5 Strategies to Increase Units Per Transaction

Increasing your units per transaction is a simple, efficient, and budget-friendly way to boost your revenue. 

You’re simply capitalizing on the customers you already have. 

This article explains 5 ways you can boost your business’s units per transaction.


What is UPT?

UPT stands for units per transaction. It’s a sales metric that tells you, on average, how many units you sell to each customer in one transaction.

To clarify:

Units = an individual product (e.g. a pair of earrings, a bar of soap, a greeting card)

Transaction = one customer payment (e.g. one person going through your online checkout or one person paying at a craft show)

Obviously, the higher your UPT the better (as long as you’re not sacrificing your profits to increase your UPT).

Selling more to each customer is an efficient way to boost your revenue with very little cost increase. 

To sell an additional product to someone who’s already buying doesn’t require as much marketing/selling effort as selling a product to a new customer. 


How to calculate UPT

To calculate your units per transaction, simply divide the total number of units you sold (in a given time period) by the total transactions within that same time period. 

For example, if I sold 125 products last month and had 100 transactions, my UPT would be 1.25.


What’s considered a good UPT?

The average UPT will vary greatly depending on the industry, product, price point, etc.

According to this website, the average units per transaction for e-commerce sites globally is 3.27.

A business with a high UPT isn’t necessarily more profitable than a business with a low UPT.

For example, a business selling greeting cards, skincare products, or jewelry may have a higher UPT than an artist selling large, original paintings. But the artist may earn more revenue and profit with the sale of one unit, than a business selling 5 lower-profit items.

Consumers are more likely to buy multiple units when those units are smaller investments.

Use the units per transaction metric to measure your business’s growth. And try to increase your UPT each month or year (along with these other metrics). 

You must also consider the value of each transaction, which brings me to my next point…


What is ATV?

ATV stands for average transaction value; how much money customers spend on one purchase. 

To calculate your ATV, divide your total revenue (within a time period) by the total number of transactions within that same time period. 

For example, let’s say I wanted to calculate my average transaction value from a craft show. I sold $1500 worth of product and had 120 transactions during the 2-day event.

1500 divided by 120 = 12.5 ATV

On average, my craft show customers spent $12.50.

When planning add-on items, consider the value/price point of those items so you’re able to increase both your UPT and ATV.


5 Ways to increase your UPT

Use one or more of the strategies below to increase your business’s units per transaction.


1 – Product selection

First and foremost, it’s important to start with the right products. 

When shoppers are zoned in on an item (e.g. a pair of earrings), they’re focused on whether or not it’s a fit for them (e.g. What will I wear them with? Where will I wear them? Do I already have something similar?). If you then try to get them thinking about buying products for other areas of their lives (e.g. soap), it becomes information overload. 

Shoppers focus on one need at a time.

It will be difficult to increase your units per transaction when your product line consists of products that aren’t commonly purchased or used together.

Build a product line that aligns with typical shopper behaviour. 

Try using a ladder system, as explained here.

Start with your main product (e.g. your bestseller). Consider what a shopper might use with that product, or what they might need to get the most out of it.

For example, if we take a pair of earrings, a shopper may use a necklace, bracelet, ring, hair clip, etc. with the earrings. 

To keep the earrings in good condition, they may need: a storage case, travel case, cleaner or polishing cloth. Or, if they’re buying the earrings as a gift, they may need a gift box, wrapping, a gift bag, a card, etc.

When a seller has a selection of products that are all connected and work together, they’re much more likely to sell multiple items to each customer.

>> Learn more about creating a UPT-increasing product line by using a ladder system: How To Sell More to Each Customer (w/ a Ladder System)


2 – Presentation

How you present your products, online or at craft shows can also help you increase your units per transaction.


Set up your shop so shoppers see related items when they’re looking at one item. 

If you don’t have the ability to add a “You may also like” or “Shoppers often purchase together” section, you can simply use your product photos and description to encourage shoppers to browse more items. 

Add a photo that shows the item they’re currently viewing with items that work with it. 

For example, if I was selling a pair of earrings, I would include a photograph of the model wearing the earrings with a matching necklace and ring. Or, I might show the earrings in a gift box. Or, a photo showing the earrings next to a cleaning solution and polishing cloth.

