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Top cross-selling email examples for compelling campaigns

By Stacy Kimbell

December 19, 2023

Email cross-selling is an essential strategy for enhancing customer interactions. It’s a sophisticated blend of sales and relationship building. By emulating successful cross-selling email examples, businesses can further improve their campaigns.

Email cross-selling combines understanding customer needs with offering relevant product suggestions. Done right, it results in increased sales and improved customer satisfaction.

This article discusses the art of crafting compelling cross-selling campaigns. We’ll explore the basics and showcase examples from top brands. We’ll also discuss practical strategies to maximize your results.

Without further ado, let’s begin with the basics.

Understanding cross-selling in email marketing

Cross-selling is a strategic email marketing approach to expand sales opportunities.  This email marketing strategy provides personalized offers based on consumers’ past purchases.

The following sections provide an in-depth overview of cross-selling. We’ll discuss how cross-selling benefits businesses and their customers.

What is cross-selling?

Businesses use cross-selling as a marketing strategy to promote extra goods and services. It could either be complementary or related products or services. Businesses make these suggestions to customers post-purchase, often via email.

The effectiveness of cross-selling depends on choosing the right products. These products should complement the customer’s initial purchase.

For instance, you could offer a customer who buys a camera a memory card. You can also suggest protective camera bags to the same customer.

Benefits of cross-selling emails

Cross-selling emails are a strategic component of nurturing long-term relationships and driving revenue. Let’s explore how these emails can be a game-changer in your marketing efforts.

Increase in sales

Cross-selling emails can significantly boost a business’s revenue and profitability. They increase sales without the need to acquire new customers. 

These emails encourage repeat purchases by presenting products that complement the initial purchase. They turn single transactions into multiple sales opportunities​​.

Improved customer retention

Cross-selling emails also enhance customer retention. Customers feel valued when they receive offers tailored to their preferences. This personalized approach builds trust and loyalty. It makes customers more likely to continue their relationship with your brand​​.

Targeted personalization

The essence of cross-selling emails lies in targeted personalization. Businesses can offer products and services that resonate with individual customers. They can analyze purchase history and customer behavior to do so.

This approach should feel more like a helpful suggestion than a sales tactic. It enhances the customer experience and encourages engagement.

Access to exclusive offers

Businesses often use cross-sell emails to promote special deals or exclusive offers. With these deals, customers can buy products at a more affordable price. Both customers and businesses benefit from cross-sell emails.

Four real-world examples of cross-selling emails

Need inspiration for your cross-selling campaigns? Below are five well-crafted cross-selling email examples from various industries. Their results show how this strategy can boost sales and benefit customers.

1. Open Spaces cross-sell email examples

Open Spaces’s email merges aesthetic appeal with practical allure. The header, ‘Holiday colors, limited quantities,’ creates urgency. Luxurious images of home organization products captivate the eye. 

The subtle yet effective cross-sell showcases items like entryway racks and storage bins. These products promise to enhance the buyer’s home environment. The message implies these items are a natural combination for sale.

Image via Really Good Emails

2. Casper cross-sell email example

Casper’s email shows a couple wrapped in a cozy embrace, depicting comfort and warmth. Casper then suggests bedding items as essentials for chilly weather. The  discounts are very visible, enticing customers to click through.

The email succeeds in cross-selling because it creates a narrative of comfort. It makes each item seem relevant to the customer’s home.

Image via Really Good Emails

3. Methodical Coffee cross-sell email example

Methodical Coffee’s cross-sell email is smooth. It confirms the order and provides shipment details, creating anticipation. Methodical Coffee suggests items customers ‘might also like to try.’ 

The cross-sell email suggests items like hats and travel mugs. This approach leverages the customer’s current engagement. It capitalizes on the excitement to cross-sell related lifestyle products.

Image via Really Good Emails

4. Rael cross-sell email example

Rael’s email captures the customer’s interest with the line, ‘We saw you checking us out’. This is an automated browse abandonment email with a cross-selling element. It reintroduces the customer’s product consideration, suggesting a revisit to the store. Below that, the cross-sell broadens to more skincare options.

This cross-sell strategy is effective. It reminds the customer of their previous views and presents additional, complementary products.

Image via Really Good Emails


Cross-sell strategy: Best practices and tips

An effective email marketing cross-sell strategy involves more than sending out product suggestions. It’s about creating a nuanced, customer-centric approach. This approach should resonate with your audience at the right time.

Let’s explore best practices and tips to develop a cross-sell strategy that converts.


