Up-Sell & Cross-Sell – what’s the difference?

Increase your e-commerce revenue significantly today by integrating up-sell & cross-sell tools to your store. Both up-selling and cross-selling are e-commerce selling techniques that were also used by merchants and dealers many centuries ago. To be fair, these concepts haven’t changed a bit and are still one of the most effective ways to boost the revenue of your business.

Klaidas Gevorkian
by Klaidas Gevorkian, a year ago, November 8th, 2021
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The age of digital has changed the process of selling and buying from the ground up. Just a few decades ago neither we nor our relatives could have imagined doing Christmas shopping in a remote manner with the currency you can’t physically touch, see, or taste, not to mention the fact that such terms as ‘e-commerce’, ‘e-shop’, or ‘digital marketing’ didn’t exist at all. Today, the industry of e-commerce is worldwide known for its potential, as it is expected to reach 5 trillion U.S. dollars of sales by the end of 2021. Yet, despite these promising numbers and modernity the industry brought to the process of shopping, some concepts of selling seem to have stayed the same.

Both up-selling and cross-selling are e-commerce selling techniques that were also used by merchants and dealers many centuries ago. To be fair, these concepts haven’t changed a bit and are still one of the most effective ways to boost the revenue of your business. Without further ado, let’s deep dive into the meanings of these famous techniques.

Global Ecommerce Sales (2019 to 2025)
Global Ecommerce Sales (2019 to 2025)


Upselling in e-commerce is simply a method of increasing your Average Order Value (AOV) as well as decreasing the Bounce Rate. There are many different ways and places to upsell, but usually it is performed by listing similar products on the products’ page. For example, if the main objective is to boost AOV, then similar products can be listed according to the price of the current product the visitor is looking at, offering more expensive & higher-quality alternatives of the same item. However, if you’re more focused on lowering the bounce rate of your visitors as much as possible, then your similar products should be listed by other properties, such as color, size, or concrete type of a product, as this would guarantee your visitor finds whatever he initially sought for.

Upselling is not only a great technique to increase your revenue, but also a way to boost your user experience. There are barely any conversions that happen on the first product page visitor lands on. That is why it is important to excel in your upselling game by listing both more expensive and higher-quality products as well as simply other alternatives of an item.

Even the e-commerce giants, such as Amazon, use the techniques of up-selling and cross-selling. To matter the fact, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has noted that nearly half of the company’s sales came through these methods, at least at the dawn of the company. If that’s not convincing enough, then we really don’t know what is!

Up-selling & similar products example @Amazon
Up-selling & similar products example @Amazon


When it comes to cross-selling, it briefly performs the same function as up-sell, just in a different way. Cross-selling identifies items that are additional and complementary but of other purposes, listing them at the landing page of a product or both before and after the checkout. Because of that, cross-selling can also be considered as a method to increase AOV and decrease the bounce rate, although it is more effective when targeted to returning and long-term customers, as they trust the retailer already, which results in less effort to make a more efficient sale. Oftentimes, cross-selling directs the customers to items they would have purchased anyway, so by showing it in the right way and at the right time the store makes sure the sale happens right now.

Let’s name some examples of cross-selling so you can imagine the idea behind the term. A potential customer visits your store searching for a new bowl for his pet but dry dog food is offered on the products’ page of a bowl as a cross-sale as well. If the food is on sale, there is a high possibility the customer will have no doubts adding it to the cart as well. The same concept can be implemented on every page of a product.

Such listings can be definitely seen on most if not all high-performing e-commerce stores. The sections of ‘Frequently bought together’ or ‘You might be interested in’ represent these cross-sold items on every e-shop. Amazon is not an exception again. Cross-selling is the dark horse of their success since the beginning and Jeff Bezos himself has noted that several times.

Cross-selling example by integrating "Frequently bought together" section @Amazon
Cross-selling example by integrating "Frequently bought together" section @Amazon


There are many ways to install upsell & cross-sell, each and every of it depending on the technical details of your store. However, you don’t have to worry about it, as we are here to do the job for you. Similar Products is our own new SaaS that lists similar items on every page of a product. Here are some reasons to use our tool:

  • the products to be listed are identified automatically (no manual effort is needed);
  • you are able to choose the properties to list the products by (some of these are size, color, price, etc.);
  • the software can be adjusted to the design of your choice (both our and your design option is possible);
  • our tool has an improved version of algorithms for matching the products (the AI we use on this exact tool is highly advanced);
  • it takes little to no effort from your side to implement the script in your store (all you need to do is provide us with the list of products in XML, JSON, or CSV formats).
    Similar Products SaaS operation example
    Similar Products SaaS operation example

Learn more about our Similar Products SaaS here.

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