The power of upsells and downsells is one of the most popular marketing strategies for increasing sales revenue in your business.
The simple truth is that if you're not using this strategy, you're leaving money on the table.
This technique allows you to generate as much revenue as possible from your customers while also presenting them with more of the products and services your business sells.
Upsells and downsells turn single-product buyers into multiple product buyers and allow you, as a marketer, to present different offers to your customers and provide value from products that align with their primary product purchase.
A complete offer funnel showing how upsells and downsells can be offered.
Some customers may not be aware of all of your products and services. By offering upsells and downsells, you have a way of increasing your revenue and offering additional products of which your customers are not aware.
This article will give you the best practices for using upsells and downsells on your WordPress website. We are also going to show you how you can achieve this in only a few clicks using Optimizepress.
You can call that a win-win! 🙌 🙌 🙌
Table of contents
Examples From Live Sites
Creating One-click Offers
Before we dive into how you are going to deploy this revenue-boosting strategy in your business, let's start by clarifying what upsells and downsells are.
What Is An Upsell?
A product upsell typically comes in two preferred formats.
The first format is offering an upgraded version of the original product that your customer has purchased. This upgrade product is usually at a higher price and provides the customer with more value. The second upsell format is to offer the customer an additional product that is aligned closely with the primary product they have purchased.
Typically you offer your upsell product straight after the customer has completed the primary product purchase. However, you should test this format to see what works best for your business type.
The most common upsell that we all know of is the McDonald's "supersize". The simple phrase "would you like to supersize" would have generated McDonald's billions in revenue.
Another upsell might be merely taking someone from the basic version to the higher version of the same product like; small fries to medium fries, medium fries to large fries.
It can be as simple as selling a service with your product, for example, a maintenance plan, support plan, or recurring membership plan.
An upsell takes the primary product to a premium product and increases the revenue for that business. It is much easier and cheaper to sell to an existing customer than finding new customers. What makes upsells so effective is that they are presented after you have already gained the trust of the customer.
Upsell offer is shown after buyer submits initial checkout form. It can be added to the order - usually with one-click of an additional order button
What Is A Downsell?
A downsell is the reverse of what is happening in an upsell, rather than selling a higher-priced product, you offer a similar lower-priced product. These lower-priced products also help to increase the average order of the customer and bring more profit into the business.
The point at which you usually present your downsell offer is when the customer chooses not to accept your upsell offer.
As an example, if you are selling a printed book online, an upsell could be a video course on the same topic. If the customer doesn't take the upsell, a downsell could be the audio version of that same product.
A simple downsell is usually a stripped back version of the premium upsell. A downsell can be very effective when a customer feels the upsell is too expensive or when it doesn't appeal to them.
A downsell offer is shown after the buyer clicks the "no thanks" link (or any text you wish) to reject the upsell offer. The downsell will usually be lower priced.
Understanding The Terminology
To best understand some of the terminology used in this article, an upsell, downsell or one-time offer are all very much the same. They attempt to get the customer to spend more money during the checkout process, but they are different in the way the offers are presented.
An upsell can still be a one-time offer, so don’t be too confused about the terminology.
Pre-Purchase & Post-Purchase Behaviour
There are two ways you can increase your average order value.
Pre-purchase is offering a product as an add-on purchase on the checkout page. We call this an order bump, a new feature we added to OptimizePress that allows you to create order bumps on your WordPress site.
Post-purchase is when you offer a product after the customer clicks to buy. We call this an upsell, downsell or even a one-time offer.
Again, using a new feature in OptimizePress called one-time offers that allow you to sell products with one-click.
Order Bump Example: The order bump box is designed to be high impact and attract buyer attention to a "no-brainer" add-on offer (usually low priced).
The Power Of One-Time or One-Click Offers
You will often see upsell and downsell offers marketed as "one time offers". A one-time offer should be precisely what its title suggests. An offer that you present to the customer, one time! The one-time element of the upsell/downsell offer means that if the customer does not take the product offering at that moment in time, it will not be available again at a later date. This increases the customer's motivation to act on the sales offer presented to them.
To ensure every customer knows it's limited, you must make it stand out, and this should be clear and easy to understand in your messaging.
Using sales copy and conversion optimised checkout designs, you must make your offers as easy as possible to accept.
This is where having a one-click upsell makes it easy for the customer to buy your offer. No need to enter credit card info again, use the one-click button to persuade the user to take your next offer.
Creating one-time or one-click offers in WordPress is now even easier using OptimizeCheckouts. These additional features make OptimzePress one of the most powerful shopping cart solutions for WordPress.
To offer a one-click upsell on your WordPress site opens many opportunities for bloggers and product creators just like you. We'll show you how easy it is to create these offers later in this article.
