What are Upselling, Cross-selling, and Downselling?

Upselling, Cross-selling, and Downselling are all relevant terms to understand when it comes to internet marketing and selling products online.  To increase revenue, a business should incorporate upselling and cross-selling, into their sales strategy.


Upselling is a sales practice used to encourage potential customers to purchase alternative or additional goods or services of a higher value.  Typically, upselling takes place when a customer intends on making a purchase, but a retailer identifies alternative or additional options at a higher price point.  The technique of upselling helps businesses to be more profitable.

Example of upselling: A customer intends to purchase a winter jacket from a website. The jacket they have in their shopping cart is of the lowest price point for the brand.  The website suggests a better winter jacket to the customer with additional features. The customer purchases the recommended jacket.


Cross-selling is a sales practice used to encourage current customers to purchase goods or services related to past transactions.  Typically, cross-selling takes place when a business can identify a loyal customer and offer further solutions to them. The technique of cross-selling helps businesses to create loyal customers.

Example of cross-selling:  A customer intends to purchase a winter jacket from a website — the winter jacket pairs nicely with a pair of gloves and a scarf from the same collection. A suggestion is made to purchase the gloves and scarf to the customer, and the customer makes the purchase.


Downselling is a sales practice used to sell goods or services to customers who have previously declined a purchase option.  Typically, downselling takes place to get a customer to purchase something at a lower price point than initially intended by the seller.  The technique of downselling helps businesses to obtain customers at a higher rate.

Example of downselling: A customer intends to purchase a winter jacket from a website.  After the jacket sits in the customer’s cart for an extended period without being bought, the website suggests a different jacket at a lower price point. The customer is more comfortable with this option and purchases the recommended jacket.

Why are upselling, cross-selling, and downselling important?

Upselling, cross-selling, and downselling are successful sales practices and essential components of a fully functional sales strategy. For any of them to take place, there must be an interested customer at hand. Furthermore, businesses should practice each of these sales components on every customer. If a business has not implemented upselling, cross-selling, and downselling into their business strategy, they are likely missing out on sales, customer satisfaction, and customer retention

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