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The Definitive Guide to Upselling and Cross-Selling Print

10 August 2017
Marketing & Selling Print

The Definitive Guide to Upselling and Cross-Selling Print

‘Upselling’ can come across as a bit of a dirty word in retail. It conjures up images of sleazy sales people trying to make you part ways with your cash by foisting more and more worthless items onto your order. However, when done right, upselling can actually help to increase your customer satisfaction levels.

You need to somehow find that point where you’re adding value to your customers’ orders and not just plain annoying them; the point where customers will go away telling people that you were really helpful, not really pushy. In this blog, we’ve put together 10 of the best tips and techniques you can use to find that point.

Upselling vs Cross-Selling

First of all, you need to appreciate the distinction between these two terms. They are often used interchangeably but, in actual fact, they refer to subtly different selling tactics.

Upselling = upgrading a customer’s current order for a more expensive version
Cross-selling = adding another related product onto their order

For example, if a customer came to you wanting some basic uncoated business cards, and you were able to persuade them to add some special finishes such as a lamination or rounded corners, that would count as upselling. On the other hand, if a customer came in wanting letterheads and you managed to convince them that they needed compliment slips as well, that would be cross-selling.

Of the two, upselling tends to be more successful. In fact, upselling is thought to be 20 times more effective than cross-selling! That’s because it’s much harder to get someone to buy a second item than it is to make them pay a little more for something they were already committed to buying in the first place. Read on to find out how to make both techniques as effective as possible.

10 Tips to make Upselling and Cross-Selling work for you

1. Keep Things Simple

The first thing to know when trying to upsell or cross-sell a customer is that you mustn’t overload them. You’re already asking them to spend more than they planned: you don’t need to annoy them further by offering 50 more expensive alternatives. Pick one or two targeted items which relate well to their purchase. No more!

2. Be Reasonable

You should also bear in mind how much the customer has chosen to spend on their order. Nobody’s going to want to go from spending £30 to £300 so don’t ask your customers to. As a general rule of thumb, try not to increase the cost by more than 25%; any more than that can scare customers off.

3. Place Cross-Sellable Items Close Together

Persuading someone that they need something is always easier when they’ve already had the idea themselves. Arrange your stores so that related items are seen next to each other, such as posters and flyers. Your customers may make the connection on their own and add a second item onto their order without you even having to ask. If not, you’ve planted the seed, making them more receptive to the idea when you do ask them.

4. Use Sales Data to Recommend Items

Nowadays, most online stores will have sections on their website entitled “Others who bought this also bought…” or such like. This nifty feature allows you to recommend related products but have the recommendation come from a third party source – your other customers – making it seem much more genuine.

5. Sell the Benefit

Price isn’t always the most important factor for a customer. If you can prove that a more expensive specification will satisfy their needs better, they’ll be interested. As Seth Godin once said, “The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.” So, make sure you really are giving your customers added value or they’ll see right through it.

6. Get Related, Non-Print Items In

Cross-selling doesn’t have to be just about selling other print items. Think about getting in some accessories to your products which you could offer as little extras. For instance, you could sell a range of business card holders, with different styles for different kinds of professionals. Think about the items you produce and what else a customer might need to accompany them.

7. Create Package Deals

Bundles are a great way to make customers feel like they’ve hit a real bargain. The package deal erases the barrier to bigger purchases because the customer is focussing on how they are managing to get several items for cheaper than they would be individually. You could think about putting together a deal on business stationery: letterheads, compliment slips, and correspondence cards.

8. Give Customers a Target

One simple way to push customers into spending a little more than they might have planned is to offer them something extra for reaching a certain price. For example, you could offer free delivery on purchases over £50, or a free run of 100 standard business cards for orders over £100.

9. Send Follow-up Emails

Upselling and cross-selling doesn’t have to end at the purchase. A little while after a sale has been made, you can send customers an email suggesting related items to their order. They may not have been in a receptive mood when they made their order. After a little time, they may well have realised how useful another purchase could be to them.

10. Ask what their End Goal is

Conversations with customers don’t always have to end with you simply saying yes to their requests. If they want flyers, ask them why they want flyers. Maybe they’re from the local theatre wanting to advertise a show. In which case, they might also be interested in some stapled booklets for a programme, or posters for the actors’ headshots. If you can delve a little deeper, you might find many more opportunities to sell print than it first appears.

This final point is an excellent way to position yourself as an expert to whom customers can come with all their print questions. Find out more about how you can become a solutions-based printer in our eBook, “What Kind of Print Seller Are You?”, and learn how to drive the conversation to bring you more revenue.


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