How to Drive Order Values with Upsell Emails

By Bethany Llewellyn • Last updated: Tuesday Sep 26th, 2023

How to Drive Order Values with Upsell Emails

Upsell emails are a vital tool for eCommerce businesses looking to boost their average order value and overall revenue.

In this article, we’ll explain why online retailers need an upsell email strategy and how to craft effective upsell and cross-sell email campaigns that drive sales and enhance customer loyalty.

What is an upsell email strategy and how can it benefit eCommerce businesses?

In eCommerce, an upsell email campaign effectively increases customer value by offering shoppers additional products or upgrades that complement their original purchase.

For example, if a customer purchases a product from your site, you can send a series of post-purchase emails with cross-sells based on the product they bought. This will allow you to reinject shoppers back into the sales funnel to purchase from you again.

It can help online businesses to:

  • Improve average order values
  • Increase profitability
  • Provide more value for customers
  • Increase buyer loyalty

Pro tip: Sending upsell emails with a special offer, such as a birthday discount code or early access to your product launches, reinforces the relationship with your loyal customers.

Alternatively, you could use packages or bundling strategies to promote an upsell that’s relevant to your customer based on their shopping behaviour.

This allows you to add extra value to your business while encouraging your shoppers to spend more on-site.

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Why eCommerce retailers need an upsell email strategy

1. The importance of existing customer relationships

Research shows that your existing customers spend up to 67% more on average than those who are new to your business.1

This is a key reason many online stores put a huge focus on not only winning the sale but retaining and improving relationships with their existing customers.

Upselling to your current customers can mean: 

  • Reduced customer acquisition costs
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved retention rates

Since you already have data on your existing customers, your product recommendations will be tailored and relevant to each shopper.

What you can do: Consider utilising conversion rate optimisation tools on your site and in your retargeting emails. Using AI-powered tools, such as Recommendations in your emails will allow you to create effective, personalised campaigns that use the customer data you have collected.

With machine learning algorithms, you can let the tools do the heavy lifting and save time and resources.

Suggested reading: Find out more on the benefits of using artificial intelligence in our blog, ‘AI in eCommerce: Benefits, Use Cases, and Best Practices’.

2. Maximise revenue

Upsell and cross-sell emails are a great way to maximise revenue from every existing or potential customer who visits your site.

Create a wider database of customers to target by encouraging newsletter collection through Digital Assistant’s data collection campaign, Mailing List Sign Up.

You can encourage users to subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for a discount or exclusive access to sales.

From here, you can identify an upsell opportunity to suggest higher-priced products or add-ons relevant to the customer’s shopping behaviour. This will help you to:

  • Increase average order value
  • Improve profitability
  • Boost trust and loyalty

Research shows that upselling can increase a business’s revenue by 10-30% on average, so boosting your audience and prioritising your upsell campaigns is crucial to maximising revenue and business growth.2

Retargeting emails continue the personalised customer journey that shoppers enjoy on your site to increase your conversion rate. 

What you can do:  Collect more email data on your customers by offering an incentive. Find out more information about effective newsletter campaigns in our blog, ‘What Email Newsletter Sign-Up Incentive Works Best in eCommerce?

3. Drive repeat purchases

Upselling isn’t a one-time thing. You can continue to retarget your customers repeatedly through your email marketing efforts.

By suggesting new products to your customers, you’ll encourage them to explore more of your product catalogue.

This exposure, coupled with a positive purchasing experience, can increase the chances of customers making repeat purchases that will boost sales and customer lifetime value.

Customers who have this interactive experience with your upsell and cross-sell campaigns will be more engaged and more likely to purchase from you time and time again.

4. Strengthen customer relationships

Your email marketing campaigns can be more than just a marketing tactic, they can also be a tool for building relationships.

An upsell campaign that focuses on just selling will likely be less effective than those that also build stronger customer relationships.

By leveraging behavioural tracking, you can create a unique shopping experience for each customer who visits your site.

Whether through exclusive offers, personalised cross-sells or package deals, you’re showing that you care about the customer experience which can lead to happier customers.

