Cross-selling in the digital shopping cart

Cart management has traditionally been a key concern for eCommerce businesses. The shopping cart experience can make or break sales, with abandoned carts leading to losses and purchases translating into financial gains.

What few merchants realize, however, is that shopping carts can actually be used for more than simply guiding transactions along to conversion – they are great tools to cross- or up-sell products to buyers. That being said, shopping cart cross-sells can be a risky proposition if retailers don't have their shopping cart science down pat. From customers' perspectives, there are few things more annoying than a merchant bombarding them with additional suggestions when they want to checkout.

Still, cross-selling remains an important tool to generate more revenue from buyers. "It's an opportunity to keep the customer engaged in shopping and beef up the final sale, especially if they're 'no-brainer' add-ons like warranties and accessories," notes GetElastic. There are a few things retailers should consider as they plan shopping cart cross-sell initiatives.

1. Presentation

When customers are trying to check-out, retailers need to remember that securing that sale is their primary goal. With that in mind, the check-out phase is the perfect time to subtle present customers with other products that may complement their purchase. These suggestions should never impede the customer's ability to make the purchase, but should make them aware of potential products that could enhance the purchase.

Many retailers do this by setting up an interstitial page before reaching the shopping cart. For example, after clicking the shopping cart link, a page will pop up with the suggested item and sales prices. Below this information, it will show other recommended items – if they are buying coffee, offer a bean grinder or a coffee maker.

2. Placement

Throughout the cross-sell process though, it's crucial that the design is funneling customers to make the purchase. Cross-sell efforts should be left to the periphery to ensure customers aren't overwhelmed or scared off.

In that regard, the placement of suggestions is critical. If shoppers have clicked a shopping cart, the first thing they should see is a picture of the product they want to buy and final cost information. If they are treated to suggestions right off the bat, they will likely become confused by the whole ordeal. Proper placement and positioning can encourage additional item purchases, but poor placement could cost sales.

3. Offering the right products

Above all else, cross-selling products is all about knowing the customer. Each product needs to not only be relevant to the product being purchased but also the person shopping.

Going back to the above example, if a person is buying coffee, retailers should think about the demographics of their audience. If they serve an older audience that owns homes, they might want to offer other kitchenware for a house or a set of coffee dishes. Conversely, younger shoppers likely live in appartments, so something like a portable mug may be more relevant to them.

Retailers must know all about their target audience to offer relevant up-sell and cross-buy promotions, and eCommerce software such as SalesWarp can help them consolidate that data. Understanding the needs and desires of buyers is crucial for a number of retail activities, but that is especially the case when it comes to cross-selling.

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