If you are new to the E-Commerce platform and don’t have an understanding of the terms upselling and cross-selling, you are in for a treat. The E-Commerce industry has been steadily evolving and using various tools to sell products in the online market. Gone are the days when it was only about competing prices and having a recognized brand name. These days customers are looking for businesses that offer exemplary customer services that add to the overall shopping experience. You might be wondering how to build your E-Commerce platforms to reach out to the new-age customers. Well, the answer to this lies in the basic principles of marketing called upselling and cross-selling.


What is upselling? Well, in simple terms it is when a vendor or a business owner tries to sell a better or the best variant of a product that a customer wants to buy. It is an effective sales technique where vendors provide solutions to serve the customers in their best interests.

Many are times when we look for products online, we are bombarded with tons of options to pick and choose, and sometimes even as we narrow down on a particular product, you will see many suggestions of different variants of the same product. For example, when you look for a phone or a laptop online, you will see that the shopping website will list down the product you were looking for and also display a better version of the product you looked for. Or when you narrow down on a particular phone, you will still see a comparison table that highlights the features and pricing of the product with other variants of it. This is a classic example of an online upsell.


Unlike upselling where a better or improved version of a product is offered; in cross-selling multiple products that complement each other or are essential to each other are offered as a package deal. When you suggest these package deals to your customers. It adds a wealth of knowledge to the customers to understand the benefits of these additional products to make an informed decision.

You will see that many E-Commerce websites incorporate cross-selling very extensively. For example, when you look for a product, be it a coffee mug, or a dinner set or earphones, you will see a section where they list down a few more products that are related to the products you search, like a coaster for the mug, or table mats for your dinner set or a pouch for your earphones. Most times you always find a section that says “customers also bought this” listed below the product you want to purchase. This is one of the ways in which E-Commerce websites use cross-selling on their website.

Best practices

The general rule of thumb is to understand your customer’s needs and pitch a relevant product. Offering a car cover to those purchasing a car; or providing sturdy cases for those looking to buy a phone or a tablet; or proposing the idea of adding a book to their order when one plans to purchase a bookshelf are some classic cross-selling examples. 

It is an absolute necessity to tailor-make your offers to suit the customer’s needs as it would go a long way in empowering your customers. And when you master the art of providing the right products to your customers and add sense to their purchases, it is highly likely that they will return to your E-Commerce platform to purchase more products. This is because they look at your business as a genuine partner that is interested in helping them.