Getting Customers to Spend More Than They Think They Want to Spend

May 30th, 2014

packs-163497_640In marketing parlance, it’s called the “up sell” and sometimes the side-sell, and its purpose from your company’s point of view is to do just what the title of this piece says. When your customers open their wallets or pull out their credit cards, you want to see more of those dollars in your cash register than you otherwise would have.

This, of course, isn’t a one sided proposition. In order to do that, you need to demonstrate the value of what you’re selling to your customers. You need to give them something they never realized they needed, and now that they have realized it, they can’t do without it. They win, because they’re getting this new thing they can’t do without, and you win, because it improves your company’s bottom line, and helps ensure the long term survival of your business.

I’m On That Page, But How?
The “how” is all around you, it’s just a matter of looking to see what’s currently being done and co-opting those methods you like best to use in your own company and product offerings. For example, go to’s website and look up some random product you’re interested in buying. Notice what they do?

“Customers who purchased this also purchased….”

Then, there follows a list of companion products. Recently my old, faithful coffee maker finally gave up the ghost and died on me. I went to Amazon to find a suitable replacement, and while there, I noticed that in the “what other people also purchased” section there was this great, air tight canister set, perfect for storing my coffee. Then there was the little coffee scoop. Stainless steel, very nice, and takes all the guesswork out of measuring. I got ‘em both, along with a big bag of discounted coffee filters.

Ebay does the same thing, but takes a two pronged approach. Not only do they show you “companion products” that go nicely with the item you’re looking at buying, but they’ll also send you emails showing you other products that the vendor you bought from has for sale. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said a silent “thank you” to Ebay for letting me know, in the form of a polite email, what my other options were. No pressure. No sense of hurry, just a simple, “here’s some other stuff you might be interested in,” note. And it works.

If you want to take it up a notch, you can offer an “instant discount.” Say you’re selling printers. That’s great, but by itself, the printer is just a fancy paperweight. You need ink to make it do something useful, and your customers are likely to buy some at the time they make their purchase. Why not see if you can interest them in buying more than one ink cartridge? Say, offer a 10-15% discount for every cartridge beyond the first that they buy today, with the purchase of the printer. They’re going to use it anyway, and you’re giving them a clear incentive to spend now, rather than waiting.

Social media is another great way to take things up a notch. Let’s say you’re using Instagram. Why not offer a periodic deal just for your Instagram followers? Maybe they weren’t planning on spending any money at all with you today, but when your fantastic image and offer comes to them like magic, and they just happen to be going to the store later anyway…you see how it goes.

Your in-store app is another great avenue. Offer your customers a “deal of the moment” tailored specifically to them. That should be easy to do, because surely you’re tracking the buying habits of your customers, and it wouldn’t be hard to set your app up in such a way that your system could “tell” when a given customer entered your shop. Like magic, you offer them a great deal on something they’ve either purchased before, or a companion product to the things they’ve purchased before.

Marketing is a glorious and wonderful tool when used correctly. You don’t need high pressure gimmicks, you just need to demonstrate value and plant a few gentle reminders and recommendations. Like seeds in the ground, they sprout, then flower, to the benefit of both you and your customers.

Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *