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“Do you want fries with that?” – The Art of Ecommerce Email Cross-Selling…

Cross-Selling Blog

Avg. Reading Time - 2:15 mins

Avg. Reading Time - 2:15 mins

Okay, so whilst this isn’t really something you can ask over email…it does demonstrate the power of cross-selling and how it actually works.

McDonald’s has been doing it since the year dot and it works for them – they’re offering a complementary item to the burger you’re already ordering, so you’re more likely to accept!

(Not to be confused with up-selling, which is when they ask you whether you’d like to “go large?”)

It’s a simple idea, but ultimately helps to increase revenue!

So, how can you apply this to your ecommerce email marketing to make more money?

Once a customer has made a purchase, send them an email with other items that you know they’ll be interested in…

Or that complement what they've already bought!

The key with cross-sell emails is to keep them relevant.

To have the best chance of getting a customer to come back and buy more from you, you have to keep them interested.

Don't worry - if you're not familiar with them, we've combined some good tips, tricks and examples to help you get the ball rolling with your cross-sell emails...

What makes a good cross-sell email?

There are a few ways you can incorporate cross-selling into your email marketing.

So, we’ve listed out the three most effective ways (and included a handy example of each) for you to try:

  • In your post-purchase sequence. Most email marketing software will let you include a ‘you might also like’ section as part of your order confirmation email.

    This will allow you to offer relevant or complementary items to your customer as soon as they’ve made a purchase – meaning they’re already more likely to go back and buy more.

    (Alternatively, you could include a separate email in your post-purchase sequence that does the same thing.)

    Take this example from Crate&Barrel – they know that because the customer has just purchased a sconce, they might be interested in buying a ceiling light too. And what better time to put them in front of the customer than when they’re already in buying mode?!


  • In an abandoned cart email. Your prospect hasn’t yet made a purchase, BUT they are interested enough in your products to have put an item in their basket.

    You can use this opportunity to offer them other similar items, whilst also prompting them to return to their basket…and hopefully adding a few more items to it!

    See how Kate Spade does it? Not only are they suggesting other items that the prospective customer might be interested in, but they’re also offering a discount!


  • As a general broadcast email. Are you doing a promotion or launching a new product? Rather than blasting out the email to your entire database (unless the product/promotion is relevant to everyone), you can specifically send it out to customers who have bought similar items in the past. They’re the most likely to be interested!

    Look at Harry’s – it’s slightly easier for these guys, as they know that their customers are always likely to be interested in their shaving products (that’s just what they do), but the concept is right.

    They’ve launched new items, so they let their customers know in the hope of getting them back to buy more!


So, now you've seen a few good examples, what do you need to be including?

Top tips for successful cross-sell emails

  • Seize the opportunity! If you’re sending a separate cross-sell email as part of the post-purchase sequence, you'll want to send the email when the purchase is still fresh in your customer's mind – after one day should be enough.

    And we’ve already identified including a ‘You May Also Like’ section in their order confirmation email – just make sure the items you are suggesting something to complement what they’ve already bought.

  • Attention-grabbing subject line! You already know what interests them (or you wouldn’t be sending this email), so make it relevant and make it eye-catching to get them opening the email.

  • Make it personal! If it’s personal, your customer will feel more valued. You know they’re interested in what you’re sending, so make a point of saying it - “We know you’ll love this because you bought…”. And don't forget to address it to them, too - "Hi [first name]"!

  • Keep it clear and simple! You don't want to overwhelm your customers and scare them off before they come back to make another purchase!

  • Compulsive call to action! However you plan on getting your customer back to your store (button, image, textual link), make sure it’s bold and enticing!

Including cross-selling as part of your ecommerce email marketing strategy is just one way to increase your revenue, by using the people already on your database.

(Using abandoned cart emails is another great way.)

Not only that, but it helps improve your bottom line – you’re making another sale without spending to acquire the same customer again.

If you need help getting started on improving your bottom line through ecommerce email marketing, why not let us give you a hand?

If you're interested (and we hope you are), see how we can help you get the most out of email marketing by booking your free consultation call with us!

If you're interested (and we hope you are), see how we can help you get the most out of email marketing by booking your free consultation call with us!