Your Guide to Shopify Cart Upsell to Increase Average Order Value

Learn about Shopify cart upsell, the benefits of Shopify cart upsell in this article.

As a Shopify store owner, you spend millions of your marketing budget to attract the right and relevant target audience to your online store.

Some of those visitors convert, some don’t, thus yielding unsatisfactory ROI on your marketing efforts. However, what if you focused on making the most out of your existing traffic?

What if you could get more visitors to convert or to spend higher?

Optimizing your store for increased revenue is one of the greatest game-changing tactics you can deploy to amp up your marketing efforts.

One such strategy that helps significantly improve how much shoppers spend on your Shopify store is upselling.

Upselling is the art and science of getting buyers to spend more on your online store than they initially intended to, thus increasing your revenue.

In this guide, let’s deep dive into what upselling is all about, and more specifically, what cart upselling means and how it can drive better sales on your Shopify store.

What is upselling?

Put simply, upselling is a smart sales strategy that involves persuading an online shopper to purchase a better (read: more expensive) version of a product they intended to buy.

Or it could also mean presenting customers with various feature enhancements or add ons that require them to shell out some more and receive additional benefits that would otherwise cost a lot more if bought separately.

Upselling is a tactic that involves luring customers to evaluate products that have more features or are better than the one they have shortlisted to consider upgrading and end up spending more on your store.

Let’s assume a customer landing on your Shopify store convinced that they need a specific air conditioner.

However, through their buying journey, you manage to convince them that spending a couple of thousand more can get them a model that offers intelligent features such as a smart timer, automatic temperature adjustment, electricity consumption controller, and so on.

They like the prospect of investing in a premium model since it’s an everyday use and expensive electronic item. The shopper ends up buying the better model, thus significantly uplifting their cart value.

Such strategies are becoming increasingly popular in the eCommerce world today as they require literally no investment, but are surprisingly promising in improving revenue. Simply because they focus on ensuring “more value” for the buyer.

What is Shopify cart upsell?

Cart upselling or in-cart upselling, as the name suggests, is nothing but a specific technique of upselling wherein a customer is showcased a better product that they can consider right when they have already added an item to their cart and are about to checkout.

This is the last stage of the buying process; the shopper has made up their mind and is almost completely convinced of their choice.

Some might argue that this in-cart upselling is tricky as you need to change the mind of a shopper who is ready to make the payment for the selected product. On the other hand, there could be no perfect time than this to display irresistible upsell offers that persuade shoppers as they are already at the highest intent stage and hence easier to influence. Even if they ignore the upsell product recommendations presented to them, you have nothing to lose as they would anyway complete the purchase they had initially planned on making.

What makes Shopify cart upsell so effective?

The bottom line is that as a Shopify store owner, cart upselling helps you improve your average cart value and that’s huge! However, why do you think that is the case? What makes cart upselling so effective in changing buyers’ minds? Let’s take a look:

Reassures customers that they are buying the best model of the selected product

Cart upselling reassures customers that they are picking the best model or variation of the product they intended to purchase. This only makes them more confident of completing the purchase and doing it fast. Cart upselling ensures you don’t leave your customers in doubt or apprehension, but nudge them to try out a better product, thus encouraging them to go ahead with the purchase quickly.

It also ensures that they don’t leave your site to compare their shortlisted product with other ones available out there if you simply present enough choices to them and convince them that those are all they need to assess.

Helps leverage the high purchase intent of the customer when they have already built a cart

A customer’s purchase intent is the highest right before they are about to hit “Place Order”. They already find your brand trustworthy and credible enough to come this far in the buyers’ journey and have also made up their minds about a particular product.

This is the best possible time to leverage their high purchase intent into pushing them to spend more.

They are already ready to pay for the product they have chosen and are likely to be easily influenced to spend some more money if they are promised a superior product.

Helps create FOMO (fear of missing out) in the minds of the shoppers

What if you purchase a laptop today, but realize a few weeks down the line that you could’ve bought one with so many better features for a little extra money? The fear of missing out on a better product and a great deal is absolutely real and clouds every online shopper’s decision making. As a marketer, you want to leverage that sentiment and help your shoppers make an informed choice by presenting all possible options to them.

And this doesn’t just end at presenting better models of a laptop to a buyer. You could also offer enhancements such as insurance, anti virus, operating system, and so on for a little extra money to strategically improve your average order value.

Personalized checkout experiences help the customer feel valued and special

Cart upselling makes for a highly personalized shopping experience that customers have come to appreciate, cherish, and demand. Right when the shopper is about to complete the checkout process, a customized selection of better products is displayed to them which makes them feel valued and cared for as a customer.