Remember, upsell offers don't require the user to enter their details again. The payment data is stored and triggered again if they take the upsell. This presents the customer with a lower barrier to entry and improves conversion rates.
The ease of buying in this manner increases your customer spend without you having to put in more time and effort to promote your products.
What Type Of Upsells/Downsells Should You Offer?
By now, you should have a better understanding of why you should use upsells and downsells in your business.
Now let’s look at the types of offers you can make for your products.
An important factor to consider is that the better you understand the buying behaviour of your niche market, the better you can target your offers to them.
Answering the questions above can help you create and plan your offers.
Offer A Different Format
If you sell a digital product of any kind, there’s a chance you might already have the same product in a different format such as video or audio.
Upsell Support & Maintenance
Customer support and maintenance plans are also brilliant upsells. They provide value to the customer by offering a sense of security and guarantee in the product they are buying.
Highlight the value and cost of these support plans and why they help the customer in the future. To further highlight the value showing the regular price in comparison to the upsell offer price.
Done for you upsell example - in this case offering to help you prepare your social media content. Ideal for a social media training digital product upsell.
Upsell Extra Options
If you are running an in-person event or workshop, there are many opportunities to generate lots of extra revenue. Just look at some of the biggest marketing events. You can usually buy the content in some form or another, such as workbook notes or video recordings.
These are easy ways to get customers to increase their average order value. Never assume that you have exhausted all options.
If the product you sell offers training or mentoring services, you can most likely offer an upsell of a subscription for continued education. This might be in the format of a membership site, additional coaching or mastermind groups.
Here are some examples:
Subscription upsell example from Lewis Howes shows how you can add a subscription (Inner Circle coaching in this case) to your offer.
Examples Of Upsells & Downsells
Let’s take a look at examples of one-click upsells to give you some inspiration. Please note some of these examples may or may not be live at the time you’re reading this article.
Strategy Tip - Read the power words!
Rather than just skimming the examples in this article, read the examples. Take note of the wording and keywords the marketers are using to make their offers sound amazing.
Look for power words, highlighted words, underlined words and use those as inspiration for your copy.
OptimizePress customer and fitness instructor Gavin Walsh upsells supplements to his customers who buy a related workout plan.
This offer is for savings on buying in bulk and presented immediately after checkout.
Here's a simple product upsell example from Sunglass Hut, they are upselling a face mask during checkout. I find this quite a lazy upsell as it doesn't link directly to the primary product purchase, but this upsell is very topical and in the current mindset of most customers, so could work well from that angle.
A better upsell might be a hard case for glasses or a cleaning kit which is more aligned to the primary product purchase.
The Hut Group are experts at marketing their products and services effectively. I recommend you get on their email list to see how they present offers and sell products.
This example on MyProtein is a cross-sell during checkout. They show you what other customers are buying. However, there’s no option to add directly to the cart using a one-click option; otherwise, it would be an upsell.
The next example, which is again over at MyProtein is the subtle supersize upsell. Notice the savings are shown so the customer can see the value in the offer. If people take this offer, you have immediately generated more revenue at no extra cost to acquire the customer.
These subtle increases in revenue can boost profits for your business.
This is like the well known upsell method from McDonald's - the Supersize offer when you buy a meal plan.
This offer is beautifully made and simple to understand, Who Gives a Crap show you a related product as soon as you click checkout.
Notice the “Add To Cart” and confirmation “Added” when you take the offer. Clear to understand and easy to see when you’ve taken the offer.
Here’s an OptimizePress site I came across while researching this article spressio.com
The primary offer is software and one of the various upsell offers a "related" piece of software.
If you are selling software, then you know your audience is looking for software solutions to their challenges. It makes sense that additional software tools would appeal to them as upsells.
The pricing options are in bold with the savings included and the clear “No Thanks” button below.
Strategy Tip - No Brainer Pricing
There are various pricing optimisations you can make to increase conversions. You can try yearly pricing, two-yearly pricing and lifetime pricing to boost the uptake of your offers. If you are offering discounts or price reductions showing the regular pricing will highlight the value of the savings on offer.
The primary offer here is for a piece of software to generate music.
The upsell is to get a one-time price to create unlimited pieces of music with templates and additional features.
The offer price in this example is one time compared to the normal monthly pricing. You'll notice they still show the regular monthly cost so that the value on offer is clear. There is also a detailed "no thank you" link to remind visitors of what features they would miss out on.
In this example, the main product offered for sale is a video hosting product called Motvio. They are not too worried about how many offers they keep presenting the customer post-purchase.
After purchase, you are shown a feature upsell
Then you will see another feature offer.
