When does upselling hurt more than it helps?

My friend bristled when the salesperson looked at her big purchase and asked “That will be all?” She mumbled that she thought she was buying a lot and that the young man’s comment implied that it wasn’t good enough.

Upselling, which is defined as encouraging customers to buy more than they originally intended, certainly has the potential to be offensive. But increasing the amount of a purchase from some of your existing customers is an important way to increase sales.

It’s safe to say that recommending an additional item is actually good customer service sometimes. If you are selling a product that requires batteries or another component not included, it is a courtesy to point this out. Cross-selling, which suggests that customers buy related or complementary items, can be another good way to increase sales when it’s clear the buyer is open to the idea.

We all know the artificial intelligence that allows an e-merchant to say “customers who bought A also often bought B”. Upselling can be considered a deceptive practice when it involves encouraging a buyer to buy an item that is more expensive than the one he then chose. But “raising the price” by recommending another item is sometimes good selling sense – and if AI can do it, so can our sales associates.

I think “Did you find everything you were looking for?” is a better question to ask buyers who are checking out. This can provide an opportunity to recommend something that is not already in the customer’s cart. But if the answer is yes, it’s best to express sincere thanks for the sale, no matter how big or small.

Good retail,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder