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Top 5 Hot Tips For Effective Checkout Cross-Sells

Posted by Origins Ecommerce - September 29, 2015 in ,

Offering cross-sells at checkout can be a tricky proposition. If you’re not strategic with your technique, it could have a harmful effect on conversions. Yet for an online retailer to meet aggressive performance goals, cross-selling (or ‘product recommendations’) is a must.

Not only does cross-selling contribute to increased revenue, it benefits the customer as well. By knowing what your existing customers are looking for - and what potential customers might want - you can cater to their needs by offering complementary additions to your product or service.

For software and SaaS companies, it can make all the difference, as cross-selling can increase average cart value by 10-20% or more at no extra cost. With that in mind, here are our top 5 hot tips to optimize your checkout cross-sells.

1. Know Your Market

Without a clear understanding of what your customers’ needs are, you run the risk of irritating them with an irrelevant product recommendation, potentially causing shopping cart abandonment and lost trust. That’s why conducting comprehensive research to determine their unique needs is vital before you can begin to make insightful suggestions. As you learn more about each individual customer and their purchasing habits, you will begin to understand which items you should be cross-selling. Products you highlight as cross-sells shouldn’t be ones that you necessarily want to sell; they should be ones that address the needs of your customer.

2. Choose Relevant or Complementary Products

Hands-down, the products you offer in your cross-selling campaign must complement the primary product in the shopping cart. Once you’ve identified the needs and challenges your product meets for your customer, choosing the right combination becomes much easier. For example: if your business specializes in computer security software and a customer has added an anti-virus program to their cart, a recommendation of malware or password protection programs would be great additional suggestions as opposed to offering other anti-virus alternatives. According to one Forrester research analyst, product recommendations like upsells and cross-sells are responsible for an average of 10-30% of ecommerce revenues. By not actively recommending relevant products, you will miss out on a significant amount of potential revenue.

3. Avoid the ‘Paradox of Choice’

Try to avoid overwhelming potential customers with too many choices - less is more. Otherwise, you run the risk of cart abandonment due to indecision. Presenting a small selection of additional items should be enough to make your customer feel valued while also putting you in a position to produce a higher sale. Examples of this include offering a warranty for a new piece of equipment, or a bonus accessory that would enhance the original item. If you have a large selection of potentially relevant products, try offering only three of them rather than running the risk of confusing the customer with too many options. Placement is key: experiment by placing the product that is your primary cross-selling goal in the middle. Otherwise known as the Centre-Stage Effect, which examines how consumers perceive the middle choice when given three options, the product in the middle will draw increased attention.

4. Provide Incentives

For customers who need that extra ‘nudge’ to make the final purchase, try motivating them through incentives. Offering free shipping for a cart value over a certain amount is a popular choice used by many major digital companies such as Amazon. You can also offer a special discount or gift based on shopping cart value. For example, messaging such as Top your checkout cart to $100 and qualify for a special discount or gift! can be just the catalyst for a consumer to increase their purchase order.

5. Focus on Value

Because one of the greatest pain points for your customers is price, you should emphasize savings in your cross-sell incentive. Go beyond simply informing them of a discount - tell them how much that discount is. For example, a simple sticker near the price saying “Save 30% by acting now” effectively delivers the message of value and will greatly improve your cross-selling efforts. For SaaS companies specifically, finding the right price can be a tough hill to climb on. You can check out our pricing guide to help find the ideal price you should be charging your customers.

Product recommendations are an essential tool for many online retailers. According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling something to a prospect is only about 5-20%, while the probability of selling something to an existing customer is 60-70%. Amazon alone devotes 70% of their homepage to product recommendations.

Although you shouldn’t distract from the original purchase and primary call to action, cross-selling is an opportunity to keep the customer engaged while increasing the amount of the final sale. If done right, well-devised cross-selling techniques can result in a win-win situation for your company’s revenue and for your customers’ trust. That’s a powerful combination when it comes to growing your average order value.

About the Author

Origins Ecommerce

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