Then another offer to unlock more further features.
It doesn’t end there. They keep going with a couple more offers. This continuous offering during checkout can massively increase the average order amount and on the other hand, can be a little annoying to some people.
Bark Box has a nice sales process to guide people into buying more of their products. They take you through a questionnaire to gather information about your dog.
After the questionnaire, you have to choose your subscription type. They use anchor pricing here to show the savings value per box.
After you choose your subscription, they offer a premium toy for another $9 a month with a simple “yes please” button in one-click you can accept the offer.
Depending on the products you have in your business, you might not always have additional products to upsell. So what can you do in this scenario?
A common and effective strategy is to offer an enhanced or extended version of the original product purchase. Don't assume that customers will not pay for this type of upsell; any upsell can work if it represents value and enhances the customer's experience of the products they purchase.
In our example upsell funnel here, the original product purchase is for a 60-day Keto Meal plan. You can see the product detailed on the order page image below.
NOTE: Also check out the order bump product that is offered, it pairs perfectly with the primary product that is being purchased. 😎
After the primary purchase is complete, customers are then offered an extension to the duration of the primary product purchase. The upsell provides an extension of the diet plan from 60 days to 180 days. This type of upsell can be very profitable, as in most cases, the business does not have to do much additional work for the extra revenue that it generates.
If the customer does not take the upsell product, which is a 180-day Keto plan, they then go to a downsell page. On the downsell page, they are offered the same 180-day plan but at a $30 discount.
Your downsell product doesn't always have to be a different product; it can be an adapted version of the upsell product or a price discounted version of the upsell.
And finally, the second upsell in the process is a monthly subscription to the members-only community. Nicely done!
Diet and supplement companies often use heavily tested and optimised sales funnels. Hence their upsell funnels, like this example, are ones that you can use to model your own upsell and downsell offers around.
Here's an example which comes from a company called Organifi. In their upsell funnel, they are using a mix of different sales techniques. A key selling tactic is to work scarcity into your sales message. It's common to refer to scarcity as "Fear of Missing Out" or FOMO.
Scarcity means that you invoke a sense of urgency in your customer so that they feel they must take action now. Inaction will lead to missing out on a fantastic offer. The basis of most scarcity in marketing is around a limited number of products for sale or an expiring deadline.
The most effective sales funnels will use a mix of upsells, downsells, order bumps that include many different upsell techniques like FOMO.
Including a mix of these techniques in your funnels will increase conversions and generate more revenue for your business.
Once you arrive on the checkout page, there are two order bump products on offer.
In the example below, you can see FOMO in action. The upsell begins with a statement headline that the buyer might miss out on their next order due to the high demand (FOMO). Read the copy used here to get a customer to spend another $149!
Next, we see a one-time offer for a related product that benefits the primary purchase. Again read the copy and take note of how they sell the benefits.
After that, you get another offer for the auto-shipped product at $49 a month (monthly subscription).
Here's our final and my favourite upsell example from the men's razor company Harry's. What I love about this upsell is it gives you the flexibility to change the upsell product depending on the circumstances of your business.
How a mystery product upsell works is that during the checkout process, you present the customer with an offer to add a mystery product to their order for a low purchase price. The customer does not know what the mystery product is until they complete the checkout, only that it will be a product complementary to the primary purchase.
The appeal of this upsell for the customer is that it is at an additional low price and typically would be worth more than they are paying.
As this is a mystery product upsell offer, you should keep the price point low, so it's easy for the customer to accept. Setting a higher price point on a mystery product is likely to have low conversions.
This type of upselling is easy to create, and the low price point can lead to high conversions and a significant increase in your order value.
OK, I hear you saying "Harry's have lots of different products they can give away" and yes, they do, but so do you.
Here are three mystery products I would offer:
1. 15 Minute Phone Consultation
2. Three Minute Landing Page Review Video
3. Five Minute Website Critique Video
These examples prove you don't have to think too hard about your offers. Start by presenting an offer in front of your customers that you can quickly create and service.
Then from there, you can assess the success of that offer and make changes to optimise it as you get statistics and feedback.
You'll never know what offers work until you try.
Sales Lessons From The Examples Above
In the above examples, there are some key things to take away to help you create your own upsells. We recommend that you start by going with the examples that are easiest for you to implement in your business. Some of the upsell funnels will work better than others, and this depends on the products you have and the niche you are targetting.
With time and testing, you will find the right mix. Upsell and downsell funnels can add some significant additional revenue to your business, and the resulting profits can make a massive difference to the growth of your business.
We'd love to hear from you! Let us know how you are using upsells and downsells in your business, or how you plan to after reading this post!
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