Suggestive Selling on the Web
Upselling and cross-selling efforts frequently have been used by marketers to increase average order size and to turn single-buyers into multibuyers.
A cataloger, for example, might include product descriptions of complementary accessories alongside a photo of a dress. Unlike print catalogs in which space is at a premium, the Internet’s non-linear, electronic environment enables virtually unlimited upselling and cross-selling to generate incremental sales. However, as in print, the key to success is making those referrals relevant.
With a focus on the art of merchandising online, the e-tailing group specializes in helping clients improve their multichannel shopping experiences. To determine benchmarks for best-of-breed e-commerce annually, in the critical fourth quarter, we “mystery shop” 100 sites selling a cross-section of business-to-consumer product categories. And each year, in the first quarter, we also extensively survey more than 300 senior executives responsible for e-commerce.
When merchants were queried about which features they would most like to add to or improve on their sites (assuming resources were not an issue)—in priority order, the three named most often were: personalization, improved search and upsell/cross-sell.
When asked about the importance of upsells and cross-sells to current business, 57 percent responded they are extremely or somewhat important, and just 16 percent currently are not using this feature.
Location, Location, Location
The location of your upsell or cross-sell offer is key. Following the catalog metaphor online, suggestive selling traditionally is found on the product page. Smart merchants also are using these tools in their shopping carts to encourage last minute impulse buying behavior; some also have had success in post-order communication.
To gain an understanding of the value of specific merchandising features, we had the surveyed merchants rank 39 features on a five-point scale with five being very valuable and one indicating no value. This year we added the emerging suggestive selling tool, shop by outfit/by room, to the list and were pleased that 28 percent ranked it of value—considering 67 percent do not have this feature on their sites since it is category specific.