Episode 257 Featuring Alex Bond

Upselling and Cross Selling with Ruth Haim

Upselling and Cross Selling with Ruth Haim

Ruth Haim is the Co-Founder of ReConvert, the number one upselling solution for merchants on the Shopify platform. Ruth combined her knowledge of the Shopify platform from a merchant's perspective with her project management skills to build a micro-SaaS project in ReConvert. Along with her brother, she built and scaled ReConvert with zero coding knowledge, and today it generates over $100k in revenue every month.

On this episode, Ruth and I discuss the difference between upselling and cross selling, the ways she helps brands upsell and cross sell to customers, how brands can avoid bombarding customers with upselling opportunities, and much more.


What is ReConvert

Ruth Haim: We are a company with a few Shopify apps to sell Shopify merchants help them increase sales, grow the revenue, and just manage their business on a more automatic, efficient kind of way. And ReConvert is our, it's the main app that we really put most of our focus on and it really focuses on upselling mostly post purchase, but we'll slowly venturing into pre purchase upselling as well. 

Alex Bond: Wonderful. And ReConvert also cross sell too right? And I'm curious if you could, for my benefit and hopefully the audience's benefit, just give me a little bit about the difference between upselling and cross selling and what those two things mean. 

Ruth Haim: Yeah. So to be honest, I think in a lot of cases in eCommerce, we just say upsell as like a term, general term for any kind of product recommendations and you know, any kind of sales increase in tactic. So we do is mostly cross selling. 

Honestly, it's just like upselling has become the term to use, but the difference is, I would say. I think the best example is McDonald's. So if you go to McDonald's and you want to buy a burger and they offer you, I don't know the names of the products, but a bigger burger, like a bigger burger size, and you can exchange the small burger that you wanted to buy for a Big Mac. 

That's an upsell. Instead of buying the smaller option, you're buying the more expensive one. But when they also offer you fries with your burgers, that is a cross sell. Because you're still buying the hamburger. You're just adding on. A cheaper product usually, and that's the core sell. You're adding something that goes with it. 

Maximizing Revenue Potential: ReConvert's Strategies for Effective Customer Upselling

Alex Bond: In terms of ReConvert, what are some of the ways that you help brands upsell the customers?

Ruth Haim: At the beginning, we really focused on the thank you page on Shopify and really, when you look at, I'm guessing you do online shopping, but when you look at Amazon or eBay or Aliexpress, any of these marketplaces, when you get to, you finish the checkout, you get to the thank you page, you get a lot of offers, you can do a lot of things there.

You usually don't immediately leave you like scrolling for some other products, maybe getting some discounts and on Shopify by default, you don't have any of that. They're now expanding a little bit. Their theme editor and checkout editor, but it used to be that once a person gets to the checkout, there's nothing you as a merchant can really do.

It's like, this is what we have. So we wanted to take the thank you page and actually create a builder that is really similar to the Shopify theme editor that allows a merchant to add whatever they want to the thank you page. So upselling is, and cross selling is the most popular, the most popular thing that people use reconvert for, but it's not the only thing they can do.

You can really add videos and images and Q and A's and whatever. The customers might be interested to see when they've just completed an order. So that's the first thing we allow merchants to do. When we talk about the coline and upselling aspect of it. You can do a pop-up with a time-sensitive offer with a discount.

You can do scrollable product recommendations where they can just like continue looking. Or you can do a product upsell, which shows one single product and with a discount that they can add to the original order or create a new order. That's from the thank you page. That's like the original set. We also have a feature that is a little newer, which is the post purchase upselling.

And that is one click upsells. It's a kind of new, it's not new anymore, I guess, but from recent years and you feature the Shopify opened up allowing apps like us to actually upsell with one click, the customer doesn't have to reenter the payment details right when they finished their order. 

And for Shopify plus, there's also the checkout upsells, which is only open for Shopify plus. Otherwise we would have loved to open it to the general population of merchants. 


The Power of the Thank You Page: Leveraging its Potential as a Retention Tool for Brands

Alex Bond: And I'm glad that you bring up the thank you page and how foundational that was to Reconvert. I'm interested how valuable optimizing that thank you page can be as a retention tool for brands, not just as a way to increase, you know, average order value, but also as a way to retain customers.

Ruth Haim: Yeah, exactly. That was always on our minds when we started working on the app. Because what most people do is you, you kind of walk on retention after the customer left the store and, you know, full email or social media or ads or anything else, but they already left the store and their attention on you as a brand is lower.

And now they purchased a product, you send them an email, they might open it. They might not, but the thank you page, they all open it. Like they have no choice. They go, they're going to get there. And they usually want to have a look around. Around and see that all the details are correct, that everything is fine.

