Upsell Emails Best Practices for eCommerce in 2023

28 Apr
Upsell Emails Best Practices for eCommerce in 2023

eCommerce upsell emails tap into your (al)most loyal customers.

These emails add greater value to the shopping experience and fix revenue-leaking gaps in your existing email marketing strategy on autopilot.

And yet, modern shoppers today still receive product recommendations irrelevant to their needs and interests.

Creating successful upsell emails boils down to multivariable segmentation. You need to segment customers based on hyper-targeted attributes, which can only be done on a robust email marketing platform that integrates with your eCommerce tools deeply.  

This post helps you understand this sales technique and how you can create upselling emails to drive sales.

How do Upselling Emails Work?

Upsell emails are emails where brands pitch existing customers a more expensive version of a product they just bought.

A standard upsell strategy works by identifying repeat customers with upsell potential and segmenting them based on the attributes below:

  • Engagement level (highly engaged customers are more likely to buy again)
  • Previous purchase (e.g., a shopper who bought a pair of winter gloves might be interested in a winter coat)
  • Purchase momentum (i.e., frequency of purchases)
  • In-app behavior (common in software companies, e.g., a user who hits their account limits might be ready for a premium account with more storage)
  • Satisfaction level (highly satisfied customers spend more money. These are the customers you’ll want in a loyalty program, as well) 

There are many more ways to segment your customers with upsell potential. Consider using the metrics above as a starting point.

Let’s explore how an eCommerce upsell email looks like.

Note this example featuring Mr Porter. The luxury brand gives its upselling email a unique twist: by promoting its premium menswear as an editor’s wish list.

Mr. Porter email

The editor’s personal commentary instills confidence in frequent buyers. It feels like the products have been vouched for by a men’s style authority.

This brings us to an important point.

The more customer data you have and the more on-brand your upsell emails, the easier it is to attract sales

This is because you have a better understanding of your customers’ needs and interests and can better personalize their experience while still maintaining your distinctive brand voice.

Here's what we recommend.

As you search for an email marketing software for B2C, focus on deep-data integrations with your eCommerce platforms. It will help you pull all vital customer data into one place (we’ll get to this later in the post).

What is the difference between upselling and cross-selling emails? 

Upselling emails pitch a more expensive version of a product, upgrades, or other add-ons to add more value for the customer and generate more revenue for you. 

Take this upsell email from BarkBox, for instance.

It encourages existing subscribers to upgrade to the deluxe plan and X2 the toys and treats for their pups. 

Note how it personifies the call-to-action button (“Double My Box”) to create a personal touch. The box, overflowing with doggy goodies, visually shows subscribers they get the most bang for their buck.

Bark Box promotional email

Cross sell emails sell relevant products that go well with the products customers bought. 

There’s no better example than Dollar Shave Club

Note how it strategically sells various add ons, like post-shaving cream and hair gel to complement the razor refill cartridges the customer bought. 

Dollar Shave Club email

It makes customers who want a buttery smooth shave go, “I’m SOLD!”

Why is Upselling so Important in eCommerce?

You’re more likely to earn ongoing sales from existing customers

New shoppers who only just heard about your ecommerce store are further up the funnel and need more nurturing to convert to customers. 

Increasing the number of your loyal customers pays off—all it takes is a 5% increase in retention to raise profitability by 75%

How Do eCommerce Customers Behave Around Upselling Emails?

59.4% of US adults will purchase a product in a marketing email if it’s based on their purchase history.

This tells us one very important thing.

Consumers want to receive upsell emails, but only when it aligns with their interest and needs and is delivered at the right time (if you need to be convinced of email marketing importance, let this be it).

Our take: Choose an email marketing software (*coughs* Sendlane *coughs*) that integrates within your eCommerce tech stack deeply.

That way, you can pull a bunch of data points (e.g., customer location, purchased since, product type) to create targeted segments of your customers.

Note the Sendlane-Shopify integration below. It segments a specific group of customers who are high value buyers. 

Sendlane segment characteristics

With this information, you can target this group of buyers who are willing to spend more with personalized offerings. Since it’s relevant to their spending history, they’re more likely to respond positively.


5 Upsell Emails Examples for eCommerce

What type of upsell emails should you send to boost your eCommerce sales? These five upsell email examples, ranging from long-awaited promotions to popular back-in-stock products, show you how.

1. Post-purchase

KiwiCo post-purchase email

The post-purchase experience determines how likely a customer stays with your business. Factors include quality of customer service, product value, and personalization.

KiwiCo connects with existing subscribers at a key stage in the customer journey. Note how its upsell email entices customers to upgrade to the deluxe subscription to receive a free hand-picked book in the following month.

