Getting the most from cross-and up-sell programmes.

Author:Trivunovic, Kara

Email as a marketing tool is quite possibly the most powerful one in the box, and used properly can generate a substantial increase in business.

Marketers do not need an Oxbridge study to tell them that driving incremental sales from a current customer costs a lot less than acquiring new ones. But many are still squandering the opportunities afforded them by their own email lists. Email cross-sell and up-sell programmes allow marketers to drive more profitable behaviour from the customers and prospects they know best.

What is cross-sell and up-sell?

Cross-sell refers to the tactic of recommending additional purchases based on a previous purchase. Often, but not always, cross-sell involves selling items from categories other than the category of the initial purchase. For example, if a customer bought a jumper from a clothing retailer, both a matching shirt (from the clothing department) and a pendant (from the accessories department) might fall under the cross-sell banner.

Up-sell refers to the tactic of selling enhancement to the existing purchase. In the brick-and-mortar world, McDonalds practices up-selling every time they ask "would you like to go large?" Similarly, car dealers practice up-sell when they convince buyers to opt for a larger or more luxurious car than they initially intended to buy.

While email sometimes engages in up-sell before purchase, it more often happens after purchase. As a result, up-sell usually takes the form of product-specific add-ons, such as extended warranties, optional features or enhanced services.

Why is it a good idea?

In this life we are all looking at getting the best value for money and making what few pounds people have stretch as far as they will possibly go. Cross-sell and up-sell programmes offer opportunities for marketers to increase revenue at a relatively small cost.

Regardless of industry or channel, customer acquisition costs money--anywhere from pennies for simple search engine marketing (SEM) or banner campaigns, to hundreds of pounds for sophisticated multi-channel efforts in high-margin industries such as financial services and insurance. In contrast, cross-sell and up-sell programmes can be run at a fraction of those costs because they do not require the expense of sifting good prospects from a bunch of hand-raisers. By definition, cross-sell and up-sell programmes involve a cherry-picked audience--people who have already bought something from a marketer.

How easy is it to implement...

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