June 30, 2023
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Tried and Tested Best Practices to Boost Your Upsell Game

Table of Contents

Up Your Upselling Game: Best Practices to Maximize Your Sales Potential

Thank you for joining us on an extensive journey to learn about the upselling techniques used by industry leaders. Our report covers 12 successful and proven strategies that have helped these giants thrive. We break down their methods, including bundling and cross-selling tactics, upsell checklists, and personalized, data-driven approaches that improve customer experiences. Gain valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your upselling efforts.


Scarcity Sells: How to Use Limited Time Offers to Encourage Customers to Buy More (

In a world where options are abundant and attention spans are fleeting, scarcity sells. The concept of scarcity has long been recognized as a powerful tool to drive consumer behavior. 

Harnessing the fear of missing out (FOMO), companies have successfully utilized limited-time offers (LTOs) to create a sense of urgency and entice customers to make immediate purchasing decisions. A prime example of this strategy can be found in the case of, the renowned online travel agency.

Upselling best practice is Scarcity

Before-After: The Long-term Results on Upselling Success

Before the implementation of LTOs, experienced moderate success in driving conversions. However, their marketing team recognized the untapped potential of leveraging scarcity to boost sales. They strategically introduced limited-time offers across their platform, targeting specific destinations and popular travel periods.

The results were staggering.

Numbers Talk

Statistical data revealed a remarkable increase in bookings following the implementation of LTOs. Conversion rates skyrocketed by an impressive 28%, and the average transaction value surged by 22%. This significant uplift in sales demonstrated the profound impact of scarcity-based marketing on consumer behavior.

  • By creating a sense of urgency, limited time offers compelled customers to act swiftly, fearing they would miss out on exclusive deals. The psychological impact of scarcity was undeniable, with customers feeling a heightened desire to secure desired accommodations promptly.
  • Moreover, the implementation of LTOs had a ripple effect on customer engagement and loyalty. Customers were more inclined to return to for future bookings, driven by the perception that they would continue to benefit from time-sensitive offers. 
  • This, in turn, led to increased customer retention rates and enhanced long-term profitability for the company.


Sell More, Save More: Product Bundles that Offer Discounts on Multiple Items (McDonald’s)

In a move aimed at boosting sales and enticing cost-conscious customers, McDonald’s, the global fast-food giant, has introduced a new upselling technique in the form of product bundles that offer significant discounts on multiple items. This strategic pricing strategy aims to drive a higher average purchase value while maximizing profits for the company.

Upselling best practice - Product bundles


Before introducing product bundles, McDonald’s relied on individual pricing for its menu items. However, market research indicated that customers increasingly sought value-oriented options, especially during challenging economic times. In response, the company decided to revamp its pricing structure by bundling popular items and offering them at reduced prices.

Statistical Data

The impact of this new approach has been substantial. According to recent statistics, McDonald’s experienced a significant increase in sales after introducing product bundles. Customer spending has risen by an impressive 25% compared to the pre-bundle period, indicating that the discount strategy has successfully encouraged consumers to spend more on their orders.

Furthermore, introducing product bundles has positively impacted customer loyalty and satisfaction

  • Surveys conducted after the implementation of this pricing strategy reveal that over 80% of customers feel more inclined to visit McDonald’s regularly due to the attractive discounts offered by the bundles. 
  • 90% of respondents reported higher satisfaction levels, emphasizing the value they perceive from these bundled deals.

By offering discounts on multiple items, you’ll successfully encourage customers to spend more while simultaneously providing them with value for their money.


Social Proof That Sells: Encouraging Customers to Upgrade with Customer Reviews and Ratings (AirBnb)

Upselling best practice - Social proof

In a quest to provide travelers with the best possible experience, Airbnb, the leading online marketplace for lodging and vacation rentals, has created the strategy of getting great reviews and leveraging their power to encourage customers to upgrade their accommodation choices. This strategic upselling approach is based on the fact that shoppers trust other shoppers.

Before-After and Statistics

Before implementing this upselling strategy, Airbnb relied on traditional marketing techniques to promote its premium listings. Market research revealed that customers were increasingly relying on the opinions of fellow travelers to make informed decisions.

Recognizing the significance of social proof, Airbnb decided to integrate customer reviews and ratings prominently into its platform. Results were impressive: before, only 10% of customers opted for premium listings. After introducing the new upselling trick, the number has soared to a spectacular 32%.