Why this upsell email works:

  • Spotlights hero customer: Customers want to see the beating hearts of your product. KiwiCo highlights children across all ages in the banner image to add a human touch. 
  • Teases with exclusive offer: Give customers the opportunity to try your product with zero risk. KiwiCo offers existing customers an exclusive code to take the deluxe subscription a spin. 
  • Reinforces benefits of reading: Anticipate objection to drive sales. In the upsell email, KiwiCo shares the perks of reading to get skeptical customers to upgrade to the more expensive version.  

Sendlane’s tip: Share the perks of reading directly in the upsell email instead of pushing subscribers to click through it (e.g., use eye-catching graphics to give subscribers a snapshot of the benefits). This saves them time from reading a lengthy article. 

2. Subscription upgrade or add-ons

Bark Box email

BarkBox ticks all the boxes in its classic upsell email. The monthly dog box delivery recommends a list of adorable toys at the last minute to drive immediate action.

Why this upsell email works:

  • Drives action with urgency: Urgency compels customers to act fast. BarkBox urges subscribers to include the add-ons in their existing box using power words and an approaching deadline (“Last Chance” and “2/27”). 
  • Engages with snappy copy: BarkBox gets straight to the point above the fold. Note how the eCommerce store plays with the fonts and colors in its copy. It’s impossible to look away.
  • Animates with striking pictures: Images convey more emotion than words. BarkBox highlights a cute dog resting its head on a chew toy (admit it, you can’t say no to that face!), along with a list of add-ons that all dogs will love. . 

Sendlane’s tip: Unlike KiwiCo, BarkBox didn’t offer incentives for customers to upgrade to a bigger plan. If you’re unable to offer discounts or coupons, add a few customer testimonials to convince these shoppers.

3. Abandoned cart

Haoma abandoned cart email

Abandoned cart emails win back skeptical customers and recover lost revenue. 

Brands usually send these emails to remind customers who left the website without completing any purchases, whether it’s reasons like unexpected shipping costs, forced account creation, or a cluttered checkout page.

Note how Haoma invites shoppers to send questions before pitching its product. It creates a welcoming conversation and conveys that it genuinely cares about their concerns.  

Why this upsell email works:

  • Triggers bandwagon effect: People follow the crowd. By labeling “customer favorites” and not “related products,” Haoma conveys that these higher priced version products have been publicly vouched for (note: you can replicate this smart approach on your order confirmation or payment page, as well).
  • Opens a conversation: Customers want to be seen and heard. Haoma offers to help customers, rather than aggressively pitching its product right at the start of the abandoned cart and upsell offer email.

Sendlane’s tip: A better way to provide fuss-free assistance? Invite consumers to reply directly to the abandoned cart email. Requesting them to compose a new email creates unnecessary friction. Better yet, invite them to connect over their favorite social media accounts.

4. Back in stock

Simon Jersey back in stock email

Back-in-stock emails are one of the emails shoppers most look forward to, and we get it. Who doesn’t love it when the product they’ve been eyeing on for months is finally back.

Simon Jersey, an online store that sells scrubs, uses a sales technique combo in this email. Try to spot it.

Why this upsell email works:

  • Covers all bases: Upsell restock emails (did you guess right?) pitches relevant products of a higher value. In this email, Quince draws attention to other similar apparels in case subscribers have already lost interest in the leggings.
  • Shows trust boosters: Modern shoppers today want a quick-and-easy experience. Quince gives customers peace of mind by offering free shipping and returns. No doubt this perk increases conversions. 
  • Drives urgency: Urgency motivates customers to act now, not later. Quince’s email subject line, “Selling Fast…” (not pictured above), instills FOMO in customers and pushes them to buy the product stat. 

Sendlane’s tip: Highlight the free shipping and 365-day returns guarantee in a more visible area (e.g., above the fold). Not all subscribers will scroll to the end of your email, so having it in a prominent location will squash potential objections right off the bat. 

5. Promotion

Beis promotional email

Promotions are few in a lifetime—perhaps that’s why sales in the eCommerce world often skyrocket during this period.

Out of all upsell campaigns in this guide, Beis’ email is the simplest. And it works. There’s no fancy design or copy. Just good ol’ discounts that customers love.

Why this upsell email works:

  • Uses clear copy: Clear and concise copy gets to the point. Beis’s email template may not have the bells and whistles, but it does an excellent job at drawing eyes to the main lead of the email: the luggage bundle. 
  • Offers perks you can’t say no to: Beis upsells customers its luggage sets with an irresistible discount (10% for two, 15% for three), along with free shipping for orders over $150 to improve order volume. 

Sendlane’s tip: Beis puts its two different discounts in a single sentence, which takes a while to grasp. Highlight these two different offers separately to increase readability and eliminate confusion.

Benefits of Upselling Emails on an eCommerce Email Marketing Strategy

Successful email marketing campaigns engage with customers at every single touchpoint.

