What Amazon Can Teach You About Cross-Selling

Stack of Amazon.com PackagesAmazon ranks as the second most admired retailer in the world according to Fortune Magazine.

Pretty cool, right?

While there are many reasons for Amazon’s success, one of the most strategic (and profitable) Amazon approaches can be found in their ability to motivate existing customers to buy more…

Amazon usually plays their cards pretty close to the chest, but in 2006, CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that an incredible 35% of sales were a direct result of cross-sells!

And that doesn’t include all the extra revenue they’ve made from up-sells (“Buy all three products for one low price”) and down-sells.

Amazon has perfected the cross-sell, down-sell, and up-sell process.

It uses features like “Customers who bought this item also bought…” and wish lists, which make the cross-sell experience less obtrusive and in your face… and seem more like a value-added service (and it many ways, it is!).

Amazon understands that in order for up, down, or cross-selling to be effective, they must relate it to the customer’s needs. There’s no sense in trying to sell me a new bicycle seat if I’m buying a book on marketing, you know?

When an up-sell, a down-sell, or a cross-sell is done strategically, it can help your business’s bottom line and provide more value for the customer.

Why Up-Selling Is Effective

Upselling works because the customer has already made the most important decision: to buy.

The easiest time to make a sale is when the customer has their wallet open.

In fact, for my own coaching clients, we’re seeing as much as 65% of customers taking advantage of an up-sell if offered immediately at the time of purchase.

Can you imagine how much money they’d be leaving behind if they didn’t offer this up-sell?

Adding another purchase that provides more value for the customer is much easier than trying to make the original sale.

Examples Of An Up-Sell

  • A customer purchasing a computer being up-sold additional training software, an extended warranty, or more memory…
  • McDonald’s asking if you would like to “super size” your order…
  • A gas station providing a discounted car wash when you spend a certain amount on gas…

Mastering The Cross-Sell

Cross-selling involves offering your customer a product from a different category than the original purchase.

The focus, of course, must still be on providing your customer with even greater benefit and/or advantage…

Travel sites like Expedia are very good at cross-selling. When you book a flight, you’ll also receive suggestions of hotels, rental cars, and other travel related services.

Bankers do this as well – they give you the option of signing up for an additional credit card while you’re opening a checking account.

A good cross-sell will not only convince the customer to spend more money, it can also make their life a little bit easier! This is that win/win we’re looking for…

Making Money On The Down-Sell

There will be times when a customer is simply not interested purchasing an up-sell or a cross-sell…

In this case, there’s still one more card you can play – the down-sell. 

The down-sell is, as the name implies, offering a product at a lower price.

Down-sells are an excellent way to ensure that you are getting everything the customer wants to spend, while still providing them with a greater advantage in the process.

An example of a down-sell is a customer in the market for the latest MacBook Air – until they see the price tag!

Rather than missing out on a sale altogether, the salesperson could suggest a laptop that has much of the same functionality as the MacBook, but at a more affordable price.
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Cross-selling, up-selling and down-selling means more value for the customer, while simultaneously increasing your bottom line.

In order to be successful with this form of selling, you need to listen carefully to your customer and understand exactly what it is they want to achieve…

You can then offer them products and services that help move them toward their goal.

As Amazon demonstrates, when done authentically, and with the customers’ best interests in mind, these types of sales can be a real win/win for everyone.

What are some of your favorite up-sells, down-sells, or cross-sells?

In your corner,

Charlie

About the Author Charles Gaudet

Known as “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion,” Charles Gaudet offers more than just business and marketing advice – he helps entrepreneurs push beyond what is considered “ordinary” to build great companies. His advice has appeared in worldwide media such as Business, Inc. and Business Insider. He’s a popular speaker, business coach and author of THE PREDICTABLE PROFITS PLAYBOOK: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Dominating Any Market and Staying on Top Follow him at: Twitter | Google + | Facebook

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