March 1, 2002, 12:00 AM

Retail merchandising tactics are taking over on the web

62% of 100 top retail sites have automated cross-selling vs. 48% last year, while up-selling rises to 46% from 24% reports The E-Tailing Group.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


While the implementation of some online merchandising features such as contests and “editor’s choice” selections appears to be tapering off on retail sites, product recommendations that cross-sell and up-sell are on the rise, according to quarterly data from the Merchandising Scan conducted by Chicago`s E-tailing Group Inc. for the Direct Marketing Association. As of last year’s fourth quarter, 62% of 100 top retail sites had automated cross-selling features, up from only 48% in the fourth quarter of 2001, while 46% had up-selling features, up from 24% a year earlier.

“The potential of up-sells and cross-sells online is being realized by more merchants as they place greater emphasis in this opportunistic area,” says Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group.

By category, 100% of the surveyed online retailers of computers, books and music, consumer electronics and pet supplies had cross-selling features on their sites. Department store web sites followed close behind with 86% offering cross-selling functions, along with online retailers of toys and games at 75%. Up-selling features were on 100% of the book and music sites surveyed; 80% of the computer sites, and 75% of the sporting goods sites.

Though the merchants didn’t provide information on whether cross selling and up-selling has boosted basket size, these approaches make intuitive sense both online and off, Freedman says. “Almost any merchant will tell you that when they merchandise their cross-sells and up-sells, they sell more product and increase order size significantly,” she adds.




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