We've raised a $15M Series A from Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global 🚀  Read more ->
Coming up: With VP Sales & GM, APAC, Figma. Register→
Upcoming Webinar: With Ramli John, Director of Content, Appcues. 4/4,  AT 9:30 AM PDT. Register→
Upcoming Webinar: With Darius Contractor, CGO - Otter.ai, ex- Dropbox, Facebook, and Airtable. 8/2, AT 9 AM. PDT. Register→


Upselling is a sales technique that persuades customers to buy a premium version of a product beyond what they had initially planned to purchase. It’s a great way to discover more significant revenue potential by tapping into your existing customer base! According to a HubSpot survey, 88% of sales representatives use upselling as a sales approach.

If you haven’t already, you might want to seize the opportunity to upsell to your existing customers – but it's crucial to learn about upselling before putting any strategies into practice. Let’s take a look at what upselling is, why it’s important, and how it works.

What is Upselling?

Upselling is a sales technique that encourages customers to purchase an upgraded, premium, or more expensive version of a product or add-ons, ultimately resulting in a larger sale. Companies use upselling to boost sales revenue since acquiring new customers is more expensive than selling to existing ones. In fact, almost half the companies surveyed in this report see 11–30% of their revenue coming from upselling!

Companies that are skilled at upselling are effective at assisting customers in visualizing the additional value that they can obtain by investing in a higher-priced item. When they see alternative versions or models of a product that may better fit their needs, visitors are more likely to make a higher-value purchase. This, in turn, can increase the Average Order Value (AOV) and result in greater satisfaction for the customer.

Fundamentally, upselling is centered around offering customers added value by offering them options beyond what they have already come across.

Importance of Upselling

With upselling, businesses can unlock the true potential of each customer transaction, creating more value for themselves and a better customer experience. Online businesses employ upselling techniques for various reasons:

  1. Build better customer relationships

It builds trust and loyalty by offering better or more relevant products or services that address customers’ needs or solve a problem. This approach generates higher revenue and cultivates long-term relationships through customer satisfaction.

  1. Easier than acquiring new customers

Selling to existing customers who already trust your brand and have bought from you before is easier and more cost-effective than lead generation and selling to new prospects who have never heard of your business.

  1. Increased Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the net profit a customer contributes to a business over time. Higher CLV means more revenue per customer and more resources for acquiring new customers. Upselling can turn shoppers into very profitable customers and boost CLV

  1. Better customer retention  

Upselling adds value for customers, encouraging them to repeat their purchase – provided that the upselling efforts are accompanied by excellent customer service.

Upselling vs. Cross-selling: The Difference

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, cross-selling and upselling are two distinct sales techniques. Cross-selling involves selling additional products or complementary products with the initial purchase, while upselling persuades customers to buy a higher-end version of the product they intended to purchase.

Both techniques are used to optimize revenue by increasing the customer's spending. By utilizing both methods effectively, businesses can boost their revenue without incurring the recurring costs of other marketing channels. However, the sales approach of each tactic is where they differ.

Upselling convinces the customer to buy a premium version of the product – in an attempt to add value to the same product offering. It doesn’t suggest new products or offer product recommendations. Cross-selling, on the other hand, branches out to recommend other related products that would go well with the initial purchase.

Let’s look at a few examples of upselling.

Examples of Upselling

Upselling is a common sales strategy used by software and ecommerce businesses, with a few great examples of how it can be done effectively:

·       Airtable: Their pricing page displays a comparison between all their plans – with the functionality and value offering of the more premium plans being so much higher than the increase in cost.

·       Grammarly: They use a noticeable button on their webpage inviting users to upgrade to premium and highlight the benefits of upgrading.

·       Dropbox: An in-app banner with a nudge to upgrade to a more premium version

·       Amazon: Showing a more expensive version of the same product with incentives to upgrade

More examples of upselling strategies include:

·       Offering access to new or updated features or including an extended warranty on the product

·       Offering early deals for subscription renewals before checkout

·       A salesperson offering product customization to team size or any other specific requirements

·       Displaying social proof with a testimonial about the highest-tier plan on product pages

·       An ecommerce company displaying a better-quality version of the same product – e.g. a standard model and a luxury model of the same item of clothing

·       Automation on ecommerce product pages with upselling offers to upgrade to the more expensive product at a discounted rate.


The key to successful upselling is to make sure that the higher-priced product adds value to the customer and solves their needs or problems. By doing so, businesses can build trust and loyalty and increase revenue without the recurring cost of many marketing channels. It's a win-win sales strategy for businesses and customers because it helps businesses build deeper relationships with customers and increases customer lifetime value.