So if you also add any kind of way to extend the communication, that is a really good place to do that. For example, post purchase surveys, which can really teach you as a brand a lot about why are my customers here? What do they want? What did they like or didn't like? And how did they find out about me?

A bunch of questions you can get answers to, and the open rate of, again, the thank you page completely. Or to an email is so much bigger so you can actually get more information for more customers. Another thing that I really like is our birthday collector. 

They can very easily just give you their birthday and then you can reach out to them on their birthday, give them a discount, celebrate it with them. A really good new touch point to create with the customer after they already purchased. 

 Enhancing Customer Experience through Personalized Recommendations

Alex Bond: And it's got a little bit of that personal touch as well. Customers like feeling attended to, you know, I've talked with plenty of people on the show about the difficulties in walking people through a virtual store in the way that you can a brick and mortar store and be attentive and that sort of a thing.

So totally off the cuff I guess what I'm trying to ask Ruth is that do you feel upselling is in addition to that kind of personable touch that customers are looking for, because you have recommendations similar to when people are out and about at a Home Depot or something like that. 

I guess my broad question is, do you feel that upselling is a personable approach that companies can include more often to make customers feel more attended to as a way to give recommendations? 

Ruth Haim: Yeah, I definitely do. And I definitely think you can like you need to do it right because you can really spam your customers or make them feel sure it can. It can feel too pushy. So I see where your question is coming from. 

I think if you do it smartly, then you can really increase the AOV or increased retention while making the customer feel like you are actually attentive to him and actually like when you make an offer, it's something that you think they would actually like, and not just like hey, buy more, I want more money. 

So I really think some of the key things to think about when you do that is a, and I think this is something on the mind of most merchants, not to spam the customer. You don't want to have too many pop ups for out the purchase experience, not just post purchase or you don't want to overwhelm the customer with discounts.

Because then they lose meaning, especially when it's pre purchased. That's one of the reasons I really like post purchase or even checkout discounts is that it's a little more advanced in the purchase experience. It makes a little more sense to me as a buyer. I'm like, okay, so I just bought something.

Now you're offering me a larger discount. I feel like, okay, that's well deserved. I'm a customer. I'm not just a random person on the website. So I definitely think that incorporating it when the customer already made some sort of commitment to you as a brand, as a store, is a good way to make it feel more personal. And of course, just trying to be, it's difficult. 

It depends on the area of the purchase experience that the customer is at, but you really want to make sure that you actually think about what they would care about, what they would want, that the recommendations are not random. I mean, I think that when I buy online and the purchase is over, buying is fun, at least for me personally. Even if it's online. 

So when the purchase is over and I get to a thank you page and I get to just spend a few more minutes in the store scrolling, maybe adding things to my basket to think about in the future, I don't know, or to my favorites list, I really like it. So I think it's a natural part of the experience when you buy. You like to browse things, look at them. 

Unlocking the Potential of Upselling and Cross-Selling: The Macro Impact on Brands and Customer Value

Alex Bond: No, absolutely. I mean, when you go in large scale stores, I can't even really think of an example of a store that doesn't have this in a brick and mortar. When you pull up to the checkout line or you pull up to the counter, there's still stuff there, you know, right in front of the belt of it's usually like candy or little knickknacks and snacks and stuff like that.

But that's kind of what I see is your example in the digital world is like another page that's saying, are you sure you don't need this bag of skittles? Which, you know, I feel like I always need. And I think you're bringing up a lot of really good points in terms of the obstacles of bombardment and spam.

And I want to put a pin in that for a little later in the conversation, because I want to talk about in your opinion, how important in the grand scheme is upselling? Because I think a lot of people kind of just see it as a dollars and cents sort of thing of trying to build up that AOV. But I'm curious if you could clarify a little bit why and how upselling cross selling is so important to brands and a more macro effect.

Ruth Haim: When you look at any kind of business, it's really a question of profit of your margins, how much money In the end of the day, do you get, do you have left in your bank account from each sale that you make? And we know that in e commerce, the margins tend to be relatively low. I mean, maybe it's even lower in brick and mortar stores.

I'm guessing I haven't, I don't have an experience there. They tend to be pretty low because unlike digital products like we have. There is actually a cost per product and you can't necessarily mark up the product cost 100%. Like, I don't know, you need to the price to make sure to make sense to the customer.

So you have your product costs and you have the amount that the customer pays for that. And then you also deduct everything that you paid to get the customer into the store. So if I paid, I don't know, 10 to get a customer to my store and to make a purchase. And this customer purchases something for, let's say 50. And my profit margins like I'm only left with, let's say 30 from the 50 product, then my margins are pretty low. 

And I can really play around a lot with the kind of service that I'm giving any kind of extras. The personnel that I'm paying, the ads, all of these things really cut away. So I think that's the main reason upselling and cross selling is so popular and so important, which is if you already paid for this customer to be on the store and now you can increase the average order value.

