My friend bristled when the salesperson looked at her large purchase and asked “Will that be all?”  She mumbled that she thought she was buying quite a lot, and that the young man’s comment implied that it wasn’t good enough.

Upselling, which is defined as encouraging customers to buy more than they originally intended, certainly has the potential for being offensive. But increasing the amount of a purchase from some of your existing customers is an important way to achieve higher sales.

It can be argued that recommending an additional item is in fact sometimes good customer service. If you sell a product that requires batteries or some other component that isn’t included, it is a courtesy to point that out. Cross-selling, which is suggesting that customers buy related or complementary items, can be another good way to increase sales when it’s clear that the shopper is open to the idea.

We are all familiar with the artificial intelligence that allows an online retailer to say “customers who bought A also often bought B.”  Upselling can be viewed as a deceptive practice when it refers to encouraging a shopper to buy a more expensive item that then one they’ve decided on. But “upping the ticket” by recommending another item is sometimes good salesmanship – and if AI can do it, so can our sales associates.

I think that “Did you find everything you were looking for?” is a better question to ask shoppers who are checking out. It can lead to an opportunity to recommend something not already in the customer’s cart. But if the answer is yes, it’s best to express sincere thanks for the sale – whether it is large or small.

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder

PS There won’t be a Specialty Shop Retailing blog next week