What Do Clarks Shoes, McDonald’s and Amazon All Have In Common?

Blog Question

You may not think that Clark’s Shoes, McDonald’s & Amazon would have much in common but they all are very good at increasing sales through Upselling

“Would you like to protect your new shoes?”

“Would you like fries & a drink with that?”

“Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…”

Now technically you could argue that 2 of the 3 are Cross-Selling rather than Upselling*, but either way they all achieve the same objective – which is increasing sales

And it’s surprisingly easy – given all three examples deal with a customer who who already has their money or credit card out and is ready to buy or has already bought!

Research conducted by the authors of “Marketing Metrics” revealed that the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%

That’s why skilled marketers will get you to make a low value, low risk initial purchase to turn you from Prospect to Paying Customer

And what’s more, other than the cost of delivering the additional product or service, selling one or more additional items via upselling or cross selling at the point of purchase carries little or no extra cost

A lot of people are reluctant to try this as they think upselling or cross selling is all a bit hard-sell, a dirty sales tactic

Don’t get me wrong – if it’s done with the sole purpose of milking the customer for every last £ it can be really ugly, but if done in a way that focuses on improving the customer experience it can benefit both the buyer and seller

I’d recommend every business starts by thinking about their top 5 or 10 products or services and then lists what customers may also like to accompany the purchase – don’t think about it from the point of view of “What more can I sell?” – think about it from “What will a customer who has bought ‘X’ also enjoy with it or what would enhance the enjoyment of ‘X’?”

It may be that you don’t currently sell / provide everything a customer would want

If not you should try to introduce these in small, low risk tests and see what works well and what doesn’t

Once you’ve got over your initial wariness about upselling at the point of purchase, you may like to consider moving up to a higher Ninja level of upselling or cross selling, which is to do so when dealing with customer support issues

What!? You mean trying to sell something extra when someone calls in with a complaint?


I’m not suggesting you try to sell to the irate Mr Angry who’s effing and jeffing down the phone but it may just be that a customers expectation and what your core product delivers are a bit out of line and that actually the issue they are facing can be resolved with an additional purchase or an add-on that they were not previously aware of

You need to be careful about not turning every customer support call into a sales call, if you can fix the problem without an upsell then you should, all I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be shy of suggesting an additional purchase if the customer would genuinely benefit from it

Finally, no article about upselling or cross selling would not be complete without a mention for WHSmith

Whoaaa! This retailer has got it so wrong in recent years! Irrespective of whether you’re buying your gran’s birthday card, a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad or the latest Rammstein CD (highly unlikely to be stocked in WHSmith but you get my point) you have to run the gauntlet of big bag choc and sweet promotions at the till and a rainforest’s worth of coupons and vouchers shoved in your hand whether you want them or not – even the self service tills don’t let you escape!

Anyway,  you should really think about upselling and cross selling to increase your sales with little or no extra effort but before doing so please think ‘Would WHSmith do it like this?’

* For The Marketing Geeks

Upselling – selling a more expensive or more feature laden version of a product that the customer is in the process of buying

Cross-selling – selling products that are different but related to, or enhance the enjoyment of, the original product the customer is buying


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