Cross-Selling Facilitates Incremental Revenue Bumps
Gone are the days of the door-to-door salesman. Today, it is rare for a salesperson to have a single item that they need to sell. More often, a business has many similar items or related items to sell, yet understanding which items to offer to customers at any given time is not a simple exercise. The increasing number of purchase options that consumers face today present a difficulty for any sales team to differentiate their products from their competitors' products—and to differentiate their products among their own offerings.
It is well-established that improving customer experience is one of the best ways to achieve brand loyalty and create repeat business. As a seller, giving your customer additional choices and presenting alternative choices make the buying experience more personalized and enjoyable. However, for sales teams, the trick is finding the right balance: giving customers enough choices in order to feel informed and satisfied with their decisions, while also not providing too many alternatives, which can confuse customers and leave them feeling uncertain.
Guided selling allows businesses to make it easier for customers to stay in control, manage their options, and arrive at more confident purchase decisions. Guided selling techniques leverage data and analytics—making the selling process much more profitable for sellers and also relevant to customers by automatically proposing products and options. One obvious form of guided selling is cross-selling—where a sales agent proposes the "next best offer," based on the customer’s current basket contents. Cross-selling occurs when a sales agent offers an additional product or service to a customer to increase the value of a sale for both the business and the customer.
Knowing when and what to cross-sell is extremely important to the success of this approach in any sales situation. If you suggest an additional product to a customer that is completely unrelated to what she came to purchase or you suggest an additional product before you understand what the customer wants, it can ruin the customer experience and lose the sale—if not the customer completely. Given the multitude of possible cross-sell suggestions combined with the timing of the suggestion, cross-selling is impossibly complicated to do manually.
In the Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) market segment, where profit margins are extremely tight, maximizing the average ticket total of each sale is fundamental. If cross-selling is properly used, it can provide tremendous opportunity for a restaurant to increase revenue and improve margins. Without data and analytics, sales agents are instructed to ask every customer if he or she wants a standard promotion that is important for the business but not relevant to the customer. This one-dimensional approach simply does not work. Customers often say "no" before sales agents finish asking the question.
Imagine that a customer at a fast-food restaurant is placing an order at the counter served by a sales agent. Based on the customer's actual order, combined with data on time of day, day of the week, weather, and much more, a machine-learning algorithm predicts what additional food items the customer may likely want and purchase. At the point of purchase, the sales agent receives a POS-screen message that recommends what to suggest to that particular customer. The customer walks away happy, and the sales agent increases the ticket total and the profitability of the sale.
Cross-selling automation, using data and analytics, can be done across industries—wherever there is an opportunity to offer a customer more of what he likes at the right time. For QSRs, Analytics2Go has built a cross-selling microapp solution--A2Go xSell--which is powered by machine learning. A2Go xSell can provide the benefits of incremental revenue increases between 3% and 5% and profit margin improvements of up to 20%.