Secrets to cross-selling in search result lists

Cross-selling is a hugely powerful strategy for merchandising and marketing teams in eCommerce businesses, where products are shown which distinctly complementary other products.

This digital strategy is typically attempted in hope of improving customer knowledge of your product range or introduce other new styles into the research phase of a customer journey. As any other marketing action , behind cross-selling there must be both planning and a strategy.

But it is not just about offering everything you can think about and it is certainly very different to up-selling. A cross-sell and up-sell are similar, but not the same. These two concepts are normally mixed up and confused by many levels within a business, however, it is important to clearly distinguish them.

Cross-selling encourages clients to buy other related products that complement their purchase. However, upselling tries to make the client buy a different, more expensive version of the same product - like a more expensive phone plan or higher speed internet package.

Cross-selling when we don’t have a history...

Obviously, you can be very sophisticated when you know who’s visited your site and who’s made purchases before with complex strategies. You can even use recommendation systems connected to your CRM which are fully personalised, but when someone visits for the first time, you don’t have history to rely upon.

More often than not a recommended product list is shown on product pages (PDP’s), this then often begins teaching the brand about the visitor and what they may be interested in looking at.

Headings to these product carousel slots are usually ‘other customers also considered’ or ‘you might also like’. These recommendation slots are placed typically in areas of focused product detail, like the product display page itself. But what about category lists and search result lists...

Cross Sell

Search results offer a window of opportunity…

The search function of a website is typically used by 60% of users (unless your website makes search extremely prominent or powerful, such as Amazon), meaning the other 40% navigate through the website by clicking on banners/graphics and the navigation bar links.

When a user searches on your website for a particular keyword or phrase, they are best describing the product they are looking for however there is a world of difference between relevant results being returned and meaningful results returned. As an example, the shift in SEO practices from relevance to meaningfulness has been gradual and almost silent. Yet when a user searches for a certain product, they do not wish to see other ‘similar’ products mixed in with similar ones unrelated to their query.

Here are our 3 secrets to cross-selling within the search results list:

Keep relevant supplementary product

The products you are attempting to cross-sell need to be relevant to each other. For example, a phone-case you are cross-selling should be the right size for the phone alongside it. If a user can clearly and easily see that the accessory or additional product is the right type/fit/colour, then they are more likely to purchase it too.

An example of this in the fashion world is Yours Clothing listing two products next to each other, where the first product image includes the second product:


Use A.I. to suggest frequently bought together

Utilising artificial intelligent technology to review the other products being purchased alongside the product you are creating a cross-sell for, if enough customers begin to purchase a ‘set’ or particular ‘bundle’ of product, then this should be suggested as a recommended cross-sell. This strategy helps the user by saving them time by not needing to look or research any further.

Moss Bros. use Vybe technology to achieve this particularly well, where past purchases of a particular shirt have typically included another shirt product, which is shown in a ‘you may also like’ carousel:


Match old and new product versions

Many retailers update their inventory with new versions of a product every year, this is common with a hobby-like product such as snowboard equipment or mountain bikes, where the brands will release a new colour or a slightly different version of the same product every year. A retailer can group these variants together when merchandising their categories, so a user can compare the different options easily and see that you sell them quickly.

The prerequisite to the above strategies is a system or eCommerce platform that allows for manual control over the search results pages on your website. This powerful merchandising functionality is available in Vybe, the UK’s first website plugin for controlling and optimising your eCommerce store.

Extra top-tip: Keep your data clean to avoid duplicate product being listed...

Regardless of the strategy, a product recommendation carousel will always be most effective when they support the checkout flow on your e-commerce website rather than distract from it. It is important to offer choice, but this could backfire by introducing too much choice – or worse – confusing your customers by offering choices based on bad data. As your inventory changes, so do your product descriptions and categories. It is important to keep this data clean because it contributes to your ability to effectively upsell and cross sell on your website.

If you are looking for more tips or want to look at advanced merchandising strategies, speak with the team at Vybe on 0800 222 9845 or on email at [email protected]

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