Create Excitement and Value Using Upsell Strategies

Solid traffic, lower acquisition costs and higher conversion rates are all valuable factors when assessing growth for an ecommerce business. Learn how to increase retention and sales using upsell strategies.


August 22, 2022

how to upsell to existing customers

Solid traffic, lower acquisition costs and higher conversion rates are all valuable factors when assessing growth for an ecommerce business. Establishing benchmarks in these areas and pursuing data-driven decisions to help influence these metrics will help merchants move toward expansion sooner. While increasing revenue is a core business focus, customers remain one of the most influential factors in helping an ecommerce business to scale. With strategies such as advertising, referrals, strategic partnerships, acquisitions and loyalty programs, the expectation is to acquire more customers and expand the scope of solutions. However, without the means to achieve exponential scale, the strategic initiatives for more customers can decrease the quality of service offered. 

The ideal solution is to increase sales and retain loyalty through recurring revenue streams. Taking a cue from this, a well-thought approach to sales involves being proactive in developing cross-sell and upsell opportunities with existing subscribers. It may provide the easiest wins in ecommerce.

Creating Opportunities to Build Better Customer Relationships

Maintaining strong relationships with previous and existing customers can help promote brand loyalty and, more importantly, reduce costs associated with acquiring new business. Research indicates that acquiring a new customer can cost as much as five times more than nurturing current buyers. Subscription offers provide an opportunity to reduce marketing costs for ecommerce businesses while helping to scale through recurring revenue features. 

Subscription services give merchants an ability to focus on developing relationships with buyers based on behavior, interest, previous purchases and other factors. The key to sustaining a subscription model service is client care and elevating how customers are nurtured once they subscribe.

Ecommerce upselling is one of the easiest ways to increase your store’s sales. According to Forbes, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70% higher. 

types of upselling strategies and techniques

What Is Upselling? 

Upselling is a sales technique to generate more revenue by encouraging the existing customers to consider purchasing more expensive, superior products with upgrades. The offered product can be a premium model of the item or the exact product with value-add features the customers are not yet considering.

An example in terms of subscription upsells is giving a customer the option to upgrade to a longer-term plan that provides new features or products not available at their current rate.

Showing users the potential long-term benefits of upgrading their current experience is a great method for showcasing the same products with a higher value. In upselling, the seller presents a better version with complementary products in the same category. 

Identifying Upsell Opportunities

Full-stack subscription commerce platforms like help businesses build profitable recurring revenue programs by analyzing customer behaviors and creating rewards and loyalty programs. 

The process begins by monitoring the consumer’s needs and understanding what they intend to buy from you. These data insights can help merchants to identify ways to then upsell to existing subscribers with superior features or newer offers. 

Price comparisons for specific subscription plans are other great ways of helping shoppers understand value. Merchants should provide clear distinctions between various memberships and the overall perceived savings by selecting a more premium option. 

How Is Upselling Different From Cross-Selling?

While upselling and cross-selling are often used interchangeably, both strategies have different approaches. Cross-selling encourages sales of other possibly related products that add value to a purchase within the same interaction. Instead of having the standard “Other Products You May Like” section, the cross-selling offer can include one-time products subscribers may not have intended to buy.

For example: “Enjoying your hair care subscription? Try our skincare subscription and love your skin for just $10 when you sign up today.”

In subscription businesses, implementing cross-selling techniques and offering the customers products to complement their subscription opens an opportunity for a second subscription. 

Cross-Selling vs. Upselling

When comparing cross-selling and upselling, upselling aims to make personalized recommendations to guide the subscribers toward purchasing a similar product that adds more value at a higher price. Therefore, the subscribers must have confidence in the brand and want to budget for the upgrade.

While cross-selling and upselling are important in improving average order value and profitability, they impact the ecommerce business differently. For instance, the upselling aim is to improve profit margin, while including additional products in cross-selling increases the average order value.

