What is Upselling?

The a couple of weeks ago I was partaking in a little Cyber Monday shopping when I should have been working like the rest of America and I got an idea for a relevant post to go along with all of this product creation content I’ve been churning out as of late.What is Upselling

What is Upselling

I was on the Musician’s Friend website, which if you’re unaware is basically the largest online retailer of music related gear for some pretty good prices generally, as well. I’ve been interested in trying a lap steel guitar for some time now and came across a pretty highly rated one on their website for under $100 (with their Cyber Monday deals) so I figured why not give it a shot. I added the instrument to my shopping cart and it was the very next page which came up which inspired this post as you’ll see below:

As soon as I added the guitar to my cart I was immediately prompted to purchase items which were relevant to my lap steel guitar; things like finger picks, slides, and special lap steel strings. I hadn’t even thought about how I would likely need a set of finger picks and special strings for the guitar but this was the EXACT best time to offer them to me.

This is a prime example of effective upselling from one of the biggest online retailers on the net, and we can all (as merchants) take a page from their book.

Upselling is a lucrative marketing technique which should not be mistaken for backend sales. I talked about backend sales the other day by which I mean sales after the initial sale has been completed; today we’ll talk about what is upselling and how you can use it to make more money as a merchant.what is upselling

Upselling refers to offering additional products or services at the point of the sale/before the order is completed. You might offer two versions of your product, for example, a basic and a deluxe version which come with different features. You’ll really push the more expensive product, showcasing how much more the customer will get out of it.

Another way to use upselling is to sneak in an additional product at the checkout which your customer can use in combination with the initial product. An example, if you were selling an MP3 player, you might offer ear buds or headphones as an upsell when that person was about to checkout with the MP3 player.

You may be conscious and cautious about upselling and then offering a backend offer as soon as they purchase their initial products. Whether or not you offer the two in tandem is up to you; but generally you’re going to be using one or the other.

In getting back to the Musician’s Friend example, I did go ahead and add strings and finger picks to my order at the last minute because of their upselling. I want to identify the 4 tactics which they used which convinced me to go ahead and add those “impulse” items to my cart.


This one’s a biggie because if the suggested items weren’t relevant to my main purchase or at the very least the guitar, I likely wouldn’t have bought any of them. Each of the suggested items were very targeted to my purchase which is what caught my attention in the first place.


Note the very prominent “add to cart” button below each product. Shopping couldn’t get easier and the convenience of paying for it in the same session and receiving it in the same packaging as my main purchase is fantastic.


All of these products are in the $5-$20 range so it makes justifying their purchases pretty easy to do, especially when they know that I’m willing to spend $100 on that initial product. If they were upselling me with something which was comparable in price or more expensive than that initial product, that would lose my interest and turn me off. If you’re offering a deluxe version of your normal product, you can offer that as I mentioned earlier as the upsell for a small additional fee.

So if people were willing to spend $75 for your normal product, they’ll likely be willing to spend another $25 to bring it up to an even $100 if you clearly lay out the benefits/advantages/reasoning for that deluxe upsell.


I can’t overstate how much I appreciated being able to see the average user rating for each of the items listed right beside each of them. Social proof is important, especially when it comes to actually parting with your money to make a purchase, so it helps to know that your peers have used that product and given their thumbs up or down on it without your having to try it yourself. For some impulsive and busy people, that rating can be enough to seal the deal on its own, so integrating reviews with your upsell when you list it is HUGE.

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