How to Use Up-Selling to Sell More Handmade

Getting customers to your Etsy shop, website, or craft show table takes a lot of work.

So it’s important that you make the most of every shopper.

It’s not about taking advantage of shoppers and tricking them into spending more money.

It’s about presenting options so they can make an educated purchase.

Up-selling is a selling technique you can implement that offers your shoppers more options, ensures they’re able to purchase exactly what they need, and allows you to increase your value per transaction.




Up-selling is a sales technique that takes a shopper and nudges them towards a more expensive option.

Typically, that option is an upgraded version of what they’re already planning to purchase.

You may also think of it as taking a product (or service) and improving upon it.




It’s important for a business to up-sell because it increases the value per transaction; meaning, you make more money with one sale.

You must spend time and money marketing your business and products to bring in new shoppers.

You then want to be sure you get a return on that time and money spent by making a sale.

Not every shopper will buy from you, which is why you want to increase your value per transaction.

The average eCommerce conversion rate is 1 – 2%.

If you spend time and money marketing your business to 100 people, you’ll likely only turn one of them into a customer.

Let’s say I’m advertising my business on Google, and must pay $0.50 for each person who clicks my ad.

I would be paying $50 to get 100 people to my online shop.

If my conversion rate is average and I sell to one of those people, I need to ensure I sell them enough product to cover that $50 so I break even on my marketing investment.

However, a sale may require an up-sell to be more likely to cover marketing costs and be profitable (you can also offer an add-on or work on turning more customers are turned into repeat customers).

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Here are a few ways you may have experienced up-selling as a consumer.

>> At a fast-food restaurant when you’re asked if you would like to supersize your order.

* “Would you like fries with that?” is an example of add-on selling (here’s how to use that sales technique to sell more)

>> When purchasing a computer, the model with more storage may be suggested as an up-sell.

>> When getting your roof re-shingled you have the option between asphalt shingles, which may last 15 – 30 years, or metal shingles, which typically last 40 – 60 years.

>> When shopping online, your cart may display the message: “Spend $20 more dollars to qualify for free shipping”. “Free shipping” is the upgrade that improves your existing purchase.

>> When staying at a hotel you may be asked if you’d like to upgrade to a larger room, a room with a better view, or a room with a bigger bed.

>> When flying, you have the option to sit in economy, business, or first class. Each option is an up-sell.




Here are a few keys to a good up-sell



An up-sell should not be too large of a leap from what the shopper is already considering, or committed to, buying.

If required, you can create pricing tiers, or gradual steps up from your “base” product.

For example, let’s say I sell art. I may offer prints and originals. If a shopper is looking at a $50 print, trying to up-sell them a $500 original painting is too big of a leap. Instead, I may offer:

    • Art printed on poster paper (tier 1)
    • Art printed on a wrapped canvas (tier 2)
    • Art printed on a wrapped canvas that’s framed (tier 3)


The price difference to bump up from a poster print to wrapped canvas would be more reasonable than the price jump to an original painting.

And once the shopper is considering the canvas-wrapped art, it’s just another small bump up to have it framed.

You’ll have to decide how much of an increase in price will be acceptable, based on your product pricing and on your target market (here’s how to find a profitable target market for your handmade business).

When you’re paying a couple of dollars to buy French fries and it’s only $0.50 more to supersize them, it’s easy to justify the cost, especially when you’re hungry.

If you’re spending thousands of dollars for an original painting, spending several hundred more to add a protective coating to the painting may also seem justified to protect your investment.

Both are reasonable up-sells for the price of product and the target market.



Your shoppers must see the value in your upsell.

Looking at the art example again. A protective coating is not likely to be very valuable to a shopper looking at a $30 print. However, a protective coating would be more valuable to a shopper considering spending thousands of dollars on an original painting because they likely want to protect their investment.

A shopper should be able to clearly see the benefit they’ll gain by spending more money.



It’s unlikely one up-sell option will work for all your shoppers, or all your products.

Create different up-sell offers for the different types of customers you serve, as well as the different products you offer.

For example, if I sell bath and body products, an up-sell on a bar of soap may be to offer a discount on two or more bars, since a shopper may want a bar of soap for each bathroom, or want to try different scents of soap.

However, if I also sold face cream, I wouldn’t want to try and sell my customers 3 jars of cream because it’s likely they only need one jar. Instead, I may offer a larger-sized jar of cream to up-sell.



Remember, the up-sell should be an improvement on what the shopper is already planning to buy.

If you’re introducing a completely different product, that’s considered an add-on (here’s how to use add-ons to sell more).

Besides an up-sell being relevant to the product the shopper is interested in, It also must be relevant to the customer you’re targeting (here’s how to determine which market your handmade business should be targeting).

For example, if I’m selling high-end skincare products, does my customer care more about getting a value-sized jar of cream, or upgrading to a cream that uses a more effective ingredient? Upgrading from a regular face cream to a face cream with Vitamin-A would be more relevant to my customers than offering a jumbo-sized jar at a discounted rate.

