Upsells, Downsells, & One Time Offers

We see it; we hear it and we are a part of it in every aspect of our purchasing life, online and in the real world. But what is the difference and what does it really mean in our lives as marketers (or consumers)? Let us break it down to its simplest form.


Think about the saying “Do you want fries with that?” This is a clearly understood way of upselling in the real world. It’s a plain and simple way of selling more goods along with the  original  product.  It’s  effective, it works and let’s face it, we almost always want fries.

Upsells, Downsells, & One Time Offers

Online the same principle is used. Your customer buys a product and when they go to the payment option page, a new window will appear which will ask if they want ìfriesî added to their shopping cart. They either click yes or no and itís a done deal. For the most part.


In down selling, psychology plays an even bigger role and you need to be careful of how you may be potentially training your customers in the future. For instance, you offer your product for a specific amount. The customer

chooses not to buy and when they opt to leave, a window pops up lowering the price of your original product.

You have effectively said that if they donít buy the product in your first of- fer, they may get a discount in a sec- ond offer. You are training your cus- tomers not to believe your first offer.

There is a way of adding sales in downselling. Making the additional product different, but compatible. For example you donít offer an aquarium with your dog training video, but you may offer a new dog leash.

One Time Offers

Here you are offering your product for an incredibly low price. When your customer goes to pay for your product, you can subtly add an additional product where they can choose to buy or not.

But you CANNOT offer this product at this price again. Thatís why it’s called a One Time Offer.

These are the bare bones of a few marketing strategies made simple. There are also shady areas to avoid in marketing your product which Iíve called Upsell Hell and BS-One time Offers, just to name a few.

Be aware of what they are, and keep your customers for life.

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Michel Fortin

Michel Fortin is a marketing strategist, business advisor, and certified digital marketing expert. As a marketing consultant since 1991, he helps entrepreneurial professionals grow their practices with his unique combination of branding, positioning, copywriting, SEO, UX, and CRO.

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