more.

#3 Glacier Peak Holistics

Glacier Peak Holistics is a pet health brand that emphasizes all-natural remedy solutions. They offer several individual products. Nevertheless, this brand uses an effective bundling strategy to entice customers to purchase an entire line of pet health care solutions.

Here is a great example:

Source: glacierpeakholistics.com

The lesson: 

Glacier Peak Holistics uses a suggested bundle recommendation at the bottom of its product page to show customers how to get a better deal. In essence, the site aims to save customers time and effort by suggesting products they can purchase together. This approach reduces decision fatigue for customers while facilitating their purchase decisions.

#4 Pair of Thieves

Pair of Thieves is a clothing brand that knows how to do bundles right. They offer customers individual clothing items and product combos. The product combos are highly effective because they take the guesswork out of meeting customers’ specific needs. Here is a look at how they do it:

Source: pairofthieves.com

The lesson: 

Pair of Thieves offers its PJ Bear Pack as a bundle. Nevertheless, customers can choose individual items. This approach is effective because it allows customers to save time and effort in building their PJ pack. Moreover, they save by purchasing the bundle. 

But there’s another key ingredient in this deal. Atop the product page, we see “free shipping” for orders over $60. This brand knows what it’s doing. They hit customers with a double-whammy that certainly entices them to follow through on their purchases.

Final thoughts on Shopify upsell

Upselling, as a strategy, provides your store with an easy way to increase revenue by driving more sales. You can confidently create product bundles, combos, kits, or discounts to entice your customers to purchase additional products. A solid upselling strategy works well with new customers, improves your bottom line, and helps you maintain a high inventory turnover.

For more tips and advice on how to get your store up and running, check out the PickyStory blog.

Good Luck!

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

Discount type Example
Percentage-based discounts: Buy X and get 10% off
A home and garden brand offers customers 10% off hoses with the purchase of a lawnmower.
Target price: Buy X + Y + Z for $150
A luxury brand offers $150 off with a minimum purchase of $1,200.
Buy one get one FREE
A food brand offers a free pound of coffee with one purchase at the regular price.
Spend over $200 and get X for free
A cosmetics brand offers a free nail polish kit for every purchase over $200.
Fixed price discounts: Buy X + Y + Z and receive $100 off
An electronics brand offers $100 off with the purchase of a computer, printer, and monitor.
Spend over $300 and receive free shipping
A watch retailer offers free shipping on orders over $300.
Discount type Example
Percentage-based discounts: Buy X and get 10% off
A home and garden brand offers customers 10% off hoses with the purchase of a lawnmower.
Target price: Buy X + Y + Z for $150
A luxury brand offers $150 off with a minimum purchase of $1,200.
Buy one get one FREE
A food brand offers a free pound of coffee with one purchase at the regular price.
Spend over $200 and get X for free
A cosmetics brand offers a free nail polish kit for every purchase over $200.
Fixed price discounts: Buy X + Y + Z and receive $100 off
An electronics brand offers $100 off with the purchase of a computer, printer, and monitor.
Spend over $300 and receive free shipping
A watch retailer offers free shipping on orders over $300.
Discount type Example
Percentage-based discounts: Buy X and get 10% off
A home and garden brand offers customers 10% off hoses with the purchase of a lawnmower.
Target price: Buy X + Y + Z for $150
A luxury brand offers $150 off with a minimum purchase of $1,200.
Buy one get one FREE
A food brand offers a free pound of coffee with one purchase at the regular price.
Spend over $200 and get X for free
A cosmetics brand offers a free nail polish kit for every purchase over $200.
Fixed price discounts: Buy X + Y + Z and receive $100 off
An electronics brand offers $100 off with the purchase of a computer, printer, and monitor.
Spend over $300 and receive free shipping
A watch retailer offers free shipping on orders over $300.

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