Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Aazar Ali Shad who is a seasoned SaaS Growth Marketer who loves talking about growth marketing. He has his podcast on “Growth Marketing Stories”.  He is currently leading Vitals – The All-in-one-Shopify Marketing Tool to convert leads, upsell your products, boost revenue and improve the store experience.

Welcome to the podcast, Aazar.

Thank you so much for inviting me, Allen. I’m really looking forward to it. Had really good stuff about it, so yeah, happy to be here.

That’s awesome. And I’m excited to talk to you as well. Today we’re going to be diving deep about something that is really I think these days essential for ecommerce businesses, which is upselling. How do you really properly do that? And because I think most businesses these days will probably agree that it’s really important to try to increase your average order value as much as possible when you have that customer. If there’s other products or services that you can provide, you want to get them while they’re hot, so to speak, they’ve already pulled the trigger or about to pull the trigger.

And so upselling and even cross selling is something that can be done. And that’s something that we’re going to be diving deep into. But before we do get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you did get into what you’re doing today?

Yeah, that’s a good intro. First of all. And thank you for asking that basically I started my career as a salesperson who apparently also in tech. From the beginning, in tech, I was doing sales in telecom sales, and it was a little bit more techy than other products or other industries. And I started door to door and it was a B two B product, which means that I used to go to different offices and it was in Pakistan and I have driven in my sweaty shirts and sweaty pants and have to dance drive everywhere.

From that point, I actually after two years, moved to Germany and wanted to do my Masters and get out of the sweaty pants. So that happened. And then I stumbled on startup work through somebody. And I said, okay, let’s give it a try. And I was working big companies around like ten K plus employees and then went to start up early and then fell in love. And since that I had my own two startups. One was for Uber for long distance, didn’t work out in Germany.

Then there was another startup as well. And then there was E compliant GDPR start up as well, which was also mine. And then I work for Silicon Valley startup, which was doing credentialing. And then my recent success, I would say as somebody who strived so many products, eventually, one work, which was user pilot. I’m kind of a founding team member but recently moved away from my role as a head of growth and joined Vitals and Vitals. I saw the product and I saw the reviews. I saw that people I love, I saw white tools on YouTube and there were so many big fans and they got like 20,000 plus users without any proper marketing.

I would say so. I thought that without even marketing, if they could get this many customers, they could get a lot more customers if I do the marketing right. And I personally love the fact that they have huge raving fans and they’ve grown with such a good revenue as well. And whatever I will do is like gold for me if I jump into any kind of marketing strategy and it will be gold. And the only point is at what point I can take them to. And so I saw the huge opportunity as white as a tool that can help a lot of small, medium e commerce brands.

And the biggest argument was the page speed. Like, okay, if you have so many apps, the page speed goes down. We all know that from the WordPress site as well. So Vital is solving a really big problem about page feed, but as well as the conversions and marketing stuff as well. So that’s why I made a decision to join Waters and they have some really amazing products that I think did not have enough attention. So I think they’re doing a good job and a lot of people are adopting it as soon as they make some product, people tell me on my interviews they love our product roadmap, what we are doing.

So something is happening, right? If I’m correct.

Okay. Great. Well, that’s awesome. I’m very familiar with the whole Shopify app store ecosystem, and you guys are doing well. I definitely saw you guys have a ton of raving reviews there. We’re out there as well. Osi software. I’m always looking at other vendors. What are they doing? How are they positioning themselves? And so, yeah, you guys are definitely doing well with respect to meeting the needs of Shopify customers through that platform. So that’s awesome. Definitely take my hat off to you on that. But as I started at the beginning and indicated that we’re going to be diving deep into Upselling and cross selling.

Why don’t you kind of break it down for us? Let us know. Kind of for the newbies that are here what’s cross selling, what’s up selling? And are there any specific initial techniques to kind of get into it or ease into it, so to speak?

Yeah. So first of all, I would say that before diving into Upselling, cross selling you as a merchant, you need to understand if you really need that. If we have a very high luxury product and cost a lot of money, perhaps you don’t need it. Perhaps you only have one product you can’t do upsell. So you need to, first of all, know why you’re doing Upsell and cross sell. And so I’ll define what upsell and cost sell is. Upsell is something. Hey, this is a mobile which has ten GB cost $200.

