Increase Ecommerce Sales by Up to 12%I recently posted about how most ecommerce websites could learn a thing or two about suggestive selling from skilled restaurant servers and increase their average cart totals. (Read the article: Ecommerce & Onion Rings.) Turns out I’m not the only one who thinks up-selling, cross-selling, promotions, and personalization are important to the success of ecommerce. The key is to make sure that your ecommerce site always “asks the question.” Much like a restaurant server asking if you want to try an appetizer or order a piece of pie, product recommendations and up-sells increase your ecommerce cart’s average order size, directly increasing ecommerce sales without having to find new customers.

In an interview about product recommendations on PracticalEcommerce.com, Trevor Legwinski of Strands Recommender states that retailers who use product recommendations “see an increase in sales in the range of 8 to 12 percent.” Product recommendations “ask the question” and encourage the site visitor to consider adding an item to his/her cart. Sometimes this is all that it takes. For example, if your B2B site sells computer equipment to the IT departments of other companies, it would make sense to suggest that a customer buying a laptop computer consider purchasing your executive laptop bag as the laptop is likely intended for someone who will be traveling for business. Even if the purchaser doesn’t need a bag at this time, they are now aware that you sell laptop bags and may purchase one for the next laptop they need to buy. If the purchaser decides to buy the bag with the computer, you just increased your sales with that customer.

Proactively offering customers accessories or enhancement products that complement their intended purchase seems like a no-brainer for both B2B and B2C enterprise ecommerce. But consumers expect to be shown the latest and greatest version of the item they are buying too. RetailTouchPoints.com found that 60% of consumers expect merchants to recommend similar products in addition to related items. That means that your ecommerce platform should not only show enhancement products, but it should also show similar products that have more features and, presumably, a higher price point as well. In our example above, that would mean showing the purchaser a laptop with more bells and whistles–and a higher price tag.

And while some of you might scoff at 8-12%, keep in mind that this is 8-12% of additional sales from your usual ecommerce customer. That percentage of growth represents an increase in your customer’s share of wallet–something we all strive to increase. So, go ahead. Ask them to order an appetizer and to try the dessert. Just make sure to ask.

Want to know more about how to successfully implement up-selling and cross-selling techniques on your ecommerce website? Check out our white paper: Increase the Cart: Creating a Personalized Online Shopping Experience.