15 Persuasion Rules To Use From Amazon’s Upsell Strategy in 2019

15 Persuasion Rules To Use From Amazon’s Upsell Strategy in 2019

Let me talk to you a little about “upselling”, the breakdown of upselling: upselling is how the seller is trying to persuade customers to spend more money on products/services that can perfect or make the original product your customer is already buying.

An upsell is usually an additional high-end product or part of a bundle. If you’re buying a 2019 Maserati Ghibli with monthly payments of $719, adding about another $100 for oil change maintenance seems like anything.

If you have done any shopping on Amazon Prime or registered a domain name through GoDaddy, you have encountered upselling, especially during the checkout process.

Now to keep it real, I don’t know anybody that’s better at the upsell game than Amazon. Amazon also effectively uses their cross-sell strategy, which is when you recommend your customer buys another product that is similar to their already existing purchase, but usually from a different category, vendor or website. They also use the pre-sell method, that deals with bundling or reducing the price of high-priced products if you buy multiple products.

persuasion rules amazon

I’ll give you an example, head to Amazon and look up Atmos Home Theater Package, Amazon will automatically show you other products (audio stereo speaker wire cable and speaker banana plug) that “frequently bought together,” (because you need them) as shown in the image above. That’s simple cross-selling! When you talk about that in an internet marketing strategy, upselling is real money. When Amazon started their upsell game back in 2006 (using the phrase “customers who bought this item also bought”) their sales increased by 35%.

screenshot showing conversions and revenue stats

For this post, I’m sharing some knowledge into the upsell techniques Amazon uses to persuade online shoppers to use buy again and again. Here are 15 persuasion rules for upselling your Shopify marketing strategy.

Rule #1: Deliver Appropriate Messages That Relate

If you want to attract the attention of your potentials, you must deliver appropriate relevant messages. Let’s breakdown how Amazon does this.

If you shop for a TBlue luxury makeup bag right now, Amazon will suggest relevant items that work seamlessly with the product. That makes it more likely that you will buy both items.

view item

In terms of content marketing, Relevance in content marketing also refers to how and where you distribute your content. You want to promote it so your intended audience will see it.  Just like the image demonstrates below:


How do you deliver an effective message?

The key to making relevant marketing work is to study your target audience and figure out what truly motivates them to take action. If you want people to respond to your message, make it relevant and eliminate every form of manipulation. Connect with the people that can relate to what you’re talking about.

Notice how Amazon is presenting a close related product inspiring action without hard-selling a damn thing.

When it comes to the content marketing era, whether you’re sending emails to your subscribers, writing posts, PRs, creating videos or recording podcasts, the words “relevance” and “value” are the two focal points in your message. Traditional marketing models don’t encourage either of them, which is why content marketing is legit.

Rule #2: Create A Short-Stack

A relevant upsell with a bit of scarcity always get people into the buying mood. When you search for a lot of products on Amazon, you can immediately see how many they have left, and there’s a solid call-to-action too. It’s pretty powerful persuasive stuff. So since the item is related to the buyer, there’s less buying resistance.


Creating a short-stack of products left can increase the demand for your product and motivate people to take instant action.

Does scarcity really work? You damn right it! It does! Peep Marcus of ConversionXL increased sales by 332% by mentioning that only 5,000 packages were available.

How can you create scarcity from Amazon’s upsell strategy?

Again, identify a need: You have to know what your target audience needs? Don’t be afraid to ask the people who subscribe to your email list to send back their challenges or quick surveys to find the right answers. Try Survey Monkey to do this for free.


Specify the available quantity: If you are promoting a product, make it clear in your copy or online store how many are available. If you are offering a service like one-on-one coaching or personal training, create scarcity by highlighting the limited number of places to your prospects (e.g. 50 slots available).

Rule #3: Increase Expected Price

prices amazon

Another subtle way to upsell is bundle items together. Amazon does that all the time, as the screenshot above shows.

It’s effective as hell!

There was a study from Harvard Business School showed that where some customers might have waited before buying games consoles, but bundles enticed some consumers to buy earlier.

There’s also a psychological reason why bundles work… it’s all about expected prices or knowing how much it will cost in total.

When two or more products/items are put together and sold as one, that can increase the perceived value as well as the Average Order Value (AOV) of a particular product.

average order value

It works for almost anything. The DAC Group realized that putting together multimedia and print ad placements for the Yellow Pages, gave them a result in a median call increase of 47%.

