How to Upsell with Email
by Jordie van Rijn last updated on 0

How to Upsell with Email

Every good retail shop salesman knows that the item people come looking for isn’t always all they need or what they end up buying. And an upsell to a higher priced or additional product is worth suggesting not only from a service standpoint, but also from revenue standpoint. You have nothing to lose by including upsells. In fact, you’ve got everything to gain. How can you use email to upsell to your email list?

How ecommerce websites use email to upsell

Ecommerce and services are no exception. If you look at smart website design, they include cross-sell and upsell techniques in the form of “You might like…” or “Others who bought this item also bought….” matching the page you are on with additional items. It is amazing what we can learn from looking at email marketing tactics used by Amazon for example.

But often this is not what happens in email. And because the attention span of your subscribers is limited, you have to put in the effort to make the offers pop just like you would with your email subscription form.

Other ways to think about upselling

One of the ways to do upsell to your audience is to present the offer in a different way. For that you can certainly give credit to Olive Juice in the example below. The main offer is an outlet sale. But then it puts a spin on it with the Sunday Bazaar.

Presenting the items as “one-of-a-kind pieces” with “styles and sizes very limited!” (Translation: These might very well be the leftovers and one-offs from previous seasons that you would normally find in the outlet.) Two different ways of presenting the same product. One however, highlights the exclusiveness and therefore validates higher prices / lower discounts.


Vistaprint is an example you can learn a lot from. It may very well be the king of overdone upselling and an annoying email program. It’s business cards and other items are low price, but they present you with so many other offers on your way to the checkout page.

It’s emails, too, know how to work it aggressively, with “You May Also Like” and “Save 20% Off Your Next Order.” It’s too much, especially with their very high email frequency.  nstead of hollowing out your database by scaring people away and over doing it, I like to think of email as a way to build loyal customers. Let me state that I don’t like the Vistaprint email program. But signing up for their program (by buying something) can give you lots and lots of ideas. Just tone it down a lot for your own program.


Transactional emails: specific or generic?

Now this is where things gets really interesting. Transactional emails, such as bill notices, are a great opportunity for upselling. Sometimes called transpromo, transactional emails with a promotion in them get an above average open rate and because you know what the customer bought, it is a shoe in to find matching products and services for that product.

But the offer can also be more generic IN the email and more elaborate ON the site. You do need an email marketing tool that is able to handle sending automated emails though, just like a birthday email or a welcome email.

In the Verizon email below, customers are reminded that they might be eligible for an upgrade (translation: upsell).


Upselling not only helps increase your Average Order Value, they help introduce your customers to other items on your site. But just because you’ve segmented your email list in a certain way doesn’t mean you have to limit your marketing efforts. Take off the blinders and, as always, test. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Don’t forget, customers DO need to signup for your email program in order for you to keep sending them emails. And if they haven’t yet, the biggest upsell might be to get them on your list.

Subscribe for fresh tips & top articles

GetResponse S.A. needs data contained in this form to provide you with materials you requested. For more information, read Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up!

We'll send you an email to confirm this shortly.

Become a GetResponse Blog writer!

Write for us