You have more money to play with and it's more profit for you personally, for your salary, but it's also more runway money for your business to continue growing it and developing it. And that's critical. I guess some stores can get away with not having any kind of sell increasing tactic, like upselling or cross selling.

Because the margins are really good because maybe their products are really expensive and it doesn't make sense to upsell or anything like that. But I think it's a must have for most stores in one way or another.

Alex Bond: No, great. I think that makes a lot of sense. And in terms of the actual tactics of upselling, are there certain opportunities that are more beneficial than others? You've mentioned, for example, that on the thank you page. That's one of the best, if not the best opportunity to upsell. 

But I'm also curious, the opportunities for upselling is dependent on, you know, industry or the product or services, different types of branding, where it fits. Have you seen the differences in its success rate dependent on those sort of factors?

Ruth Haim: We do see differences. I don't have any data that is specifically, okay, this industry, it works better. This one, it doesn't work as well. But I think there are a few rules of thumb that You can walk off of. So naturally, cross selling would be a cheaper product than the product that the customer purchased, unless he purchased a really cheap product.

But you want to think about complementary products like the fries and the hamburger. If I bought a car, you're not gonna cross sell me another car. You can cross sell me, yeah, you can cross sell something a little smaller, like, I don't know, seat covers or other car stuff. I don't know that much about cars.

So generally speaking, you want to keep the cross sell or upsell a lower ticket item than the product they purchased. Of course, if the product they purchased is already pretty low ticket. Then you can keep the same price range. So that's as a first general rule of thumb. But also we do see that a lot of people actually get really good success when it comes to post purchase upselling with upselling the exact same product that the customer just purchased with a discount.

And it usually works with two types of products, either products that are consumable. So if I'm buying a hair cream. I'm going to need one more. So if now I can get one more for 20%, why not? But also if I'm buying and the second type of product is products that have a few variants. So let's say I just bought this dress this t shirt and I bought it in black.

But there was also a white one and I wasn't sure which one I wanted. If I can now get the white one for 20%, I'm likely to do it. Cause I'm already like, I just purchased the black one, but I'm still like thinking about the white one in my head. So now it's in front of me. Why not? 

So these are two types of products that are really good to cross out the exact same one post purchase. It works really well. We've seen it converting really well, and it's not intuitive. Like most people, I would never think that this is the best solution, but it works. 


Driving Effective Cross-Selling: Ensuring Brands Offer Properly Complementary Products with ReConvert

Alex Bond: And you're actually segwaying really nicely into my next question, which is how you and reconvert might make sure that brands are cross selling the correct products. I mean, is that something that you test for companies to make sure that they're not trying to sell. You know, a hamburger with a hamburger? They're trying to sell fries with a hamburger. I mean, that sounds just in my head, that makes a lot more sense to me. 

And a lot of these company systems are usually maybe automated. So, you know, an AI or an algorithm of some sort is trying to put together two squares when they need, you know, a circle and a square or something. So how do you and reconvert help make sure that they're selling properly complimentary products? 

Ruth Haim: So there are a few answers to that and if I get a little too granular and get too much into the details of how Reconvert works, let me know. I can stop that. But basically, we don't do any testing for merchants. We don't manage it for them. 

But we do encourage them to do a lot of testing. And if any merchant doesn't feel safe or secure with what they did, they want someone else to have a look at it or set it up for them. We also give this service as part of support, but it's by request.

It's not like we go ahead and do that for them, but we do have a few things that allow merchants to really control what they upsell and cost sell. First, of course, is a really, I forgot the word, not complex, but really big set of conditions that they can set when they define their post purchase funnels.

So for example, you can say if the customer purchased something from this collection, Show him something from this collection. If the customer purchased this specific product, show him this specific product. You can really create as many as you want, prioritize them as much as you want, and there's no limit there. This works really well. 

If you have a very specific promotion or very specific need. Or a small inventory, you cannot do it with like a big store with a lot of products. You can't really do a trigger for each product. It's a little too much, but we do have a lot of automated settings. When you define these product recommendations or product upsells, you can decide to just do like regular Shopify recommendations.

There's a Shopify recommendation engine that we use. We send them the details of the order. They send product recommendations. That's what we display. You can use that really easily. And then just as a safeguard, if you know, you don't want to upsell the same exact product that the customer already purchased.

We also have an option to say, show product recommendations, unless the product that is already in the order is part of these, like, don't show these products, skip them. You can define negative tags. You can create tags for the products. 

And then on Reconvert you can say show all the products in this collection, except for products that are tagged with this specific tag. There's like a lot of tools for the merchants to, to control it. We don't do it for them, but we give them the tools to do it themselves. 