And then there is another mobile, the similar mobile, but has more GB, and you pay a little bit more. It’s better. It looks better. So that’s how I define Upsell like it’s just like a bit better product and you pay more for it. Cross sell is something that is complementary. So, for example, you have this mobile and then there is this case for it. Right. You can use case and you can have headphones, which could be airport, and then you together, they cost a little bit less.

But you have two things together. This is how we define upsell versus cross sell, and that’s the basic differentiation between both of them. But both of them have very similar end result, which is increasing the average order value. It also helps with maybe, in general, like reducing the complexity, increasing the revenue. I would also say that it also sometimes helps with your products, which are less moving products. You can bring it together. So these are a couple of reasons why I think makes sense for you.

At the end of the day. It’s all about profit. So you have to think about, like, if these two products, if you bundle it together, makes sense. And if it makes sense, perhaps your product people are already buying from you, and that increases the profitability at the end of the day got you.

Thanks for breaking that down. That’s an awesome explanation, because I think a lot of times people be confused with the upselling and the cross sell. But I think you did a perfect explanation of really what that is with the cross selling. Like you said, the mobile phone device is an excellent example where the case would be a cross sell item. The main product is that mobile phone, but a complementary product or an accessory is that cross sell. And that’s all seeing a lot of ecommerce stores. Now we got a variety of listeners here on the podcast, people that are ecommerce entrepreneurs, business owners, ecommerce marketers, and kind of all stages of the game, so to speak, what I’ve seen in encountering a lot of ecommerce businesses because we deal with a lot of ecommerce business on a day to day basis.

What I see often is a lot of times businesses that, let’s say, have more than one product struggle with kind of how to put them together. How to do an effective Upsell, how to do an effective cross sell because I think they have a tendency of not wanting to overwhelm the customer and not wanting to overly complicate the checkout process. And so that’s kind of a fine line. If you could share just some initial tips on, how would one effectively go about doing an Upsell or cross sell or both and not necessarily overwhelming the customer?

Yeah, that’s a very good question. And I have to say, I think about it, which means it’s a good question as a podcaster, when somebody says a good question means that you have made that important thing. So I think the first thing you need to know is to going back to what does the customer need? Not what do you need, but what does the customer need? The customer needs. They must be already buying it. You need to look at the pattern together, see which products the same customer is buying.

Gather already so that you can already bundle it to get into the cross sell app. Cross sell together and Upselling is something that people write you in chat. Hey, can I have a better version of this or what? I remember the first time on an e commerce shop. I bought a mic, which was around $20 or something. And then I read a lot of reviews about that, and it was just good enough as a starting point faster. And then I bought an expensive mic, which was around $60.

And now I have even more expensive mind, which is $120. So the way to think about Upsell is if you have these three different lines of products, you can anchor them in a way that this is the most popular product, and you will save this many things, or you will get this many things to actually get away from it. There was an experiment about pricing anchoring, where a new subscription company said, okay, if you just buy paper, it will cost $20. For example. I don’t remember exact experiment.

And there was like if you buy just paper, it will be 125. And if you buy together, it will be 125 as well. But you get audio as well. So the middle one did not get any buying. There was like just newsletter, which is online one which was like $20. Right. That 4%. And the 86% people bought the second one. What I’m trying to explain here is that if you bundle it in a way, you can anchor it in a way that people buy it. Right.

So that’s just one thing that I can tell you. But you need to think about are people looking for those products already? Are the people buying? You can also look at your analytics and see which products are being highly sold and has high margin as well. And so you can anchor it that way as well. So that’s what I think. Another way to find out is that how people are actually bundling it. And now we’re going to cross it. So for example, when I bought this mic by Blue JC Mic, it totally makes sense for me to buy a stand as well as the stand for table that I am not using right now.

But I bought it because I said it makes sense, right? I bought for the first time it came with the package, but this time it didn’t. But I need it. And then when I use Bluetooth, it felt like I don’t need the other mic. Right. Other handstand mic. What I’m trying to explain here is that it naturally goes together for the process and people are buying it. If you see two people buying the same product similar product to complement. He said that you can quickly make a cross sell offer to it and let people use the effective discount strategies with it.

