Email Marketing Automation: Best Upsell + Cross-Sell Examples

Posted on February 6, 2019

Email marketing automation provides e-commerce businesses with an array of revenue-generating resources. The practices of upselling and cross-selling are certainly a prominent part of that process. 

In e-commerce, both these tactics are very regularly featured on product pages. Maybe you’ve been looking at a pair of pants and noticed a “complete your look” category featuring other apparel products and accessories. In other cases, you’ve surely been pitched upgrading to the “premium” version of a product before completing a purchase. It’s all about finding ways to increase order value while also providing value to the customer.

This approach translates extremely well to the inbox of shoppers via email marketing automation. The first thing you need at your disposal is that all-important customer data. The information you’ve gathered on your consumers is the key to so many elements of successful e-commerce. Upselling and cross-selling through email marketing automation is no exception. You have to be delivering timely, relevant product pitches to have the personalized touch that is optimal

We’ve previously gone over the finer points of upselling and cross-selling within email marketing automation. Now, here are a few specific examples of how both are done right:

email marketing automation-upsell
  • Sent by: Dollar Shave Club
  • Subject: Confirming your EXECUTIVE razors
  • Why we like it: First, there’s an immediate notification informing the subscriber when their next subscription box will ship. Along with that, there’s a link to see what’s already in the box. These elements may seem subtle but they importantly establish personalization and provide the proper set up for the upsell. The products being pitched as potential additions to the subscription box are top sellers that are appropriate to each customer. The descriptions, photos, and prices are very clear with easy access to making an addition. And that date notification creates a small sense of urgency as the customer must act in a timely manner to receive any additional items before the next ship date.
Upselling-Email marketing automation
  • Sent by: Harry’s
  • Subject: Shaving just got two times better
  • Why we like it: The development of new products is the perfect time for an upsell/cross-sell email. The copy within this example is especially well done. Letting customers know a product was developed based on their feedback is a tremendous selling tool when applicable. Even if it doesn’t immediately help complete a sale, it still has the potential to increase customer lifetime value by making them feel like a valuable voice to the brand. “We started Harry’s to make shaving better. It just got two times better.” That’s excellent.
email marketing automation-abandoned cart
  • Sent by: Asics
  • Subject: Don’t get left in the dust
  • Why we like it: First and foremost, this is an abandoned cart email. Though that element of email marketing automation is setting out to accomplish a different objective, it’s still a great time to include an upsell or cross-sell. Within this example, there’s a preview of some best-selling items. They don’t dominate the email, and they shouldn’t with an abandoned cart, but they are a good subtle addition. Maybe the customer will decide they also need some shorts to go with the shoes and socks they are purchasing.
Upselling-Email marketing automation
  • Sent by: Medium
  • Subject: Unlock the best of Medium with membership
  • Why we like it: This email might be too wordy for a typical brand, but Medium knows its audience. The consumers of their content, quite obviously, aren’t turned off by sizeable blocks of words. They do want those words to have value, though, and this email accomplishes that. If you enjoy the content you consume from Medium, at the very least you’ll consider this opportunity to upgrade. That’s because the value and importance of the premium option are clearly stated from all angles. Nothing about this is vauge. In this case, that’s important.
Upselling-Email marketing automation
  • Sent by: Nokia
  • Subject: Limited-time offer: free premium wristband with any Steel HR purchase
  • Why we like it: The strategy here revolves around the timeliness of the offer. In this case, it’s Valentine’s Day, and it shows certain times of the year are prime for offering customers upsell/cross-sell opportunities. There’s also a special “premium leather wristband” to be included, further enhancing the incentive to make a more expensive purchase.

(Note: All screenshots are courtesy of

How Engine Mail can help

Engine Mail was built by e-commerce veterans based on their past experiences. The aim is to provide an email automation product that is superior to anything you’ll find elsewhere. That includes the best possible tools for sending upsell and cross-sell emails.

Our core mission in that process has been ease of use. We understand we’re competing in a world full of complexity and confusion where a large number of email products are overdone. That’s not Engine Mail. We’ve taken what we know best during our years of navigating the e-commerce landscape and created a product around email automation that is easy to understand and deploy.

We understand time is your most precious asset. Set up a call with us by clicking here or reaching out via email. In just 15 minutes, we will create killer email flows for you. Your business will never be the same.