The Art of Upselling

L’amant Interior-1-ArqPaulaPosser-photoMarceloDonadussi-LamantBoutiqueSensual-RetailDesign

Above: L’amant lingerie boutique.

“The Art of Upselling, in a lingerie retail environment, can generate massive revenue from small gains.”

by Ali Cudby

(Editor’s Note: Ali Cudby will host the ABC’s of Upselling at CurveNY on Sunday, February 22nd at 2pm.)

Upselling is one of the greatest tools available to a lingerie retailer. What is upselling? It’s art of inviting customers to spend more money with your business within a single transaction.

Here’s an example of upselling that’s easy to understand.

Let’s say you’re hungry, and decide to hit the nearest fast food joint. You stroll up to the counter to place your order, and invariably you hear two familiar questions:

Do you want fries with that?
Do you want to supersize your meal?

That, my friends, is classic upselling.

OK, technically it’s two different things…so let’s refine our terms. When the fast food cashier offered you fries with your burger, she was CROSS SELLING you. Cross selling happens when you ask customers to spend more by proposing a corresponding product or service to what they are already buying.

Teddies for Bettys Interior 11b

Above: Teddies for Bettys lingerie boutique.

In the lingerie world, this would be suggesting that a customer buy the matching bottoms to a bra, or a matching robe for a selected chemise.

UPSELLING, technically, exists when a customer gets a recommendation to upgrade their selection by spending more on the same class of goods. This corresponds to getting the offer to supersize your combo meal at the fast food restaurant.

Love, Lust and Lingerie now carries Eucalan

Above: Eucalan Lingerie Wash on display at Love, Lust and Lingerie.

“The bottom line is that having an upsell program in place can be profitable, when crafted carefully.”

A lingerie-oriented example would be a larger bottle of washing liquid, taking a customer to a more expensive brand, or even upgrading a customer from basics to fashion.

While technically cross selling and upselling are different, we tend to group them both together under the banner of upselling.

And upselling, in a lingerie retail environment, can generate massive revenue from small gains.

Let’s take the fictitious Boosted Boutique. At Boosted, they bring in around $50,000/month in revenue and have an average transaction price of $75.

The fine folks at Boosted create an upsell program, and add a scant $10 to their average transaction value.

That small gain per transaction brings in a whopping $80,000/year – equivalent to 13% of their total gross revenue.

In other words, double-digit growth without a single new customer walking through the door.

Azaleas Lingerie Boutique

Above: Azaleas Lingerie Boutique.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself, “Hey, if this is so easy, why aren’t I upselling more often?”

Well, there’s a potential downside, which can also generate big results. Lingerie is not fast food. And leaving customers with a “do you want fries with that” feeling is not going to serve the customer relationship in our world. When customers get a negative feeling about their experiences with a business, they tell people.

According to studies, a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their negative experience. Around 13% will tell more than 20 people. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)

It won’t take too many unhappy customers to eat into Boosted Boutique’s upsell gains.

To make matters worse, it takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative customer experience. (Understanding Consumers by Ruby Newell-Legner)

Once a customer is unhappy with Boosted, do you think they’ll even give that shop twelve more chances to her win back? Unlikely.

The bottom line is that having an upsell program in place can be profitable, when crafted carefully.

The Art of Upselling

Learn more about Upselling at CurveNY

That’s why I’ll be discussing the ABC’s of Upselling at CurveNY on Sunday, February 22nd at 2pm.

At the seminar, we’ll dig into the questions to ask yourself in order to ensure an upsell program that develops customers who are both profitable and loyal.

Customers who buy more often, spend more and become referral machines for your business.

And who never, ever feel like your upsell program is equivalent to offering them “fries with that.”

(RSVP for Ali’s Seminar on Curve’s Website HERE.)

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