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.


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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