Moral of that story is that if you want to sell more of your products and services, increase their perceived value by offering bundles and packages. Look at the Skype call or email course as an add-on to a book purchase. If the bundle is both valuable and relevant (there’s that word again), you will persuade more people to buy.

Lesson #4: Use Color Psychology to Influence Sales

Ever notice the Amazon’s color scheme for its upsell? The item description, which is hyperlinked, is light blue, while the price is a deep red (maroon). People naturally click blue links more. It is also a color of trust which gives shoppers/buyers confidence.

amazon links

The color for the price in the image above instantly stands out. Deep red is associated with vigor, courage, and willpower. I think Amazon puts prices in deep red because it instantly tells shoppers the price and place that order immediately.

But what this tells us for marketing is as follows: the colors you use on your pages and blogs matter a lot. According to Fast Company, color is behind 90% reason for decisions made for buying a product. Choose the right color and you help persuade people to press the “buy now” button. Be warned: the wrong color can also be distracting as hell and make them leave.

My boy, Matthew Woodward, recommends new visitors red links and returning visitors the blue link color in this crazy study.

However, just because blue is normally used for links doesn’t mean you should use it. What truly matters is that you make your link stand out and underlined (if needed). Look at Amazon doing this – the underline appears when you hover your mouse over an item.

Rule #5: Choose the Right Images

amazon images

Another part to the upsell game, Amazon shows customers relevant images that balance what shoppers already had in mind. In the example above, there are two color choices for a speaker, plus a carry case. Note that the images are clear and sharp.

Sellbrite says the product image is the most important part of a product listing. Potential customers hardly buy anything without seeing it so you need the right images to match the product.

Here’s another example of a fantastic product image, from made.com. The armchairs shown on their home page are beautiful and inviting, suggesting a warmth which makes you want to check out their ongoing sales.

wayfair image

They go as far as making that emotional connection with their buyers. You can do this on your blogs and for your products, try to avoid weak stock photos. Instead, use images that truly represent your product or service and increase those conversion rates.

The idea of using images for the products is meant to inspire your audience, and the side-effect on sales and engagement can be incredible. That’s the reason why Amazon provides strict guidelines for sellers on the use of product images.

Rule #6: Building Trust

trust reviews amazon

In addition, to be the best-loved online shopping brand, Amazon uses 5-star ratings and keep it real with honest customer reviews to help people, both on the upsell and normal product sales. That’s because you don’t have to struggle to convince people to buy if you earn their trust.

As WeMakeWebsites points out, Buying online requires a lot of trusts. And people trust other people more than they trust retailers – that’s social proof within itself.

It works both ways. Andy Hanselman says that increasing ‘trust’ can improve customer loyalty to your brand by 44%. Meanwhile, a study cited by Techcrunch showed that a change of half a star in Yelp ratings could actually affect the perception of a restaurant.

Let’s face it; if you’re planning to buy a product on Amazon, and it has more than 18,000 mostly positive ratings, you bet your ass you’re going to pay attention. As well as the star rating, what people say is important too.

So how can you build trust as an internet marketer? I think Myron Goldsmith from ProductPro captured it in this comment:


In other words, let others tell your readers and customers how great you are. Hell, it works for Amazon, doesn’t it?

Rule #7: Match Your Searchers’ Intent

Let’s pretend for a second that you are shopping for wireless headphones on Amazon and got an upsell offer of a car stereo? The chance that you would buy the upsell is slim to none. That’s why it’s important to tailor your upsell to what people are actually catering to.

The key to success with this strategy is to avoid making those assumptions. As they say on business2community.com, those can seriously harm your business. Here’s how you can get rid of the assumptions and give the searchers what they are looking for with your upsell:

google keyword planner

Step #1: Go to Google Keyword Planner and research keywords that relate to your planned upsell.

Step #2: Research your keywords to figure out why a potential customer would search for the phrase.

Let’s use an example:

Weight loss pills for women that work

That lovely lady who’s searching for this phrase has probably tried different weight loss pills and is tired of the “not so effective” ones. She may have read a few reviews online but is still confused about what to do next and which product is right for her. That’s why she’s added the “that works” suffix to her search query.

