Increasing Average Order Value with Cross-Selling

JJ TysonEcommerce, Site OptimizationLeave a Comment

Title card for "Increasing Average Order Value with Cross-Selling"

Cross-selling is a sales technique designed to increase Average Order Value (AOV). It’s very similar to the upsell, which we’ve discussed in a previous article.

The similarities between cross-selling and upselling can lead to confusion. In fact, some people use the terms cross-sell and upsell interchangeably. Although this is understandable, this common mix-up muddles the usefulness of both strategies.  

Like upselling, cross-selling is designed to raise AOV, but it uses a different approach to accomplish the same goal. In this blog, we’ll look at examples of cross-selling in ecommerce.

First though, let’s get a working definition of cross-selling and upselling.  

Cross-Selling vs. Upselling

Cross-selling – Selling complementary products to increase AOV.

“But wait?” I hear you say.  “Isn’t that just upselling?”

Not exactly. 

Upselling – Selling an upgraded or more expensive version of a product to increase AOV.

Cross-selling usually involves selling products create a package or bundle.

Meanwhile, upselling asks the buyer to consider a pricier version of the same product.  To demonstrate the difference, let’s put both of these concepts into real world situations. 


Scenario: You’re in a seafood restaurant and order the cod.   

Upsell = The waiter suggests the salmon, which costs $5 more. 

Cross-sell = The waiter suggests pairing the dish with a glass of chardonnay. 


Scenario: You’re renting a car and choose a small hatchback.

Upsell = The agent suggests a roomier (and more expensive) vehicle. 

Cross-sell = The agent offers you extra insurance for the trip. 


Cross-Selling vs. Upselling in Ecommerce

Cross-sells and upsells are both mainstays of the salesperson’s toolkit, and are extremely helpful for building AOV. How do these two strategies look on an ecommerce site? I’m so glad you asked. 


Scenario: You’re booking a plane ticket online. 

Upsell = The site suggests you upgrade to a business class seat. 

Cross-sell = The site suggests you book your hotel on the same site. 


For more on upselling, make sure to check our article, “The Art of Upselling.” Now, let’s take a look at how you can use cross-selling to increase AOV on your site.

Cross-Selling in Ecommerce 

Since websites don’t have live salespeople, the most popular way to present a cross-sell is through product recommendations. An excellent product recommendation can help a customer get the most out of a product while increasing AOV. 

Virtually any product presents cross-selling opportunities. Like a waiter recommends complementary items when guests order entrees, consider the question “what else would go well with this product?”

Let’s take a look at some examples:



Scenario: A customer adds a shirt to their cart. 

Cross-sell – Recommend pants, a hat, a belt, and other accessories. One helpful idea to keep in mind is “completing the look.” Rather than selling the customer a shirt, try to sell them a full outfit.



Scenario: A customer chooses a small microwave oven from a “dorm-room essentials” collection. 

Cross-sell: Consider other small appliances that such a customer might need, such as a mini-fridge, a toaster oven, or a single-serve coffee maker. Considering the subcategory (i.e. dorm appliances) helps ensure your product recommendations are accurate. (A person buying a mini-microwave is unlikely to be in the market for a full-size range)


Home Goods

Scenario: A customer picks out a relatively expensive sofa. 

Cross-sell – Recommend other upscale goods, such as a matching chair, an elegant end-table, or wall art that’s similarly upscale.



Scenario: After viewing a number of options, a customer decides to purchase a laptop. 

Cross-sell – You can recommend accessories for the laptop, such as software or a mouse. For expensive purchases of this kind, you can also consider offering a warranty to cover parts and labor on repairs.


The Cross-Sell at a Glance

When executed well, cross-selling, along with its cousin, upselling, are both excellent strategies for increasing average order value.

By integrating cross-selling strategies into your site, you not only sell more products – you create a more personalized customer experience that leaves your visitors wanting more. 

Looking for More Ways to Increase Your Conversions?

Check out UpSellit’s 27 Attributes of an Effective Email. This in-depth guide covers the ins-and-outs of crafting the perfect remarketing email. It’s a great resource and it’s totally free! Download it today and start writing awesome emails that convert.

New call-to-action

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *