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A sales technique where a seller invites the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons to generate more revenue. – Wikipedia

Relevance in CRO

Particularly relevant on transactional sites like e-commerce, the practice of upselling is designing UX that persuades a user to purchase additional, complementary items beyond their original purchase intent. Upselling is a technique as old as time immemorial: “Mmm… Grog want buy wheel? Grog have good eye. Grog also need axel for wheel spin around, and extended warranty to protect wheel from unexpected encounter with mammoth”.

Typically, the intent of upsells is to increase revenue by increasing Average Order Value (AOV). Sometimes it can cause a drop in order conversion rate, but may lift overall revenue if the AOV differential is high enough. Some common upsell techniques: 

Most upsell techniques can be mixed, matched, and peppered throughout a site. Bundling happens anywhere an item can be added to the cart. “Don’t forget the…” happens after a cart add event and can be shown as a modal, slide-in, interstitial page, on the cart page, etc. Experiment with it; figure out what the right approaches are for your brand/site/userbase. Don’t just copy what the big brands are doing.

There’s a lot of fuzziness between upsells, cross-sells, and add-on sales. One man’s upsell is another’s cross-sell. Here’s how I define them and the strategy:

You (or your company) may have different definitions or contexts for the terms. Make sure you know what’s what within your org.

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