Cross-selling and upselling strategies tie the customers’ interest and ensure they get more value from your business. Records show an average 60-70% conversion rate of selling to an existing customer compared to the 5-20% of selling to a prospect.

Marketing Metrics found that upselling is a more profitable option for businesses. In fact, the study found that it’s about 50% easier to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers than to find new ones. However, merchants should take note that engaging with customers and considering key data metrics can help provide better insights to help make informed decisions on growth processes.

upsell opportunities and strategies for subscription commerce

Upselling Strategies to Grow Ecommerce Business

Most successful ecommerce businesses already use upselling techniques to achieve their sales goals within a short period. You can identify opportunities, solidify customer relationships, introduce customers to new products and increase revenue. 

Your upselling strategies should solve their problems since customers will likely pay for this. It pays to understand how to upsell to existing customers. Here are some upselling and cross-selling techniques your ecommerce business might need:

Identify Customer Needs and Preferences

Not all upsell opportunities are relevant to every customer. Rather than promoting a random upgrade to existing subscribers, it’s important that merchants have access to data that can help make appropriate upsell selections. Upsell opportunities should be more customized given that the intention is to enhance the perceived value to an existing customer. 

The point is to influence subscribers toward products that are similar but that provide additional value for a higher price. 

Focus on Consistency

For subscription-based businesses, long-term relationship building and nurturing is essential to customer lifetime value. Merchants should find opportunities to remain consistent and relevant with existing customers to help provide value by connecting people with products and services that they’ll love. 

While offering deals you think are attractive to the customers, you need to be convincing. Showing them your intention to help them meet their goals more than just selling can help entice new upsell conversions. 

Offer Attractive Pricing

Propose an upsell with transparent pricing information — you can even offer discounts. If the customers are avoiding the product due to its price, try offering one-time discounts or coupon codes. Subscription offers after a period of time can become stale. In subscription model strategies, replenishments face the most challenges. Replenishments offer convenience and ease of purchase by providing customers with the same products every month. Upsell offers can help to give these buyers different options, especially at the right price.

Curation and access-based subscription businesses constantly change products during selected intervals. While this is new and exciting for current subscribers, it can hinder ecommerce businesses from effectively converting an upsell. Upsells should, therefore, be unique and value-driven based on previous interactions with these buyers. 

Upsell With Milestones

Getting the customer to consider more expensive products is all about timing. Figure out the right time to approach the customer and create a feeling of urgency by letting them know why it’s more beneficial during this period.

Know Where You Stand With the Customer

Only a customer who is happy with your product or service can be interested in paying more for a pricier option. Although there may be times when you can fall short of impressing your customer, you need to look for ways to resolve the issues quickly.

Convince Them With Social Proof

Most prospects may not take your word until you show them other customers benefiting from an upgraded version. Sharing other users’ opinions through testimonials and reviews is an effective strategy.

how do you upsell without turning off the customer

Upselling Benefits for Subscription Businesses

Companies using new resources to build new engagement can quickly face astronomical overhead costs for acquiring new business. A better method for merchants to expand services at lower acquisition rates is offering subscriptions. However, the nature of the subscription business can grow stale over time. Testing new methods for upselling and cross-selling techniques is essential to scaling existing businesses. 

Providing consistent value to subscribers with cross-sell and upsell opportunities reduces predictability, increases excitement and lowers customer acquisition costs. helps merchants upsell and cross-sell to build brand loyalty and boost CLTV and AOV. The subscription commerce platform provides visibility into:

  • Making offers based on your audience
  • Building long-lasting customer relationships from the start
  • Enhancing trust to build more brand awareness and engagement
  • Reporting relationships between you and your customers

It pays to grow customer relationships and reduce the risk of cancellation even when your products remain useful. Applying upselling strategies to subscription ecommerce businesses helps merchants to scale their brands and expand growth.

Start creating offers designed to entice your subscribers. makes it easy with one-click upsells and flexible subscription billing. Schedule a demo today to get started.