The Add-on Sale in Retail

getty images

The add-on is an important part of the sale in retail. It truly is a win-win situation. The customer wins because they get a better overall solution and the store wins because it gets higher revenues and hopefully more profits. If the key to GREAT selling (as discussed in the book The Retail Sales Bible) is to exceed the customer's expectations, then making sure they have everything they need to get the most out of their purchase is an important step - one that is the responsibility of the salesperson and not the customer; after all you are the professional.


Add-ons come in two varieties.  A Customer can buy merchandise from an extra category or they can accessorize their original purchase. Which one’s better? That depends.  Which is better, a hot fudge sundae or strawberry cheesecake?  Which one would you rather have, a vintage Harley Davidson or a new Corvette? 

In other words, it’s all good!  You don’t have to make a choice.  If the Customer adds on an item from another category or they add on by accessorizing, either way, you win! Of course, to make it even better, they could do both! But before we go into how this all works, let’s look at some definitions.

First, the Extra Category. Offering additions from an extra category means showing the Customer something very similar to what they’ve just purchased, but slightly different.  For example, if the Customer has just purchased a pair of running shoes, maybe they’d be interested in work shoes or flip-flops or sandals or a pair of slippers.

  You’re still in footwear, clearly, but you’ve moved on to another type of footwear.

To accessorize, you offer the Customer additions that ‘go with’ the first item they’ve purchased.  For example, if your Customer has just picked out a great dress, she’s going to want jewelry and hosiery and shoes and a belt and a sweater to go with it.

  Get this picture?  In this type of addition, you’re helping the Customer more fully enjoy their initial purchase by providing add-on accessories that complete the outfit.

You can’t have too much of a good thing!  That’s the logic behind adding an extra category. Your Customer has already committed to one purchase from your store. Now you’re going to show them something completely different (but similar) -- that makes the Customer happy!

Adding an extra category can be great Customer service! When a Customer buys many items, from a range of categories, they’ll have a lot of options available to them.  If you’re in apparel, this means every time your Customer goes to the closet, they’ll have lots of outfits to choose from. If you’re a jeweler, your Customer will have more pieces in their jewelry box, allowing them to complement a wider range of clothes.  If you’re in hardware, your Customer will not only have every tool they need, they’ll have a handy toolbox to keep everything organized. You’re helping your Customer be prepared!

Here’s a GREAT line you can use to add an extra category to your sale - “Let’s play!”

Customers love to have fun.  Once they’ve gotten through the ‘business’ part of the shopping trip -- they’ve picked out and purchased the item they came to your store for -- they can relax and enjoy themselves.