But with upsell, it’s a bit difficult because you need to make sure the product is better. You need to anchor it. So that’s how I differentiate it. I also want to tell you that your customers will tell you directly or indirectly. If you look at like, for example, indirectly, look at I don’t know, user recording tools to look at what they are doing inside the application, how they are clicking on it, which button they are clicking. Do they put it in the add to cart and just buy one or buy together?

You will get those ideas from the user recording tools and obviously the analytics tool if you’re already using to find out that data as well. So if you’re not doing it, perhaps start doing it. I think that this is like strategy based level one. Everybody should be doing it right. And commerce, but obviously think about what’s good for you. We are seeing that advertising people initially loved the cross elaborate. So we have, like, cross eLabs such as volume discount where you can give people buy things together and keep giving them discount on top of each other and the other one app that people use very much often is product bundles.

Both are crosselabs. You just bundle it together instead of giving them volume to stand. Both are different ways to think about it. But recently we launched something called Buy One Get One or Buy X. Get Y offers applications as well. People were really waiting for it. And so what we saw with our customer that there was this one customer who was selling a very techy hiking application like a device, and with the device, he actually wanted to make it like a better Upsell or a better cross sell with the sticks as well, because you’re going hiking, you need both.

Right. So we’ve seen that people with Buy X Get Y offer they can use much better offer with taking it as an Upsell offer or buy. I also think that you can give two products together and give shipping for free. And that’s something that I have seen very rarely. And I think I would like to see that more last thing you need to. Also the way you can also think about in terms of techniques and examples is that how do you make sure that people are buying together?

So you need to hint them with related products. For example, you might also like this, or we recommend other customers also bought it with this specific product as well. You need to nurture them a little inside the store to actually say, okay, if people are buying this, they will buy that as well. And that is actually a good way to think about in terms of upsell and cross sell. I personally when it makes sense, I usually buy together as a cross sell buyer. But my favorite strategy would be upsell, because if you can make a product better and features better or something that is more useful and X product and has X feature that your customer the visitors value more.

You’re making just more money with a similar kind of cost to you. And so I think it increases the profitability. And I think both should be offered for your end customers.

Okay. Got you. Thank you. That’s definitely the thorough example, one of the things that I wanted to kind of dig back into and that you pointed out, which is key here. You really have to look at your data, your customer data, your order data in order to determine what would be an effective crossover or Upsell. And I think the data just really will speak to what you should do. Just looking at what are people buying together? Just a simple way to start it. If people are buying product a product B most of the time or 80% of the time.

Obviously, those things go together. You can try to do that as a cross sell because there’s going to be some people that don’t purchase them together, and you want to get those people to do the cross sell so you can, of course, increase your average order value. So that’s very key. So it’s not something that you just have to blindly jump into the data will speak to really what you’re doing. You also mentioned that with the Upsell, you want to anchor that higher price product to just improve more, let’s say, higher end features or something that’s going to have more of a value.

And so that’s where you’re really anchoring it to. And so people are already in the mindset of purchasing the base product that’s going to have all of your base features. But then that other higher price product is anchored to those other features. And so that’s going to pull people over that are more open to looking at the higher price features. And so that makes a lot of sense. Now, one thing that I wanted to kind of also dive into with regards to Upselling or cross selling is just the logistics of it, the logistics of making it happen in your experience, because, of course, you’re, of course, familiar with I know the Shopify platform a lot of other platforms, but in your experience, how is it done logistically?

Is it something where most of these platforms today, the wixes of the world, the square spaces, the BigCommerce Shopify? Do they have built in tools with their basic plans that will allow you to do this? Or do you always pretty much need an add on app to make the Upselling and the cross selling happen?

So the reason why it exists is because these applications do not offer by default. So in our editor, first of all, if you’re already doing some kind of Upsell, you have to stop that and use wide rules and then use it together with the systems. They all have some kind of settings inside the system that talks to our application and lets the system know that they are going to ship together. But the thing is, there’s this one requirement they don’t have, for example, some of the applications.

