How to get customers to put more in their (online) basket

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How to get customers to put more in their (online) basket

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With more Brits than ever heading to the web to purchase goods and services, there’s no time like the present for online retailers to up their selling game.

Thanks to the COVID pandemic of 2020, online shopping is soaring at an all-time high:

  • Online shopping surged by 129% at the beginning of the pandemic
  • 2 million Brits are expected to permanently change their habits
  • An estimated £4.5 billion in extra online revenue is predicted for 2020

Naturally, all businesses with an online presence want a slice of that pie, after all, the aim of the game for any business owner is to make more sales and be more profitable, right? 

But how do you encourage customers to put more in their basket when you can’t give the proverbial nudge on offer with face-to-face sales? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these nine top tactics for eliciting more online sales. 

1. Show related products: cross-selling

One of the major digital trends of 2020 is personalisation, and showing customers related items they might be interested in based on their browsing history is a great way of achieving this. 

Online retailing goliath Amazon is a pro at this method of cross-selling:

Cross-selling tactics like this have been shown to boost Amazon’s profits alone by 35% annually, and studies show shoppers who click on product recommendations are 4.5 times more likely to add that product to their basket, so getting them right is a sure-fire way to encourage your customers to put more in the basket and ultimately boost your revenue.

Our tip for nailing cross-selling is to spend some time working out which items work well together. Adding a random and ill-fitting recommendation will have little-to-no effect on consumer spending and could actually damage the customer’s perception of you.

Remember: if you’re no tech-whizz find a decent web developer to help you successfully add this function to your website.

2. Show related products: upselling

If you offer comparable products within different price ranges, upselling is a great tactic for upping the total your customers spend with you.

Once a customer is browsing your lower-priced options the idea is to highlight the pricier alternatives and demonstrate the pros associated with spending a bit more, like this from the Dollar Shave Club:

There are two important things to remember when it comes to nailing upselling:

  • Don’t make the price hikes too extreme - consumers will be tempted by a small increase in price for the extra perks, but if it’s too hefty chances are they’ll be put off.
  • Don’t slate your lower-priced items - you don’t want to give the impression they’re inadequate or unfit for purpose or you’ll shoot yourself in the foot altogether. 

Top tip: notice how the Dollar Shave Club employ social proof to encourage consumers into selecting the mid-priced option over the cheapest by calling it the ‘members favourite’? Social proof is a powerful online tool as consumers value the opinion of their peers highly. 

3. Breadcrumbs

The concept of breadcrumbs (a name derived from Hansel and Grettel) is a navigation system which shows your consumers their trail of previous pages visited on your site, like this:

Typically, breadcrumbs appear horizontally at the top of a page and provide links back to the pages previously viewed by browsers, and the idea is to assist in their user experience on your website and prevent any barriers to purchase.

For example, if a visitor is browsing through several of your products and ends up down somewhat of a rabbit hole of discovery but decide they want to purchase the first item they saw, breadcrumbs would allow them to go straight back and complete their purchase. 

Without breadcrumbs, it might take them a while to find the item again, they could lose patience or run out of time, and this could put them off altogether.

4. Offer free delivery

Although delivery costs typically add up to a couple of pounds, offering free delivery is a powerful motivator to get consumers to spend more money with you. 

There are two tactics you can employ to ensure free delivery leads to customers putting more in their basket:

  1. Upsell to free delivery - this is a tried and tested method of boosting sales - ‘spend £20 to get free delivery’ - even if your consumer only needs an item worth £15, chances are they’ll pop something else in their basket to up their total and get free delivery. Even if the postage costs are less than £5, the idea of getting something for nothing is oftentimes too good to miss.
  2. Free delivery for a limited time - for example, ‘free delivery this weekend only’. By putting a time frame on your offer you’ll instil a sense of urgency in consumers, and once they’re on your website they’ll be more likely to add more items to their basket to avoid paying for postage down the line. 

Remember: if you offer free delivery no matter the spend, this is unlikely to be as effective in boosting basket sizes as if you put a lower limit on how much consumers need to spend in order to be eligible for free shipping. It might also leave you out of pocket, so be careful and crunch the numbers to make sure the numbers add up.

5. Discounts

Us Brits love nothing more than feeling like we’ve bagged ourself a bargain, and this is as true online as it is face-to-face. 