There’s the welcome email sequence, which introduces a brand to new subscribers; the nurturing email sequence that builds trust and credibility, the feedback email sequence, which invites customers to share their reviews online, etc.

Up sell emails specifically target your most profitable customers. 

On top of improving the AOV, these emails increase your customer lifetime value and loyalty in the long run.

Automated Email Marketing for Your Upselling Needs 

Automated upselling emails engage with your most prized customers at the right time. 

These emails give you a priceless opportunity to maximize your sales from customers who already love and trust your brand.

Sendlane is an automated email marketing software for B2C that helps you build more of these customers quickly and improves your revenue.

Our features include:

Multivariable segmentation that accurately targets customers with upsell potential. Segment them according to 100+ data points like AOV, clicked link(s), and amount spent.

Sendlane segment characteristics

Intuitive drag-and-drop interface for complete beginners. Quickly navigate the dashboard, segment customers, and send upsell emails with ease.

Pre-built funnels and email templates to avoid creating from scratch. Customize them according to your unique brand. Sendlane also offers templates and funnels for SMS marketing, making it an ideal solution for eCommerce stores that want to send text messages and emails on one platform.

Send;ane email templates

Real-time analytics for all emails and SMS. Analyze metrics and ROI for each email and text message you sent in an easy-to-understand-even-for-beginners dashboard.  

Sendlane campaign analytics


Deep-data integrations with your favorite eCommerce tools. Sendlane integrates with Shopify, WooCommerce, MIVA, ClickBank, and more. Get a bird’s-eye view of customers across all your eCommerce stores in one account.

Quality service as fast as a racing car—even on holidays. Get a response to your biggest questions. We broke our live chat response time record last year at 13 seconds!

These features are included in all plans. You don’t need to switch plans when your eCommerce store scales.

Nailing upsell emails doesn’t need to be confusing. 

Grab your free 60-day trial on Sendlane to segment customers accurately, deliver upselling emails at the right time, and raise revenue and ROI today. 

Interested in learning more about eCommerce? Check out our similar post:

15 Best eCommerce Email Examples to Grow your Business

eCommerce Upsell Emails FAQs

Is upselling or cross-selling better for eCommerce?
How can I measure the success of an email marketing upselling strategy?

Share article link

Subscribe to our blog!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The 2021 eCommerce
Email Marketing Playbook Part 2

Maximize revenue & customer loyalty in 2021

Mastering Customer
Acquisition & Retention in 2021

Tuesday, July 20

Better features. Better support. Better customer experience.

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

No More Guessing; Make Data-driven Decisions at a Glance

Ditch the clunky UI; send high-converting messages with unified email & SMS data under one roof.

Find Hidden Growth Opportunities in your Shopify Customers

Build a retention-first strategy with real-time analytics and multi-channel automation.

Turn sales into reviews & reviews into more sales. All for free.

Collect, manage and dynamically display unlimited reviews all within one snazzy dashboard (and at no additional cost).

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Create Winning Campaigns Faster with Personalized Email Marketing

Spend less time building emails & more time creating experiences that drive your store growth.

Unified Email & SMS Marketing for BigCommerce

Send hyper-targeted email & SMS marketing that generates revenue with an easy one-click integration.

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Everything Your Brand Needs to Achieve Greatness with SMS

Build lasting, authentic relationships and tap into multi-channel revenue with all-in-one email & sms marketing.

Drive significant ROI for your
online store

Your eCommerce power couple - Unite your email & SMS marketing under one roof with Sendlane.

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing
CLTV for Digital Retailers

Keep your store cruising onward and upward with these seven strategies to increase CLTV.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

The Definitive Guide to Abandoned
Cart Emails for eCommerce

Perfect your abandoned cart email funnel and recover those lost sales on autopilot.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

Your 2021 Guide to eCommerce Holiday Marketing

9 tried and tested omnichannel marketing strategies to crush holiday sales

The Digital Retailer’s Email Copywriting Handbook

A Marketer's Guide to Writing Killer Email Copy That Sells.

The Future of eCommerce
in 2022

Omnichannel strategies to drive revenue plus trends to watch in 2022 and beyond

The Digital Retailer's Guide to Modern SMS/MMS Marketing

10 Best practices to convert more customers where and when they’re active most with text messaging.

Increase Revenue and Retention by Mastering the Digital Customer Experience

A step-by-step guide to mastering the customer experience and building a base of loyal, repeat buyers.

The BigCommerce Experience: Omnichannel Marketing Strategies for a Post-Cookie World

The Shopify Experience:
A Merchant & Marketer's Guide
to Scaling eCommerce Growth

Get started with your free
14-day test drive!

All our PRO level features at your fingertips.

Try for Free