What does upselling mean?

Upselling (also known as “up-selling”) refers to the sale of a higher-value and usually more expensive product. Upselling is often confused with cross-selling. Both measures are, to put it simply, about an additional expenditure of the customer. The difference, however, lies in the type of products sold. With cross-selling, products are usually sold which could also fit or extend the purpose of use. Upselling, on the other hand, usually sells the technically higher quality, more expensive or better equipped product.

How does upselling work?

Upselling is in the area of e-commerce an often used means to increase the turnover of the online shop or the marketplace. Through comparison charts, the interested visitor can compare more expensive product variants with the one currently displayed and is thus tempted to buy a higher-priced model. In addition to classic online shops with physical products, upselling is also a frequently used method for selling digital information products, software licenses and credit packages.

Amazon Brand Guide

Example Upselling on Amazon

Especially at Amazon there are different models and possibilities how to convince users to spend more money by means of upselling. Indirectly it takes place e.g. through the automatically generated product ads and links, which are listed on almost every Amazon product under “sponsored products”, “customers who bought this article also bought” or ” what other articles do customers buy after they have viewed this article”, whereby the boundaries between cross-selling and up-selling are not always clear here.

Another possibility of up-selling on Amazon is the automatically generated product comparison table. Primarily for technical products such as grills or televisions, different models of different brands are presented to the visitor. Sellers have no direct influence here, for example, to present models from their own product portfolio or their own brand.

Another upselling example on Amazon is the A+ content, because here vendors can create their own comparison table and thus offer the interested party a higher-value product variant. Both the comparison criteria and the selection of the products themselves can be made here manually by the respective vendor. This option is not available to “normal” marketplace sellers.


The risk of upselling, regardless of whether it takes place on Amazon or your own online shop, always lies in distracting the potential buyer too much and thus preventing them from making a purchase. The product selection for a possible “uplift” should therefore be made very carefully and also monitored.