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Cross-sell. Upsell. Both can have a huge impact on profitability.

Cross-selling (offering an item that correlates with another item the customer is buying) and upselling (offering a similar but higher-priced item) are proven sales enhancers for retailers. Can these trade promotions strategies work at the wholesale level? Absolutely.

Up and cross-selling not only increase the sale by enticing a customer to purchase more expensive versions or additional products than what they intended to buy, but, if properly performed, make them glad that they did. Both techniques therefore have the potential of improving customer relationships and cementing their loyalty. And, ultimately, keeping your retailers satisfied is the best way to hold on to them.

Upselling: offering a pricier version

How Upselling and Cross-Selling Can Dramatically Increase Sales Rep Orders


Good upselling starts with the field sales rep being aware of what the customer is interested in buying (or has bought previously) in order to seamlessly introduce the benefits of buying a higher-priced item. Focus on the similarities and then delve into the differences that make the product being upsold equally appealing but a better value. For example, if a customer is interested in buying Camera A, the sales rep can show (marginally more expensive) Camera B, and explain that it will last longer, thus providing greater value.

Cross-selling: offering related items



For wholesalers, cross-sold items frequently have higher margins than the primary sell and often generate bigger profits. Another big advantage of cross-selling is that it can help move stagnant inventory out the door. Bundle the principal product with ‘relevant’ items, explain the benefits and offer the combined package at an attractive price. A jewelry wholesaler who is stuck with an excess style of “Bilaboo” earrings, for instance, can cross-sell them in a number of ways:

  • Buy one pair of Bilaboo, get 50% off another (more popular) pair
  • Get one pair of Bilaboo with a matching necklace at a great price

Know when to back off

Well-conducted offers of cross-selling and upselling are viewed by customers as an expression of interest in their business. So, it’s important for sales reps to realize when no means no. It’s better to drop the pitch than to jeopardize the customer’s trust and discourage them from buying from you again.

Tough going for wholesalers and distributors

So, if cross-selling and upselling are so effective, why aren’t wholesalers and distributors doing it more? Historically, it’s just been too complicated to implement, given the sheer magnitude of the typical range of products offered. Asking a hungry customer if they’d “like fries with that or supersize the meal” are well-known examples of cross and upselling which don’t lend themselves as well to the realities of wholesaling and distributing.

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Automated upselling and cross-selling

The good news is that the better sales rep apps can include built-in upsell and cross-sell capabilities. It’s no surprise that Pepperi is at the cusp of this new technology. Pepperi, enables the manager to define cross-sell and upsell campaigns. Images of the packages can be uploaded to the sales reps' tablets, with a button displaying them automatically added to the e-catalog. Upselling and cross-selling are literally at their fingertips.

“We couldn't do without Pepperi’s cross-selling and upselling feature. It’s increased our average order size by more than 10% while reducing dead inventory.” - Palco, distributor of consumer goods

With Pepperi, reps have a 360o view of the customer's order history, and the system can present offers that match the customer's profile, such as:

  • Buy X, get Y for free
  • Buy X, get Y at Z% discount
  • Buy from list X and get something from list Y
  • Buy Package X and get Package Y
  • Tiered discounts
  • Transaction specific incentives e.g. discount for cash payments, online-only offers, incentives for preseason orders
  • Read more about configuring trade promotions with Pepperi here.

By implementing these types of upsell and cross-sell techniques, sales reps can substantially increase the size of their orders − just like retailers (and hamburger joints) have been doing for decades,

For more up-sell and cross-sell best practices watch our webinar: How to create effective trade promotions or download our free eGuide: Dos and don'ts of great promotions.



About The Author

Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods is the Senior Business Development Manager at Pepperi. She has extensive experience in B2B sales and understands the many benefits that can be gained by automating and syncing the different sales channels in a company.