Cross-selling is the practice of selling additional complementary products to existing customers. It’s an approach used by multiple businesses, from banks to grocery stores. This practice is useful for both the shopper and the retailer because it’s much more efficient. Customers can see and purchase complementary products (that they might not have known about) from the same place. 

Products used in cross-selling as either complementary or related to the initial product purchased by the customers. 

Businesses approach cross-selling differently, depending on why they need the practice in the first place. The most common reasons for using cross-selling include the need to increase revenue and the need to form a stronger relationship with customers.


Why is cross-selling important?

Cross-selling helps retailers offer a better experience to shoppers and tend to their needs. Also, this practice helps increase customer loyalty. It’s convenient for shoppers to find all of the products they need and placing complementary or alternative products next to each other (cross merchandising) helps shoppers save time and purchase more. 

Cross-selling is beneficial for retailers because it also increases customer lifetime value and improves customer satisfaction. For shoppers, cross-selling is beneficial because it makes the whole shopping experience more efficient. 


What are the dos and don’ts of cross-selling?

Just like with any other approach, retailers need to follow some guidelines when they cross-sell. It’s important for retailers to find the right products and provide value. For example, if customers are at the coffee aisle, they won’t look out for flour, but they might want to find mugs, coffee cream, or milk. 

One thing retailers shouldn’t do when it comes to cross-selling is to expect customers to know everything about their store. While for the retailer the way products are placed in the store might seem natural, some customers might need directions, ask questions, and look for different alternatives. 

Cross-selling can be done in the store and even at the checkout. Cashiers can remind customers about certain products they might like or some promotions they have on certain items. 


Examples of cross-selling

In retail, cross-selling comes hand in hand with cross-merchandising. If you place complementary, additional, or alternative products next to each other, shoppers will end up purchasing them. 

For example, cross-selling means the cashier telling customers who purchased coffee that they also sell mugs and they are on sale this week. Also, placing brushes near the shampoo and hair masks is a cross-selling approach.