Up-selling is the process of selling a more expensive or an upgraded version of a product/service to a customer for the purpose of making a more profitable sale. For example, your customers may visit your ecommerce site for the purpose of buying a T-shirt for $80 and when they add it to their carts, an email is sent a few moments later, enticing them to buy another one for $100. According to Forrester, up-selling and cross-selling contribute 10-30% of ecommerce revenues. The difference between up-selling and cross-selling is that the second is triggered in the post-purchase stage after customers complete a specific order and they will be sent an email suggesting related items to complement their last order, whereas up-selling takes place in the pre-purchase stage.

There are major practices you should take into consideration to create a successful up-sell automation for your leads.


  • Classify customers based on their behaviors

One of the most critical strategies is to identify and focus on customers that are most profitable to your business. Determining these types of customers avoids you targeting those who cost your property time and money. For instance, you might ignore customers who gravitate to steep discounts or those who have a fixed, limited budget that they never want to exceed.

  • Relate the email content to a past behavior

One of the smartest tactics to persuade your customers to respond to your up-sell campaigns is to remind them of a particular action they did and relate it to what you want them to do. For instance, if they have been lastly searching for perfumes, you might show them higher priced ones that may suit their preferences.

  • Determine the appropriate time intervals 

Identifying the appropriate distance of time between the action that your visitor does and the email you want to send according to this action is critical. For example, instead of waiting a few days, it would be convenient to send your up-sell email after an hour or two from browsing a specific page or adding items to their cart, suggesting to your customers higher priced items.


How to implement a successful up-sell automation strategy?

To create an effective up-sell automation, you should first identify the stage of the funnel that your leads are in. This allows you to determine your customers’ interests, likes, behaviours, and pain points. To be able to do this, you must have a complete, unified view, across all your customers touch points in order for you to implement successful campaigns. 

The emails that you should create vary according to the funnel stage:


  • Browse Abandonment

If your customers have already subscribed to your mailing list and are searching for a product you have on a certain page, you can send them an email, a few moments after they leave your product or category page, suggesting them a more advanced version of the same product that they might become interested in. This can also be considered a retargeting email that pulls them back to your website to make a purchase. Here’s what a browse abandonment email might look like:




 If you don’t have their emails, you can target them with a browser push notification.

  • Cart Abandonment

This is the stage where customers add items to their shopping carts but don’t buy them. In this case, you should retarget them with an email, a few hours after abandonment, reminding them of the product they added and suggesting more expensive items of the same category they might wish to replace before checking out. 

How to create a followup automation?

The simple automation consists of automatically sending an email to your customers after they add items to their cart or browse a specific page. If they respond to your email, you can send them an email confirming their purchase and ask for a product review. Depending on your objectives, you can also choose to extend your workflow with a series of other emails offering future products they might be interested in.





If they don’t respond, you should send them a reminder email a few days later. To put these series of reminders into a powerful drip campaign, you can create a workflow automation, in which you select the triggers and actions that you want. Here’s a screenshot of what an up-sell workflow automation might look like:



The art of up-selling is based on offering your customers value. Although your major goal is to boost your revenue, your priority should be first and foremost to increase their satisfaction so you reach a win-win situation. In order to do so, you should consistently suggest new ideas and offers that suit their needs. To avoid any conflict between an email or message with another one in a different automation, we recommend that you go through all your workflows and emails that your customers are receiving and make sure the triggers and actions are not interfering with the other ones.


This article is written by Georges Fallah, marketing manager of VBOUT.