An upsell occurs when a brand offers an upgraded version of a product that’s already been purchased by the customer. Typically, upsells are used to increase average order value and profits. Although product upgrades are the most popular type of upselling, a brand can also implement this tactic by offering other perks.

Popular examples of upselling include:

  • Bigger portion sizes – McDonald’s “Supersize” burger, for example.
  • Better product model – such as iPhone 13 Pro Max instead of iPhone 13
  • Higher tier service options – Audible offers different pricing tiers that include increasing numbers of free monthly credits at a higher price.

Upselling works best when it’s targeted to existing customers. Research reveals that companies have a 60-70 percent chance of selling to an existing customer and only a 5-20 percent chance of selling to a new one. Because returning customers have already experienced the quality and reliability of their products, they’re more open to the idea of repurchasing from a business they’ve formed a bond with. For this reason, many companies tailor their upsell offers around existing customers.

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