Recently, I went to a local Korean BBQ place for dinner. It was my second time eating there and I noticed that as a drive-thru establishment, they do a really good job of trying to upsell their customers through all parts of the transaction. In a world where many companies do this in a way that makes you feel like are trying to pull the wool over your eyes, they don’t. In fact, it’s done in a way that makes it seem like they truly just want their customers to be aware of all the options on their menu that they may not know about.
It got me thinking, why don’t more companies take a positive approach in their upsell techniques? I will be the first to admit that I’ve felt duped before when making purchases at restaurants, in retail stores, and online. Many times companies treat upsells as a way to squeeze a few extra pennies out of the customers before they hit the door, but don’t think about the long term repercussions of their customers having a bad experience in the process.
It’s possible to increase your bottom line and also gain the trust of your customers in the long run through offering upsells. Keep these things in mind when presenting them to your audience:
Nobody is happy when they see a surprise or unknown charge on their credit card statement. That’s one of the reasons that being upfront is the most important part of successfully upselling your customers when they make a purchase from you. Those selling in brick and mortar or other face to face channels typically don’t have this problem as often as those selling online. Still, when an upsell is presented in an inconspicuous manner and the price isn’t disclosed upfront, the customer might make a purchase without realizing it.
Getting that immediate bump in revenue may be appealing on the surface. However, once they see that inflated charge hit their credit or debit card statement they will likely be confused and upset. Those feelings will then transfer to your brand and they will start to lose their trust in your business. Diminished trust leads to fewer return purchases, if any at all. That one time gain can easily turn into a much larger loss in revenue further down the line.
Make It Relevant
All upsells are not created equal. Before presenting an upsell to your customers you should ask yourself if it makes sense. For example, if you are selling clothing, customers could easily be tempted to purchase accessories or shoes before they finish checking out. They would be much less likely to purchase a life insurance policy or a crystal vase to go with their new shirt.
I’ve seen odd pairings such as those before while making purchases online and it’s simply a bad customer experience. If an item doesn’t compliment products that are already being purchased, they shouldn’t be presented as an upsell. A few odd ducks may be persuaded to buy in, but you are likely turning off a much larger volume of people who are weirded out by the mismatched offerings.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that the place I ordered dinner did a very good job of trying to get me to buy a little more. Before I ordered my meal, I was offered an upsell of chips and salsa for a mere $.95. Considering that most things on the menu are around $6-$8, their offering for less than a dollar is more likely to pull in takers than if they offered chips and salsa for $5.95. A majority of the public has a budget that they’d like to stay close to when shopping. Offer them something that nudges them closer to their limits without breaking the bank and you’ll have a better chance of them taking the bait. Offer them something extra that will double their bill and they might pass out from sticker shock. I’d suggest A/B testing to find your sweet spot for where to price your upsells.
Make Them Choose
Chances are customers aren’t going to jump for joy at the thought of spending more money than they originally planned on spending with you. For that reason, in addition to making your upsell details upfront, you should also make sure that they get seen. In retail, this could be as simple as asking your customers if they’d like various extras during the checkout process (while being forthcoming about extra charges). In an online format, this could be as simple as including a page prior to final checkout that shows customers products that compliment what they are already about to purchase.
By offering these extras in a format which makes the customer choose either yes or no to move forward in the process, you make them consider the possibilities. With each no, you come closer to a yes than you would have been if you never bothered to ask.
Pick Good Locations
How many times have you gone to a website or store and made it your goal to find extra things to buy after you’ve already found what you wanted? Probably not often and you shouldn’t count on your audience to do so either. Consider tempting them with an upsell before they’ve decided what they want to purchase from you as well as after they’ve made their decision. By offering various upsells at multiple points in time, you give yourself more opportunities to spark their interest and get a conversion.
If you take these points into consideration you’ll be a few steps closer to ensuring that your customers have a positive experience when you try to upsell them. Positive experiences create happy customers who are likely to come back for more. In today’s economy, that form of retention is one of the best ways to ensure long-term financial stability for your business.
Image from Wendy Cholbi