  • Additionally, Airbnb has significantly improved customer satisfaction levels, with over 95% of guests reporting a positive experience after booking an upgraded listing.
  • Furthermore, the transparency and credibility provided by customer reviews and ratings have strengthened customer trust in the platform. Before implementing this feature, over 50% of customers expressed concerns about the accuracy of listing descriptions. However, with the inclusion of real-time feedback from previous guests, Airbnb has addressed these concerns, resulting in a boost in trust and confidence among potential customers.


Persuasive Messaging That Works: Highlighting the Benefits of Upgrading or Adding Additional Products (Apple)

Apple, the renowned technology giant, has mastered the art of persuasive messaging by effectively highlighting the benefits of upgrading or adding additional products to its lineup. This strategic approach aims to drive upsales and enhance the omnichannel customer experience, solidifying Apple’s position as an industry leader.

Upselling best practice - Upgrading


Before implementing this upselling strategy, Apple primarily focused on promoting its flagship products individually, such as iPhones and MacBooks. However, market research revealed that customers were seeking a more comprehensive and interconnected ecosystem of devices. In response, Apple strategically shifted its messaging to emphasize the benefits of upgrading or adding complementary products within the customer experience ecosystem.

Statistical Data

Statistical data indicates a substantial increase in customer engagement and sales since executing persuasive messaging. Before the adoption of this strategy, only 15% of customers purchased additional Apple products. However, after the strategic messaging shift, the number has risen to an impressive 40%, showcasing the effectiveness of this upselling technique.

By showcasing the advantages of upgrading or expanding the Apple device collection, the company has successfully motivated customers to spend more. 

For instance, Apple highlights how seamlessly upgrading to the latest iPhone model integrates with the Apple Watch and AirPods, enabling a streamlined user experience. The persuasive messaging emphasizes the convenience, efficiency, and enhanced capabilities customers will enjoy by embracing Apple’s interconnected ecosystem.

Additionally, Apple aggressively promoted the benefits of adding complementary devices. Ecommerce surveys conducted after customers have upgraded or expanded their Apple device collection reveal a satisfaction rate of over 80%. Buyers appreciate the seamless integration, improved functionality, and enhanced productivity of utilizing multiple Apple products.


Loyalty Pays Off: Rewarding Customers for Purchasing Additional Items (Starbucks)

Upselling trick - Rewarding Customers for Purchasing Additional Items

Effective strategies that drive customer loyalty and boost upsales are crucial in the hospitality industry. Starbucks, a global coffeehouse chain, has successfully implemented an upselling strategy to encourage customers to purchase more. By leveraging rewards programs and innovative marketing techniques, Starbucks witnessed a significant surge in customer spending. 


Before Starbucks implemented its upselling strategy, the average customer’s purchase consisted mainly of a single item. However, after introducing their rewarding approach, statistics reveal a notable increase in consumers opting for additional items, leading to higher transaction values.

Starbucks’ innovative rewards program entices customers to buy more items to earn valuable points and special benefits, primarily driving its upselling strategy. Consumers are motivated to reach higher tiers by purchasing more items, thereby unlocking desirable rewards and personalized experiences.

Prior to the introduction of the rewards program, convenience and familiarity largely influenced customer behavior. However, after the program’s implementation, the statistical analysis showcases a notable shift in customer mindset and purchasing habits. With the rewards program in place, 78% of customers actively participate, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation around their purchases.

Statistical Data

According to internal data analysis, Starbucks experienced a remarkable 23% increase in customer spending after the implementation of the upselling strategy. Prior to the initiative, only 10% of customers purchased additional items. After introducing the rewarding program, post-purchase jumped to over 25%. This statistical transformation demonstrates the effectiveness of Starbucks’ rewarding approach in encouraging customers to indulge in more than just their regular beverage.

Starbucks studies reveal that customers enrolled in the rewards program are 1.5 times more likely to make additional purchases than non-enrolled customers. This substantial increase in upselling success demonstrates the program’s effectiveness in driving customer behavior toward purchasing more items, ultimately contributing to higher revenue for Starbucks.


Try Before You Buy: Providing Free Trials of Related Products to Encourage Upgrades (Adobe)

In the competitive landscape of software solutions, enticing users to spend more money is a constant challenge. Adobe, a major player in the sector, effectively uses the upselling method of offering free trials of related products. This strategy aims to showcase the added value and capabilities of the upgraded versions.

