3 Secrets for Better Cross-Selling and Upselling Online

May 03, 2016

As customer connectivity has risen, marketers have never felt more disconnected with those same individuals. That’s because in today’s cross-channel, cross-device world, they often struggle with providing a seamless brand experience and ultimately making the most of consumers’ digital habits.

Digital ads are used to target these customers, but marketers often question how they can be used to enhance the customer experience and further influence buying decisions in the same way that an in-store sales associate could.

People-based marketing makes it possible for customer online experiences to be just as – if not more – timely, relevant and personalized as in-person encounters with a brand. Marketers can entice shoppers to stay engaged and make even more purchases through addressable media campaigns. Just as a waiter can influence a diner to add a dessert, or a salesperson can persuade a buyer to get the next size up television, online ads can also strategically and naturally upsell or cross-sell the digital user.

Marketers can take these same tried and true offline sales strategies to use in their online addressable media campaigns:

1. Use Knowledge About the Customer

Listening to customers allows a salesperson to anticipate their needs and aspirations, such as:

  • What are they looking for?
  • How much are they willing to spend?
  • What other products are they interested in?
  • What features of the product are most appealing?
  • What are their problems or pain points?

Marketers have the same ability to observe customers online as the salesperson does in person. Every day, as consumers navigate their digital environments, they send a live stream of digital signals to marketers about their intentions and needs through what they read, browse, search, save or purchase. These intent signals, paired with the known customer attributes that marketers hold in their offline CRM and POS warehouses, paint a complete picture of customers that can be used to address their needs.

As a matter of fact, it’s actually more accurate and relevant than what an in-person sales associate can glean due to the depth of real customer information available in these data warehouses as it relates to loyalty, purchase history or lifetime value.

2. Time It Just Right

Timing is critical for a successful upsell or cross-sell. Seasoned sales associates know to wait until they have observed and learned customers’ needs, then make the right pitch at the right time, when they know the shopper has decided to make a purchase.

Using a technology that allows marketers to connect their own first-party attribute data with a customer’s online behaviors and activate the appropriate media in real-time makes that same mission-critical timing possible online. For example, if a female platinum loyalty member just viewed a pair of designer shoes, advertisers are in a valuable position to serve a personalized ad to increase chances of conversion, such as, “Thank you for being a valued customer. Enjoy 10% of next time you purchase a pair of shoes from us online.” It is essential to address customers when they are ready to buy, wherever they are at that moment, with the most relevant message.

3. Make It a Service, Not a Sales Pitch

Tone and approach is everything when cross-selling and upselling, both in person and online. Upselling and cross-selling should always consist of items or additional features that benefit customers so they always feel they are getting a better deal.

For example, offering a larger TV screen or the exponentially faster service for just a little more money, or maybe targeting shoppers with an ad offering a second item for 50% off post-purchase, makes logical sense when customers are weighing their options. The key is to make sure the right options are communicated and the message demonstrates how the additional features or products far outweigh the additional cost.

This is the perfect opportunity to make a retargeted ad campaign work even harder. Rather than follow customers around the Web with a generic ad, or an ad for something they already purchased, marketers can leverage addressable media to reach known customers and solve for their specific needs.

Customers expect the same level of service from a brand whether online or in person. People-based marketing focuses on customers as real people rather than just cookies or devices, so advertisers can understand their specific needs and preferences, and address them as individuals. Ultimately, this can increase the level of service provided, the end sale and ongoing customer loyalty, making it a winning combination for customers and brands alike.

Download the Advertiser's Guide to People-based Marketing

Michael Twomey

Michael is a thought leader and innovator in digital advertising who has extensive experience in direct and loyalty marketing. As Signal’s former SVP and Managing Director of People-Based Marketing, he oversees the company’s addressable media solution and helps clients improve the reach and performance of their digital media efforts.

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