Cross-selling is a sales technique that convinces customers to buy additional products or services in addition to the one they originally intended to purchase.

The additional items are usually related to the first product and can enhance the customer’s overall experience.1

Visual Representation

cross-sell visual representation


The primary purpose of cross-selling is to boost revenue by encouraging customers to buy additional, complementary items and increase customer satisfaction by offering more value with thoughtful product recommendations.2

How Cross-Selling Works

Cross-selling happens when you’re buying something, and the seller suggests another item that goes well with what you’re already getting.

The idea is to pick out things that complement each other.

So, during your purchase, they offer this extra item and explain how it improves your original choice.3

They might even give you a special deal to encourage you to buy both.

This way, you end up happier with your purchase because you get more value, and the seller makes more sales by offering products that enhance each other.4


Cross-selling can be applied in almost any industry where there’s a chance to recommend additional products or services that complement a customer’s initial choice.

However, the common industries might be:

  • Stores: Buying shoes? They might suggest socks or shoe cleaner.
  • Banks: If you have a savings account, they might offer you a credit card.
  • Phone Companies: Sign up for a plan, and they’ll offer extra data or insurance.
  • Online Shopping: Look at a book, and you’ll see suggestions for similar ones.
  • Travel: Book a hotel and get offers for tours or car rentals.
  • Apps and Software: Using a free app, you might get suggestions to buy extra features.
  • Car Service: Go in for an oil change, and they might suggest other maintenance.
  • Beauty Products: Buy a shampoo and see a matching conditioner suggested.5


Imagine someone buying a new smartphone online.

The website suggests a screen protector and a case as add-ons just before they check out.

These suggestions come from knowing that many customers usually buy these accessories with their smartphones.

By doing this, the store makes more from each sale and gives the customer items that make their new phone more useful and longer-lasting.

Related Terms


1. Wikimedia Foundation. (2023a, November 3). Cross-selling. Wikipedia.

2. Li, S., Sun, B., & Montgomery, A. L. (2011). Cross-selling the right product to the right customer at the right time. Journal of Marketing Research48(4), 683-700.

3. Hayes, A. (2023, June 10). What is cross-selling?. Investopedia.

4. How to Upsell and Cross-Sell to E-commerce Customers: Learn Upselling Techniques As Well As Why Cross-Selling Is So Important. (n.d.). (n.p.): ARX Brand International LLC.

5. Cross selling: What is cross selling?. Saras Analytics. (2023, June 7).

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