What is cross selling? (Examples of cross and up selling)

What is cross selling?

Cross selling is when you sell a customer different products or accessories with their original purchase intent. For example, a customer buys an iphone and you cross sell them a phone case and screen protector.

Cross selling is a good way to increase revenue for your business. What products or accessories can you entice your existing customers with?

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you what cross selling is. I’ll even show you the difference between cross and upselling and how to cross sell in your business. Small changes can lead to a big impact to your overall revenue.

21-035 - What is cross selling (Examples of cross and up selling)

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What is cross selling?

Cross selling is the act of selling additional products, accessories, or services outside the original purchase intent. Typically, cross selling involves selling accessories that add benefit to the customers original purchase.

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What is the difference between upsell and cross sell?

Upsell is different from cross selling because upselling involves upgrading the customer’s purchase to a better product or service. Upselling means you are upgrading the customer’s purchase while cross selling adds additional purchases.

Cross selling examples

Cross selling is an important part of any business. Here are a few examples of how cross selling can make your business more money.

You walk into a burger place and order a cheeseburger. The cashier asks if you want to add a drink and fries to make it a combo meal. The cashier has been trained to cross sell you products you didn’t ask for, the fries and drink.

You are purchasing an iPhone at your local AT&T or Verizon store. The service representative asks if you’d like to buy a warranty, screen protector, and phone case. You are being cross sold on buying the warranty, screen protector, and phone case.

You’re shopping on Amazon for ChuckIt! balls, but Amazon shows you the ‘frequently bought together’ suggestions. Amazon suggests that you buy a ChuckIt ball launcher and kick fetch ball.

Amazon cross selling example

Up selling example

Up selling shouldn’t be ignored either. You can boost sales by simply upgrading a customer’s purchase to the next best model or plan. Here are some examples of upselling.

You’re purchasing an iPhone 8 because it’s within your price range. However, the service representative convinces you to purchase an iPhone X. You were upsold because you bought the more expensive and next model up.

You’re shopping for a new vacuum and you think you know which model you want. However, the sales representative asks if you have dogs, which you do. The sales representative suggests you buy the pet version of the vacuum to deal with dog hair. You were upsold to the next model up.

You’re at a movie theater, buying a medium soda. The cashier asks if you want to make it large for only $0.50 more.

Why is cross selling important?

Cross selling is important because you have the opportunity to increase sales by recommending additional products. In most cases, customers aren’t thinking about additional accessories. Cross selling allows you to point out the importance of having additional products.

What are some cross selling strategies?

Cross selling strategies include pointing out the importance of a purchase or recommending customer’s frequently purchased items. Effective cross selling involves pointing out the benefit of making additional purchases.

Salesmen know the importance of pointing out the benefits of a product. A good product can sell itself. 

For example, you’re buying an iPhone. The salesman talks about how clumsy he is and frequently drops his phone on tile flooring. He’s so thankful that he has a protective case to protect his thousand dollar phone. After all, the case was only $40 which is nothing compared to the phone price.

In this example, the salesman was relatable. He made an example of himself to talk about the clumsy nature of humans. Dropping your phone is a real possibility.

He also highlights the benefits of owning not just any case, but a protective case. The salesman is pointing out the phone is expensive and easily breakable. He’s also minimizing the cost of the phone case by comparing it to the price of the phone.

Essentially, the salesman is trying to justify your purchase for you.

You can also simply point out good accessories for a product. Most consumers think they only need their original purchase intent. However, most customers can also see the value of addons when the options are presented to them.

All you’re doing is bringing the items to the forefront of the customer’s mind. Amazon does a really good job with their “frequently bought together” on their listing.

If you own an ecommerce store, include a popup with recommended accessories when someone adds an item to their cart. Shop owners, keep accessories near the main products so they’re easily visible.

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Summary: What is cross selling?

As you can see, cross selling is the act of recommending additional products or services outside the original purchase intent. Cross selling is different from upselling because upselling focuses on upgrading the original purchase.

You can use both cross selling and upselling to increase sales and overall revenue. Think about how you can incorporate both into your business.


John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.