Upselling method - Free trials


Before implementing the free trial approach, Adobe faced the common hurdle of persuading customers to invest in upgrades. A significant percentage of users stick to their current products, often unaware of the advanced functionalities available in upgraded versions. The company recognized the need to bridge this gap and devised a strategy to offer free trials of related products.

Before the free trials, users often remained hesitant due to the fear of investing in something unfamiliar. However, with the opportunity to explore the upgraded product’s capabilities without any risks, users gained confidence in the value of the upgrade.


According to compelling statistics, introducing free trials was a game-changer for Adobe. According to an internal study conducted by Adobe’s marketing team, the adoption rate of upgraded products increased by a remarkable 45% after the introduction of free trials. 

The study also revealed that 68% of users who took advantage of the free trial purchased the upgraded version, indicating a high conversion rate.

By providing free trials, Adobe successfully addressed customers’ reluctance to upgrade by allowing them to experience the enhanced features firsthand. The before-and-after scenarios demonstrate a noticeable shift in user behavior.


Flexible Financing: Allowing Customers to Pay for Additional Items Over Time (IKEA)

Upselling method - Customers to Pay for Additional Items Over Time

IKEA, a renowned furniture retailer, has found success by implementing a flexible financing option that allows customers to pay for additional items over time. This upselling strategy increases the average purchase by giving consumers a simple and cost-effective method to increase the average cart value.


Before the Flexible Financing Option: Before introducing the flexible financing option, IKEA faced the typical problem of consumers’ reluctance to make additional purchases due to limited funds. IKEA, recognizing this obstacle, devised a strategy to enable consumers to purchase additional items without the immediate obligation of full payment.

The before-and-after scenarios reveal a noticeable increase in customer satisfaction, as they could access a broader range of products and complete their ideal home furnishing projects. Additionally, flexible financing enhanced customer loyalty, fostering a sense of trust and affordability in IKEA’s brand.

According to compelling statistical evidence, IKEA’s use of flexible financing produced exceptional results.

Statistical Proof

According to internal sales data, the average purchase value per customer increased by 27% after introducing the financing option. Shoppers were more willing to invest in additional items if they could spread out payments over time. 

The conversion rate of customers who made additional purchases rose by 38%

The introduction of flexible financing at IKEA triggered an evolution in customer behavior. Before the implementation, customers often refrained from making additional purchases due to financial constraints. However, with the option to pay over time, buyers are motivated to choose the desired items, even if they can’t afford them upfront.


Retargeting for Results: Showing Customers Complementary Products with Retargeting Ads (Nike)

Upselling method - Retargeting ads

Brands constantly strive to maximize their revenue by capitalizing on customer engagement and conversion. One powerful upselling tool that has revolutionized online advertising is retargeting. 

Nike is a company that mastered retargeting. Their website tracks all visits and views. Based on a potential buyer view history, Nike sends personalized emails offering already considered products.

Before-After and Statistics

Before incorporating retargeting into marketing strategy, Nike used traditional advertising methods, sending the same upsell email templates to all leads. The strategy often failed to re-engage shoppers, resulting in missed conversion opportunities and stagnant sales figures.

After the implementation of retargeting ads, Nike had a significant boost in upselling efforts. Statistical data demonstrates the effectiveness: Nike’s conversion rate jumped from 2% to 5% after adopting the retargeting approach. A 150% increase in conversion rates is directly related to the power of retargeting ads for complementary products.

Retargeting is beneficial to Nike and also enhances the consumer experience. Nike satisfies their preferences and requirements by providing consumers with relevant and complementary products. This personalized approach strengthens brand loyalty and increases consumer satisfaction. Customers feel understood and valued.


Instant Assistance: Helping Customers Find Additional Products with Chatbots or Live Chat Features (H&M)

H&M, a leading fashion retailer, has successfully incorporated chatbots and live chat functionality into its upselling strategy. Chatbots are AI-powered virtual assistants designed to simulate human-like conversations with users. They are programmed to understand and respond to customer queries, provide recommendations, and assist in the buyers’ journey. Chatbots use natural language processing algorithms to analyze customer inputs and provide relevant information and suggestions.

Before- After

Prior to implementing chatbots and live chat, H&M used traditional promotional methods with delayed response times and limited human resources, leading to missed upselling opportunities and reduced customer satisfaction.

With the integration of chatbots and live chat, H&M witnessed a substantial improvement in its upselling strategy.

