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How to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment and Improve Conversion Rates By Downselling...
By Eric Graham

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You’re probably familiar with up-selling and cross-selling. Perhaps you even employ these profit boosting tactics in your marketing.

But how about downselling?

After reviewing and evaluating hundreds of websites, I would have to say that less than 1% of all online sellers are using this powerful conversion booster.

And, that’s too bad, because in every single instance where I have tested a strategic and related downsell offer, I’ve seen an improvement in conversion rates. Often a big one!

Also... Downselling is a great way to capture new customers that you would otherwise have lost.

So what is downselling?

Downselling is simply presenting a related, yet lower priced offer to prospective customers who pass on your main offer.

A few ideas for downsell offers include:

  • Offering a mini version or light version of your product.
  • Offering a digital only version of your physical information products.
  • Offer a Platinum, Gold and Silver versions of your product or service.
  • Offer a no-frills version with fewer bonuses.
  • Simply offer a related, yet less expensive product or service.

For physical information products I’ve had success in saving potentially abandoned sales by using an exit pop up when the visitor abandons the checkout process offering the "digital version of the product" as a downgrade. By offering a discount at this point you can save a few sales you would otherwise have lost.

You also are able to bring new customers into your backend sales funnel and upsell them at a later point on your main offer. Because you get your foot in the door with the lower priced downsell offer you now have an opportunity to build trust and relationships with those who take you up on your lower priced offers.

Part of the reason that downsell techniques are powerful is that downselling seems to tap into the same psychological trigger that expert negotiators employ when they give a pre-planned concession in a negotiation to get the other party to agree to the terms that the pro negotiator wanted them to agree to in the first place.

In his book "Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion", Dr. Robert Cialdini calls this tactic the "rejection then retreat" method. This is where you initially offer an expensive option first, then when the prospect rejects that offer, your retreat to a lower price point fires a psychological trigger within your prospect that makes them feel like they should reciprocate your concession.

It also utilizes the "contrast principle". By showing the higher priced product first, it makes the price of the less expensive option to appear more acceptable than if you tried to "upsell" from the lower priced item to the higher priced. And in marketing it is all about perception...

So... If you want to reduce your abandonment rates and increase your conversion rates, give downselling a try. You might be profitably surprised.

About the Author
Eric Graham is the owner and CEO of several successful online and offline businesses. Recognized as one of the top authorities on eCommerce and Internet Marketing, Eric is a sought after speaker and consultant. He is also the publisher of the Conversion Tips newsletter. Visit www.web-site-evaluations.com to sign up for a free subscription.

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