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10 Clever Upselling Techniques That Don’t Annoy Customers

10 Clever Upselling Techniques That Don't Annoy Customers

In the world of e-commerce, upselling techniques are often seen as a necessary evil.

According to a 2021 Gartner survey – Around 57% of respondents confessed that they struggle to sell new products to customers.

The reason behind this is – most businesses are clueless about how to maintain the delicate balance between convincing a customer to spend more while not being annoying or pushy.

To put it in a nutshell, upselling is not the evil here. Failing to find sneaky ways to promote your stuff to customers is.

So, if you’re already wondering “how to do upselling,” luckily, you’re at the right place.

In this blog, we’ll share some of the best tips and tactics that will make you a pro in upselling. Let’s get started.

10 Upselling Techniques That Work Like a Charm

When it comes to selling online, there’s not much difference between physical and e-commerce stores. There might be different methods, but the ultimate strategy is the same – solve customer problems while keeping their best interests in mind.

With that said, here are some of the best upselling tactics for you (with real-life examples) –

1. Provide Ongoing Value

Keeping customers happy and engaged is crucial for long-term success. One effective strategy to achieve this is to provide ongoing value.

We recommend using popups that offer personalized recommendations, such as “You might also like” or “Frequently bought together.” These popups can be triggered based on customer behavior, such as browsing history or cart contents.

Let us explain with an example –

Picture this: A customer is browsing your store for a new pair of sunglasses, and suddenly, a popup appears recommending cosmetic products. It surprises the buyer and makes them think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!”

 Provide Ongoing Value

Image Source: Amasty

In our experience, customers appreciate these personalized recommendations and are more likely to make additional purchases. This also means letting them know you value them and their requirements.

2. Help. Don’t Push

Today’s customers are intelligent. They instantly recognize poor upsell strategies – something that only harms your e-commerce store’s reputation.

That’s why you must understand how a customer-centric approach that focuses on helping rather than selling is a must today. Here’s how to strike the right balance between helping and pushing –

  • Understand their needs: Before suggesting upsells, take the time to understand your customers’ needs and challenges. Ask questions, listen actively, and empathize with their situation.

Help. Don’t Push

  • Offer solutions, not products: Instead of bombarding customers with product descriptions, present solutions that address their specific challenges. Highlight how the upsell can enhance their experience or solve their problems.
  • Use informative popups: Instead of popups that scream “BUY NOW!”, use informative popups that provide value-added content. Offer tips, tutorials, or guides related to the product they’re viewing.

Offer solution popup

3. Price Strategically. Offer Discounts

Let’s start by debunking a myth –

Strategic pricing is NOT about simply lowering prices drastically. Doing that devalues your product.

What we suggest, instead, is to create a perception of value and give customers a reason to buy more. Want an example? Here you go –

Imagine this scenario: A customer is shopping online for a new pair of shoes, and just as they’re about to check out, a popup appears, offering an instant 20% cart discount on adding socks.

Price Strategically. Offer Discounts

Such an offer makes the customer think twice before ignoring it, as that implies they’re willing to pay 20% more. This is an excellent real-life example of how pricing and discounts can upsell customers to buy more than they initially planned.

I’ve jotted down some easy and working upselling methods below –

  • Employ psychological pricing tactics: Such strategies include price anchoring, contrast pricing, and charm pricing to make your offerings appear more attractive.
  • Offer tiered pricing and discounts: It lets your customers unlock discounts or additional features by spending more – incentivizing them to upgrade to higher-value options.
  • Utilize targeted popups: Tools like Picreel let you precisely target visitors to show relevant discounts and promotions based on their browsing behavior or cart contents – perfect for creating a sense of urgency.

Utilize targeted popups

4. Create a Sense of Urgency

Remember when you were buying your favorite apparel from Amazon and got greeted by this message – “Only 1 left in stock”?

Or, maybe you’ve come across this one – “Buy within the next 14:30 mins for One-Day Delivery”.

See how these create a sense of urgency to boost sales and reduce cart abandonment? Well, that was Amazon’s smart way of upselling products.

Creating a sense of urgency is one of the best upselling techniques because it motivates your customers to act quickly and make a purchase. Urgency can be created by using time-sensitive offers, limited availability, or social proof to evoke emotional responses that motivate users to act quickly.


