Emails & SMS

How to Increase Your AOV Through Email Upsells and Cross-Sells - Part 1

January 26, 2022

Kelsey Hess

Contributing Writer

While it’s easy to get lost in acquiring new customers, lowering your CAC, and churning out new ad creative…

Almost every eCommerce business will eventually realize that increasing average order value (AOV) can be a more sustainable track to growth.


🚀 Two tried-and-true strategies for skyrocketing your AOV are upsells and cross-sells.

In a nutshell…


Upsells = Upgrades. Selling “up” by promoting higher-tier versions or add-ons.

👉 Would you like to add guac for $1? (The answer is always yes, obv.)


Cross-sells = Complements. Selling “across” by suggesting other products that complement the customer’s purchase.

👉 These penguin socks would look killer with those shoes.


While the strategies are slightly different, the overall goal is the same.


Upsells and cross-sells encourage shoppers to add more to their cart by providing them more value—whether that’s in the form of a better version, more for their money, or additional items they’ll love.


Onsite, Shopify apps are making upselling and cross-selling easier than ever.

But you also can (and should) up/cross-sell in your emails!


Best Practices for Upsells and Cross-sells 👇


1️⃣ Suggest related products

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many times shoppers will get marketed completely unrelated products to the one that they purchased (or worse, duplicates of the same product). 🤦

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: If I bought this product, what would I be more likely to upgrade to (upsell) or buy next (cross-sell)? What would I enjoy the most?

For example, BOOM! by Cindy Joseph upsells new customers with their “new most popular product,” which means there’s a high chance most shoppers will like it.



2️⃣ Avoid huge leaps in price/barrier to entry

If your customer just purchased a low-priced item (or opted in for something free), they’re pretty unlikely to take you up on an up/cross-sell of your most expensive product.

Baby steps, grasshopper. 🦗

What’s the most relevant product to suggest with the next lowest entry barrier? Better yet, is there something you can offer that saves the customer money overall (such as a bundle, buy one get one, or discounted add-on)? Value, value, value.


3️⃣ Personalize, if possible

We see it repeatedly: automated up/cross-sells shown to every shopper, regardless of what they purchased.

For example, it’s common to see carousels in emails that automatically pull in “related” products from your shop feed.

However, when these aren’t customized or filtered appropriately, they can sometimes show the exact same product you just bought!

Case in point: Right after the shopper bought their GRO Hair Serum, the same product was recommended in a carousel in a post-purchase email. That means the brand lost that opportunity to cross-sell on a different yet related product. 😭



When to include upsells & cross-sells in your emails

When it comes to adding up/cross-sells to your email flows, timing matters. A lot.


🚨 Check out Part 2 in Monday’s Newsletter for tips and real-life examples for when/how to incorporate them into your emails!

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