Driving sales on a marketplace with cross selling and up selling features

By offering a way for sellers to reach a wider audience and for customers to enjoy a seamless shopping experience, marketplace platforms are growing in popularity. However, standing out in this crowded space requires effective strategies, and among them, two are particularly powerful – cross-selling and up selling.

What is cross selling?

Cross selling is a sales technique that encourages customers to purchase related or complementary items in addition to the product they are already buying. Cross-selling aims to increase the total purchase value, enhance the customer experience, and foster customer loyalty.

A classic example of cross-selling can be seen at the checkout lines of physical stores, where small items like gum, magazines, and snacks are arranged to encourage impulse purchases. In the digital marketplace, cross-selling might take the form of “Customers who bought this also bought…” or “You might also like…” recommendations.

What is up selling?

Upselling, on the other hand, is a technique that persuades customers to purchase a higher-end, often more expensive version of the item they’re considering, or to add on specific features or services that increase the value of the purchase.

Upselling is beneficial not only for increasing the average order value but also for enhancing customer satisfaction, as customers may derive more value and enjoyment from a superior product or service.

An example of upselling might be a smartphone seller suggesting a customer buy a model with larger storage or a bundle that includes a phone case and screen protector.

How does cross selling and up selling work on a marketplace?

Cross selling and up selling techniques can be highly effective when implemented correctly in a digital marketplace, and they often leverage sophisticated algorithms and data analysis to deliver the most relevant suggestions. Here’s how they typically work:

Data analysis

A powerful cross selling and upselling strategy starts with data. By analysing shopping behaviour, purchase histories, browsing patterns, and more, marketplace platforms can predict what customers might be interested in buying in addition to or instead of their current selection.

For example, if a customer is viewing a laptop, an up sell could involve suggesting a more powerful model with a larger screen, while a cross-sell might recommend a laptop case or wireless mouse.


Cross-selling and upselling techniques become more effective when they’re personalised. Using customer data, such as past purchases, viewed products, and search queries, a marketplace platform can personalise the shopping experience for each user, presenting them with relevant upsells and cross-sells.

This personalisation could take the form of product recommendations, personalised emails, or targeted ads, which all aim to encourage the customer to increase the value of their purchase.

Contextual placement

Contextual placement refers to strategically placing cross-sells and upsells at various stages of the shopping experience. They might be presented when the customer views a product, when they add a product to their cart, or even during the checkout process.

For example, after adding a smartphone to their shopping cart, a customer might be presented with an upsell to a bundle that includes a phone case and screen protector. Meanwhile, a cross-sell might recommend related items like headphones or a charging cable.

Strategic pricing

Pricing plays a key role in the success of cross selling and upselling strategies. Up sells should offer discernible value for the increased cost, such as superior features, increased durability, or a better warranty.

Cross-sells, on the other hand, should be priced in a way that the additional cost feels relatively minor compared to the total purchase value. The pricing should also reflect the value that the additional product or service brings to the customer.

Boosting marketplace sales with cross selling and up selling

The potential benefits of cross-selling and upselling on your marketplace are vast. They can help increase the average order value, improve customer retention rates, and generate more revenue. Below are some key ways to drive sales on your marketplace using these strategies.

1. Incorporating smart algorithms

Algorithms capable of understanding and predicting customer behaviour are a critical part of successful cross-selling and upselling. They sift through data to provide customised suggestions that maximise the potential of making an additional sale. Incorporating machine learning and AI can make these algorithms even more efficient and accurate, as they can continuously learn and adapt to the evolving preferences and behaviours of customers.

2. Highlighting value

For upselling and cross selling strategies to work, customers need to see the value in the additional or more expensive product. That’s why it’s essential to highlight the benefits and features of the upsell or cross-sell product clearly. Create compelling product descriptions, utilise high-quality images, and if possible, provide customer reviews and ratings.

3. Making it relevant

Relevance is key to successful cross-selling and upselling. Customers should find the additional products suggested useful and complementary to their current selection. This relevance can be established based on the individual customer’s behaviour, trending products, or even seasonal influences. The more relevant the suggestion, the higher the chance of a customer going for it.

4. Offering bundled products

Product bundling can be a great way to encourage both cross selling and an up sell. Offering related products together at a slightly reduced price can incentivise customers to spend more, as they perceive they are getting a better deal. For example, if a customer is considering a camera, offering a bundle that includes a memory card and camera bag could be an effective upsell.

5. Utilising email marketing

Email marketing can be a great tool for cross-selling and upselling. After a customer makes a purchase, you could send a follow-up email suggesting relevant products they might be interested in. This not only offers a potential increase in sales but also provides an excellent customer service touchpoint.


Implementing cross selling and up selling strategies and features on your marketplace platform can significantly increase your sales and improve customer satisfaction. By understanding what these techniques entail and how they work, you can leverage them to boost your marketplace performance.

Remember, the key lies in providing value to your customers, making relevant suggestions, and utilising data to personalise the shopping experience. With a well-thought-out approach to cross-selling and upselling, you can ensure your marketplace is truly maximising its potential.