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11 Types of Cross-Selling

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Cross-selling is the process of selling to existing customers. Businesses that don't have a long term relationship with customers view cross-selling in terms of upselling something on a single transaction. Businesses that maintain relationships with customers view cross-selling as a sustained process of gaining more sales from each relationship. The following are common types of cross-selling.

Complimentary Items

Products and services that compliment each other like coffee and donuts or software and training.


Seasonal themes. For example, a back to school campaign might suggest shoes to a customer buying pens.

Data Driven

An ecommerce platform might cross-sell items based on historical purchase data for similar patterns of shopping cart or page visits. For example, an ecommerce site might suggest bicycle locks to someone who puts a bicycle in their shopping cart.


Pitching things that are on sale. If a customer booked a trip to France last month, let them know when tickets to France go on sale.


A sales campaign to sell a particular product or service. For example, a telecom company might pitch colocation services to network customers.

Popular Items

Cross-selling popular items such as a bookstore that reminds customers that a best seller just went to paperback.


Experimenting with cross-selling different items to see what works. For example, the food service on an intercity train might experiment with different food items such as sushi or pizza to see what sells.


Things that people tend to buy on impulse such as candy bars.


Letting customers know when new products and updates are released. For example, a fashion brand that connects with customers to generate excitement for their Spring line.


Risk products such as an extended warranty or insurance.


Wrapping products in services that deepen the relationship with the customer. For example, pitching an unlimited ebook service to people who buy an ebook reader. This results in monthly recurring revenue as opposed to a one time sale.
Overview: Cross-Selling
The process of selling to existing customers.
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