As a brand, cart upselling not only helps you amplify your sales numbers, but also stand out and engage better with your loyal customers that trust you.

Adds a human touch to the entire online shopping experience

Don’t you sometimes miss the good ol’ days when you would walk up to a salesperson in a retail store, share your requirements with them, and wait for them to display the best products for you in the category? Well, your customers do too.

Just like you would automatically trust the salesperson to suggest the best model of the product you wanted to purchase, cart upselling is nothing but that virtual (and automated) salesperson whose job is to suggest a better product for you to consider before you take the final step and make your purchase.

This adds a human touch to your shopping experience and acts as that final nudge in pushing the customer to make an informed decision.

How to cart upsell on your Shopify store

Sharing personalized product recommendations on cart pages is how you can cart upsell on your Shopify store.

Personalized recommendations make use of emerging technologies such as machine learning to present intelligent product suggestions to shoppers, based on the chosen product. They are very similar to a sales assistant guiding a shopper in a retail store and helps push buyers into considering a higher value product.

In fact, did you know that as many as 80% of online shoppers are more inclined to purchase from brands that offer personalized recommendations?

And that makes complete sense.

Why wouldn’t you want a brand to care enough about their customers to tailor recommendations and run it past you so you buy what’s best for you?

Thus, the power of personalized product recommendations in driving action is immense and its potential limitless.

While there are multiple categories of personalized product recommendations, when it comes to cart upselling, a different variation of the same product is suggested to the shopper while they are on the cart page.

Here’s an excellent example of the same:

shopify cart upsell - wiser product recommendations

In the example above, the store clearly mentions that upgrading would cost 30% less than buying items separately. Upselling, therefore, also allows online stores to clear out their inventory faster, sell more products, and offer irresistible deals and discounts.

The secret recipe to increasing your average order value – upsell + in-cart

From what we have discussed so far, it is clear that cart upselling is a promising technique to help increase your average order value by making the most of an interested buyer.

This is because the concept of upselling works best when the intent is the highest, else the shopper might get distracted or confused. It’s only when they are on the cart page and almost ready to complete their purchase can they most effectively be lured into spending more on something that promises better value.

Here are some inspiring examples from brands that have managed to ace the art of cart upselling:


in cart upsell example - product recommendations on popup

In this example above, Deliveroo has nailed cart upselling by offering customers the option to customize their order and thus spend extra on order enhancements. Since they have already chosen the sandwich they want, they are likely to be easily persuaded into adding extra meat/sauces/flavor/better bread to make it tastier and/or healthier.


shopify cart upsell - product recommendations

Notice how GAP displays similar products soon after a customer has added one to their cart to reiterate that shoppers might be missing out on something better. They ensure that the product images are clear and visible on the page so that don’t get ignored by shoppers while they are in a rush to checkout.

Away Travel

Away Travel goes a step further to compare their suitcases side by side by mentioning the exact use cases for each of them. They don’t really incline towards a specific one, but clearly mention which one should be bought under which scenario so customers can evaluate their needs and then purchase.


We cannot possibly talk about cart upselling or product recommendations without mentioning Amazon, the brand that practically invented the technique. You cannot checkout a product on Amazon without running into multiple product suggestions or enhancements for your shortlisted product. In the example above, they offer a laptop accident protection plan to a customer who decides to purchase a laptop by clearly highlighting the benefits that come with it. A great way to get users to spend more by creating a sense of fear in their minds regarding a high ticket item they just decided to buy.


product recommendations on popup - shopify cart upsell

Image Source

Take a look at how eBags showcases multiple suitcases from the same brand at the bottom of a cart page right after a customer just added one to their cart. And did you notice how not all of them are more expensive than the one added to cart – a great way to offer a fair choice to customers so they don’t feel like they are being manipulated into spending more, but are only being presented with other options they can consider.

Upselling your way to increased average order value and revenue

The single most important takeaway from this guide is that cart upselling can work wonders in improving your sales number, increasing your customer lifetime value, as well as enhancing customer satisfaction and happiness once they shop from your store.

Buyers appreciate brands that offer a wholesome experience and care about their customers enough to offer delightful shopping experiences.

The next challenge is simply figuring out what works for your audience and what doesn’t by experimenting with multiple product offerings and deals to make cart upselling work its magic for your store. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t hit the bull’s eye in the first go. That is very normal. Try multiple combinations of products and algorithms to figure out what is getting your shoppers to spend more.

Ready to take on Shopify cart upsell on your store?

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