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

When you think about upselling, what comes to mind?

For me, it’s the classic “would you like fries with that?” example, or the closely related “would you like to supersize that?”. Though subtly different in their nature, these two phrases capture the essence of upselling – selling additional or enhanced products to your customers to generate more revenue. 

Think about adding fries and supersizing menus. Naturally, you must pay more for these options. Nevertheless, bundling each item into a combo is cheaper than purchasing them separately, so your customers feel like they are winning too.

That’s the secret to upselling. 

In this article, you will find the complete guide to selling more on Shopify. You will uncover the key to generating more revenue while delivering added value to your customer base.

What is upselling on Shopify?

In essence, upselling consists of getting your customers to spend more money at your shop. When you upsell on Shopify, you entice customers to spend more by offering promotions, deals, and product upgrades as upsells.

There are two main ways to upsell your Shopify customers.

Firstly, you can get customers to purchase more expensive items. Traditional stores do this all the time. Customers go inside to inquire about a pair of shoes. However, the salesperson convinces the customer that a pair of boots are better. Thus, the customer ends up purchasing a more expensive item.

shopify upsell

Secondly, you can get customers to purchase more items. For example, supermarkets entice you to buy more by offering bulk discounts. Supermarkets often run “buy 2 get 1 free” promotions. In this type of promotion, the customer intends to purchase one time. However, the promotion draws the customer in by offering a lower price per item. Of course, the customer spends more money. But customers save because of the lower price per item.

It follows, then, that upselling on Shopify works the same way. 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 in the long run.

What is the difference between upselling and cross-sell?

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

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.

Another sales technique that’s gaining popularity on Shopify is downselling, but that’s a conversation for another day.

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 upselling 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.

#2 Shopify upselling 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

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.

#3 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 90%. 

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 45% margin.

Doesn’t seem too enticing, right?

Well, suppose you make ten sales at regular retail price. That’s a $45 profit.

Now, suppose you make twenty sales at the upsell price. That’s a $90 profit. 

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.

Shopify upsell deals provide customers with one key advantage. They get more value for their money. Sure, you can make more money by selling more items at regular prices. However, your customers won’t perceive added value. However, a great Shopify upsell deal gives them a better deal for their money. Ultimately, it’s a win-win. The customer gets a better deal, and you make more sales.

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?

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.

#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.

#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.

#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. 

Shopify upsell tactics work well with the right tools. Luckily, Shopify makes creating deals easy with its various apps. So, let’s take a closer look at how Shopify upsell apps can help make deals quick and easy.

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. 


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

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.

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!

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