Here are a few ways a handmade business can create an up-sell offer:


    • Better materials – e.g. if I sell handbags I may offer the same style of bags in woven fabric material, as well as leather, which would be my up-sell.
    • Better ingredients – e.g. if I sell candles, I may offer the same scents in different types of wax. My paraffin wax candles may be my “base” product while beeswax candles would be my up-sell product.
    • Greater quantity – e.g. if I sell bath & body products, I may offer the same product but in a larger sized bottle/jar/tube/etc.
    • Larger size – e.g. if I sell jewelry, I may offer the same style of ring but using a larger gem.
    • More exclusive – e.g. if I sell art, I may offer multiple copies of a piece of art in print, but only have one original for sale, which makes it more valuable and exclusive.
    • Better service – e.g. if I sell dresses, I may offer custom tailoring as an up-sell service.




There’s an art to up-selling. Try these sales techniques to increase your chances of shoppers saying “yes” to your up-sell offer and avoid coming across as pushy.



It’s important to present the value of an upsell.

Shoppers must be able to see that spending a bit more money will give them a lot more value.

You may have seen this strategy used effectively when comparing a service or membership options. Many service/membership/subscription-based businesses will present a sort of spreadsheet.

On the left is a column of features while the rows show what you get with the basic package versus the pro/upgraded package.

The pro column has every feature checked off while the basic column only has a few checkmarks. This visual shows the shopper just how many features they’ll be missing out on if they go with the basic package, and how much more value you the get with the up-sell version.

When attempting to up-sell, explain the benefit the shopper will gain by “upgrading”.



It’s important to present the up-sell when the shopper is committed to buying. If a shopper is on the fence about spending any money, it’s not a good time to try and get them to spend more.

When they’re skeptical about making a purchase, it’s more appropriate to present a down-sell item (here are examples of down-sell items, as well as when and how to present them).



When selling online through your website or on Etsy, you may:

Present up-sells as options

When an online shopper is adding items to their cart, they’re committed. You can use dropdown menus to present up-sell options and allow shoppers to choose a bigger size or upgrade to a different material.


In product descriptions

You may mention up-sell offers in your product descriptions. The key is to give the shopper time to learn about your original offer before you try to up-sell them, so try to mention up-sell options near the end of descriptions.

Here’s how to write product descriptions that sell, as well as templates, samples, and examples.


Shopping cart process

If you have a website, you can alter the steps during the checkout process to include a page that presents the up-sell offer.

For example, a shopper may add an item to their cart, then click the checkout button, which brings them to the up-sell page asking if they would like to upgrade their order and save. Once they click the button to agree to the up-sell, or decline it, they would then go through the rest of the process to enter their shipping and credit card information and complete the transaction.


After the purchase

You may present an up-sell offer after a customer has received their purchase.

For example, if I sell face cream, I may use an email sequence to automatically follow up with customers who have purchased a regular-sized jar of it. If a regular sized jar of the cream typically lasts a customer 2 months, I may set the email to send a month and a half after purchasing, reminding them to order more before they run out and suggesting they purchase the larger size to save money.

You’ll, of course, need to start a newsletter and get permission from your customers to email them (all of this is covered in HOW TO START, SEND & GROW A SUCCESSFUL NEWSLETTER).


In emails

If you have shoppers email you to ask a question about your products before they purchase, you may have an opportunity to let them know about your up-sell offer in your reply.

This idea may also be applied to an FAQ section.



When selling in-person at a craft show, it’s easier to read the customer and tailor the upsell.

When a shopper seems ready to purchase, you can simply let them know that you also offer __________ for ____ price.

It may also be appropriate to present your up-sell offer when a shopper is going back and forth between items. Presenting the up-sell offer may help them make a decision, especially if you explain the value of the upsell.



Always keep the shopper’s best interest in mind.

Although you don’t get to have a conversation with your online shoppers, you can still be mindful of their wants/needs.

Don’t create up-sell opportunities by thinking about all the ways you can get your customers to spend money. But rather, think about what they might want or need and let your up-sell offers reflect that.

When selling in person, you’ll be able to read each shopper and know whether it’s appropriate or not to up-sell them.

If a shopper mentions they really love one of your items, but they aren’t sure they can afford it, don’t attempt to up-sell them.

If they decide to buy from you and you’ve encouraged them to spend more than they’re comfortable with, they may resent their purchase, which wouldn’t encourage them to purchase from you again. On the other hand, if you work with their budget and maybe even down-sell them (here’s when and how to down-sell) they’ll be more likely to spend with you again in the future.



Don’t try to offer multiple up-sells to a customer. You may present different variations of up-sells during one up-sell pitch, but it would come off as pushy to offer different types of up-sells, or present a new up-sell once a shopper has agreed to, or declined, your previous up-sell offer.

For example, if a shopper had one of my poster prints in their shopping cart, an up-sell offer during checkout may present both the print on wrapped canvas and the framed wrapped canvas. It would be an either-or offer.

But I wouldn’t want to present those up-sell offers and then ask if they also want to upgrade to a larger size too. That would be a this and that offer.



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