What Is the Difference between Cross-Selling & Upselling?

Marketers use the terms cross-selling and upselling pretty commonly. And these two terms are quite popular in the genre of marketing worldwide. Basically, by persuading the customer to upgrade the quality of their purchases, the marketers use upselling as a technique for improving their sales profits. On the other hand, by raising the volume of sales, cross-selling increases sales profit for them. Overall, to increase earnings through marketing, a salesperson, or a marketer, needs both.

Every firm wants to increase sales and maximize its profits. Any new business owner, marketer, or retailer will tell you that bringing in more clients and generating more sales is the only way to increase sales and thereby achieve business growth and success. However, there are other greater ways to achieve the same as well. And hence, cross-sell/ upsell comes into the picture.

What Is the Difference between Cross-Selling & Upselling?

Before diving deep, understand what cross-selling and upselling are in general.

What is Cross-selling?

Simply put, cross-selling is the strategy you use to get clients to purchase additional, similar products from you. It is the practice of getting clients to buy extra goods or services on top of the original item(s) they were planning to buy. This particular marketing strategy is the practice of encouraging customers to buy additional items alongside the primary item that they were interested in. For instance, cross-selling can persuade a consumer who has already subscribed to your marketing tool to also go for your CRM.

On e-commerce platforms, cross-selling is most effective. You may entice your buyers with a glimpse of a similar product when they opt to buy another related product from your website. This way, they can see your indicated product, add it to their shopping cart, and start the checkout process.

Cross-selling is introduced at this point by suggesting related products. In some cases, if a second item is purchased, you may also offer a discount to retain your customers.

What is Upselling?

It refers to promoting the purchase of anything that would increase the cost of a customer’s subsequent purchase by adding an upgrade, enhancement, or premium alternative.

The majority of consumers want to purchase a “better” product. A customer can be inclined toward a product since they don’t realize better options are available for their budget. Therefore, if you present the buyer with more expensive products with superior features, you may enhance the entire order value.

When you provide an improved or superior version of the item, your customer has just decided to buy rather than lateral products to supplement their initial investment. In other words, when you upsell a product, you’re “piling on” it rather than “building around” it.

Differences Between Cross-selling and Upselling

  • The goal of upselling is to raise a sale’s value. You can upsell a consumer who wants to purchase a $20 item by suggesting a product with superior features that costs $25. There is a small variation in how cross-selling functions. Cross-selling boosts sales value and encourages the sale of more products, particularly uninteresting or mediocre ones.
  • Upselling suggests a more expensive product to raise the value of sales. Although the products are in the same genre, the recommended one is more expensive. Contrarily, cross-selling aims to increase sales by tying in with the items the buyer already planned to purchase.
  • Upselling is more difficult to accomplish than cross-selling. Cross-selling is giving the customer a choice to purchase a completely unrelated yet complimentary product. This is not an upsell. Customers often have a good concept of what they want to purchase in upselling marketing. 


Now that you’ve caught a fair idea about cross-sell/ upsell, you will be better able to implement these in your marketing strategies. These two invaluable tactics will help gain marketers an edge over their competitors if used wisely and well.