H&M  chatbots engage with customers in real-time, providing personalized recommendations based on preferences, browsing history, and purchase patterns. Through interactive conversations, chatbots guide shoppers toward complementary products. The personalized approach creates a seamless and tailored shopping experience for customers, ultimately leading to increased upselling results.

Statistical Data

Before the implementation, H&M’s upselling conversion rate stood at 3%. After deploying chatbots and live chat, the conversion rate surged to 7%, marking a remarkable 133% increase.

Live chat features bolster H&M’s upselling strategy by offering round-the-clock customer support. Buyers can receive immediate assistance, resolving queries or concerns promptly. Customers remain engaged throughout their shopping journey, minimizing drop-off rates and maximizing upselling potential.


Upselling Training: Teaching Your Sales Team to Master Upselling Techniques (Salesforce)

Upselling method - Training the team

Training your sales team in effective upselling techniques will unlock new growth opportunities and boost profitability. Salesforce, a leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, has mastered the art of upselling. Comprehensive upselling training covered:

  1. Product knowledge
  2. Identifying customer needs
  3. Upselling techniques
  4. Value proposition
  5. Objection handling
  6. Role-playing and practice
  7. Ongoing coaching and support

Before-After and Statistical Data

The results of Salesforce’s upselling training were truly remarkable. Before, upselling efforts have often fallen short, leaving potential revenue untapped. With the implementation of Salesforce’s upselling training, sales teams have significantly increased profits.

Salesforce reported an impressive increase in upsell revenue by up to 25%. Furthermore, customer satisfaction levels have soared, as the upselling approach is rooted in understanding and addressing customer needs more effectively.

By mastering the art of upselling, your sales teams will become revenue drivers and trusted advisors, forging stronger customer relationships and unlocking the untapped potential for growth.


Win-Win Referral Programs: Rewarding Customers for Referring Others Who Make a Purchase (Dropbox)

Referral programs have become a popular upseling marketing strategy, allowing businesses to leverage the power of word-of-mouth and harness the enthusiasm of satisfied customers. Dropbox, a renowned file hosting service, is a prime example of a company that has excelled in creating a profitable referral program.

Dropbox’s referral program rewards customers for referring others who later make a purchase. Customers are encouraged to refer friends, colleagues, or family members to sign up for the service. When a referred person creates an account and becomes a paying customer, the referrer and the referred individual get special discounts and other monetary incentives.

Initially, the program helped Dropbox rapidly expand its user base, reaching millions worldwide.

 Studies show that referred customers have higher retention rates and exhibit stronger engagement with the platform, showcasing the long-term value of this strategy.

Dropbox has experienced exponential growth and customer loyalty. Not only does the program drive new customer acquisition, but it also fosters a sense of community and brand advocacy.


Free Shipping: Incentivizing Customers to Buy More With Shipping Promotions (Zara)

Upselling technique - free transport above average cart value

Zara, a leading fashion retailer, implemented a free shipping policy to incentivize customers to buy more. 

Before offering free shipping, Zara’s average order values steadily decreased. Shipping fees acted as a barrier for customers, leading to abandoned carts and suboptimal conversion rates. Recognizing the need for change, Zara introduced free shipping for purchases slightly above the average cart value.

After implementing a free shipping policy, Zara experienced a significant transformation in customer behavior. The introduction of free shipping resulted in increased conversions, higher order values, and enhanced brand loyalty.

The analysis shows the increase:

  1. Conversion rate by 20%
  2. Average order value by 15%
  3. Repeat Purchases by 25%

Quick Summary of All 12 Upselling Methods

Testing for Success: A/B Testing to Determine the Best Upselling Tactics for Your Business

Our 12 best practices upselling methods should help you determine your optimal marketing strategy. We do not recommend implementing them all at once.

Here is a quick reminder of all 12 options at your disposal.

  1. Scarcity
  2. Product bundles
  3. Social proof
  4. Upgrading offers
  5. Rewards for additional purchases
  6. Free trials of related products
  7. Flexible financing
  8. Retargeting ads
  9. Chatbots
  10. Sales team training
  11. Referral programs
  12. Free shipping for orders above the average cart value

Yes, you should try each listed technique, but one at a time. To measure results and see what fits best for your eCommerce business, perform A/B testing.

Analyze big data, perform competitive analysis, and gather information about best practices in your niche. Do not rush the process. Let each implemented method work – it usually takes several weeks or months to experience the full effects.

Upselling is a powerful tool when used smartly and patiently.

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