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Home Articles Using Upsells & Add-Ons to Increase Profits in Your Handmade Business

Using Upsells & Add-Ons to Increase Profits in Your Handmade Business

Updated 09/17/2020
How to upsell, cross-sell, and sell add-ons

As you know, the goal of any business is to sell – and sell more day after day, year over year.

There are numerous tactics companies use to increase sales, but one of the most popular is to grow the amount spent per customer. That can involve upselling customers to a more expensive product or offering add-ons that the customer may not have considered.

If you're looking for simple ways to maximise your sales-per-customer, this one's for you. Below, we describe each option and explain how you can implement upselling and add-on techniques in your handmade business.

Upsells vs. Add-Ons

Both options involve getting the customer to spend more, but one convinces the customer to switch products whereas the other persuades them to purchase additional items. Continue reading to find how they differ but also how they can work together.


Upselling is the process of pointing out a more-enhanced version of a product in an effort to increase the value of a shopper's purchase.

Upsell offers should be reasonable. They should make sense alongside the original item and shouldn't be a huge jump in price. The customer is already committed to spending a certain number, you don't want to show a product so much more expensive that you turn them off.

According to a article quoting Maksym Podsolonko of Eazyplan, "The price of an upsell shouldn’t be more than 25% more than the product they are already looking [at] or buying."

Say you sell bath & body products at a craft fair. A customer is considering one of your organic body lotions, a small tub for £6. This may be a good opportunity to point out that a large tub (one that's twice the size) is only £3 more.

At this point, you're showing your customer a way for them to get more value for their money. It also gives you the opportunity to make a larger sale.

In this scenario, your suggestion for the larger lotion makes sense since the customer was looking to purchase lotion anyway. Plus, you highlighted the customer's benefit for just a small price upgrade. Win-win for all!

It's crucial to keep in mind though that upselling has the potential to turn off customers, it really comes down to how you approach the opportunity. Jump down for tips on making your upsell soft and friendly.

Add-Ons & Cross-Selling

Add-ons are typically offered towards the end of the customer's shopping experience. Also called cross-selling, it involves offering a last-minute item once the shopper decides to make a purchase.

Depending on your business, you may wonder what a good add-on item might be.

Think of the three C's: the add-on should either complement, complete, or help care for the product being purchased.

  1. Complement. If someone's purchasing organic body wash, a complementary add-on may be a loofa or lotion in the same scent.
  2. Complete. A customer purchasing a locally grown succulent plant may be interested in a unique pot to display it in if they don't have one already – the pot completes the originally purchased item.
  3. Care. Say you own a handmade jewelry brand and someone's purchasing a ring, you may consider offering a care kit that includes a cleaning solution and cloth for polishing.

It's important to keep in mind that not every opportunity is a good opportunity to promote another product, it has to make sense. If you blindly offer additional products to customers that don't make sense, it may come across as pushy or sales-y which may affect repeat business.

Having said that, some small-ticket items with a miniscule price tag can act as "impulse buy items" that are hard for customers to refuse. Think of all that candy and gum in the grocery store checkout line.

Ways To Upsell

Here are ways to land the bigger fish once a customer is in your crosshairs:

Highlight the added value. Follow the example above that suggests the shopper buy the larger tub of lotion. Show customers how much they're saving by upgrading.

Upgrade your materials. If you use standard-quality ingredients or packaging, try creating a premium version. For example, try offering your lotion in a glass bottle instead of your standard plastic one. Earth-conscious consumers might be willing to splurge to save the environment.

Lock them in. Ensure the customer keeps spending money with your shop but locking them into a subscription service. Whether you deliver products to them by mail or they come into your shop monthly, this is an easy way to guarantee income. Learn more about starting a subscription box.

Personalise it. Personalisation is at the forefront of consumer culture right now, so capitalise on it. Offer a custom version of your product for a higher price tag. Let them construct the scent, choose the color palette, get their name embroidered, etc.

Sample the more expensive product. Whether it's a free trial or sample size product, consumers feel guilty getting things for free and are likely to come back and spend money with you. Explore if product sampling is right for your business.

Throw in a freebie. Incentivise potential buyers by offering an item free of charge with the purchase of the more expensive product. For customers looking at fake leather purses, nudge them towards the real deal with this upsell: Free leather cleaner with a purchase from our Genuine Leather line.

Ways To Cross-Sell

Aside from straightforwardly offering an add-on, there are other ways to add extra value to a purchase and increase your profits:

Bundle it. Offering an add-on doesn't always have to require asking the customer. You can opt to include the add-on as a bundle to another item. Let's say you sell body washes and lotions for £10 each, you may consider bundling a body wash and lotion for £16 … which saves the customer a few bucks and makes you a little extra money per sale. Just package them together and let your product labelling do the talking!

Throw in a freebie. Incentivise potential buyers by offering an item free of charge with purchases over a certain amount. Example: Spend £30+ for a free gift.

Use 'buy in bulk' methodology. This is a classic offer used to increase sales per customer. In short, the more units a customer buys of a particular item, the less they pay per unit. Example: 1 for £3 or 2 for £5.

Promote free shipping. Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 shoppers consider free shipping to be a top incentive when shopping online. Offering free dispatching on purchases over a certain pound amount can increase sales while giving shoppers that sought-after benefit.

Wrap it up. Whether you offer gift wrapping as an added cost or free on higher priced orders, gift wrap options are an easy add-on for nearly any giftable item.

How To Encourage Higher Value Purchases

So how do you make your upsell or add-on offer an easy 'yes'?

Be specific. Offering several flavors, colors, sizes, etc can muddy your message. Tell the customer exactly what they should buy.

Pick reasonable items. Since money always plays a factor into people's buying decisions, the add-on offer should not cost a lot of money (add-ons) or be significantly higher in price than the original (upsells).

Make it a yes or no question. Don't give the customer too much to think about. Yes or no questions are easy and quick to answer, and most likely to be a gut-reaction.

Example: "Would you like an organic vanilla lip balm for just £2 more?"

Notice how tasteful and straightforward that offer was? It mentioned a specific product (lip balm), flavor (vanilla), and low price (cheap enough to not blow a budget). Plus, positioned as a simple yes-or-no offer it left no room for additional questions on the customer's behalf.


You don't have to feel like a car salesman in order to upsell your customers. Here are a few ways you can employ the techniques above without scaring away customers or sacrificing your integrity.

  • Offer advice while they shop
  • Add upsell labels to your packaging
  • Promote the savings with signage
  • Point out the benefits to the customer, environment, etc


This process can feel a bit challenging when there's no personal interaction with customers, but it doesn't have to be. Many website builders and CMS' have widgets to help. Look into:

  • Carousels showcasing best sellers with higher price tags
  • Add-to-cart pop-ups with popular add-ons
  • "Frequently bought together" sections on your product page
  • Promos during the checkout process

Whether you're selling online or at craft fairs, be sincere with your upsell and add-on offers. If you treat them like a good friend, your customers will have a pleasant shopping experience and appreciate your recommendations.

For more small business tips, visit our Label Learning Centre.

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