Alex Bond: No, that's wonderful. I think that makes a lot more sense than kind of just shoehorning every product that someone is, you know, if I buy pencil, make sure that I get an eraser instead of just, you know, a bunch of other stuff that doesn't make sense. So that sounds very controllable. 

I'm curious if you know any sort of upselling opportunities or even just upselling versus cross selling is more important or more valuable than the other, or is any of that kind of dependent more on the business model of a brand? I mean, even opportunities for upselling, I can imagine is going to be more impactful or different depending on a brand's business model but i'm curious if different methods have different values in your eyes? 

Ruth Haim: That's a good question. Well first I don't have you know all the data in the world like I don't have pre purchase upselling. I don't have a lot of data about that since we don't have, only for my personal experience, we don't have it in the app. So it's not like the same amount of data. 

I personally think that post purchase upselling, I don't think there is one that is more valuable necessarily, but with post purchase upselling, you can be more free to do what you want. Like pre purchase, you really don't want to lose this purchase. So, order. And then check out a relatively sensitive pages, especially the checkout.

You want to be very careful with what you put or don't put in there, but when they just purchased, you can, you can show a little more, you can really like pack the page a little more with recommendations, with elements that get the customer to buy. 

So I do think that post purchase there are more opportunities to convert, so it might be more effective. That's my instinct. I don't think it's more valuable. The rules are just different. 

Strategic Upselling: Maximizing Sales without Losing the Initial Purchase

Alex Bond: The rules are just different. I kind of like that. Because I can imagine that upselling can be an obstacle for making a general sale in the first place is kind of what I'm hearing between the lines from you a little bit is if I'm asking you to upgrade your purchase while you're making it. Some people can just walk away and feel like they're being pushed into something that they're not really ready for. 

So I'm curious how to prevent that a little bit, at least prevent from, from losing the sale. And the easiest way to do that is to just put the upselling on the back end. Is that accurate or is it a little more complicated than that? I don't want to be reductive. 

Ruth Haim: I think it is a little more complicated than that. That's why there are so many CRO agencies that help you like improve your conversion rate. And It's a whole thing, conversion rate, not just for eCommerce.

But I think in eCommerce, one of the things you can do to prevent upsells from hurting your conversion is not overdo them, especially in the form of pop ups or, you know, these little things that pop up from the bottom of the page, all these chats and fortune wheels and all these things.

When you overdo them, that definitely hurts conversion. I think maybe some stores have like a specific success with these things, but if you're a legitimate business, you need to let the customers actually like see the product and make a decision and not feel pressured. 

I also don't think you should completely remove pop ups or upsells from the pre purchase stage. I think the answer is a lot of testing because each store, each audience and each niche is very different. 

Alex Bond: No, that's wonderful. And what are some other ways in your opinion, can you prevent bombarding customers with upselling opportunities? Is it really just a balance thing or is it making sure that people are able to almost customize? When they come to your website, okay, get rid of this chat, get rid of this page, get rid of this opportunity. 

And then I'm more excited to peruse around. If I tell, for example, a customer service agent, when I, when I walk into a brick and mortar, I'm just browsing. Even if I'm looking for something more comfortable, it kind of tides my time to say, don't bother me a little bit because it doesn't send me running out the door. 

But it kind of gives me a little peace of mind a little bit. Are there ways to work around that sort of a stuff in terms of maybe customizability of the user experience or anything like that? 

Ruth Haim: That's actually an interesting idea. The concept of like disturbance free zone for the customer. It's an interesting idea. I think at some point, like maybe checkout on, it should probably be, there shouldn't be any pop ups or any surprises, but I think generally speaking, I would just, again, not overdo it.

A lot of pop ups are really annoying. And if you have like, we have the post purchase pop up of a discount and it's time, there's a timer. If the customer accepted the offer, they are redirected to the, to the store and they have a sticky button bar. So counting down how many minutes they have left until the discount expires.

And one like that is fine. But if you have one at the bottom and then one at the top, and maybe like something that keeps popping up from the side, that's really annoying. And so as a merchant, especially if you use multiple apps to do different parts of the upsell or wholesale experience, you really need to think about how do they work together.

Am I showing too many pop ups does my website has too many elements and just start removing a few and thinking, I like to think about as like the user story, you know, the moment they landed on my website until they leave, what do they see, what makes sense at every point? 

Like if I'm in the product page, it makes sense that when I scroll down, I see a lot of product recommendations, customers expect that and this is an across it like it doesn't always have to be an invasive pop up. 

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Meet Alex Bond—a seasoned multimedia producer with experience in television, music, podcasts, music videos, and advertising. Alex is a creative problem solver with a track record of overseeing high-quality media productions. He's a co-founder of the music production company Too Indecent, and he also hosted the podcast "Get in the Herd," which was voted "Best Local Podcast of 2020" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, USA.

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