How to cross sell in retail

One of the ways to increase sales without increasing costs is to cross sell.

Cross sell is selling extra products and services to customers while they are buying other products or services.

A customers decides to buy product A. You tell him: How about also buying product B?

With this, you’ll be able to increase the average ticket per customer. Cross selling helps increase total revenues without having to acquire new customers.

Getting new customers is not always easy, so the best short-term strategy is to try to sell more to customers who are already in the store to buy.

Don’t be afraid to cross sell (if done the right way)

The decision to buy something is not an easy process. The customer sees the product, checks the price. Then, he thinks:

  • Do I really need this product?
  • Is there a better product or price in another store?
  • Should I spend my money? (and I want to go to Paris next Summer).

And decides whether to buy.

But once the customer has already decided to buy, he is much more open to spend more money. That’s why making a complementary sale is easier than making the first sale.

And that’s why the salesperson should not miss this opportunity.

Tips to increase the chances of success in cross sell

1 — Always use the positive approach

Never make a question in the negative mode. Don’t ask:

“Don’t you want a case for your new smartphone?”

That’s the wrong way of making the question. This way, the salesperson is suggesting that the client doesn’t want.

You may think your salespersons don’t make this mistake. But are you sure? I see this happening a lot. They don’t make it on purpose. They do it without thinking. And one reasons for using a negative question is that they don’t believe they will succeed in cross selling.

Talk to your salespersons. Explain this process. Insist on the importance of a positive question.

They have to understand that when customers say no, it’s not personal. They just don’t need the product, or don’t want to buy. Nothing more.

2 — Try a first positive answer

There is a way to increase the chances of a positive response. Studies have shown that the likelihood of responding affirmatively increases hugely if the client has answered yes to another question before.

So, make your salespeople ask a question they are sure the customer will say yes (other than a sales proposal). And then ask the question to sell the extra products or services.

3 — Cross sell of complementary products

It’s easier to cross sell when the extra product or service is related to the first product.

  • If a customer buys sunglasses suggest a cleaning kit.
  • Sell shoe grease to someone who bought shoes.
  • Try to sell a bottle of white wine to someone who ordered a seafood dish in a restaurant.
  • Suggest a tie to someone who have just bought a shirt.
  • Etc.

If products are related, the chances of customer  wanting to buy a related product is high. But if products are not related, the chances are much lower.

You must train you salespeople to automatically suggest a product for each case. It helps to make a list of products, or at least the most popular products, with related products. That’s what I suggest to my consulting clients.

4 — Bribe your customers.

If your salespeople can offer a discount on a complementary product, the chances of selling increase a lot.

Let’s say you sell photo cameras.

You sell a camera, and your salespeople says: “Do you also want a SD card. They’re on sale. 30% off. But only for customers –like you — who bought a camera.”

It’s very difficult to refuse this offer. That’s why I call it a bribe.

The stupid way to cross sell

Here are the two most “not so clever” ways to cross sell.

1 — Trying to sell a much more expensive product.

“Now that you bought this tie, may I show you a suit?”

If you try to cross sell a product that costs 10x the price of the first product, the chances of success are close to zero.

So, instead of trying to sell a much more expensive product, try to sell a cheaper product. If a client decided to buy a product that costs $30, he’ll be more open to spend $10. Maybe $20, or even $30. But, will he buy a $300 product? Very unlikely.

You don’t want him or her, to go back to the decision process. Starting all over again. Evaluating the need, the price, the product in detail. No. You want them to say “yes” without thinking.

2 — Insisting

If the salesperson suggests another product and gets a NO for answer, he should never insist.

He may get a sale, but he may lose the customer.

If the answer is a “well, maybe not”, or something like that, he may insist once more. But just once.

How to cross sell without a salesperson in a physical store.

Using salespeople to cross sell is great. But for most stores, this is not an option.

A lot of stores don’t have enough salespeople to serve each customer.

And there’s another huge problem. A lot of customers don’t like to talk to salespeople. They just like to browse around the store, see products, pick them, and buy when they are ready. All without any help of salespeople.

And this problem is getting bigger. Younger people don’t like to talk to strangers — blame social networks — and your salespeople are strangers.

In the future, contact between salespeople and customers will possible be very limited and even rare.

So here are some simple techniques to cross sell in your brick and mortar store, and without the help of salespeople.

1 — Display complementary products next to each other.

Most retailers know this technique. But few use it.

Always try to have at least 10 complementary products next to each other.

2 — Create packs of products

Bundle products. Pick two complementary products and sell them together.

3 — Offer a bribe

Put a sign next to one product saying you’re offering a discount on the complementary product.

It’s a very cheap way to cross sell without the help of a salesperson. However, you have to create an effective sign. An effective sign is a sign that customers:

  • read
  • understand
  • act

How to cross sell in an online store.

In an online store it’s even easier to cross sell.

1 — Display complementary products next to each other.

If you want to learn how to cross sell effectively take a look at Amazon. They are master of cross-selling.

They use several techniques in a product page. Namely:

  • “Customers who bought this item also bought”
  • “Related products”
  • “Sponsered products”

2 — Create packs of products

Depending on your software, it’s possible to create packs of products.

If your software allows, create packs of products and suggest those packs in product pages.

3 — Offer a bribe

You can use a banner, or a you can write a message in the product description, saying there’s a discount on a related product (when bought together).

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