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The value of retail cross-selling

How this sales strategy – if used carefully – can add value to a range of footwear by also offering a selection of related products or services.

by Stuart Morgan

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A recognised income stream for retailers is the strategy of cross-selling – defined as ‘an action or practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer’. While perhaps representing a small percentage of the overall revenue achieved from a shoe store, cross-selling can prove worthwhile.

Many retailers selling women’s footwear already engage in cross-selling to a degree, as they often display handbags or purses alongside their shoe collection. There are, of course, a number of other items that may be viewed by a customer as complementing their footwear purchase. In addition to polishes and protective sprays, a retailer may decide to also display such products as hats, scarves, gloves, jewellery, watches or sunglasses.

In the section of the store dedicated to classic men’s styles, the retailer may also offer ties, handkerchiefs, watches, belts, socks or cuff links. In the sports shoe department, cross-selling items may include fitness wristbands, sports socks, ear pods or fitness drinks. Obviously all cross-sell items must meet legal requirements – especially if they are designed for children.

Making it work

Cross-selling takes skill if a member of staff is to raise the possibility of the customer considering an additional purchase. If the employee ‘steps over the line’, the suggestion will appear pushy and a transparent selling tactic. However, if he or she stays within the boundaries of restraint and relevance, customers may actually appreciate the service.

If cross-selling face-to-face, it is important to note that the strategy is not about manipulating customers in any way. It should involve only introducing  additional products in which the shopper may have a genuine interest – and definitely items that are clearly connected to the original choice. Of course, to achieve this it is necessary to build a range of products that complement each other. A cross-sell item should be cheaper than the original product, and always something that involves a quick buying decision.

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Cross-selling should only introduce additional products in which the shopper may have a genuine interest

Many retailers in a variety of sectors offer a discounted second purchase. Add-ons within the footwear sector may also include a proportion of discount – such as one-third off the price of a handbag if bought with the shoes. As long as the final price for the cross-sell item does not remove its profit margin, it may be worth making the offer. Websites can also be geared up for cross-selling, but it is essential that buyers can find all the information they need on extra purchases without navigating away from the original page, perhaps never to return.

Cross-selling – whether via a simple display for a customer to select from, a suggestion from a member of staff or an online recommendation – can both increase sales and develop rapport with the purchaser. Used with thought, it can add value to a shoe collection.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 20 of the April 2022 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

Other articles from this issue »