What is Add-On Selling?

Add-on Selling is a sales strategy in which the seller suggests additional items or services to a customer who is already making a purchase. The aim is not only to boost revenue but also to enhance the customer’s experience or customer satisfaction by offering complementary products.

We refer to these additional items as “add-ons,” hence the term.

The term “add-on sales” essentially means the same as “add-on selling”. Add-on sales emphasizes the outcome of the technique while add-on selling highlights the process of the technique.

Retaildogma.com has the following definition of the term “add-on sales”:

“In the add-on sales technique, the retail salesperson suggests complementary products that are relevant to the original products the customer has chosen. Add-on sales can help a retail business improve its total sales, by increasing the average transaction value and units per transaction.”

Add-on Selling vs. Cross-Selling

The term is related to cross-selling, but not the same.

  • Add-on selling

The seller encourages a customer to buy items that directly complement or enhance the items they are already purchasing.

  • Cross-selling

This strategy involves recommending additional products or services from different categories but still related to the customer’s interests.

  • Examples of Each strategy

An example of add-on selling might be suggesting a protective case for a shopper who is buying a new phone.

An example of cross-selling is suggesting batteries for somebody who is buying a toy that requires them. Batteries can be used for toys, remote controls, and many other things. A protective case for a phone is used only for phones.

A man buying a new smartphone and a woman buying a new car, two examples of ADD-ON SELLING
Image created by Market Business News.

How Does Add-on Selling Work?

Imagine you’re at a car dealership purchasing a new vehicle. After you’ve chosen the model and trim level, the salesperson might suggest fabric protection for the seats, upgraded floor mats, or a roadside assistance package. These are examples of add-ons.

The salesperson should wait until after you have decided to buy the car before suggesting add-ons, not before. This builds trust and ensures that you don’t feel pressured.

Benefits of this Selling Technique

  • Increased Sales

The seller’s primary goal is to increase the amount each customer spends.

Customers like sellers who are aware of what their needs are and try to meet them. Suggesting relevant add-ons shows that you care.

  • Loyal Customers

Add-on selling helps boost customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to return in the future if the seller helped them get exactly what they needed.

Tips for Successful Add-on Selling

  • Know Your Products/Services

You should be able to explain why the add-on is a good fit for the customer’s purchase. What you tell them must be the truth.

  • Focus on Value

The customer must feel that the add-on gives their purchase more value.

  • Don’t Be Pushy

If you have presented the benefits of the add-on and the customer is not interested, do not force the issue.

The Takeaway

When done properly, add-on selling is a win-win for both the seller, who has a boost in income, and the customer, who gets the best possible experience.