What is the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

What is the difference between upselling and cross-selling?

Definition: Upselling is the act of persuading a customer who is already buying something to buy something more expensive.

Cross-selling is the act of selling a different product or service to someone who is already buying a product/service from the same company.


Cross-selling can occur in every type of commerce company whether it is a bank, insurance agency, an eCommerce website, or a company that sells hair styling tools. By identifying products or services that additionally help to fulfil what the original item/service can’t on its own. This can also bring your customers attention to products or services that they didn’t know you offered.

For example a bank will cross-sell credit cards to people who are setting up a savings account. Whereas a company selling hair styling tools will cross-sell a hair brush to people who are buying a hair dryer. These may have been items that they were going to get anyway at some point or elsewhere, but by showing these to the customer at the checkout point, your company ensures that they get the profit.


When upselling, it is important to help the customer to visually see the value they are getting by paying more. Often this is done through comparison charts. For example if a customer is buying a phone but sees that the newer model has a longer battery life and more storage, they will look at getting that phone instead. The same applies if the customer is purchasing a course and they see that there is a course that has that course but in more depth and has more support. Using both of these terms can be beneficial and effective when done properly. By using these methods it can help you to provide the maximum profit and increased confidence in your customers.