What Your Local Supermarket Knows About Upselling That You Don’t
Did you ever notice all those small trinkets that are showcased next to the cash register at your local supermarket? Chewing gums, razor blades, candy bars, ice cream, batteries, and so on… Of course, they are also available in other sections of the store, so there has to be a reason for giving them an additional placement at the cash register, it’s clearly no accident. At the cash register they have a precisely defined purpose. They are a small business owner’s attempt at upselling - and a great one indeed.
What’s different about this type of upselling
First of all, it’s not a classic upselling case like we - internet business people/entrepreneurs know it. We were taught that upselling happens when you try to sell an additional item right after someone has bought something from you. And you try to pitch a product that has a bigger price tag - you’re rising the price up - hence “upselling.” This is different though. In this case, the store owner tries to upsell on products that are likely to be just a small fraction of the overall amount of money the client will spend.
Why does it work
Three reasons: low price, availability, hormones
- The low price is the biggest reason of them all. If a chewing gum is $0.20 and my overall shopping is $120… then what the hell, let’s just take the gum too.
- Availability is almost equally important. Here’s what you might think while at a cash register: “well, I’m already here so… I might as well grab these gums.” Those small products are appealing to everyone. Everyone chews gum, everyone likes a candy bar, every man needs to shave, and so on.
- And now the most interesting thing on this short list - hormones. Did you know that Serotonin - the hormone of happiness (or the “feel good” hormone) is released when you are buying something? Of course significantly more is released when you’re buying a new Corvette than when you’re buying a new rack of toilet paper, yet the principle remains the same.Shopping makes us feel good (at first), makes us happy. In fact let me take it a little further: Shopping = happy And what is it we do when we’re just in the middle of buying something and we’re feeling happy? We want to buy some more! So our hormones make us buy more than we actually intended when we first entered the store. That’s why cash-register-level upsells work. That’s why it’s something store owners capitalize on so often.
I know, I know. It sounds too much like a fairytale at this point. But think about it. When was the last time you went just to buy a pair of new jeans, and you ended up with a pair of jeans (mission accomplished)… and a pair of shoes… and a new shirt… and two hats… and some original Italian “parmigiano”… and whatever else. It happens all the time! Serotonin - blame it on him. OK, that was a cute story but now let’s focus on something more interesting…
How to use the local supermarket way for your online upselling
Step #1. Choose products that are both cheap and very general in your niche/market. For example, if you’re selling computer equipment people can visit your online store for a variety of reasons. They may be looking for monitors, hard drives, keyboards… the possibilities are almost endless. However, there’s a range of products that might come handy to whomever enters such a store. Products like: mouse pads, printer paper, DVDs, pen drives, PC cleaning accessories. What’s more, these products are also cheap, which makes them perfect for supermarket-upselling (just made that name up, by the way).
Step #2. Now that you have your list of general, cheap products you need to showcase them in two places inside your checkout process. The first place is the shopping cart. Whenever a customer enters the shopping cart of your store those products need to be visible there, along with proper copy, and having a good presentation - “purple-cow” style - something that can’t be possibly missed. The second place is your checkout confirmation page - the page shown just before the moment when the customer is redirected to the payment processor. Listing your upsells there along with a simple one-click buy button is a great idea. Note. If you want to add those listings to your checkout process AND you’re using an “out of the box” shopping cart solution then you’re probably going to have to get some assistance from your software’s support team.
Is it worth it?
I know what you’re thinking right now… “all this effort for just a couple extra bucks.”
Yes, it does require some work. Yes, it won’t double your business. BUT it’s free money. Selling an upsell at this stage of the checkout process costs you nothing in terms of marketing and customer acquisition - therefore it’s free, low-hanging-fruit money. But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours? What do you think about this whole supermarket-upselling? Do you think it’s a good idea for your business? Share your small biz diamonds in the comments section below.
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