The Simple Upsell Technique For Your Online Store

Upselling Techniques for Ecommerce Online Store

So maybe you are going to think I’m a little crazy after I tell you this story.  Maybe cheap or maybe just trying to get every last bit of value from something.  Whether you can relate or not, I have a strange confession to make that my wife doesn’t know.

I’ve been with my wife for over 15 years now.  It’s safe to say that there isn’t much that we don’t know about each other.

The other day we were visiting her grandmother who isn’t doing well.  We were sitting and having breakfast with the kids. I was watching my wife eat strawberries.

She eats what I believe is about 80% of the strawberry.  She then leaves a plate full of the remnants.  Now I told you this is a strange observation but there is a point to it.

Upsell Technique Leaving Money on Table

This strawberry is not eaten. This maybe an exaggeration of what my wife leaves but you get the point.

This in my opinion is like people who cut a straight line across the top of a strawberry.  They are theoretically getting rid of the leaves and the funky brown spot.

The problem is that you are getting rid of a lot of good stuff in the one fell swoop.  Yes, I’m a little nuts.

But the reason I bring this up is because it relates to online businesses.  Particularly in this case it relates to her online store.

I want to make sure that I’m extracting all I can from each online transaction.   I love the concept of a good upsell technique.  If people are already committed to making a purchase, why not supersize them.

the supersize upsell technique

In reality, there are only two ways to make more money online.

  1. Sell more
  2. Increase the average sale size

In this example I’m looking at the 2nd scenario.  I’m trying to get as much from the sale as possible.

If I’m already eating the strawberry, why not get all the good red part anyhow.  This is the good old upsell technique.

Enter The Upsell Product

About two weeks ago my wife was approached by one of her sales reps. She mentioned a jewelry cleaning brush that my wife could sell in her store.


My wifes first thought was that she wasn’t interested.  She didn’t want to offer anything outside of jewelry specifically.  She has tried to stay focused so she doesn’t dilute her brand and appeal.

Stay Focused With Your Online Store

Its a tricky balance keeping yourself from wandering into other items or products.  If you want to stay laser focused, you need to be consistent.  Don’t waiver with your message.

Up to this point, she has only carried actual jewelry.  She doesn’t have accessories or jewelry boxes or other things that muddle her message.

The more she started thinking about this product though, the more she was intrigued.

The rep offered to send her a free sample to see what she thought.

(Smart Move)  

Using this New Product as an Upsell Technique

Once my wife had received it, she was already interested in carrying it.  We talked it over and decided this was the perfect way to eat the whole strawberry.

upsell technique completed

Now this is work well done. It may even be a little too aggressive for me. They ate the funky spot but good for them.

We could show the product in the shopping cart and just offer it as an upsell.  It costs $16 so its not a major decision.

A certain percentage of people who were already purchasing jewelry would probably be interested.    If she sold any, it would be more money.

This sounds like a no brainer…

Not So Fast Tonto Two Upsell Concerns

  1. As with any idea, it takes work and it takes time to put in place.  When she gets great ideas, it means I have to make them happen.  Bob had actually done something on his wifes store Baby Love Luna.  She offers a gift wrapping option at checkout.I wasn’t exactly sure how he had implemented it but figured it was feasible.  If he had done it I could borrow his code and change for my specific upsell technique.
  2. My second concern was altering a checkout process that was working.  Who am I to get in the way of a motivated shopper.  If someone is already on their way to the checkout page, I don’t want to stop that.  I talk about this in our Starting an Online Business Book.

You want to remove obstacles to the sale.

  • Don’t make users register with your site.
  • Don’t have 10k fields to fill out.
  • Don’t have people hunt for the checkout button.
  • Last but not least, be careful with upsells.  

If I was to follow my own mantra, I should put another decision in front of a shopper headed for the register.

I remember GoDaddy years ago were the kings of this.  Once you got your domain and before you checked out, they hit you with so many upsell decisions.

too many upsell techniques

Look at this mess and this is after you have already made it through their upsell technique gauntlet of death.

I don’t know that stats, but I bet they lost a ton of purchases from their fancy upsell technique.  People didn’t know what they did or didn’t need and simply abandoned checkout.

Upsell Technique Implementation Time Buddy

The implementation wasn’t so easy.  If you are adventurous then go for it, otherwise give it to whomever handles your hairier web stuff.

My wifes store is on Shopify so i was able to find this helpful step by step guide.  It was written for adding a gift wrapping option to your checkout and I think its what Bob used.

Big shout out to @CarolineSchnapp for the code.

upsell technique source code

Caroline hard at work, writing code for the common folk.

In my wifes case we needed to change the code a bit.  Apart from the messaging, there were some functionality changes that I needed to make.

Changes to the Upsell Technique for Shopify

  1. The script automatically removed gift wrapping from the cart if that was the only product in the cart.  We wanted people to be able to just buy the upsell product if that’s what they wanted.
  2. If there was more than one wrapping product in the cart it would revise it down to 1.  We wanted people to be able to buy multiple jewelry cleaners (the upsell product) if that’s what they wanted to do.

    multiple upsold products in cart

    Go ahead, get yourself a couple of these bad boys.

  3. If the gift wrapping product was in the cart but they hadn’t selected the gift wrap checkbox, they would remove it from the cart.  In our case someone may have added the product from the stie.  We didn’t want to remove it if they had added it before getting to checkout.  We changed it so that if the product was already in the cart, then the upsell technique was hidden on the cart.  On the flip side, if you removed the item from your cart, the message appeared again.

There were a few other little tweaks and then dressing it up with css.  As of last night the upsell technique is officially in her cart and ready for action.

Upsell in Shopify Cart Finished

Will this work?

WIll she increase her average sale size?

I’m not exactly sure.  Either way, I don’t need to cringe while I watch a plate of 80% eaten strawberries getting tossed in the garbage.

P.S. Here is my revised source if you are interested in using it.  Its a mish mash of my changes and Carolines original code. Don’t hate on it because its messy, it works.

<!-- Modified from original version (c) Copyright 2014 Caroline Hill. All Rights Reserved. Contact Mlle Caroline Schnapp at -->
{% if > 0 and == 'product_link' %}

  <div id="is-a-gift" style="clear: left; margin: 10px 0 30px; width: 100%; " >
    <p class="upsell-header">Add a Baublerella Bling Brush Jewelry Cleaner:</p>
    <div class="upsell">  
      <img alt="Bling Brush Jewelry Cleaning Pen" align="left" src="//" data-high-res-url="//">
      A portable jewelry cleaning brush that fits in your bag.  The size of a pen, this all natural jewelry cleaning stick is one of our faves.  <a class="image" href="">See More</a>
      	<input type="hidden" name="attributes[jewelry-cleaning-brush]" value="" />
    	<input id="jewelry-cleaning-brush" type="checkbox" name="attributes[jewelry-cleaning-brush]" value="yes" {% if %} checked="checked"{% endif %} style="float: none" />
     	<label for="jewelry-cleaning-brush" style="display:inline; padding-left: 5px; float: none;">
        Add to my order for only {{ | money }} 

{% assign id = %}

{% assign gift_wraps_in_cart = 0 %}
{% for item in cart.items %}
  {% if == id %}
    {% assign gift_wraps_in_cart = item.quantity %}
  {% endif %}
{% endfor %}

  #updates_{{ id }} { display: none; }


Shopify.Cart = Shopify.Cart || {};

Shopify.Cart.GiftWrap = {};

Shopify.Cart.GiftWrap.set = function() {
    type: 'POST',
    url: '/cart/update.js', 
    data: { updates: { {{ id }}: 1 }, attributes: { 'jewelry-cleaning-brush': true } }, 
    dataType: 'json',
    success: function() { location.href = '/cart'; }

Shopify.Cart.GiftWrap.remove = function() {
    type: 'POST',
    url: '/cart/update.js', 
    data: { updates: { {{ id }}: 0 }, attributes: { 'jewelry-cleaning-brush': '' } }, 
    dataType: 'json',
    success: function() { location.href = '/cart'; }

// If brush removed from cart make sure box is then unchecked
{% if cart.items.size > 0 and gift_wraps_in_cart == 0 %}
jQuery('#jewelry-cleaning-brush').prop('checked', false)
{% endif %}

// When the jewelry-cleaning-brush checkbox is checked or unchecked.
jQuery(function() {
  jQuery('[name="attributes\[jewelry-cleaning-brush\]"]').change(function() {
    if (jQuery(this).is(':checked')) {
    else {

{% else %}

<p style="clear: left; margin: 30px 0" class="rte">
  You attempted to add a jewelry-cleaning-brush script to your shopping cart, but it won't work because you don't have 
  a link list with handle <code>jewelry-cleaning-brush</code> which, in turn, contains a link
  to your jewelry-cleaning-brush product. Please review the steps outlined 
  <a href="">here</a>.

{% endif %}

I will report back with data once I have something definitive for you.

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