[New Era] Bundles AI: Auto-generate & sell the best performing bundles 🤖

Upselling Psychology: A Peek into your Customers’ Minds (+ 4 Tips)

Upselling psychology: Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what your customers were thinking as they browsed your store? While customer mind-reading technology is sadly lagging behind, there are some ways you can get a glimpse into what motivates buyers. 

In this article, we are going to explore upselling psychology. In particular, we will focus on the factors behind sales psychology and the best sales psychology tips. 

What is upselling?

Upselling is a sales tactic in which customers spend more than they had originally intended. In other words, a customer comes into your shop interested in one item. However, they walk out with more than the original item they had planned to purchase. In some cases, customers may not purchase the item they initially thought about. Instead, they checkout with several other items.

Whatever the case, upselling consists of getting customers to spend more. While that may sound straightforward, the big question lies in how to entice your customers to spend more. Therefore, we must understand what compels customers to spend more.

Let’s consider this situation.

A customer visits your e-commerce site. Your brand specializes in cosmetics. The customer wants to purchase skincare products. In addition to skincare products, they purchase eye shadow and lipstick. 

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Of course! But the question remains, what compelled the customer to purchase the additional products?

Was it price?

Was it quality?

Was it the brand?

All of the above?

The truth is that several factors go into upselling customers. While price influences upselling significantly, it’s not the only factor. There are other factors at play. When you see these factors in action, you can leverage them to your advantage.

Source: dipalready.com

Why is upselling important?

Given that customer acquisition costs are constantly increasing, and there is more competition than ever for customers, making the most of every visitor to your store is essential for your success. Focusing on increasing your average order value (AOV) by selling more to your existing customers is becoming a smarter way to run your business. 

What are some sales psychology tips for successful upselling?

When it comes to using psychology in sales, the best sales psychology tips help you leverage your brand’s unique value proposition. Please note that no matter how good your value proposition is, upselling your customers is a question of timing. 

So, these sales psychology tips aim to help you spot the right time to drive upselling tactics. In doing so, you can apply upselling psychology to your benefit.

Tip 1: Anticipate customers’ needs

One of the most powerful upselling psychology strategies is anticipating customers’ needs. In other words, how can you predict what customers need before they realize they need it?

Savvy brands have learned to anticipate these needs. They present specific items based on past behavior and overall sales trends

Consider this example:

A bakery frequently upsells its customers every time they buy a cake.

How so?

The bakery anticipates their needs. The bakery can’t predict when a customer needs a birthday cake. Still, the bakery can anticipate the customer might need candles and cake toppers. So, the bakery places these items on display. When customers purchase a birthday cake, the staff offers these additional items. More often than not, customers purchase them.

In this example, the bakery understands what items customers need but may have neglected to purchase. Consequently, purchasing birthday candles and cake toppers, even at a higher price, is ultimately cheaper because it saves them the trouble of shopping elsewhere for these items.

So, when your e-commerce site evaluates its upselling strategy, it’s helpful to ask these questions:

Please remember that the more you can anticipate what customers need and want, the easier it will be for you to target upselling opportunities.

upselling psychology
Source: glacierpeakholistics.com

Tip 2: Ready to buy, ready to pay

In sales psychology, ready to buy means ready to pay. When a customer has decided to go through with a purchase, they have evaluated their financial capabilities. They have determined they can pay for it. Even when customers make impulse purchases, they do so because they know they have the means to pay. This sales psychology principle is on full display when customers make impulse purchases on their credit cards. They may not have the cash, but they do have the credit to follow through on their purchase.

When using sales psychology, it’s important to note that when a customer has decided to buy, they have the means to pay. Now, here is where upselling psychology comes into play. When a customer is ready to pay, it opens the door for using psychology in sales. Here is a classic but effective technique:

Once a customer reaches the cart page on your e-commerce site, the page displays popups or ads such as “customers also bought this” or “you might also be interested in.” These recommended items suggest additional purchases to customers. Please remember the customer is ready to pay, so the likelihood of them adding more items to their cart is much greater.

upselling psychology
Source: try.pickystory.com

Furthermore, included bundles or combos can push your upselling psychology over the edge. For instance, a customer purchases one jar of a skincare cream. At the checkout, a bundle deal appears, suggesting something like “buy two, get the third one free.” The thought of getting three jars for the price of two may be too good to pass up. So, the customer purchases the second jar.

Congratulations! You have just upsold a happy customer.

Please remember that the best time to upsell a customer is when they are ready to pay. Try to avoid pushing items on customers from the start. Allow them to browse your site. Once they have added items to their cart, you can move in with bundle or combo deals. These types of deals will surely help you upsell customers.

Tip 3: Embrace scarcity

Scarcity is a question of supply and demand. If customers want a product that happens to be abundantly available, they will delay their purchase decisions.

How so?

Unless the customer needs a product right away, they will postpone purchase decisions if they know they can get it down the road. That mindset changes when the product’s availability is scarce.

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

Think about that for a moment (and if it helps, compare it to buying toilet paper in 2020).

If the product you want is in short supply, you must act quickly. Otherwise, the product may be gone by the time you make up your mind. Generally speaking, the scarcity mindset accelerates the ready to buy, ready to pay process. If the customer feels they risk missing out, they will hurry to make their purchase.

