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Maximising Up-sell and Cross-sell Opportunities

Dan Heffernan's article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2018

Dan Heffernan

Posted on: 02 February 2018


Up-selling and cross-selling is part of the sales culture. Have you ever ordered fast food from a drive-through window and not been cross-sold? I once tried on a suit in a men’s clothing store and by the time I came out of the changing room, the salesperson had laid out ties, shirts, belts, and socks to cross-sell me.

So… why don’t we do more of this as publishers? Surely, we have clever marketing people who can think up new promotions and packages of things which we can offer.

Two things are needed to increase your opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling on the telephone: a system that supports it, and training for the reps. It has to become second nature to them to offer up-sells and cross-sells. One publisher we know successfully up-sells / cross-sells 75% of their incoming telephone calls!

But wait… cross-selling and up-selling should be done on your eCommerce website as well. It doesn’t have to only involve humans on the telephone. In this case, you need a system that supports it, and people who know how to exploit that system. Conceptually, your system(s) could propose an up-sell or cross-sell every time a customer gets on the website to do anything – even changing their address. Why not? You’ve got them on the site, they are interested enough in your products to change their address to continue to receive them, so you have a captive audience.

The user experience on the website is critical, of course. There’s a tension between making the experience as seamless as possible while using the opportunity to up-sell / cross-sell, which, by nature, requires an interruption. So, make the interruption enjoyable! I use a discount airline to fly my college-aged kids to school and back and this airline uses humour to propose cross-sells, such as “when you get to your destination, you’re not planning to walk everywhere, are you?” when it proposes a car rental. I don’t mind these cross-sells because they’ve made it easy to say ‘no’. I don’t feel that my user experience is bumpy at all.

And then there’s the post-sale opportunity. Ten minutes after someone has made a purchase on your website, why not send them an email both thanking them and offering a cross-sell? An email with a link to a page which allows for fast check-out with the product you are offering should be straightforward to set up for today’s eCommerce systems.

Increasing revenue by up-selling / cross-selling is inexpensive, effective, and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“Conceptually, your system(s) could propose an up-sell or cross-sell every time a customer gets on the website to do anything – even changing their address. Why not?”

AdvantageCS is the developer of Advantage – subscription, marketing and membership management software for publishers, who use it to manage their digital subscriptions, entitlements, magazines, bundles, e-products, conferences and events, membership and donations, payments and customer service. A privately-held company, AdvantageCS has been serving the publishing industry since 1979.


Tel: +1 734 327 3600





About Dan Heffernan
(Details last updated: 1 February 2018)

Dan Heffernan is vice president, sales, marketing, & product planning at AdvantageCS.

Tel: +1 734 327 3600

Email: Send a message to this author


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