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Upselling and Cross-Selling: How to Increase Your Order Size

Local Line Blog_Up-selling Cross-selling

The most frequent question we get from users is how can I increase my order size to meet my minimum order requirement? 

No matter the industry you’re in, the Harvard Business Review found that acquiring a new customer is 5-25x times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Make the most out of the customers you already have! To do so, there are two very important words to know: upselling and cross-selling.

What is upselling? 

Upselling is a sales term for encouraging customers to buy more than what they are already purchasing—for example, encouraging customers to buy a larger pack of meat instead of a smaller one or buying a full CSA share, versus a half share. 

What is cross-selling? 

Cross-selling often can get confused with upselling. The big difference is that cross-selling is encouraging a customer to buy a complementary product that pairs with their original purchase. For example, herbs that go well with a particular protein or fruits that pair well with yoghurt. 

Upselling and cross-selling can be a great way to increase your average order size and get more from your existing customer base.

Here are the most important things to remember:

  1. Determine what works best for your business
  2. Decide whether you're up-selling pre- or post-sale
  3. Make sure it's relevant
  4. Demonstrate the value 
  5. Ideas for promotion

1. Determine which method works best for your business

Depending on your business model, upselling or cross-selling may work better for your business. Upselling can be very useful for businesses that have different pack sizes, for example, meat producers. It can also be effective for CSAs that offer different share sizes. Cross-selling works great for food hubs or producers that offer a large variety of products. You can easily suggest pairings or recipes that can be made with products you sell. 

Depending on which method you choose, you may have a different sales approach. For upselling, you may choose to include value.  For cross-selling, you may focus on promoting specific product pairings based on seasonality or an upcoming holiday. 

2. Pre- or post-sale?

Upselling and cross-selling can both be done pre- or post-sale:

  • Pre-sale means that they were encouraged to purchase a larger size or an additional product before they paid.
  • Post-sale means they are sent promotional material after they paid. 

The benefits of pre-sale are that you can increase the order size before purchase, but it can quickly become a deterrent if you come on too strong. Cross- or upselling post-sale means you are not affecting the initial sale, but you can encourage your customers to purchase again.

Also, the choice between pre- or post-sale is dependent on whether you’re selling online or in-person. A pre-sale cross- or upsell may be easy to achieve when selling at the market or farms store but can be harder to succeed online. When selling online, sending discounts or marketing emails after their first purchase can be a great way to cross- or upsell post-sale.

3. Make sure it is relevant to the customer

The more personalised, the better! 59% of shoppers who experienced personalisation during their shopping said it influenced their purchase decision. When using cross-selling, be strategic about what you’re suggesting. The more personalised you can get, the better!

Also, be sure to steer clear of suggesting products that increase their (current or past) order by more than 25%. You want to be able to capture their attention without implying that they should spend outside of their budget.

4. Demonstrate the value

We’re all suckers for a good deal. If sizing up is a better price per pound, be sure to lead with that! Customers want to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck. Include price per pound or value for money information in the product description or label so that the information is easy to find for the customer. The more information you give upfront, the better!

Watch out for upsell fatigue

Always be mindful of how often you’re “selling” your customers. Sending too many marketing emails can deter a customer from shopping with you again. Find your marketing “sweet spot” to ensure you are still reaching your customer base and not ending up in their spam folder.

Curious about how to get started? Here are some ways you can implement upselling or cross-selling in your business today!:

Email Newsletters

Integrate cross- and upselling into your email marketing, and make sure to segment your customers into different email lists. This will allow you to get even more personal and target your emails to your customers’ needs and shopping style.

Do you need inspiration for email newsletters or marketing emails? Local Line has got you covered. Click here to get our free marketing email templates! Download them here.

Great Product Descriptions

You can easily slide in some cross- or upselling into your product descriptions. Be sure to include product pairings or value of the product into the product description on your online store. This way, when customers click on that item, you can communicate this with them directly! 

Do you use multiple catalogs on Local Line? Be sure to update the product description to meet the customer type.

Offer Seasonal Promotions

Offering seasonal promotions (ie. Thanksgiving or Easter) can be a great way to get customers to bite the bullet and try something new! By providing bundled products, customers are persuaded to buy products together. It may increase the likelihood they will purchase again! 

Free product or shipping with purchase

Looking to up your order size? Offer a free product or free shipping over a certain spending amount. Be sure to calculate your minimum order value for delivery and set this as the threshold.

To calculate your minimum order value, use Local Line’s free calculator here! 

Discount coupons

Give customers a discount coupon after their first purchase with you. The voucher will entice them to come back for a second time to redeem with next purchase.



Email Marketing Templates-01Download free email marketing templates

Customize to your business and regularly engage with customers and prospects. Templates for new product announcements, seasonal recipes, reminder emails and more!

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