The importance of learning how to upsell is well known to small businesses.

If you can get a customer to buy more, great! If you can get customers to buy something that has a better profit margin for you, so much the better. If they switch to an item that leaves them feeling more satisfied, that means loyalty and buzz for you. Here are a few things to keep in might as you work your way towards being an upselling extraordinaire!

Be Smart: Know What to Upsell

Upselling can be a tricky art. To a large extent, how successful it will be, depends on how much a customer already knows. It also hinges on how committed customers are to their desired product. Imagine an example of someone who has done extensive research on winter boots and has decided on the perfect pair. Trying to upsell to them could backfire and leave them sour. But if someone’s shopping for a diamond ring and doesn’t know exactly what they want, upselling can be a lot easier.

Restaurants and bars have a particular advantage in that upselling is an accepted practice. As you will usually be dealing with lower sums of money, it becomes easier to tempt people. Furthermore, people at such places have immediate physical needs. That makes them more open to upselling. Because hey, if you’re hungry, a larger meal sounds that much better!

Make it Easy: Leverage Your POS

An employee upselling a customer on a ShopKeep terminal.

If you are using a point of sale system it’s easy to add upselling and cross-selling options to it. Just make sure that those buttons are easily displayed to your servers taking orders. When a customer orders a burger, you want it to become second nature to your employees to ask: “And will you have fries with that?”

SEE ALSO: Here is How to Keep Your Customer Retention Rate High

Check the Weather: Use it to Your Advantage

You might not think that the weather has much to do with your sales on a daily basis, but you’d be surprised. Paying close attention to what Mother Nature has in store for you can help you anticipate your opportunities to upsell. Again, for restaurants and quick service restaurants, asking if a customer would like to add a hot or cold beverage to their order is fairly straightforward. But what about retail stores? This is the time to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What do you imagine you are more likely to add to your order or purchase on a hot or cold day? If you’re a small clothing boutique, perhaps you’re more likely to try on a new wool sweater, or purchase a tank top for your future vacation. They call it impulse purchasing for a reason, because it’s done on impulse! So take advantage of that moment at checkout when you’re customer is pleased with their purchase and might be feeling the heat (or the cold).


Emphasizing Value: Discounts are King

The real power in upselling at the point of sale is highlighting deals and offers. Though a customer’s order total will obviously increase, you still always want them to feel like they’ve received some kind of deal. So whether that means discounting an item at checkout or providing them with a coupon to use during their next visit (which will also ensure they return to your store), make sure they feel that they’ve received something of value.

An employee handing a customer a bag with a ShopKeep terminal in the foreground.

Remember, learning how to upsell is more of an art than a science. So don’t be frustrated if your stock doesn’t immediately go flying off your shelves. Incremental changes in how to approach customers and introduce them to new products will have an effect over time. The effort you put in now will pay off in the long run. If you’re looking for more information on how to improve you point of sale, check out How to Have Super Fast Point of Sale Transactions, Guaranteed.

Sara Sugar

Sara Sugar

As Managing Editor at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Sara Sugar uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down small business and point of sale topics.