· 13 min read

How to Upsell: 15 Genius Upselling Tips & Examples

Upselling is one of the cornerstone marketing strategies of many business models, from brick-to-mortar stores and e-commerce to SaaS.

But what is upselling?

Upselling is getting your customers to purchase a higher-cost product than the one they originally planned to buy. It is a profitable sales strategy with a high conversion rate.

According to a study, the chances of selling to existing customers are 60%-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5-20%.

Besides, considering that product recommendations can drive 10-30% of revenue, offering the right products as upsells at the right time to the right customers is a vital sales tactic.

Amazon product comparison upselling example
If you skip upselling in your e-commerce business, you leave a LOT of revenue on the table.

In this article, you will learn how to upsell along with the best upselling techniques and examples.

Now, let’s see how to do it. Feel free to navigate with the table of contents below.

1. Choose a RELEVANT Product to Upsell

Macys upselling example

The key to a successful upsell is offering relevant products. Think about it: if a customer is buying a cookbook, there is no point in recommending a horror book (which would be cross-selling anyway).

When you are upselling, you need to offer a more expensive version of the product a customer is buying. It should be relevant to the intended product but have more benefits.

Basically, when you upsell, you are selling the benefits of the upsell.

For example, if you sell a subscription-based Saas product, you can upsell by recommending the higher plan and highlighting its benefits.

2. Use Product Comparisons

Nowadays, the majority of online customers are researching before making the final purchase decision. They are comparing the prices, features, reviews, and availability. You can make this process easier for your customers and turn it into an upselling strategy.

Show your prospects more than one product at a time. You might have come across this approach on SaaS (software as a service) product pricing pages. However, this tactic works for e-commerce as well.

Show customers similar upsell products and their primary feature differences so that they won’t have to click through multiple pages.

If you use an e-commerce solution like Shopify, you can consider using upsell apps too.

Away Travel upsells in the product pages by displaying a comparison with the upsell item.

Away Travel suitcase upsell

3. Select The Right Upsell

If you take a look at the e-commerce upsell examples, you will see different types to offer your customer base.

Below are some of the popular upsell types.

Product Protection

It is a commonly-used upsell method, both online and offline. The “Protect Your Product” upsell asks customers to extend their warranties so that they can effectively protect the product in case anything goes wrong.

For example, if you purchase a tablet, you may see an offer for a screen protection warranty for an extra charge.

Applecare product protection upsell strategy

Version Upgrade

Another upsell type is the version upgrade. You can ask customers to get a different version of the product they are interested in. It can be bigger, better, stronger, faster - as long it’s an upsell.

Extended Service Period

In many cases, companies upsell by offering a better value for a longer contract instead of upselling a physical product. You can also offer early deals for subscription renewals. It works well with SaaS products.

Product Customization

If you have ever seen the “customize your product” option when you are shopping, that’s an upsell. In fact, it is a series of upsells because the price increases with every customization.

Famous automotive brand Tesla upsells users by offering them to configure their cars before purchasing.

Tesla upselling technique


Bundling is a grey area because it can be both upselling and cross-selling. However, you can use it as an upselling technique to highlight its better value if you bundle related items together.

4. Offer a Reward to Encourage

Yes, you can show customers cool new products with better value but in most cases, it takes more than that for customers to follow through and buy the upsell.

They have already spent time deciding on the product they want to buy. So they may need an incentive to give a little nudge for impulsive purchase.

If you offer an upsell on the checkout screen, that’s a big opportunity to sell more. They are already in the buying mode; you must have convinced them to buy something. But to trigger them to spend more, a special offer can do the trick.

For example, if their cart value is $50, you can offer an option to save an extra %10 by upgrading the product.

Here’s an example:

product upselling example


5. Never Be Pushy

You want to make sure your customers see the upsells, but there is a thin line between annoying them and convincing them to spend more money.

Cross the line or show your upsell popup at the wrong time, and they may not buy anything at all. Show them the upselling offer at the right time, and you have a chance of boosting sales.

But how do you seize the right moment to upsell?

  • Some retailers place the upsell product information well below the product information so that only the prospects who are really interested see it.
  • Another option is to show the offer when people have decided to buy. For example, when they add the item to the cart (but before they checkout.)

It would be annoying if you showed your upsell when people have just landed on a page. This may cause them to leave for good. Instead, you can use Popupsmart’s scroll trigger, which shows the upsell offer when the visitor scrolls a certain percentage of the page.

