Cross-selling is the backbone of marketing and sales. Find out what cross selling means, and how to get started.

What is Cross-Selling?

Cross-selling is when a customer buys products and services related to their original purchase based on a brand’s suggestion.

When a store clerk recommends a pair of socks to go with the shoes you're buying, that's cross-selling. Amazon cross sells with its "customers who bought this also bought" and "frequently bought together" sections. And the offer on that drink to go with your meal? That's cross-selling, too.


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Cross-selling vs. upselling

Cross-selling gets customers to buy additional or related products to their original purchase, to increase business revenue and the average order value per user. Upselling convinces a customer to upgrade their original choice at a higher cost.

Say you switch to a Pro version of a smartphone after a recommendation from the vendor. That's an up-sell. If you buy a leather case for your phone at checkout, that would be considered a cross-sell.

With a customer engagement solution like Twilio Engage, you can better identify these opportunities for cross-selling or upselling depending on the user's behavioral and purchase history (among other traits).

Frequently asked questions

Cross-selling can improve the customer's overall experience. A meal is more enjoyable with a drink. Your phone is better protected with a case. Shoes are more comfortable with socks.

For the business doing the cross-selling, the practice brings in more revenue per customer.

Besides bringing in more money for the business and improving the overall customer experience, cross-selling can improve operational efficiency and make switching to a competitor harder for the customer.

Say it costs a company $100 to serve a customer regardless of how many products they buy. That base cost makes selling two items to one customer more efficient and profitable than selling one item to two customers.

In some cases, more purchases from the same brand also decrease the likelihood of switching to a competitor. If, for example, I have a phone, watch, and computer from company A, it's unlikely I'll switch to competitor B.

Some examples of cross-selling are offering a bundle of apps instead of just one or providing website hosting services besides domain registration.

Twilio Engage can help you propose the perfect cross-selling options to customers through relevant data, timing, and channels.

By collecting behavioral and appropriate first-party customer data, you can understand customer needs and interests, for example, based on products they've viewed on your site. You can then use such information to propose relevant other items and do so in a channel and at a time that makes sense to that customer.

To return to the example of the customer who bought the pro phone and protective case. You could follow up with them by email one month before the standard warranty runs out, offering an extra two years of coverage.

Twilio Engage makes it straightforward to orchestrate such a personalized cross sell campaign. The data and features you need are all accessible within one platform instead of navigating a stack of tools and disparate data sources.