Since boosting customer retention by 5% can increase profits by between 25%-95%, improving the customer experience can hugely improve profitability for eCommerce businesses.3

Suggested reading: Discover the importance of improving customer experiences in our blog, ‘How to Improve Online Customer Experiences | A 2023 Guide’.

How to create a successful upsell email campaign

1. Suggest relevant recommendations

The key to a successful upsell email campaign is personalisation.

With a combination of your customer data and segmentation based on previous purchases or browsing history, you should be able to confidently suggest relevant products that you know your customers will love directly from an email.

Using a Recommendations tool in your emails can enable you to personalise product suggestions to your customers and increase AOV through cross-sell and upsells.

You can deploy a variety of strategies through Recommendations, such as ‘Personalised’ or ‘New In’. This allows you to showcase more of your product catalogue and new releases to suit your business goals.

Over time, these personalised interactions will strengthen customer loyalty and make your brand more appealing to potential customers.

This further emphasises the importance of customer data and understanding your audience.

Pro tip: Suggesting relevant upsell and cross-sells is easy to achieve no matter if the visitor is new to your website or a returning customer.

For example, since you have already collected information on your existing customers, you’re able to target them with relevant products you know they’ll love.

And with your new customers, you can use the information you have gathered on similar browsing behaviour or purchases from other shoppers to match up customer journeys and showcase relevant items your new customers may also like.

Suggested reading: You can find out more information on how you can effectively measure data on your site in our blog, ‘Data Analytics is the Key to eCommerce Success – Here’s Why’.

2. It’s all about the timing

The timing of your upsell or cross-sell email will directly affect the success of that campaign.

There are various points throughout the email marketing funnel where you can upsell to your customers, but ideally, the customer should still be in the purchase mindset when the upsell email arrives.

This strategy capitalises on purchase momentum and prompts quicker conversions from your customers.

While you don’t want to bombard customers with daily emails, a well-timed follow-up will remind shoppers of the value you’re offering.

3. Create compelling subject lines

Crafting a compelling subject line is essential as it’s the first thing your customer will read when they receive your email.

Here are some reasons why your email subject lines are important:

  • They improve deliverability
  • They set expectations for the email
  • They grab the reader’s attention

No matter who your audience is, here are some ways you can increase open rates for your email campaigns:

  • Use attention-grabbing keywords
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Be specific

What you can do: Explore A/B testing with your email subject lines to help you determine which ones are the most effective and provide the highest open rate.

Once you have nailed your subject lines, this split testing can be done throughout your email, from imagery and messaging to call-to-actions or send times.

After you have completed your tests, you will have a guide of best practices for your email retargeting efforts that you can roll out campaign-wide to improve your results.

4. Messaging is key

Creating a message that resonates with the reader’s needs and desires is how online businesses improve loyalty and customer engagement.

In the case of upsell and cross-sell email campaigns, the messaging you use is crucial to whether a customer will add higher-value items to their order or make additional purchases.

Using language that creates urgency or a fear of missing out (FOMO) is an effective way to prompt purchases, especially from impulsive shoppers.

This can be done using phrases such as, ‘While stock lasts’ or ‘Don’t miss out’ both in your subject lines and in the body of your email.

Messaging like this instantly sets the precedent that the items they love may not stick around.

Take it a step further with a targeted messaging strategy. This ensures you’re providing tailored content to your audience that will help improve your conversion rate. Targeted messaging campaigns could be used in:

  • Facebook ads
  • Sponsored social posts
  • Targeted emails

To create effective personalised customer experiences you should ensure you’re utilising accurate segmentation.

Final thoughts

The goal of upsell emails is not only to boost sales but to enhance the customer’s overall experience with your brand – from discovery to post-purchase.

By adding value to the customer journey, you’ll help solidify shopper relationships and create an engaged, loyal customer base that in time, will help you increase revenue through repeat purchases and higher order values.

Monitoring and analysing your email retargeting campaigns at every touch point will help you to continuously optimise and improve your strategy for the best results.

1 Returning Customers Spend 67% More Than New Customers |

2 9 Practical Strategies to Upsell Customer Effectively | Super Office

3 28 Critical Customer Retention Strategies | Zippia

To see how Salesfire’s tools can help you boost your average order value and increase your revenue, reach out to the team at [email protected] or book a free demo.