If this is your area, there’s an opportunity for an upsell. Your role as a Shopify marketer is to bridge the gap between your product and your audience’s needs. How do can you achieve that? Just follow step number 3…

Step #3: Start to sort out answers by visiting other sites in your niches, something like a weight-loss blog or a Shopify store like Amazon to see what pills have really helped other consumers over the last three months.

review section amazon

Once you have a few answers, then you are ready to move onto step 4.

Step #4: It’s now time to write your content. Now you have proof that the product works, write content to deliver what your visitors are looking for. Here’s one possible headline:

Best Weight Loss Pills For Women That Work – 360 Consumer Reviews

As you set up your content, focus on the benefits of the product, let the stories of people who used it tell it all, and how they used it. Link the success stories out to back up your claims.

This four-step process works for any product or service and can make your upsell more intriguing.

Rule #8: Over-Deliver on People’s Expectations

amazon expectations

Most online shoppers come to Amazon planning to buy something and leave. But as we all know, there’s always that temptation to stick around and buy something else – or spend a little bit more than you had intended. Now, why is this? Well, part of Amazon’s upsell success game is over-delivering. That’s a dominating persuasion tactic.

As the Forbes says over-delivering makes people happy, builds trust and creates great relationships, all of which can make them want to take action. Free shipping, for example, a huge selling point. which is why more retailers offer it, as the chart from Business Insider shows:

ecommerce free shipping

If you care about your audience, challenge yourself to exceed beyond their expectations. It’s the most important relationship you will have with your business.

If you promise a 1-hour coaching session, think about adding some extra time and a couple of new chapters of your upcoming book for free. It’s not going to cost you much and you will gain a big win by increasing trust after all is one of the keys to winning and success.

Rule #9: Earn Respect and Create a Bond with Your Target Audience

Do you know what goes along with trust? Engagement. I’m talking about engaging your business, building up a rapport with your audience. That’s a key element of creating that urge in internet marketing.

One of my favorite ways to build rapport is by making members of your own special clubs. That’s exactly what Amazon has done with the amazing Prime membership program. Literally, for only $99 annually, this program has experienced colossal success, outshining other retailers left and right. Check out this proof from their growth from Smart Insights, it’s insane:

revenue per tech company

The beautiful thing about Prime is, for those who don’t know, you get these wonderful discounts and kick-ass benefits (remember: over-delivering again). If you’re not, you probably want to be.

Amazon Prime is one way that Amazon built that relationship with the people and their customers, making them more likely to respond to the upsell.

So how can you do that for your business? Well, studies show that engaging with people will get them to be more interested in you and make them listen.  First, you have to listen to them. Remember to ask questions and find out what their problems are, then answer their questions with your solution. In most cases your solution doesn’t have to be a product or a service, it could simply be just advice delivered in the form of content.

Don’t be afraid to also use email marketing, which is also a powerful tool to help drive engagement and help you connect with your audience.

Rule #10: Be Consistent at All Cost

Eric Holtzclaw, Company Strategist, and writer for Inc.com rightly noted that consistency is the difference between failure and success. In other words, one month of increased profits doesn’t make your business successful. The key to success is to be consistent.

amazon quarterly revenue

But it’s not just profits that need to be consistent. A vital key to persuasion is brand consistency. Your brand has to be much more than logos, symbols, and color; it’s how your target audience looks at you. 

Your message is part of that.

A consistent message builds trust. It fulfills the expectations of your target audience, educates customers and boosts sales.

The world’s best-known brands, like Coca-Cola, knows the importance of consistency (and when they screwed with it their own business suffers).

One of the reasons Amazon is so persuasive is because of the consistency. When you visit Amazon you know you will find a wide product range, free shipping, discounts, and product reviews.

You can be consistent too, just produce useful and data-driven content, helpful social media posts, or email marketing campaigns. I know consistency pays off, simply sending 9,592 emails has produced amazing ROI for me.

Rule #11: Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse – Brando Style

This concept is pretty straightforward. Whether you want to encourage people to join your list or buy your product, making them an offer they can’t refuse can help you win success and business.

An upsell that offers value for your customers is too good to pass up. This is how Amazon does it.

If you decide to buy a new 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, wouldn’t it make sense to satisfy your happiness and add a whole furniture set, save a little money and get free shipping? I know the upsell is overwhelming right?

upsell strategy amazon

Here’s another great example of a tempting offer. Using Leadpages allows industry experts and bloggers to list their landing page templates on its new marketplace for landing page template and you get 100% sales commission. In other words, they didn’t take a cut for the listing.


