What is Cross-selling?

Ruben Buijs

Founder & Digital Consultant

Written on Jul 31, 2023

2 minutes

Lead generation

Cross-selling is a powerful sales technique used by businesses to increase revenue and maximize customer value. It involves offering additional products or services to customers who have already made a purchase or shown interest in a particular product. By suggesting related or complementary items, cross-selling aims to enhance the customer's overall experience and encourage them to make additional purchases.

Examples of Cross-selling

Let's consider a few examples to better understand how cross-selling works:

  1. When you visit a fast-food restaurant and order a burger, the cashier may ask if you would like to add fries and a drink to your order. This is a classic example of cross-selling, as the fries and drink complement the burger and increase the total sale value.

  2. Online retailers often display a "Customers who bought this item also bought" section on product pages. This section suggests related products that other customers have purchased, encouraging you to consider buying additional items that complement your original purchase.

  3. In the banking industry, when a customer applies for a credit card, the bank may offer additional services such as insurance or a rewards program. These add-ons provide extra benefits to the customer and increase the bank's revenue.

Importance of Cross-selling

Cross-selling is essential for businesses for several reasons:

  1. Increased revenue: By suggesting additional products or services, cross-selling allows businesses to generate more sales from existing customers. This boosts revenue without the need for acquiring new customers.

  2. Enhanced customer experience: Cross-selling provides customers with personalized recommendations and allows them to discover related products that they may find useful. It adds value to their purchase and improves overall satisfaction.

  3. Building customer loyalty: When businesses offer relevant cross-selling suggestions, customers perceive them as helpful and trustworthy. This builds a sense of loyalty and encourages repeat purchases.

How to Use Cross-selling Effectively

To make the most of cross-selling opportunities, follow these tips:

  1. Understand your customers: Analyze customer data and purchase history to identify patterns and preferences. This information will help you determine which additional products or services are most likely to be of interest to each customer segment.

  2. Offer relevant suggestions: Tailor your cross-selling offers to match the customer's needs and preferences. Avoid generic recommendations and focus on providing value by suggesting items that genuinely complement their original purchase.

  3. Time your offers strategically: Present cross-selling suggestions at the right moment during the customer journey. For example, in an e-commerce store, displaying related products on the checkout page or in follow-up emails can be effective.

  4. Train your sales team: If you have a physical store, ensure your sales team is trained to identify cross-selling opportunities. They should be knowledgeable about the products and able to suggest relevant add-ons to customers.

  5. Monitor and refine: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your cross-selling efforts. Analyze sales data, customer feedback, and conversion rates to identify areas for improvement and refine your cross-selling strategies.


Cross-selling is a sales technique where a company suggests or offers additional products or services to a customer who is already purchasing or interested in a particular product.
Cross-selling is important for businesses as it helps increase revenue by maximizing the value of each customer. It also enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering them complementary products or services.
Cross-selling benefits customers by providing them with options to enhance their current purchase, discover new products or services that may be useful to them, and potentially save time by finding related items in one place.
Examples of cross-selling include suggesting a phone case when buying a new smartphone, offering extended warranty for an electronic device, or recommending accessories for a clothing purchase.
No, cross-selling and upselling are different techniques. Cross-selling involves offering complementary products or services, while upselling involves offering a higher-priced or upgraded version of the same product.
To effectively cross-sell, businesses should understand their customers' needs and preferences, personalize recommendations based on their purchase history, provide clear and relevant product information, and offer incentives or discounts for bundled purchases.
Challenges with cross-selling can include customers perceiving it as pushy or invasive if not done correctly, difficulty in identifying the right cross-selling opportunities, and managing customer expectations if the suggested products or services do not meet their needs.
Yes, cross-selling can be done online through website recommendations, personalized product suggestions, related items sections, or targeted email campaigns based on customer behavior and preferences.
Cross-selling can be measured or evaluated by tracking the percentage of customers who make additional purchases, monitoring the average order value, analyzing customer feedback and satisfaction levels, and assessing the impact on overall revenue growth.
Some best practices for cross-selling include understanding your target audience, creating clear and persuasive product descriptions, offering seamless and convenient purchasing options, providing excellent customer service, and continuously analyzing and optimizing cross-selling strategies.

Article by

Ruben Buijs

Ruben, the founder of Boei, leverages over a decade of consultancy experience at Ernst & Young to optimize lead generation. Boei specializes in converting website visitors into qualified leads. Outside of work, Ruben is passionate about crossfit and enjoys gaming occasionally.

Table of contents

  1. Examples of Cross-selling
  2. Importance of Cross-selling
  3. How to Use Cross-selling Effectively
  4. Related Terms

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