In the product description I would describe the other items and why a shopper might want to include them in their transaction (e.g. “Add gift wrapping to your purchase and your item will arrive beautifully packaged, ready for the recipient. Gift-giving made easy!”). Then link to the item (or explain how to add it to their purchase).


Craft Shows

Instead of using your craft show display to house all your stock, create displays that tell stories and make it easy for people to shop. 

For example, instead of displaying all my earrings together on one part of the table and all my necklaces in another section, I would dedicate at least half of my table to “displays”. I would display matching earrings, necklaces, and rings together in a section. I’d create 2 or 3 sections on my table that are collections shoppers can mix and match pieces from.

You should also add an “impulse section” at the end of your table, where people can stand while you’re wrapping their purchase and browse smaller items they might want to add to their purchase. 

Think of the checkout line at a grocery store. While you’re waiting to pay, it’s easy to grab a magazine, pack of gum, chocolate bar, etc. 

At a craft show, my jewelry cleaner, polishing cloths, storage bags, gift boxes, etc. would go in this section.

These aren’t items I want to be the focus of my display, but they’re easy add-on items with low price points. 

>> Here how to plan add-on items for your business: How to Use Add-Ons to Sell More Handmade


3 – Bundling

Some items are perfect for a pre-packaged bundle. These not only show shoppers which items work well together, they also make it easy to sell multiple items in one transaction. 

For example:

>> A jewelry maker may create a gift box set with a pair of earrings, necklace, and ring that work together. 

>> A soap maker may bundle a bar of soap, a soap tray, and hand lotion together in a cosmetic bag.

>> Someone who knits may pre-bundle a matching scarf, hat, and mittens for an easy purchase. 

You’ll want to discount this bundle slightly, so shoppers see the value in buying all 3 items at once. 

But be sure doing so won’t take away your profits. 


4 – Discounts

Depending on what you sell and your profit margins, offering a small discount when people purchase more than one item can boost your UPT. 

For example, a vendor selling greeting cards may offer a discount when someone buys 5 or more cards in one transaction.

Online, you may consider a promotion that offers free shipping when customers spend over a certain amount (e.g. free shipping when you spend $100).

This will help you increase your units per transaction and average transaction value, as you’re encouraging customers to reach a specific value.


5 – Sales process

When I worked for a major retailer, they taught every employee to ask a set of questions, and bring shoppers options once they were in a fitting room. 

It was a unit-increasing process everyone had to follow.

For example, when a customer was in a fitting room trying on a dress, a sales associate would bring a pair of shoes to try on with the dress, whether the shopper said they needed shoes or not. 

This process helped shoppers get the full picture (instead of imagining the dress with the right shoes, they could see the dress with the right shoes), which made them more likely to buy the dress. But it also increased the chances of them buying the shoes too.

Once a shopper was finished in the fitting room, and before they made it to the checkout, the sales associate would ask if they needed other items to go with their chosen outfit (e.g. jewelry, a belt, nylons, etc.).

You can apply this at a craft show by simply asking each customer if they need _____ (add-on item) to go with their _____ (item they’re looking at).

“Did you need moisturizer to go with that hand soap? I offer one in the same scent.”

“Do you need a necklace to go with those earrings? I love this combo…”

“Do you need a gift box and card to go with it?”

You’ll be surprised at how many more people are encouraged to buy an add-on item with that simple question.

Online, you’ll need a shopping cart process that takes shoppers through one extra step before they get to the payment page. 

For example, once a shopper adds an item to their cart and goes to checkout, a page might show 3 other products with the text “Would you like to add any of these items to your cart?”.

Alternatively, on a site like Etsy, you can add options to a drop down through the “variations” feature.

For example, instead of shoppers having to visit another listing to add an item to their cart, you may offer it as a product option/variation.

In the drop down menu, a shopper may see:

  • Earrings $35
  • Earrings + Necklace $75
  • Earrings + Necklace + Ring $95

Simply suggesting other items your shopper might be interested in can boost your UPT.


Bonus Tip

Return customers are likely to buy more from you than customers who are unfamiliar with your business. So encouraging more people to return to your business is a good way to increase your units per transaction and average transaction value.

>> 10 (Easy) Ways to Retain Customers

>> Top 6 Reasons Businesses Lose Customers (& How To Stop It)


I hope this article helps you increase your units per transaction next month.

Here are 4 other business metrics to pay attention to and work on increasing each month: 5 Business Metrics to Track Monthly


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