Survey shows e-tailers opportunities to up-sell

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on August 3, 2005

Many multi-channel retailers' web sites are failing to make good use of targeted cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, according to research into retail web site effectiveness by distance shopping firm Zendor.

The firm found that many multi-channel retailers are failing to use their web sites effectively to optimise the targeted selling opportunities available to them. Order building through cross selling (e.g. suggesting low value add-on items) or up-selling (e.g. suggesting premium products instead) is not something that happens very often online, according to the research.

And of the small number of multi-channel retailers that do take advantage of cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, many still do not making the most of the benefits that online selling can offer. Zendor's survey included 103 of the top UK multi-channel retailers with two or more channels (including stores, websites, catalogues and call centres), across a range of industry sectors including clothing, footwear, toys, and electrical goods.

The survey of web sites revealed that more than half (59%) of the retailers' web sites are not being used effectively to build orders up in this way, suggesting that most of the retailers examined do not really recognise the opportunities that online retailing offers, particularly in terms of maximising the visibility of their product ranges, and driving sales and return on investment - all of which, Zendor points out, can be driven by targeted selling online.

Of the multi-channel retailers (41%) who do cross or up sell on their web sites, most are not making the most of this online marketing technique, and only one-third are making the most of order-building opportunities by applying targeted selling techniques during the browsing process and at the point-of-sale. The majority favour the browsing process for cross-selling and up-selling, while one in seven (14%) use the technique at the point-of-sale or check-out page.

Surprisingly few
Simon Weigh, Zendor's channel development manager, commented: "It is surprising that multi-channel retailers are failing to take advantage of the Internet to drive up average order values. Targeted selling can be unobtrusive, allowing customers to browse the website and enjoy their online shopping experience without being barraged. The basket stage is also a prime opportunity as customers are ready to purchase with credit card in hand and any last-minute impulse buying can be encouraged."

According to Weigh, while some industry sources suggest that between 2% and 3% of consumers will take advantage of cross-selling or up-selling, some online retailers have observed that this figure could be as high as 5%. And as many as 20% of mail order customers placing an order with a call centre accept an add-on to their order, according to a Mokrynski & Associates survey. Something as simple as displaying a suit with a matching shirt and tie on the web site could be the key to greater sales.

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