Popupsmart campaign schedule

Or you can enable after X seconds targeting to show the upsell offer after some time has passed.

6. Win Their Trust with Social Proof

The social proof strategy shows people that others who purchased the product found it valuable. It’s a popular marketing tactic used by top retailers like Amazon.

Here’s an example:

Amazon laptop upselling

7. Make Use of Urgency

Urgency is a smart trigger to nudge people to buy the upsell. If you offer the upsell for a limited time only or in limited quantities, then make sure to highlight it in your marketing.

You can use Popupsmart, a no code popup builder to create limited-time upselling campaigns and increase e-commerce revenue with urgency.

Popupsmart countdown timer popup

Another way to create even more urgency is to countdown timer popups. Just add a timer on your upsell popup to highlight the short amount of time remained and watch people buy the product. 🙂

Sky nudges customers towards the more expensive version by offering a limited-time offer and using urgency.

Sky's broadband urgency upsell

8. Offer Free Shipping

Offering free shipping is relatively an old tactic, but it’s a proven method and still works. A retail study shows that 9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is the main incentive to shop more.

But how to use it for upselling? Simply remind people how much more they need to spend to qualify for free shipping. This might encourage them to add more to the shopping cart.

product upselling

9. Personalize Recommended Upsells

Customers are more likely to buy from brands that use personalization, and recommendations also work better on a personalized level.

  • Know customers’ purchase history
  • Recommend products based on that
  • Address them by their name

10. Display Product Suggestions

You might have noticed that all the leading e-commerce sites show product suggestions. Retailers display product recommendations based on what customers search for. The main aim behind these suggestions is to get them to spend a little more.

Customers browsing eBay, for example, will notice a dedicated section to similar products:

ebay blender suggestions for upselling

11. Use the Rule of Three

Have you ever heard of “the rule of three” in marketing?

The rule of three is the idea that in speech and text, the audience tends to absorb the given information and find things that come in threes more effective, funnier, or more satisfying.

It is even used in marketing slogans like “Just Do It - Nike” or “I’m Lovin’ It - McDonald’s.”

So, how does it work in upselling? Simply put, people respond to patterns. You can take advantage of the rule of three and show your upselling offer in threes as in below.

Apple rule of three upselling technique

12. Limit The Price Increase

According to Bitcatcha’s recommendation, you shouldn’t price your upsells too high, or it might not work. For upsells to work, customers need to perceive them as a quick win.

It’s best to keep the upsell price not more than 40% more than the item they originally planned to buy. Some sources say like Retail Doctor, suggest that the percentage should be even lower. It advises that the upsell price should be no more than an additional 25%.

We recommend testing different options to find what works best for your customer base.

13. Include Add-ons

If customers have done their research and know what they want to buy, a regular upselling strategy might not convince them to spend more.

However, in that case, add-ons can do the trick. Depending on what you sell online, you can offer add-ons, such as:

  • Additional features
  • Bonus products
  • Sample products

Dollar Shave, for example, includes add-ons on their product page to introduce a new product line:

dollar shave upselling campaign

14. Upsell with a Follow-up Email

Follow-up upselling emails are one of the most used upselling strategies. When we are talking about post-purchase upsells, email marketing leads the show.

Even if people don’t take the upsell offer when purchasing a product, you can still offer an upsell with a follow-up email. Making the deal even better to win them is also a proven method.

Target, for example, sent this email to its subscribers using social proof and sharing top picks.

Target followup email campaign

If you want to grow your email list, you can try subscription popups on your website to collect new leads.

15. Encourage Sales with a Referral Program

Another upselling tip is running a referral program. Referrals are a proven marketing strategy. After a positive experience, ask customers for a referral at the checkout.

Once they refer to their contacts, the customers qualify to use the extra rewards or points they earned for a future purchase. There are loyalty tools, standalone, or plugins, such as ReferralCandy, which you can use to automate the referral process at the checkout.

Actionable Customer Loyalty Program Ideas with 10 Examples


Upselling is a step you should take to get that extra money from your customers and increase your revenue. We provided some tips and how to upsell in e-commerce, along with real-life upselling examples.

These will make sure you get the most out of your upselling strategy! If you enjoyed this post, you could check out How to create Popup Forms for Your Website.