That opens the door for upselling opportunities.

For instance, your site runs a sale on a specific item. The sale is valid “while supplies last.” Simultaneously, your sale applies to product bundles and combos. The customer now has the chance to get the product they want at a discount, and they can opt for a bundle deal.

The scarcity mindset works based on the following sales psychology principle. Scarce products are more valuable than abundant ones. Therefore, people are willing to pay more to ensure they will get it when it’s available. In contrast, readily available products have less perceived value. Please note that this has little to do with the product’s usefulness. It has to do with the “fear of missing out.” You can appeal to consumers’ fears by reinforcing limitations even when the product is widely available.

Tip 4: … And urgency

The perfect counterpart to scarcity is urgency. One of the most effective sales psychology tips you can implement is creating a sense of urgency. But what does it mean to create a sense of urgency? Like scarcity, urgency underscores limitation. In this case, we’re not talking about limited quantities. Instead, we’re talking about limited time.

Think about it this way.

If customers have all the time in the world to complete a purchase, they will take their time. Unless customers have some reason urging them to purchase the item, they will take their time to follow through on their purchase. In some instances, customers may never complete a purchase. This reason explains why cart abandonment commonly occurs.

When you create a sense of urgency, you trigger a customer’s fear, that is, the fear of missing out on a great deal. You can include messages such as “limited time only” or countdown timers on a checkout page to achieve this effect. For instance, your checkout can display a message such as “your item has been reserved for the next hour,” helps urge customers to complete the purchase. 

Source: zenbivy.com

A great tactic that leverages urgency is a flash sale. Flash sales use sales psychology effectively because they emerge unexpectedly and only give customers a limited time to purchase. This approach communicates to the customer that they only have a small window to take advantage of the special offer(s). 

However, there’s one catch. Flash sales should not become a regular occurrence. In other words, flash sales serve to incentivize customers to purchase. Also, flash sales ought to target various products. If you run flash sales for the same products regularly, the effect will eventually wane. 

Ideally, your flash sales should happen on different days and should target different products. Keeping customers on their toes will ensure you get the right effect.

What have we learned about upselling psychology at PickyStory?

Looking for some more tips and tricks to upsell successfully? Here are a few things we’ve learned:

Upselling works best with related or relevant products

When upselling customers, you must ensure that products are related and relevant to one another. Otherwise, you risk confusing customers. For instance, a customer looking to buy a hammer might be interested in purchasing nails. 

However, you might confuse the customer if you suggest purchasing coffee beans. Therefore, you must ensure that product bundles, combos, or offers include products that directly correlate to each other. Doing so triggers a logical reaction in the customers’ minds leading you to upsell your customers.

upselling psychology
Source: samarabags.com

Customers appreciate and trust product suggestions

In a real-life brick-and-mortar store, a customer can ask a salesperson for product recommendations, how to pair certain items, or which products are part of the same set. Online, without the ability to physically connect with your customers, this can present a challenge. 

By creating upsell deals and bundles, you’re actually offering a lot of value to your customers. You are potentially selling more products to them, but you are also helping them find what they need, and what pairs well together. Customers enjoy a simplified shopping experience and will appreciate your input. 

upselling psychology
Source: oliveetoriel.com

Pre-designed packs generally work best

On the whole, suggestion pre-designed packages work well with customers. For example, offering a “starter pack” helps newcomers to your brand identitfy with your products. Customers love the simplicity of being able to add a whole combo product to their cart with one click.

However, it would be best if you didn’t dismiss offering customization options. Allowing customers to make their own product bundles can go a long way toward improving your sales psychology strategy.

Source: thebrowtrio.com

Alternatively, let your customers pick

Speaking of customization, allowing your customers as many customization options as possible helps you boost your upselling psychology strategy. For instance, allowing customers to mix and match colors and sizes provides your shop with a great opportunity to upsell customers. 

Thus, offering pre-designed packs and customization options gives your customers the best of all worlds. They can go with a suggested package that you have carefully curated for them, or they can use their judgment to build the best packages to suit their needs, tastes, and styles.

Source: lushdecor.com

Use upselling psychology to sell more to each customer

When done right, upselling can be an effective strategy for generating more revenue from each customer that visits your store. PickyStory offers a great suite of tools that enable you to set up irresistible upselling deals throughout your store. 

Offer product bundles, kits with tiered pricing, in-cart deals, and much more. Start using PickyStory to make the most of every store visit. 

If you’re looking for more e-commerce tips and recommendations, check out the PickyStory blog.

Good Luck!

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

Generate more revenue from every store visit.

Offer irresistible deals across your buyer's journey.


Back to top

Not enough sales?

Capture every drop of revenue with PickyStory's complete upsell platform.


Get matched with the right partner. PickyStory will do all the work to connect you with one of our awesome partners.

Trusted by the fastest-growing
e-commerce brands

vertical logos

See PickyStory in action


Convert more visitors into buyers with PickyStory's e-commerce conversion platform

By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from PickyStory.

Trusted by the fastest-growing e-commerce brands


Book a demo to learn more about PickyStory's e-commerce upsell platform

By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from PickyStory.

Trusted by the fastest-growing
e-commerce brands

vertical logos