My question to you: what can you offer your customers where they would find it hard to refuse?

Rule #12: Use Basic “Call-To-Action” CTA Buttons

A company called Proimpact7 conducted this intensive study on call to action (CTA) buttons to determine how the wording can either increase or decrease sales.  The test lasted for two weeks and they discovered that when a CTA button says “buy now” or “purchase now,” it caused conversions decreased by 9.61% and 14.50% respectively. Pretty wild.

add to cart chart

However, using “add to cart” on the button gives the audience they need and confidence to secure their items, without necessarily paying anything right away.

Amazon has been experimenting with the use of the “add to cart” button, especially with the upsell game. Remember that it’s easy to add a whole bundle package to your cart – subtle, but surely effective.

add to cart

It is so critical to get the correct wording down. I know the email marketing company Constant Contact does a great job of this:

constant contact

Their home page takes a different approach.

email campaigns constant contact

“Sign Up Free” or “Explore Email Campaign Ideas” buttons are simple as possible. This gives the notion to prospects/buyers on the options they can choose – whichever is right for them. The one on the left is for people who aren’t ready to make the commitment fully, and the one on the right gets visitors are ready to take the plunge.

The words you choose should persuade people to make a purchase – here are 10 calls to action case studies to help you find the right CTAs and increase conversions.

Rule #13: Showcase Results and Own the Room

Newton’s third law states: every action results in an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, put something in, to get something back. This works for persuasion and content marketing too. Again, it goes back to Giving your audience what they are looking for and they will reward that value with their appreciation with: time, engagement, email address, and money.

Amazon showcases numerous results as part of its value exchange with online shoppers. You see below in the detailed product description and the consumer reviews.

product description

You can achieve a level of success and increase your conversion rates by providing useful content, meeting people’s needs and touching their lives in a special way, before asking them to either subscribe to your list or buy your product.

Just like Amazon, be proud to showcase results on your landing pages. Include the results you achieved and testimonials from real people. This helps with increasing engagement on your webpage, grow your list and boost your income.

logos and brands

Rule #14: Show Guidance – Lead to a Sale

I talked about Prime before, but it’s worth talking about it again because it’s a big damn deal and a key part of Amazon’s upsell strategy. An Amazon Prime membership gives you free two-day shipping, 30-minute access to member-only deals, access to 500,000 free books and much more. Many products have the instantly recognizable Prime logo next to the price.

amazon prime prices

Amazon encourages its members to look for the Prime logo when they shop so that they can grab all the good stuff first.

amazon prime

Simple and very effective call-to-action

Not only does it draw the attention of Prime members, who KNOW they are getting a bargain, but it grabs the attention of other Amazon shoppers, who want the same deals. The upsell here is not just for the individual products, but for the Prime membership.

How can this persuasion tactic help increase your main objective?

Another example for you: release a limited number of copies of your product to your email subscribers first at a low price. That builds trust which can lead people to buy right away. After your list has had the chance, release the product to a wider audience later. Those who got it early will feel good about it, and others will want to sign up in case you offer another deal in the future.

Rule #15: Create a Sense of Urgency

lead scoring results inbound marketing

The last piece of the puzzle for persuading the right people to act on your Shopify marketing strategy is ‘urgency.’

When The Princeton Review used urgency in their message, those leads were a priority from their core audience.

In most people’s mind, if a particular product/item is available only for a limited time, it can simultaneously increase its exclusivity and value. That’s why specifying a limited availability window for your product or deals is a pretty cool persuasion strategy as well.

Amazon uses urgency to notify their shoppers to take action fast. You can get the item you want the next day, but only if you act quickly. The online retail conglomerate combines this with short-stack bundles (only 3 left in stock) to subtly persuade shoppers to make that click.

amazon screenshot of today's deals

If you want to use this strategy effectively, check out these six tips from Spiro Technologies.


Amazon uses these amazing 15 persuasion techniques described above because they simply work. It’s been so effective for Amazon that it helped them achieve a global net sales of $232 billionThose are the type of goals that should inspire your business.

And it’s not just Amazon who is using the above techniques, literally thousands of other online businesses are profiting from them as well. So why the hell are you not?

Get ready to use persuasion techniques in your Shopify marketing strategy?

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