Segmentation is crucial for a successful cross-sell strategy. It involves categorizing your customer base into distinct groups. These groups include demographics, purchase history, and onsite behavior. 

Understanding the different segments allows you to tailor your cross-sell emails. Segmentation helps you meet customers’ specific needs and interests. You can offer relevant offers that will likely be well-received and acted upon.


Personalization works alongside segmentation. It’s about tailoring your email content to each customer’s needs and preferences. This includes names, past purchase references, or product suggestions based on browsing history. 

Pro tip: Check out Mailchimp and Omnisend for easy personalized product recommendations.

Personalized emails are engaging and less generic, like sales pitches. It alters how customers perceive your message, increasing engagement and conversion rates. 


The timing of your cross-sell emails is critical. Sending them at the optimal moment in the customer journey enhances their effectiveness. 

For example, you might send a cross-sell email post-purchase when engagement is high. Send strategic emails that align with specific events related to the product. 

Effective timing guarantees your message is not only seen but also acted upon.

Cross-selling vs. upselling in emails

Understanding the distinction between cross-selling and upselling in email marketing is vital. It’s essential for creating effective email campaigns. Although often used interchangeably, these strategies serve different purposes in sales.

The table below highlights the differences between the two strategies.

Selling more products or services to existing customers.
Encouraging customers to buy a higher-end or an upgraded item they already bought.
To increase the number of products a customer buys.
To enhance the quality or value of the customer's purchase.
Requires understanding customer needs and offering complementary products.
Involves suggesting a more expensive product. Especially a better version of what the customer chose.

For example, if a sunglasses brand sends an email offering engraving and sunglasses personalization, it is upselling because you have to pay extra for your new sunglasses and personalization. This increases the value of the purchase.

See the example of upselling below.

If the same brand sends an email after you have already purchased your sunglasses and offers exclusive accessories like a chain holder, it’s cross-selling.

Understanding your audience and their journey with your products is crucial. This knowledge helps in deciding which strategy to apply.

Analyzing the impact of cross-selling emails on sales

The influence of cross-selling emails on sales is substantial and measurable. A strategic automated email improves engagement and conversion metrics. 

For instance, automated cross-sell emails have a click rate of 3.08% and a conversion rate of 0.47%. At first glance, these numbers may seem modest, but they are at least twice as good as regular email campaign results.

Cross-selling emails utilize established customer interests. They leverage previous purchases to suggest complementary products.

This targeted approach results in higher engagement compared to generic marketing emails. Thus, even a slight increase in conversion rates can lead to a notable increase in sales. This is particularly true for businesses with large customer bases.

The success of cross-selling emails can create a ripple effect. Customers who find these suggestions useful tend to trust future recommendations. This fosters a cycle of ongoing engagement and purchases. It enhances the lifetime value of customers.

Common pitfalls in cross-selling email campaigns and how to avoid them

Many factors can hinder the success of a cross-selling email campaign. Recognizing and avoiding them is crucial for effective and engaging emails. Here are seven common pitfalls to watch out for in your cross-sell strategy:

1. Over-promotion

Spread your communications to avoid overwhelming your audience. Bombarding customers with too many cross-sell offers can lead to email fatigue.

2. Irrelevant offers

Always ensure your offers are relevant and useful. Suggesting irrelevant products or services can damage trust.

3. Lack of personalization

Make sure you tailor your emails to appeal to each customer. Generic emails that don’t address the customer’s specific interests are less likely to engage.

4. Ignoring customer feedback

Pay attention to what your customers tell you. Neglecting customer feedback or preferences can result in off-target offers.

5. Poor timing

Be strategic with your email timing. Sending cross-selling emails at inappropriate times can reduce their impact.

6. Complex offers

Keep your propositions clear and straightforward. Don’t complicate or send confusing offers that can deter customers.

7. Neglecting data analysis

Analyze customer data for better insights. Use customer data to inform your strategy for effective targeting. 

Understanding these pitfalls allows you to plan your cross-selling email campaigns. This approach increases your email campaign’s potential for high conversion.

Cross-selling email examples: Wrap up

Cross-selling emails are a strategic asset in email marketing. These emails are valuable for enhancing customer value and boosting sales.

The art of cross-selling in emails involves creativity, timing, and personalization. It’s about offering customers enriching products at the perfect moment. Communicate in a way that resonates with your customers.

As you move forward, review your current email campaigns and identify cross-selling opportunities. Apply the best practices and harness the cross-selling email examples in this post.

Each cross-sell email is a step towards deeper customer relationships and brand loyalty. Use cross-selling well and you will see your brand’s customer engagement soar.

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