The thrill of a discount is so tempting to consumers that they’re willing to spend more on multiple items, even if they only really need one, making discounts and promotions a great way to shift excess stock while upping total basket spend at the same time

Your classic discounts like ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘three for the price of two’ always work well, but in the online arena you can also use methods like ‘spend £50 and get £5 off’ to encourage shoppers to add additional items to their basket to clinch the deal.

Tip: add a timescale to your discount, like ‘discount ends at midnight’ or ‘while stocks last’ to really add a sense of urgency and encourage consumers to act quickly for fear of missing out. 

Remember: always spend some time working out which items to discount and crunch the numbers to ensure it makes financial sense and doesn’t leave you out of pocket. 

6. Bundles

Bundling up items that work well together for a slightly reduced price is a nifty method of upping customer spending and can work in a whole variety of industries, for example:

  • A home furnishing site could bundle up matching cushions, a blanket, and a lampshade.
  • Stationery sellers could bundle up matching notebooks, pencil cases, and pens.
  • Cosmetics businesses could bundle up their bestselling mascara, eyeliner and bronzers.
  • And so on and so forth, there’s no hard and fast rule to what you include in your bundle.

One thing to bear in mind is that it’s important you also sell these items individually so consumers have the choice of whether to bundle up for a reduction in price or not. Research shows if you don’t give this option your efforts are unlikely to be effective, as shoppers don’t like to feel pressured into a buying decision. 

7. Loyalty

Loyal customers can be a goldmine as research shows they’re happy to spend more money with the businesses they’re loyal to.

So, to get your customers to put more in their basket, foster feelings of loyalty by:

  • Engaging on social media - create two-way dialogue and show you care about your customers by responding and interacting with them on your social feeds.
  • Creating a loyalty programme or offering discounts for repeat customers - you could give your subscriber list of existing customers early access to sales and promotions, for example.
  • Making your business available - your contact details should be easy to find, and it should be a priority that any questions or concerns are addressed promptly.
  • Asking existing customers to leave you reviews and displaying these prominently on your website.

8. The user experience 

One of the most important elements to successfully selling online is the user experience you offer your customers, and this all boils down to the quality of your website. 

If your site’s difficult to navigate, takes too long to load or is visually unappealing, this can lead to instant abandonment by browsers.

Did you know? Nearly three-quarters of consumers would leave a site if they encountered an ‘error 404’ page. 

The user experience is paramount to successfully selling online so unless you get it right all your other efforts could be in vain. Here are our tips for creating a top-notch UX:

  • Make your website https - otherwise, it will show as ‘not secure’ in search engine results and put browsers off at the first hurdle.
  • Have plenty of whitespace on each page. 
  • Break up text with bullet points and subheadings so you don’t overwhelm visitors.
  • Make it easy to navigate with the likes of breadcrumbs and condensed ‘hamburger’ menus (find out more here).
  • Use consistent branding on every page, including images, logos, tone of voice, colours, etc.
  • Include customer reviews to provide social proof and foster trust.
  • Offer dark mode - this is beneficial to night time shoppers, and their numbers are on the rise.
  • Offer safe and secure payments.

Top tip: you can find out more about improving your website here.

9. Payments

One of the biggest problems online retailers encounter is cart abandonment - the consumer jumps ship at the final hurdle - and one of the leading causes for cart abandonment is lack of trust in a site and its ability to securely and safely handle a transaction.

It is of the utmost importance that you offer a safe and secure payment experience for consumers if you want all your efforts in upping their basket size to bear fruit and result in bigger bottom lines.

Not only that, but your payment process should also be streamlined, simple to use, and fitting with the rest of your branding and aesthetics.

But don’t worry, achieving this is now easier than ever thanks to the leading payment gateways available on the market, like ours.

Payment gateway

Here at takepayments, our payment gateways are the cream of the crop, even if we do say so ourselves.

They hook up with the majority of leading shopping carts and have your business open and ready to accept card payments 24/7.

You can customise them to fit your branding and offer a smooth and streamlined customer experience, plus you’ll get access to real-time reports and transaction management too. 

If all that wasn’t enough, they’re also super safe too thanks to our two-pronged approach to security:

  • Our gateways are SSL certified meaning the connection protects both you and your customer’s details.
  • They use 3D secure technology, an added level of security checks for the customer.

To find out more about our payment gateways or get the ball rolling today, reach out to one of our friendly experts. 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce


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