Post-Purchase Cross-Sell

Post-Purchase Cross-Sell - Click to enlarge
Post-Purchase Cross-Sell - Click to enlarge
Post-Purchase Cross-Sell - Click to enlarge
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Increase revenue by offering cross sells to customers when they are most at ease: right after completing a purchase

Conventional wisdom holds that there are four ways to increase revenue in an e-commerce operation:

  1. Bring in more visitors.
  2. Increase your conversion rate.
  3. Increase the average cart value.
  4. Increase the lifetime value of your customers.

I'm sure you are familiar with #1: that's the never ending saga of trying to get your site ranked on Google (and the other search engines) plus pumping money into paid advertising.

Number two has to do with constantly tweaking the site (and periodically redesigning it), running A/B tests and retargeting campaigns.

Number four is the continued effort to keep in touch with your customers via emails, social media posts and other communications and offers to keep them interested in your offerings - and hopefully get them to continue buying from you.

The one I skipped over, number three, is what we are talking about here. It's the effort to try to convince your shoppers to spend more during that one shopping visit. One of the ways online stores do this is to offer cross sells and upsells.

While people tend to use these interchangeably, the two are a bit different. An upsell is when you try to entice your customer to buy a better (more expensive) version of the same product (and conversely, a "downsell" is when you offer the same product but in a simpler, less expensive version; this can be rather successful too when used wisely.) If you are not familiar with how to use upsells in Yahoo! Merchant Solutions, read here:

A cross sell, on the other hand, is when you offer a similar or complementary product (or accessory) with the product you are selling.

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions supports two types of cross sells: product page cross sells and cart page cross sells. Product page cross sells appear on the product detail pages and the visitor can click on them to go to their individual product pages to add the recommended item to the cart. Cart page cross sells appear on the shopping cart page and, unless they have user-selectable options (such as size, color, etc), they can be added to the cart directly with a single click.

So what is the problem with product and cart page cross sells?

When the visitor is browsing the site and is thinking about adding a product to the cart, they need a lot of "help" making that decision. They often don't want to spend the money or wonder if they can get the same product cheaper elsewhere, or don't quite trust your store (if they are first time buyers and don't yet have a relationship with your store). Since they have not yet entirely determined to purchase, offering cross sells at that point can act as a distraction, particularly if the cross sells take the visitors away from the product page (we can set up "multi-add" cross sells for you where the shopper stays on the same page while selecting cross sells.)

Once on the cart page, the shopper made one big decision, to add the item to the cart and potentially check out and complete the sale. While you (the merchant) gained a lot of the shopper's trust at this point, you still don't have the sale, and a lot of usability and behavioral experts suggest that you need to remove as many distractions and impediments as possible from the checkout process, so your visitor can check out in peace, so to say. So while offering cross sells at that point can potentially be very successful, it might also act as a barrier to checkout.

But what about after checkout? At that point you already have the sale so you have nothing to lose. The customer is yours and has already trusted you with their money. On top of that, psychological studies suggest that immediately after completing the sale, most customers feel a kind of relief and are in a relaxed state. So why not offer some carefully selected cross sells right at that point? That's where our Post-Checkout Cross Sells come in.

Cross Sells on the Order Confirmation (Thank You) Page

Our Post-Checkout Cross Sells are built on the Yahoo! Cross Sells, so they are tied to the products in the customer's order either via the manual cross sell rules you set up (preferred), or the Yahoo! Autosuggest function - if you have that turned on. The cross sell items are displayed on the order confirmation (thank you) page in a nice scroller (if they don't all fit across the page), and all of the items that don't have user selectable options will have a checkbox so the customer can simply checkmark the ones they want and with a single click add them all to the cart. Products that have options will have to be customized so those do not have checkboxes in the cross sell display. And since the order has just been completed, if the customer chooses to add the cross sells, upon checkout most of the information will already be filled out leading to a speedy checkout process.

How to pick your cross sells?

In order for the cross sells to be successful they really need to complement the order just placed. Yahoo! offers two ways to specify cross-sells: manually or via the AutoSuggest function. When specifying them manually, you basically have to pick one or more related items for your products and optionally set discounts for your cross sells. When AutoSuggest is on, in the absence of manual cross sells Yahoo will select items they think are related based on past shopper visits and order history. Experts agree that while manually determining related items can be tedious, it really beats any automatic method. Why? Well, you are the expert when it comes to your product line. Even if you have thousands of products, if you spend a little time every day to assign cross sells to, say, a dozen products, those cross sells will do way better because they will be carefully selected to begin with. You can still leave AutoSuggest on, it probably won't hurt.

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