February 24, 2023
Reading time: 4 minutes

Difference Between Cross Sell and UpSell: 3 Major Distinctions

When it comes to growing your business, you should consider cross-selling and upselling. These are two powerful tools that boost sales and revenue like magic. With these two strategies, you can enjoy several benefits, including:

  • More personalized customer experience
  • Increased sale value
  • Better offering of options to customers
  • Enhanced customer loyalty

That is why business models like Apple’s and McDonald’s revolve around upselling and cross-selling.

But what’s the difference between the two strategies?

Below, we have an upsell vs cross-sell comparison chart. It summarizes their key differences. If you have more time, you can check out the detailed differences in the rest of this post.

DefinitionYou recommend related or complementary items or services.You try to get buyers to purchase an upgraded item or service.
Product RelationshipPitched item is related but not similar. It could be less expensive.Pitched item is similar but better and more expensive
PurposeTo increase the purchase value.To boost revenue generated from customers.

Product Relationship

Cross-selling is when you offer a customer a related product or service that complements the one they’re already buying. 

For example, if a customer is buying a new laptop, you might cross-sell them a laptop bag or a warranty. The products are related but not necessary for the use of the main product.

Upselling is when you offer a customer a higher-end or upgraded version of the product or service they’re already buying. For example, let’s say a customer is buying a basic smartphone. You might upsell them to a more advanced model with more features. The product you’re offering is an upgrade of the main product.

Here’s what to consider when thinking about upsell vs cross-sell in terms of product relationships:

1. Understand your customer’s needs and preferences

Consumer empathy allows you to offer products that actually sell.

2. Know your products and services

Make sure you are familiar with the features and benefits of the products or services you’re offering. This will help you make relevant recommendations to your customers.

3. Consider the timing

Timing is important when it comes to cross-selling and upselling. You don’t want to interrupt the customer’s buying process, but you also don’t want to wait too long. Find the right moment to make your recommendations.

4. Test and analyze

Try different product relationships and see which ones work best for your small business. Use data and analytics to measure the success of your upsell vs cross-sell efforts and make adjustments as needed.


The purpose of cross-selling is to increase purchase value by offering related items. Here, you want to make the customer happy by providing them with additional options that may be useful.

Growth Rock, a CRO agency, helped their client earn an extra $2 million in annual revenue using cross-selling. The business was a furniture company that sold sofas. They added a leather cleaner offer to the checkout webpage. This greatly increased the value of each sale.

The purpose of upselling is to increase revenue by offering more expensive items. Your goal is to make the customer happy by providing them with an upgrade that they may want or need.

No matter your purpose, be honest with your customers about what you’re offering. Show them what the benefits and drawbacks of the products or services are.


Cross-selling is generally easier than upselling. This is because the customer is already in the buying mindset. They’re more likely to consider related products or services. This is because they complement what they’re already buying.

Upselling, on the other hand, can be more difficult because the customer may not be ready to spend more money. To get a customer to buy a more expensive product or service, it takes more skill and planning. You can try the following:

  1. Compare both products and highlight the value of the upgrade.
  2. Don’t push them to buy. Be subtle.
  3. Show confidence in your products.
  4. Train or hire an efficient sales team.
  5. Offer a free trial or money-back guarantee

Namecheap uses most of the above hacks to upsell new customers. It is a web hosting service that offers several upsells on its checkout page. Customers can get tons of value by simply clicking on what they find appealing.

In summary, the key difference between cross-sell and upsell is the product relationship. Cross-selling pitches a complementary item, and upselling pitches an upgrade.

Both have varying purposes. To successfully implement upsell vs cross-sell in your business, you’ll need different strategies.

If you run an ecommerce store, you can use a shipment tracking tool like Trackmage.

Our software allows you to upsell and cross-sell using branded tracking pages.

These pages have a product feed feature. With it, you can showcase complementary or upgraded items.

So, whenever a customer checks the page to track their shipment, they will see some interesting products.

That’s why 7% of customers make a new purchase from our tracking pages!

Want more tips on how to flourish in the competitive ecommerce industry? Here’s an insightful podcast to help you.

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