Suggestive selling, or upselling, involves suggesting additional items when a customer makes a purchase, or encouraging a customer to upgrade to a more expensive option. Perhaps the best-known example of an upsell is when the order taker at a fast food restaurant asks, “Do you want fries with that?” However, upselling is used in almost every kind of business.
Mystery shopping questionnaires may include questions about suggestive selling techniques used by employees. Here are examples of upsells that mystery shoppers may encounter:
- The cashier at a shoe store asks if you need shoe polish or socks.
- The electronics store salesperson suggests an extended warranty for the gadget you are buying.
- The order taker at a fast food restaurant asks if you want to “make it a combo” or “supersize” your fries and drink.
- The grocery store cashier points out a promotion where you can get a bottle of shampoo for only $1.
- The bartender asks if you have a brand preference when you order a gin and tonic.
- The stylist tells you about a product she is using on your hair, then suggests you buy it for home use.
- The toy store cashier asks if you need batteries when you buy a toy that requires them.
- The cell phone sales person recommends a car charger or case for your phone.
There are many more types of suggestive selling used, but you get the idea. Suggestive selling is important to the client because it has a direct impact on the bottom line. When employees suggest additional items, the average purchase amount goes up. That means profits go up.
But the customer benefits from suggestive selling, too. Suggesting you buy batteries may save you a trip to buy them later, as well as avoiding the problem of an unhappy and disappointed child when you discover too late that the toy you purchased requires batteries you do not have. And making customers aware of promotions that can save them money will make many customers happy.
When your assigned mystery shop involves upselling opportunities, the guidelines will tell you what the employee is supposed to do. There may be specific language the employee is supposed to use, or a certain product or promotion they are to mention. It is important that you listen for the upsell by the employee, but do not encourage them to suggest an upsell by asking leading questions. Just let the employee do her job.
The client will probably expect a comment about the upsell. What product did the employee suggest? What did they say? When did they suggest the additional item or upgrade? Pay close attention so you can provide useful details.
Suggestive selling benefits both the merchant and customers. As mystery shoppers, we help companies learn if employees are properly using suggestive selling techniques.