Leveraging cross selling and up selling to boost marketplace sales

Through providing sellers an expanded reach and shoppers an integrated buying experience, marketplace platforms have grown in popularity. However, to shine in this competitive space, effective strategies are needed, two of which – cross selling and up selling – prove particularly influential.

What is cross selling?

Cross selling is a sales method that promotes the acquisition of additional items related or complementary to the one that a customer has initially chosen. The goals of cross-selling are to increase the overall purchase value, enrich the customer experience, and nurture customer loyalty.

You can spot a typical instance of cross-selling at a brick-and-mortar store’s checkout area, where minor items like chewing gum, magazines, and snacks are displayed to spur spontaneous buys.

In the online marketplace, cross-selling may be seen as suggestions like “Customers who purchased this also purchased…” or “You might also be interested in…”

What is up selling?

Upselling, in contrast, is a technique that encourages customers to opt for a pricier or higher-end variant of the product they’re contemplating, or to supplement their purchase with specific add-ons or services that increase the product’s value.

Upselling not only serves to elevate the average order value but also to heighten customer satisfaction, as customers are likely to perceive greater value and pleasure from a superior product or service.

An upselling scenario might involve a smartphone retailer recommending a customer to purchase a model with greater storage or a package that comes with a protective case and screen protector.

How do cross selling and up selling operate within a marketplace?

Cross selling and up selling methods, when adeptly executed in a digital marketplace, can be highly effective. These strategies frequently rely on complex algorithms and data to offer the most fitting suggestions. Here’s a breakdown of their typical workings:

Data analysis

A cross selling and upselling plan begins with data. By dissecting shopping behaviours, previous purchases, browsing patterns, and more, marketplace platforms can anticipate what customers may be inclined to purchase along with or in place of their current choice.

For instance, if a customer is looking at a laptop, an upsell could involve suggesting a model with greater capabilities and a larger screen, while a cross-sell could propose a laptop case or wireless mouse.


Cross-selling and upselling methods gain traction when they are personalised. By employing customer data, including prior purchases, viewed items, and search inquiries, a marketplace platform can tailor the shopping experience for each user, showcasing relevant upsells and cross-sells.

This customisation could manifest in the form of product recommendations, customised emails, or targeted advertisements, all intended to persuade the customer to expand the value of their purchase.

Contextual positioning

Contextual positioning denotes the strategic placement of cross-sells and upsells at various stages of the shopping journey. They could be displayed when the customer is viewing a product, when they add an item to their basket, or even during the checkout process.

For instance, after adding a smartphone to their basket, a customer might be offered an upsell to a package that includes a protective case and screen protector. Simultaneously, a cross-sell might suggest related products like headphones or a charging cable.

Pricing strategy

Pricing plays a critical role in the success of cross selling and upselling strategies. Upsells should present clear value for the extra cost, such as superior features, enhanced durability, or an improved warranty.

Conversely, cross-sells should be priced such that the extra cost feels relatively small in comparison to the total purchase value. The pricing should also mirror the value that the extra product or service brings to the customer.

 Learn more about cross selling and up selling features

Enhancing marketplace sales through cross selling and up selling

The potential advantages of implementing cross-selling and upselling on your marketplace are immense. They can help increase the average order value, improve customer retention rates, and yield greater revenue. Here are some essential ways to propel sales on your marketplace using these techniques.

1. Integrating intelligent algorithms

Algorithms that can comprehend and predict customer behaviour form an essential part of successful cross-selling and upselling. They comb through data to provide personalised suggestions that optimise the chance of an additional sale. Incorporating machine learning and AI can render these algorithms even more efficient and precise, as they continuously learn and adapt to changing customer preferences and behaviours.

2. Emphasising value

For upselling and cross-selling strategies to take effect, customers must recognise the value in the pricier or additional product. Hence, it’s crucial to clearly underscore the benefits and features of the upsell or cross-sell product. Craft compelling product descriptions, utilise high-resolution images, and if possible, display customer reviews and ratings.

Ensuring relevance

Relevance is crucial to successful cross-selling and upselling. Customers should find the suggested additional products useful and complementary to their current choice. This relevance can be determined based on individual customer behaviour, trending products, or even seasonal trends. The more relevant the suggestion, the higher the likelihood of a customer accepting it.

Providing product bundles

Product bundling can be an excellent way to encourage both cross selling and upselling. Offering related products together at a slightly reduced price can incentivise customers to spend more, as they perceive they are receiving a better deal. For example, if a customer is considering a camera, offering a bundle that includes a memory card and a camera bag could be an effective upsell.

Capitalising on email marketing

Email marketing can be an invaluable tool for cross-selling and upselling. After a customer completes a purchase, you could send a follow-up email suggesting relevant products they might be interested in. This not only offers a potential increase in sales but also serves as an excellent customer service touchpoint.


The introduction of cross selling and up selling features and strategies on your marketplace platform can significantly enhance your sales and bolster customer satisfaction. By understanding what these techniques involve and how they function, you can utilise them to amplify your marketplace’s performance.

Remember, the key lies in offering value to your customers, making relevant suggestions, and using data to customise the shopping experience. With a well-planned approach to cross-selling and upselling, you can ensure your marketplace is truly realising its potential.