How to score more cross sales with email marketing

You just made another sale! That’s great, so what’s the problem?

Problem: How can I cross-sell complementary products to my customers?

Did you know that up to 35% of sales can lead to a cross sale, that’s exactly what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed in 2006.

Why don’t you try and score some of those cross sells too? They’re wide open for the sale.

Solution: Automating cross sales offers

Today, we’re going to focus on automating email cross sales offers that are complementary to a product that was purchased by one of our customers.

In order to do that we need data about our customer’s purchase history, any relationships between specific products and decide when we’d like to send that offer. Should it be part of a transactional email or part of a promotional email that we’ll send some time later?

We should also take into consideration any business rules specific to our line of business or industry (maybe our offer should only be up to 25% of the value of the product that was purchased?).

Example: Like Jordan, I’m still scoring

In the following example our customer just purchased a size 10 pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes;

Our data tables contain information about the customer, product and their purchase order history. We can either create our own logic or make use of recommendation engines that will use this data to generate complementary product recommendations that we can then automatically load into our email content.

Data tables are part of a relational model where data is presented in relations. We can leverage the power of a relational database management system to store product and customer data which can then be used to automate various marketing communications.

Most of us know that you can never have enough pairs of socks and they tend to go missing when it’s just about show time. As part of a transactional email that we’ll send immediately after the purchase we’ll also include a cross-sell offer for Jordan socks, so they don’t go missing when you need them the most (we know the sock size based on the shoes purchased).  Our dynamic offer will include three different pairs of Jordan socks.

Transactional email with cross-selling module.
Transactional email with cross-selling module.

We’ve seen a transactional email cross sale offer in play, but how about the full court press? We can send cross sales offers at different stages of the customer journey and we’ll go through an example in the workflow below.

cross-sell email marketing workflow
Workflow: Cross-selling. Click to open the full sized picture.
  1. After a completed purchase of Air Jordan shoes we send a transactional email with a dynamically generated cross-sell offer for socks (see example email above).
  2. We wait 7 days to allow our customer to purchase the socks and we observe their behaviour;
    • If they purchase the socks, in 6 months’ time we’ll send them a promotional email with a sneak(er) preview of the newest model of Air Jordan’s set to be released in October. We’ll include an offer for a new pair of socks (they still have a habit of wearing down, all those fadeaway jump shots eventually take their toll on your socks). Finally, we also tag them as a “Jordan fan” so that we can prepare more relevant offers for them in the future.
    • If they didn’t purchase the socks, but browsed other products on our website, we send them a recommendation email based on their browsing history.
    • If they didn’t open the transactional email, we’ll send them the same recommendation for socks, omit the transactional details and use a different subject line; “These socks go well with your Air Jordan’s”

Alley oop, slam, sale!

Implementing automated cross-sell emails is like having Scottie Pippen on your team dishing out assists at those clutch moments. You can make a whole lot of baskets on your own, but making a few more certainly makes quite a difference. Who’s helping you with your cross sales, maybe it’s time to automate them?

Written by
Marcin Chruszcz
Account Manager at ExpertSender
Email and marketing geek. Specializes in email deliverability, strategy and design. Basketball and MTB riding enthusiast.
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