How to Upsell Your Customers

Bematech Blog - March 8, 2017

how to upsellUpselling, strategies to entice customers to purchase more than they had originally planned, is one of the most effective ways for a business to improve the bottom line. If you are like most retailers and restaurant operators, however, you have probably realized you don’t instinctively know how to upsell your customers. But it’s well worth the effort to learn. By many estimates, upselling existing customers is approximately five to 10 times less expensive than acquiring new ones.

Like any successful business process, mastering how to upsell your customers takes adherence to best practices and continual improvement. Concentrate on these areas as you develop your upselling strategy:


Listening to a store associate or restaurant server attempt to upsell by following a set script doesn’t just annoy customers and dissuade them from making additional purchases. It may actually cause them to become so frustrated that they refuse to complete a purchase altogether, resulting in lost sales and possibly, lost future business.

Instead of following a set script that has all of your employees trying to sell the same item to everyone, teach your employees how to upsell your customers based on the purchase the customer is making. For example, if a shopper is buying paint, suggesting paint brushes or rollers would be a relevant attempt at upselling. The same could not be said, however, about encouraging that customer to add a garden hose to her basket. Similarly, if a customer is ordering a low-calorie menu option, it would not be wise to suggest an extra-large order of fries. Unthinkable.
Let Customers Make the Final Decision

Once you and your staff have mastered how to upsell your customers by making relevant offers, remember that most customers love suggestions, but they do not love a hard sell. Continuing to pressure customers who are clearly not interested in the item being proposed will only backfire, damaging their perception of your store or restaurant.

Truly knowing how to upsell means accepting that the most successful, stress-free attempts are those in which customers recognize the need for the suggested item and believe, correctly, that they, not store employees or restaurant servers, have made the final purchasing decision.

Leverage Technology

Upselling is not always a verbal process. Technology can play a valuable role in the process by providing customers with the information they need to decide about additional purchases, at just the right moment.

When planning how to upsell your customers, consider the versatility of digital signage, customer facing displays at the Point of Sale (POS) and self-service kiosks as a means to communicate upselling offers. They may also be integrated with solutions that provide paper or digital coupons for the item to make the suggestions even more attractive.

Retailers and restaurateurs who know to upsell customers will remain well-positioned for strong sales in a highly competitive environment. While the specific strategy that works best for your store or restaurant will be as unique as your business and your customer base, incorporating relevant offers and technology and avoiding the hard sell, can mean you hear “yes” more often when you ask if a customer would like to purchase something more.