What Is an Add-On Sale?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Also known as an upsell product, an add-on sale is a product people purchase to go with an item they recently decided to buy or just bought. For example, a person shopping for a computer might be talked into also buying a printer or web camera. There are all sorts of potential add-on sale items, some more subtly pushed upon customers than others. Add-on sales sometimes make up a significant source of a company’s business. Employees might be trained to upsell all customers and are awarded for an exceptional amount of upselling and punished for not trying.

All businesses have the potential to practice suggestive selling. Many people expect a good waitress at a restaurant to offer them dessert, but this is also a form of upselling. The difference between this form of upselling and a car salesman talking customers into upgrading to expensive leather seats is that a lot of people have come to expect it and sometimes appreciate the effort when they actually do want dessert. Another popular add-on sale includes warranties or service packages, usually targeted toward people buying electronic goods. While these add-on sales can be beneficial in the long run, they are sometimes too limited or expensive.


Training is often mandatory in a business that makes add-on sales crucial to its success. Employees are trained in the proper upselling techniques and encouraged to practice on customers. Sometimes employees are required to carry out specific speeches and offer certain items, even if these actions do not lead to an add-on sale. If the employee repeatedly fails to at least attempt to get an add-on sale, he or she is usually put on notice and eventually fired. An employee who is especially good at getting an add-on sale may be rewarded or given special benefits by management.

One common way that add-on sales are generated by retail employees is by influencing a customer into being concerned about a product ceasing to function. When a customer is purchasing a costly product, such as a consumer electronic device, that customer may already be concerned about it failing to work. A technique often used by retail employees is to prey on that concern by offering to sell the consumer an additional warranty. Retail employees may discuss the possible things that may go wrong with a product, especially damages that could be inflicted by accident during use of the product in order to convince a customer to purchase the add-on warranty. Before deciding to utilize an upselling technique such as this one, a retail employee often attempts to size up a customer in order to determine his or her concerns and budget range.



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