Upsell email examples and strategies

Upsell emails are a great tool to boost your revenue by offering customers a newer, bigger, or better version of what they had in mind.

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Upsell emails are a great tool to boost your revenue by offering customers a newer, bigger, or better version of what they had in mind.

But what is an upsell email? Upsell emails encourage existing customers to buy a more expensive version of the product they are in the process of buying or have already bought. Sometimes, the product is presented as an upgrade.

Upsell emails differ from cross-sell emails in that they promote a higher-priced version of what the customer is already buying or has already bought, while cross-sell emails refer to a product or service that complements what the customer is buying but is something different.

While technically not the same thing, cross-selling is often talked about as a type of upselling. Because we want you to be able to use both strategies in your email marketing, we’ve gathered some great cross and upsell email examples from our MailCharts database to help you create your own upsell email campaigns.

Upsell Email Examples & Strategy

Promote post-purchase add-ons

This email from Underwear Expert lets the customer know their order is about to be shipped while offering them the option to add some funky socks. The call-to-action buttons are very clear. They don’t send the customer back to the online store but allow them to instantly add socks to their cart for easy checkout. This makes it very easy for them to purchase more than they initially intended to.

If you sign up for MailCharts and browse around our database, you’ll see many upselling email examples like this one from top ecommerce brands.

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Offer a complimentary product

Easier than offering an upsell is recommending complementary products to the one the customer just bought. These can even be lower-priced, making an impulse buy more likely. When it comes to cross-sell email examples, this one from Adidas is really good. It thanks the customer for their recent purchase but also illustrates their look might not be complete yet through an animated headline that at first has letters missing. The brand then suggests a few products that would go great with the customer’s purchase, making it easy for them to click and buy.

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Remind them of their upcoming delivery

Sending cross-sell emails can be a great tactic for subscription services. In this example, Hydrant alerts subscribers of their upcoming subscription box delivery. They remind the subscriber of their exclusive member pricing which lowers the chance of them canceling their subscription.

Hydrant then uses a big bold font to indicate not only what the customer already ordered but also to ask if they “want more?” And again, subscribers get discounted rates if they add a product to their order. The choice to do so is low-risk as the extra product is just a one-time add-on. 

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Get creative with your upsell offer

If your product doesn’t have a premium version or your customer already bought your most expensive product, see if you can upsell through an inherent product feature or by extending your service. Book of the Month offers its subscribers a discount when they lock in their subscription for a year. They call it the “savvy” thing to do, and who doesn’t want to think of themselves as savvy? The email design is simple, focusing on nothing but the upsell offer, with a clear call-to-action to “upgrade to yearly”.

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Remind them to stock up

If you track purchasing behavior, you know when your customers are most likely to stock up on their favorite products, and when they don’t, you can simply send them an email to remind them they might be running low. That’s exactly what Cure does in this upsell email example. On top of that, they’re offering a $10 discount and they make it clear they’re just an email reply away if the customer has any feedback or questions. Both of these tactics serve to eliminate any doubts the recipient may have about buying a new pack of Cure.

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Keep it simple

While technically not a direct upsell, you can always offer customers a discount on their next purchase like Crocs does in this email. It’s a great way to get people to come back, especially if you put an expiry date on the discount code. Sometimes it’s better to use this tactic than to try and force an upsell or cross-sell with products that aren’t relevant to the customer.

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Tips to Create Great Upsell Emails

Use the ecommerce upsell examples above as inspiration for your own upsell email campaigns and read on for more general tips on how to create the best upsell emails.

Next, gather all the tactics listed on this page and run A/B tests to see what works best for your audience. This way, you can keep perfecting your default upsell email template and boost your revenue year after year.

Send a post-purchase upsell email

It’s common to include an upsell on your checkout page but your customer might need to be tempted more than once before they opt for the more expensive version of a product. A purchase confirmation email can easily serve as an upsell email as well.

Start by showcasing the purchased products and add a note about the benefits of upgrading. If you just sold someone a portable dehumidifier, they may have been on the edge about being the more eco-friendly and quieter but slightly more expensive version. Give them the option to change their order and make it super easy to do so by adding a button to your email.

You could even make this option time-sensitive.

Celebrate customer milestones with an upsell offer

Before you start to sell, congratulate your customer on the milestone they’ve reached. Maybe they’ve been a subscriber for a full year, their birthday is coming up, or their kids reach a certain age.


Focus on how your product has helped them reach this milestone, then present your upsell as a way for them to get even better results, make their lives easier, or move on to the next stage.

A loyal customer of your skincare brand may turn the big 50. That’s the perfect time to celebrate them, applaud them for taking care of themselves, and mention your more elaborate 50+ line.

And if someone has bought their first yoga mat a few months ago, they may be interested in some yoga blocks or stretch bands to improve their practice. Congratulate them on being active and don’t forget to share some fun yoga videos they could follow at home – using your blocks and stretch bands, of course.

Tease loyal customers with a product launch

This is a great upsell strategy to try on a segment of loyal fans or repeat customers. Someone who’s been buying your product for years will want to know when you’re launching a new version and they’ll probably also be the first in line to buy it.

Someone who is already on your list and buying your product is the perfect person to present an upsell to. Don’t limit your upsell emails to the classic list of other recommended products but get creative and test which upsell emails work best for your brand.

Need more inspiration? Create a free MailCharts account to view more examples of upsell emails.