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The Messaging of Upsell: Clear Copy Converts


When it comes to online upsell, it’s a delicate art. If you take an aggressive approach, it can cause friction and drop-off—even from the original purchase. And if you go in too quietly, the upsell can get lost in the funnel.

Essentially, a good upsell needs to answer the eternal customer question “What’s in it for me?” On top of that, it should provide a choice that is an obvious upgrade, but that doesn’t completely squash the validity of the choice they have already made.

Adoreme.com is an online lingerie retailer with a twist. You can either pay as you go or become a monthly subscriber, getting stylist picks sent to you and paying a fixed price each month to receive a set of lingerie. You also can skip months when you don’t feel moved to buy.

Any sort of upsell that involves a financial commitment—especially a recurring one—is tricky. Yet this site does a fantastic job of clearly communicating the benefits of joining their subscription service, using clear language and simple UX design. When you sign up online, you are informed that you can get your first order for under $19. Wow! Great deal. And they haven’t mentioned the monthly subscription yet. So take a look at how they upsell you. If you choose the “Pay as you go” option, you get this pricing (We’ve highlighted the total area and moved it up for the purpose of illustrating this technique):

Upsell Messaging

First, notice the highlighted area at the very top. There’s a countdown to take advantage of the “1st set for under $20” deal, adding a sense of urgency. Smart.

Then, you are given two payment options. The first, as pictured above, is a one-off sale, and the set will be $49.95. Which is, by the way, still very reasonable for a lingerie set.

Any avid shopper will always be leaning toward a better deal, though. And what if that “under $20”offer is too much to resist?

Enter the “VIP Member” pricing plan. The messaging is clear, concise and compelling. It addresses potential friction and anxiety about committing to a monthly subscription service. And on top of that, it offers no-brainer bonuses like free shipping both ways, free sixth set of lingerie and the aforementioned discount. Take a look at what happens when you click over onto that payment option instead:

Upsell Messaging Converts

Bam! $19.97 is a LOT more attractive than $49.95. Plus, the woman shopping on this site (or man, let’s be fair) is probably very drawn to the idea of getting a new set of lingerie each month for only $39.95, with no contracts, the ability to skip any months and to end the service at any time.

See how this could have been a potentially friction-filled page? By giving the customer complete control over their purchasing experience, and by offering what is a clearly more attractive deal as an alternative, this company is doing things the smart way.

What are your upsell challenges? Do you see some opportunities for optimizing and testing your messaging for more conversions?