July 24, 2008
Case Study

Cross-Sells on Product Pages Boost Revenue 70%: 3 Easy Steps

SUMMARY: Cross-selling is a classic online tactic to lift order values – especially when employed on the shopping-cart page. But you can get more money off the table by focusing elsewhere as well.

An eretailer homed in on their Baby Boomer demographic by cross-selling on their product-details pages. In three quick steps, they lifted onsite revenue by 70% and achieved a 7.25% conversion rate.

Kim Gnatt, VP, Internet Marketing, FootSmart.com, and her team were facing a pair of dilemmas.

First, they were spending at least 20 hours a week manually adjusting their cross-sells system for the shopping cart. It was time-consuming, and they weren’t getting the ROI they wanted. They decided to automate their cross-sells while extending them into their product-details pages.

They did the latter because they had a hunch that the cross-sells would help their Baby Boomer demographic find what they were looking for without having to navigate multiple pages. “They were not as savvy as more Web-experienced shoppers,” Gnatt says.

Their second dilemma involved a lack of room for the cross-sells above the fold. And eyetracking research for MarketingSherpa’s 2008 Online Advertising Handbook & Benchmarks shows that ads served below the fold stand far less chance of being seen.

Buoyed by the prospect of automation, however, Gnatt and her team were determined to find out if the cross-sells within their design limitations would increase site revenue. In short, could cross-sells work below the fold on product-details pages?


Gnatt and her team first used a technology vendor to automate their cross-sells system. That automation eliminated spending 20 hours a week manually adding different products and adjusting to new data on the fly.

They then took three simple steps to implement cross-sells on their product-details pages:

-> Step #1. Set triggers for product pages

First, they deciphered how their ecommerce system would employ cross-sells automatically. They decided that its algorithms would present items that had interested other shoppers who had bought or viewed the same products.

Each product-details page would feed four other items, which a viewer could click on and place into their shopping cart. Essentially, the algorithms served up four kinds of cross-sells:

Cross-sell #1. Similar product

Clicking on any style of shoe – for instance, a slip-on pair without shoestrings – would trigger at least one similar kind of product

Cross-sell #2. Complimentary item

Women’s house slippers, for instance, would produce a complimentary sock selection

Cross-sell #3. Accessory product

A pair of sneakers, for example, would include a shoe refresher

Cross-sell #4. Discovery item

Clicking on a slide sandal, for instance, would produce a running shoe cross-sell.

“And it could be varying combinations of those things,” Gnatt explains. “We also used the cross-sells, in some instances, to tout new innovative products we were just bringing to market.”

-> Step #2. Upgrade shopping cart cross-sells

Cross-sells for the shopping cart were upgraded from the old system largely using the same set of algorithms employed on the product-details pages. But there were a couple of slight differences.

“We mainly made sure that there were more accessory items at the shopping cart page than on the product-details page. It seemed like the right point in the purchasing path to step out of the [similar] products box a little more and focus on accessories.”

-> Step #3. Maintain similar design

They designed the cross-sell pages with a look that mimicked the rest of the website. The primary change in the presentation was the addition of 80x80-pixel images on the product-details and shopping-cart pages.

“The most important thing for us was to make sure that the cross-sells look was consistent with the rest of the site. So, we didn’t want it to feel like a separately merchandised area. Therefore, you will find that the text, the font and the images are treated the same as in the other site pages.”


Here are the principal improvements:

o Upgrading their cross-selling capabilities on the product and shopping cart pages improved onsite revenue by 70%.

o Cross-sell merchandise has consistently been in the Top 5 when compared against more than 30 possible categories.

o Product-details pages have accounted for 75% of the total cross-sell revenue.

In other words, Gnatt’s hunch was correct: Their Baby Boomers appreciated not having to dig through so many pages to find extra products before getting to the shopping cart.

“We also learned that our customers were patient enough to scroll down the page. We have actually been seeing higher clickthrough rates for below-the-fold real estate. The cross-sell on product-details pages are getting anywhere between 1% and 3% clickthrough rates. And once they’ve clicked, the conversion rates have been at 7.25%. Our average order value has also gone up during the past two years.”

Gnatt says that the product-details page results have surprised her.

“I think that maybe people are more open-minded at the product-details page because they are in the ‘shopping path.’ Where, once they are in the shopping cart, they are totally in complete-the-purchase phase. That was educational. It showed us that we could perhaps expand the real estate on the product-details page further and even has us rethinking the way we merchandise our print catalog.”

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples for FootSmart's Cross-sells on Product-details Pages

Eretail Merchandise Page Design – Before & After Cross-Selling Test Results:

Coremetrics -- technology vendor behind the cross-sells:


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