Don’t start fretting yet. I’ve got some of the most successful urgency tactics for you –

  • Limited-time offers: Display popups or banners announcing time-bound discounts or promotions, creating a fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) effect.


Use This Template

  • Inventory scarcity: Highlight the limited availability of popular products, emphasizing the exclusivity and potential regret of missing out.
  • Countdown timers: Incorporate countdown timers into product pages or shopping carts, adding a visual representation of time ticking away and driving immediate action.

With popup tools like Picreel, you can instantly set countdown timers with preloaded templates like this –

Countdown timers popup

Use This Template

5. Check for Satisfaction First

Customer satisfaction is key to any successful upselling strategy. They are more likely to be receptive to additional offers when happy with their initial purchase.

To implement this, e-commerce stores can deploy survey popups at the right time to collect customer feedback. So, what’s the right time? Let us explain briefly –

  • After order confirmation: You can deploy a popup immediately after a customer places an order, asking for their initial feedback and any suggestions they might have.
  • Upon product delivery: Send a popup once a customer receives their order, inquiring about their satisfaction with the product and delivery experience.
  • After product usage: Trigger popups after a certain period of product usage, asking for feedback on the product’s performance and overall satisfaction. This helps gauge long-term customer satisfaction.

After product usage

Apart from these, you can also set up exit-intent popups. These popups can be triggered whenever a customer is about to leave your website. You can either offer a last-moment lucrative offer or ask for feedback.

By acting on feedback, you can show customers that you value their opinions and are committed to improving their experience.

lead generation popups

6. Use Real Success Stories

Showcasing how your products or services have benefited others creates a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) – motivating customers to upgrade or buy more. It also builds trust, credibility, and social proof, making it easier to convince potential customers to make additional purchases.

So, how do you upsell your products using success stories? Well, we’ve got some tricks for you to use-

  • Case studies and testimonials: Create detailed case studies and testimonials highlighting the achievements or benefits other customers have gained from using your products or services.

Case studies

  • Video testimonials: Use video testimonials to add a personal touch and allow customers to connect with the experiences of others.

For example, take a look at how Amazon uses video testimonials for its products –

Video testimonials

Image Source: Amazon.com

  • Customer reviews: Display customer reviews prominently on product pages and throughout your website to showcase real-world feedback and build trust.

💡 Pro Tip: Always keep success stories authentic and avoid sounding like a sales pitch. By making it easy to share, such as through social media or email, you can encourage satisfied customers to spread the word and attract new business.

7. Leverage Social Proof

I always keep social media as one of my primary upselling techniques because the opportunities are limitless. Let us give a small example of that –

Did you know that around 41% of Gen Z and Millennials make impulse purchases online once every 2-3 weeks?

This shows how considering social media is essential when figuring out the best upsell strategies. Here are the three best ways you can try to leverage social proof –

  • User-generated content (UGC): Encourage customers to share their experiences and positive reviews on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Social media contests and giveaways: Host contests and giveaways encouraging customers to share their experiences with your products or services, expanding your reach and generating social proof.

Social media contests

  • Social media collaborations: Partner with influencers and bloggers to create authentic content and reviews that showcase the benefits of your products to their followers.

By doing so, you not only improve your online reputation but also increase the chances of attracting new customers who are likely to convert more quickly.

8. Introduce a Loyalty Points System

Introducing a loyalty program for your customers is a fantastic upsell strategy. In our opinion, it’s a win-win situation for both the customers and your business.

loyalty Points System

Image Source: DALL-E 3

And implementing such a program is quite straightforward. Simply assign points to each purchase made by your customers. The more they buy, the more points they accumulate. These points can then be redeemed for attractive discounts on future purchases.

For example, you could offer 1 point for every $1 spent, and 100 points could be redeemed for a $10 discount.

My suggestion would be to create different tiers of rewards based on the number of points collected. This allows customers to aim for higher rewards, encouraging more spending.

You can also display the number of points earned and their progress towards earning more.

For instance, you can see how Microsoft creates a sense of achievement and motivates users to collect more points and redeem them for exciting rewards –

exciting rewards

Image Source: Microsoft Bing

9. Use Persuasive Language

What is persuasive language? Is it about exaggerating the features of your products to customers? Not really.

It is the art of mastering emotional issues, incorporating analytical information, demonstrating social proof at key junctures, using tone to add emotion and keep things interesting, and so on.


Here are some key principles to consider when crafting persuasive language for upselling:

  • Focus on benefits and value: Instead of focusing on product features, highlight the tangible benefits and value that the upsell product or service will bring to the customer’s life.
  • Emphasize exclusivity and limited-time offers: Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity by using phrases like “limited edition,” “special offer,” or “available while supplies last.”
  • Use storytelling to connect with customers: Engage customers with relatable stories that showcase the positive experiences other customers have had with the upsell product or service.
  • A/B test different variations: Continuously check different popups with Picreel’s A/B testing feature to identify which are the most effective approaches for your target audience.

10. Arrange Giveaways

Giveaways have long been one of the most popular upselling tactics to attract new customers and generate buzz.

When it comes to giveaways, it’s important to approach customers strategically. Rather than just giving away random items, consider offering products or services that complement the purchase or upgrade you’re trying to upsell.

Arrange Giveaways

So, how to arrange a giveaway? We’ll share some key tips with you –

  • Set minimum purchase requirements to let customers know that they need to reach a certain purchase threshold to be eligible for the giveaway.
  • Ask participants to purchase a specific product or service or upgrade to a higher-tier subscription to increase their chances of winning.
  • Utilize social media, email marketing, and website banners to promote the giveaway, maximizing visibility and attracting participants.
  • Create a sense of urgency with limited-time giveaways to encourage immediate action and drive sales.
  • Offer additional discounts or incentives to participants who take advantage of upsell opportunities during the giveaway period.
  • Maintain transparency and integrity to maintain brand credibility and foster customer trust.

Boost E-Commerce Sales With the Best Upselling Techniques

As market competition reaches an all-time high every year and breaches the mark by the next 365 days – it’s more than important for e-commerce businesses to find new ways to survive.

Upselling techniques are some of the best ways to ensure your company always stays relevant, magnets customers, and boosts sales.

In our opinion, popup software tools go a long way in helping you upsell products with engaging nanobars, overlays, exit surveys, on-site messages, etc.

Tools like Picreel have an arsenal of templates for every occasion. On a side note, they are excellent for lead generation. If you haven’t tried popup tools before, consider opting for the forever-free plan of Picreel for a test ride.

Learn More About Upselling Techniques

What is upselling?

Upselling is a popular sales technique where you encourage customers to spend more by buying an upgraded or premium version of what’s being purchased or simply by adding additional products. It aims to increase customer lifetime value (CLV) and profitability by offering discounts, add-ons, or premium products.

What is the importance of upselling?

Upselling should be done with the motive of providing a better customer experience. Here are some reasons why upselling is so important –

  • Increased Revenue: It allows you to maximize the value of each customer transaction, leading to increased revenue.
  • Customer Satisfaction: By offering upgrades that enhance the product or service, customers may gain more satisfaction from their purchase.
  • Building Relationships: It provides an opportunity to understand and cater to the specific needs of the customer, thereby building a stronger relationship.
  • Competitive Advantage: Businesses that effectively upsell can gain a competitive advantage, improve customer loyalty, and increase market share.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when implementing upselling techniques?

There are certain things that can lead your upsell strategy to backfire at your company. Well, these are mostly mistakes companies make when trying to upsell. Have a look at them –

  • Being pushy: Overly aggressive or pushy sales tactics can turn customers off. It can make customers feel pressured and lead to a loss of trust in your business.
  • Irrelevant Offers: Upselling should be based on the customer’s needs and preferences. Offering irrelevant upgrades can frustrate customers and harm your relationship with them.
  • Poor Timing: Timing is crucial in upselling. Trying to upsell too early or too late in the customer journey can lead to missed opportunities.
  • Lacking transparency and clear pricing: Be upfront about the pricing of upgrades and avoid hidden costs or surprises. Customers don’t like to be kept in the shadows.
  • Ignoring customer feedback: Customer feedback is invaluable for refining upselling techniques. Neglecting it will affect your company’s sales effectiveness.

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About the author

Daniel Nicholes shares insights about CRO, persuasive marketing, exit-intent strategies, and using nudges to capture consumer behavior insights with the goal of enhancing user experience. Daniel writes about CRO methods, including landing page optimization, site intercept surveys, popups, and how to optimize the complete customer journey. Daniel actively contributes to industry discussions, offering actionable & practical advice for experience optimization.