Cross-Selling Basics, Examples, and Strategies | NuORDER

Understanding cross-selling and upselling will help any business grow. Learn these best practices with NuORDER.

The power of brands selling more often, and in higher quantities, to existing buyers cannot be understated. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while the chance of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20 percent. You don’t have to be a math whiz to understand the astronomical difference in potential revenue.

It’s also worthy to note that 91% of buyers are more likely to shop from brands who provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, and 86% of customers with great purchase experiences will likely buy from the same brand again.

The question isn’t whether or not prioritizing current wholesale customers by offering additional relevant shopping experiences is a good idea. The question is: How can wholesale brands effectively sell more to existing loyal customers?

This article will look at the basics of cross-selling in the wholesale market, offer examples of cross-selling, and provide strategies to help you boost your order quantities.

What is cross-selling, and how is it different from upselling?

Cross-selling is a technique that brands (e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores alike) use to urge buyers to spend more in one purchase by adding related products to their wholesale order.

Cross-selling is often confused with upselling because both are techniques salespeople use to boost revenue.

Upselling is when a salesperson offers a bigger or better package to a buyer, and cross-selling is when a salesperson encourages buyers to purchase additional merchandise.

The easiest way to visualize the difference between these two concepts is with the typical fast-food example. If a hungry diner orders small french fries, and upsell would be offering large french fries (aka the supersize sale). If someone asks for a hamburger, a cross-sell would be offering fries and a drink.

Here are some examples that relate to the wholesale world. If a buyer is looking at an outdoor shoe collection from a brand, the salesperson could cross-sell by showing socks that go with the shoes.

Upselling, on the other hand, would be when the salesperson encourages the buyer to order a more luxury outdoor shoe collection, instead of the shoe collection they were initially eyeballing.

How to cross-sell to your buyers

The ultimate goal of cross-selling is to increase revenues, but it's not the only goal. Cross-selling is about getting to know your buyers, building a relationship with them, and understanding which of your products will be successful in their retail stores.

To successfully cross-sell, it’s critical to know everything about your buyers, when to pitch additional items, which items to offer, and when to make the ask.

Here are some ways you can get to know your buyers so that the products and suggested related products in your virtual showrooms hit the mark.

1. Fine-tune your buyer personas

Before even building out your product catalog for a specific buyer, it’s essential to nail down your buyer personas. 

This means capturing data about your target audience that tells you who they are, what they like, what their retail store is all about, who they sell to, their goals, and more.

To nurture ongoing brand and retailer relationships, keep up on retailers that have already bought your products or services, and update your buyer personas accordingly.

Once you have taken a deep dive into who your clients are, it will be easier to create the perfect catalog and include the perfect product recommendations.

2. Build out your customer journeys

As you know, the customer journey for a retailer buyer is different than the D2C customer journey. This is especially true for retailers that release products seasonally and to different types of consumers.

Since the buyer customer journey is different for the retail industry, it’s critical to map it out in detail.

Building out your customer journeys will provide insight into when to schedule your virtual meetings, when to show off your products in your digital showroom, and when you should cross-sell.

3. Prepare in advance for buyer needs

If you have repeat buyers, chances are you’re already familiar with what products they want to see. If you’re showing your products to a new customer, you’ll need to do more research.

Either way, if you do your research in advance and learn what your customers want, you’ll be able to prepare your catalog in advance with relevant products to cross-sell.

The most common cross-selling methods for wholesale brands

Now that you know how to best prepare for successful cross-selling, here is a quick look at some of the most common wholesale cross-selling methods:

  • Offer additional products. As you build out your catalog, don’t forget to make it easy for buyers to see related products.

  • Bundle items. If you have a group of products that go well together, consider bundling them together and providing a discount for bulk bundle purchases. You may also consider offering something for free in your bundled products.

  • Make data-driven suggestions. Before your virtual meeting, take a look at what the buyer has purchased previously. Then, include similar items in your collection and as product recommendations.

  • Draw attention to promotions. If you are having a sale on popular items, let your buyers know. This may be the perfect opportunity to sell more products to customers that already love your brand. 

Wrap Up

Cross-selling is the art and science of offering product recommendations that will enhance your buyer's purchase. When you make an excellent cross-sell pitch, your brand and your buyer’s retail store will benefit.

As you prepare for your next digital trade show, take the time to review your customer personas, dive into data on past purchases, and customize your NuORDER virtual showroom with product recommendations that will resonate with your buyers.

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NuORDER is dedicated to providing thoughtful, informative B2B eCommerce industry insights. Brands use NuORDER's platform to deliver a seamless, more collaborative wholesale process, where buyers can browse products, plan assortments and make smarter buys in real-time.