Request A Demo

A Beginner’s Guide to Up-Sell and Cross-Sell Emails


Twitter Share Link Facebook Share Link Linkedin Share Link

How post-purchase emails can be used to up-sell and cross-sell to customers.
Once a customer has made a purchase, it doesn’t need to end there. With the right approach, this can be the beginning of a long-term relationship with customers.
It costs a lot less to keep an existing customer than to acquire new ones, so it pays to focus on retention, and email can play a big part in this.
There are several types of emails you can send to customers after purchase, from confirming the details and thanking them for the order, to requests for reviews, but here we’ll look at using email to cross and up-sell.

What is cross-selling and up-selling?

Cross-selling is about recommending additional products and services to customers. Being offered a chocolate bar every time you buy something from WHSmith is one example. Another is the kind of recommendations you see on Amazon’s product pages.

The same principle applies to post-purchase emails. Once a customer has made a purchase, customers can be emailed with suggestions for other products. The key is to make the emails timely and the recommendations relevant to the customer.
Up-selling is about persuading customers to buy more expensive items. It could be an upgrade to the next version of a product or service, or adding features or things like warranties to the product.
In this example from, I’ve clicked on the listing for the £79 hotel room, but the site also shows me more expensive, but potentially more attractive options. These include breakfast, rooms with river views and deluxe rooms, all of which may tempt me to spend a little more.

What makes a great cross-sell or up-sell email?

As with cart abandonment emails, timing and relevance are key factors. A message delivered at the right time, with product recommendations that are relevant to the customer.
By using a shopper’s previous on-site browsing behaviour and purchase history, intelligent recommendations can be dynamically pulled into an email. Targeting rules and filters can be added to campaigns, including trigger time.
An email can be compiled and triggered immediately after a purchase is complete, in order to thank the customer and provide recommendations for up-sell and cross-sell purposes.

Alternatively, it can be triggered after a specific period of time from the transaction. This could be after the standard delivery time for goods to ensure the customer has received their items, or after a check-in date for flight or hotel bookings.
For example, this email was sent to a customer who has previously purchased school uniform, recommending further related items.

Our stats show that post-purchase emails can produce some excellent results.
The customer is already familiar with the brand, and the purchase is relatively fresh in their minds, and this is reflected in the response rates.
Post purchase emails have a 61.7% open rate, a 9.7% click through rate, and 9.16% conversion from click. In addition, the use of personalized recommendations can drive a 28% increase in average order values.

In Summary

Used in conjunction with other post-purchase emails, such as replenishment reminders and order confirmation emails, cross-sell and up-sell emails help to build up a longer term relationship with customers.
The key is to deliver value with intelligent and well-timed messaging, which helps to drive repeat purchases, and to maintain contact with customers.

Want to know more?

Enter your email here to download the SaleCycle Post-Purchase Emails booklet


The 2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report

The latest data on ecommerce trends and online customer behaviour

2021 Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at SaleCycle. He's been covering ecommerce and digital marketing for more than a decade, having previously written reports and articles for Econsultancy. ClickZ, Search Engine Watch and more.