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How to Upsell and Cross-sell for Maximum Revenue And Customer Satisfaction


Upselling and cross-selling within a form provide both customer choice and increased revenue but to be effective, the UX design needs to be perfectly pitched.

Too pushy and you could drive users away. Too subtle and you could lose an easy sale.

First, let’s explore the difference between the two techniques.

Upselling is encouraging customers to buy a comparable but more expensive product or to upgrade a service. For example, buying a 50” TV rather than a 38” one.

Cross-selling is inviting people to buy items related to their purchase which address an additional need. For example, buying a speaker system to go with their new TV.

For both, the aim is to politely persuade users that an additional product or superior service will benefit them while making the sale as profitable as possible.

When done properly, they’re mutually beneficial as they provide maximum value to the customer and maximum revenue for you.

The Upselling and Cross-selling Opportunity

Research has shown that upselling within a product or service page on eCommerce sites is 20 times more effective than cross-selling.

But the figures themselves are tiny. Displaying higher-priced options drives an average of 4% of sales, compared to just 0.2% of sales triggered by cross-sales tactics such as showing recommended products.

The cross-selling figure rises to 3% when additional suggestions are made on the check-out page. This is because, once clear on how much they’re already spending, users can assess if their budget will allow another purchase.

To reach this small but potentially profitable group, you need to treat them well. These are the people who don’t just want average, they need their problem solving as effectively and inexpensively as possible.

The main trick is to be helpful, not pushy, to avoid alienating savvy, and often cynical, consumers. Remember: they know when they’re being sold to. And give them too many choices and they might not make any choice at all.

If you’re helping your customer to get exactly what they want, with value and without compromise, they’ll feel good and you’ll boost your bottom line.

How Form Design Can Help

So how do airport car parking booking forms embrace the art of upselling and cross-selling?

When there’s more than one car park to choose from, upselling is unavoidable for operators as they don’t all cost the same amount. Factors such as distance and transfer time to the terminal, the mode of transport used to get there and security of the site all affect the price.

Giving a choice and offering a solution that users might not have known about, looks less like upselling. They need to be presented as helpful options to make the process easier and to get a long-awaited holiday off to a stress-free start.

For example, time-pressed users may not have considered having to find a space in a busy car park and be delighted to see a meet and greet option for an extra £40. These are among the 4% who can more easily be sold to.

For example, the MAG group of airports, consisting of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth, presents car park options in a grid format listing easily-comparable features.

Source: Manchester Airport

This design allows the benefits of each car park to be viewed easily, guiding users to make the right choice and increasing the likelihood of a higher AOV.

For those tempted by a higher-priced package, the inclusion of “Only XXX spaces available” in red is a tactic to helpfully persuade them to act now or miss out. This suggests that the operator cares about their customer: we want you to have the best fit for your needs, so don’t lose the opportunity by delaying your booking.

Airparks.co.uk encourages additional spend by incorporating reviews into its upsell strategy, stating that XX% would recommend a particular car park.

Using social proof is a friendly technique to gently push customers towards spending a little bit more. If the cheapest option isn’t rated as highly as the second cheapest, then you’re more likely to achieve upsell success with those people who value the opinions of others.

Source: Airparks

Newcastle Airport invites customers to upgrade to a meet and greet service or a flexible booking through a simple one-click button, a straightforward way to encourage an impulse buy.

Source: Newcastle International

Cross-selling within airport car park booking forms centres around non-essential extras such as lounge passes or fast track passport and security check access.

There’ll be many users who aren’t interested in these add-ons. They may even be left feeling irritated as they just see them as a hard sell.

For them, using a tick box is the perfect field type solution as it doesn’t need to be completed. They can simply ignore it and move on.

For example, the MAG airports group cross-sells fast track security and passport control extras within its very short form. A drop-down menu in step three of their five-step process gives the option to choose how many people you’d like the service for.

If you don’t complete this, step four has a tick box for each which opens up a drop-down for the number of tickets you need. This acts as a reminder of the upsell offer and a prompt to encourage you to think again.

Airparks.co.uk also uses drop-downs and tick boxes to upsell to customers. If users want to book travel insurance or lounge access, a drop-down menu pre-selects the most popular option of two adults.

Source: Airparks

Tick boxes are used on the checkout page for adding cancellation protection, text or mail confirmation and a charity donation. Again, this field type means cross-selling attempts can be ignored by those who have no interest, reducing the potential for them to feel annoyed by your efforts.

Get the design right and you’ll increase users’ AOV and encourage them to book with you again: you’ve satisfied their individual needs without forcing them into buying something unnecessary.

If you’re unsure what approach will work best, A/B testing of upselling and cross-selling within different steps of your form will shed light on what you customers respond to best.

Be transparent about your offers, don’t bombard customers with too many and, if they say no once, or maybe twice, don’t push them any harder.

Your aim is to use cross-selling and up-selling as a friendly way to help your customers make the best decision for their needs as efficiently as possible, while maximising your own revenue.