Every e-commerce merchant in the world understands the importance of upselling and cross selling, but few have executed effective strategies in this arena. It is unfortunate, especially when you consider research from the book Marketing Metrics which suggests the likelihood of selling to a new customer is between 5 and 20%, while the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is an impressive 60 to 70%.
The numbers are on your side.
Upselling and cross-selling are effective e-commerce strategies because customers have already made the two most important decisions: the decision to buy and the decision to buy from you. Now that the hardest part is over with, the following is a list of ways you can structure your e-commerce data to get more mileage out of your hard-earned customers.
What is the difference between cross selling and upselling?
Before jumping into a data enrichment project, it is important to first understand the difference between an upsell and a cross sell.
An upsell is encouraging your customer to consider a higher-priced alternative to the item he or she is already considering. For example, if you sell electronics on your e-commerce website, you might suggest a more powerful computer to the customer who is considering mid-grade options. A cross sell, on the other hand, is recommending products that are related to, or complementary to, the item your customer is considering. For example, if your customer is purchasing a camera on your e-commerce website, you might serve up suggestions for a camera strap, a larger memory card or a more powerful battery. When properly executed, both of these strategies can significantly increase the lifetime value of your customers.
1. Use enhanced search techniques to proactively recommend products.
For a typical e-commerce store, 57% of visitors will use the search feature, and those who do are 2.7 times more likely to make a purchase if they find the product they want. That means improving your search functionality is basically a guaranteed way to boost conversion rates. While this may seem basic or obvious, here are a few ways to improve search relevance to cross promote and recommend products:
2. Automate the upsell and the cross sell with enhanced product tagging.
Most of us are familiar with the application of a “related products” section within e-commerce websites. In fact, Forrester Research reports that product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10 to 30% of e-commerce site revenues. Despite the obvious benefits, however, this tactic is often misused. Here are some best practices for implementing a solid upsell and cross sell strategy using enhanced product tagging:
3.Keep your data clean to avoid duplicate product recommendations.
Product recommendations are most effective when they support the checkout flow on your e-commerce website rather than distract from it. It is important to offer choice, but this could backfire by introducing too much choice – or worse – confusing your customers by offering choices based on bad data. As your inventory changes, so do your product descriptions and categories. It is important to keep this data clean because it contributes to your ability to effectively upsell and cross sell on your website.
In the image below, for example, it is easy to see how malformed data could contribute to a missed upsell opportunity. Standardizing your data can go a long way in providing website users with a functional and easy-to-navigate shopping experience.
A final word
In order for these techniques to work, the focus must be on your customer’s needs, not on pushing your products. Before presenting upsells and cross sells, the customer’s problems must be solved. A data driven content strategy is the only way to automate the upsell while keeping customer needs in mind.
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