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Upsell, Downsell & Cross-Sell: Using Product Recommendations to Boost eCommerce Sales

Upsell, Downsell & Cross-Sell: Using Product Recommendations to Boost eCommerce Sales

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Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of eCommerce site revenues according to Forrester Research.

Think of upselling, downselling and cross-selling as friendly suggestions that offer your B2B customers a helping hand to make the right purchase in your eCommerce store. One of the most effective ways of achieving success with these ‘friendly suggestions’ is through the use of product recommendations.

Let’s be honest… the end goal of any business is to boost profit. And utilising product recommendations to effectively upsell, downsell and cross-sell in your B2B eCommerce storefront will not only lead to increased revenues, but also help improve the customer experience.

Why Upselling, Downselling and Cross-Selling Are Important for B2B eCommerce

Well-executed upsell and cross-sell strategies have a common benefit to any business, regardless of the industry — more revenue without having to acquire new customers. And when you add downselling to the mix, that benefit of boosting sales can be extended beyond your existing B2B customers to new customers as well.

Why is that important?

According to GrooveHQ, the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.

In today’s globally competitive marketplace, if your B2B business sells online, you can’t afford not to capitalise on seizing additional revenue where you can, and that means from both existing customers and new ones.

Here are some additional ways upselling, downselling and cross-selling can contribute to your company’s bottom line:

  • It builds stronger customer relationships.
  • It increases customer lifetime value.
  • It increases average order value.

What is the difference between upselling, downselling and cross-selling?


Upselling is the process of encouraging a customer to buy a more expensive item, or purchase an upgrade or add-on to the product they are already buying. Upselling is an effective way of increasing order value.

Example:  Your wholesale business sells medical supplies. A customer visits your online B2B eCommerce store and clicks on the Wheelchairs product category menu. He/she selects the Economy Wheelchair and, once on the product page, clicks “Add to cart”. This is now an excellent opportunity to upsell this customer by recommending a Standard Wheelchair as a suggested product.


When you downsell, you offer an alternative product at a lower price when a customer is hesitant to buy. Downselling is an effective way of building brand loyalty with new customers and increasing the odds of converting them to paying customers.

Example:  Using the wholesale medical supplies business scenario again, a new customer visits the N95 Respirator Mask product page in your online store, but doesn’t click “Add to cart”. An effective product recommendation downsell strategy here would be to suggest a medical mask as an alternative.


Cross-selling is the process of suggesting related or complementary products to the item the customer is already buying. Cross-selling is an effective way of increasing both order value and customer lifetime value.

Example:  Using the same situation described above in upselling, an effective cross-sell strategy for the customer who is buying a wheelchair is to feature related add-on products, such as elevated leg rests or a thicker seat cushion.

How to Use Product Recommendations in Your eCommerce Store to Effectively Upsell, Downsell and Cross-Sell

There are many areas in your online store where you can effectively utilise product recommendations to upsell, downsell and cross-sell. With the B2B Wave eCommerce solution, those opportunities to showcase product recommendations include:

1. Home page

On your storefront Home page, you can highlight specific products under the heading ‘Featured Products’ (great for upselling); a specific set of products under the heading ‘Suggested Products’ (ideal for both upselling and downselling); as well as upload eye-catching visual banners to promote a single product or an entire product line (perfect for cross-selling).

2. Deals page

The B2B Wave eCommerce platform includes a Deals page that automatically displays all products that are currently being offered at a discount in your online store.

3. Custom page for specific promotions

With B2B Wave, you can create new pages for your online eCommerce store. One of the ways you could use this option to showcase product recommendations in support of your upsell, downsell and cross-sell strategies is to create a page called Current Promotions and include on it specific products related to a seasonal offer, for instance.

4. Product pages

On the Product pages of your online store, you can showcase specific products under the heading ‘Related Products’. Featuring related products on your product pages is an effective way of reinforcing a cross-sell strategy.

Regardless of which sales strategies you implement with your online B2B store, product recommendations are a vital part of the plan. Just remember that the overriding goal when using upsell, downsell and cross-sell techniques is to always provide your customers with the most relevant product offers in a particular situation based on the information you have available.

Quick Guide to Wholesale Discounts & Pricing
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