The Art of the Online Up-Sell

By John Federman CEO, eStara | January 27, 2012

You have put together an excellent Web site that's sleek, functional, answers customer queries and allows online customers to easily complete transactions. You've solved the e-commerce problem, right? Well...maybe not. You may have overlooked a key area of the sales process...cross-selling and up-selling.

With nearly four out of 10 travel bookers researching online but booking offline, you're probably happy to get the sales you do get online without worrying about how you can up-sell and cross-sell wary customers.

While concerns about the security of using credit cards online to pay for their purchases still plague many consumers, a recent Forrester Research report found that hotel and travel companies can potentially expedite the online sales process, and boost the total order by up-selling and cross-selling relevant products, simply by implementing tools such as online chat and click to call.

The hope is that travel sellers may be able to reduce online travelers' anxieties by offering assistance from an expert when the customer needs it most. Since most hotels started moving sales operations online, many were content to offer customers self-service tools to book their own plans online without any attempt to up-sell or cross-sell. Can you imagine a travel agent not trying to up-sell or cross-sell a customer? Why should things be any different on your Web site?

For example, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group deploys click to call to give customers an opportunity to speak with an agent if they need help completing the reservation process and offers post-call surveys to customers to collect information about their experience. Through these surveys, Kimpton found that nearly 40 percent of those who used the click to call option did so because they had questions about their upcoming stay prohibiting them from booking online. This kind of information helps hotels identify spots on their Web site where live assistance can be offered to either help close sales or generate up-sell opportunities.

As we've noted with Kimpton, click to call is one tool being used to engage customers. Another is live chat. While each communications tool has its strengths, it's important to consider your resources and limitations prior to implementing either functionality.

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