The Best Cross-Selling Strategies for Your Shopify Store

Updated: February 20, 2024

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Published: February 20, 2024

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6 mins read

Want to increase AOV, revenue, and customer lifetime value for your Shopify store? Then it’s time to take a good look at your cross-sell strategy. 

What is cross-selling? 

Cross-selling is a tactic merchants use to boost sales by promoting additional products at key touchpoints in the customer journey. Recommended products can be those related to the product customers are engaging with, best-selling items, or suggestions based on purchase history and behavior. 

A solid cross-sell strategy can help you earn more revenue, enhance product discovery, and deepen your relationship with existing customers.

Cross-selling vs. upselling

There’s a lot of overlap between cross-sell and upsell strategies, but there are significant differences between the two. Upselling is essentially offering a product upgrade—a more expensive version, a subscription vs. a one-time sale, or premium add-ons. Cross-selling, on the other hand, is focused on promoting additional products before or after checkout. 

An easy way to understand the difference between cross-selling and upselling is by looking at a fast food example. Let’s say you’re ordering a cheeseburger. If the person taking your order suggests upgrading to a combo meal with french fries and a soda, that’s an upsell. If they recommend adding a milkshake or cookie to your order, that’s a cross-sell. 

How Shopify merchants benefit from cross-selling

In an age of skyrocketing customer acquisition costs, selling more products to your existing customers is crucial—and with more sales comes higher AOV, more revenue, and increased lifetime value.

But there are benefits that go beyond numbers on a spreadsheet, including:

  • Opportunities for product discovery: If a customer purchases one item regularly, cross-selling is an effective way to get them to try more products across categories. 
  • Better understanding of your customers: Every cross-sell offer gives you a chance to learn more about your customers, and which products are most likely to be bought together.
  • Enhanced customer loyalty: Cross-sells don’t just benefit the merchant—they also improve the customer experience. By curating the products a customer is most likely to buy, you’re making it easier for them to find the right products and increasing the likelihood that they’ll come back again.

Cross-sells can also help you clear stock of low-demand items, especially when bundled or discounted. But cross-selling isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it approach—it requires ongoing strategy, measurement, and fine-tuning. 

Common cross-sell offers

There isn’t just one right way to cross-sell—every store and customer is different. But here are some of the common ways that merchants offer additional products to shoppers:

  • Product recommendations: Offer products customers are likely to buy based on behavior and purchase history. 
  • Frequently bought together: Highlight products that customers frequently buy together.
  • Complementary products: Selling a pair of jeans? Recommend a belt or classic tee shirt to go with them. 
  • Bestsellers: Showcase your hero products—along with glowing reviews—to persuade customers to purchase more items. 

The more personalized the cross-sell offer is, the more likely it will convert. For example, if a customer bought a toner from you last week and this week they’re buying a cleanser, you don’t want them to get a recommendation for a toner. Make smart use of cross-sell rules and leverage AI to deliver the right recommendation at the right stage of the journey.

The best places to cross-sell on (and off) your Shopify store

To build a high-converting cross-selling strategy, you need to consider the entire customer journey and place your offers where shoppers are most likely to engage. Here are some placements to consider.

Cross-sell on product pages

When a shopper lands on a product page, they’re ready to learn more about an item so they can decide if they want to buy it or not. They’ll read reviews and product descriptions, and determine whether or not it meets their requirements.

Product pages are a highly effective place to showcase what else you have to offer, whether it’s bestsellers, complementary products, or those that are frequently bought together. That shopper may then opt for a higher-priced item or multiple items—either way, it’s more revenue for you. 

Cross-sell at checkout

Purchase intent doesn’t get much higher than at checkout. This is your chance to boost your AOV by recommending other products a shopper is likely to buy based on what’s in their cart. 

3D printer brand Elegoo uses AfterShip Personalization to display items frequently bought together at checkout. For example, Elegoo suggests resin for 3D printer purchases or encourages bundle deals for consumable items. Since implementing AfterShip Personalization, the brand has seen a 70% increase in AOV.

Cross-sell post-purchase

Many merchants don’t take advantage of post-purchase cross-selling, and why would they? The customer already bought something, right? Well, here’s why: making an online purchase releases dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for the “buyer’s high” that a shopper gets after checkout. It’s why a 2023 Deloitte study showed that 77% of global consumers had recently splurged on products in order to lift their mood. If you offer customers something irresistible while they’re in that excited post-purchase stage, there’s a good chance they’ll convert again.

This is an excellent opportunity to recommend products with limited-time sales, exclusive promotions, or other tantalizing offers. You can feature these cross-sells on the post-purchase page, which is displayed right after checkout and right before the thank you page; on the thank you page itself; and in post-purchase emails.

DIME Beauty uses AfterShip Personalization to feature cross-sells on their post-purchase pages. The brand uses that page to recommend products using the Best Sellers AI algorithm and uses personalized AI-generated content tailored to specific shopping scenarios. Since implementing AfterShip Personalization, DIME has seen a 45% boost in overall AOV.

You can even incorporate cross-sells into the returns process. Give shoppers the ability to exchange an item for anything in the store, and then make it easy for them to find products more likely to suit their needs. For example, if a customer is returning a pair of boots, promote your bestsellers in that category. Bonus: promote higher-priced items or bundles for more revenue.

Cross-selling: the key to capturing more revenue

With a comprehensive cross-selling strategy, the right software, and personalized offers at multiple touchpoints, merchants can increase AOV and customer lifetime value while promoting retention and loyalty. AfterShip Personalization combines the power of AI with easy-to-use features and in-depth analytics to help merchants create tailored experiences that drive revenue. Learn more

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