Again, this device customer that I talked to lately was like saying, you know what, when I bundle it together, the pricing goes off. I’m talking about not only Shopify, but also like Shopify competitor of ours. The pricing was not able to set up properly. So he said, I would rather use an application that already has done that really well. And that’s where it makes it much more useful. I personally have not seen any customers using. They use very smaller Upsell apps, which has basic feature. And when they want to get a little bit advanced, they come to and everybody was eagerly waiting for when we had this Upsell application loan.

So I think if you use specialized app for the specific use case, it’s better. But obviously the systems also provide, but not in that depth.

I would say that makes sense. And I’m glad you clarified that, because I know a lot of people are kind of wondering they’ve been to other ecommerce stores. They’ve seen the Upsell crosssell, and they’re kind of wondering, how do you make it happen? So it’s clear that you definitely need an app. It’s not going to be a part of the core functionality of most of these kind of off the shelf ecommerce systems or ecommerce site builders. So that’s good to know that, of course, apps such as Vitals and a plenty of other apps that make this functionality happen.

Now, as far as, like the logistics a little bit more, it essentially is going to be tying into the checkout process of the whole system, and then people are going to be presented with these options at the checkout. Is that kind of how it works?

Yes. So we take care of everything regarding that as well. In the checkout process, we directly talk to the checkout applications and also the other applications through Shopify if they want to deliver it together. So we do it like the checkout process goes through us, and we do enable that as well.

Okay. Great. Well, as we get ready to wrap things up, kind of always the million dollar question that I’m always looking for. And I know our listeners are looking for is, of course, aside from an increase in the average order value or the increase in revenue that you’re looking for by doing these upsell, cross selling. Are there any other particular metrics that you should be using to determine the efficacy of Upselling and cross selling?

I thought about it, and I would say that profit is the most important thing. That’s something that I think with these kind of application makes sense. Also the cost as well. Does it even make sense to actually offer a discount on top of this cross sell application when you’re losing money? So I would say look at your cash cost of acquisition and look at your profit and see, even though, if it increases average order value, does it even provide you the profit at the end of the day or not?

And so these are like my two metrics that I would look at to make sure that if this is something that should be continuous in the future as well. But in general, we all know that it increases the average order value, the lifetime value. It also increases the ROI. It increases the moving inventory as well, products that are not getting sold really well. But like profitability at the end of the day, we all are businessmen, and we profitability and ecommerce, not the revenue.

Yeah. Definitely. Ultimately, of course, the bottom line. And like you said, a good point in the fact that even if you have an increase in your order value increase in your revenue. The main thing is it translating to an increase in profit, even if you’re selling a higher price product? What is it costing you to deliver those things? And does it make sense for you to continually upsell those higher price products? Will that always translate to an increase in revenue because it may not in those cases where it may not.

Well, thank you for sharing. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. I’ve definitely learned a lot regarding Upselling and cross selling. It’s something that as a business owner, we’re always thinking about on our end, we already have actually some things in place, but we’re going to be offering to our customers. And I know our business owners that are listening are always looking to do the same thing to increase their order value and their overall profit by offering ancillary products, accessories and higher priced products. So it’s been great discussing that.

But lastly, before I let you go, I always like to.

Jam a little about Upselling and cross selling and software so people can learn from the software market to e commerce. What do you think?

Yeah, sure, we can talk about that. Definitely.

I think there are a lot of parallels we can create from software market to the ecommerce market. And do you have any learning in terms of Upselling and cross selling? I can give you my examples, and then you can tell me what to think about it. So I think the best opportunity to think about Upsell is your newer products because they are new. You still need some feedback, especially in the software market, whenever we feature. But thinking, should we give it to the customers as if the existing product, or should we have to pay more because it’s a new feature.

They can do one more thing better. It increases their life. It makes their life better, makes them more money, saves them money, reduce the risk, whatever that is. Right. So this is my opinion regarding Upselling and cross selling from the software market. I feel that before releasing the product, what we do as a software people is that we talk to the customers. What I do is I do a soft release. It’s like pre orders in e commerce. I do a soft release and I show it to only ten people and wait for the people to come back to me and say, I need this product and they click on it and then talk to me, hey, I need this product, but I couldn’t buy it.

And there’s a door to it, right? It’s a fake door and they talk to me and they tell me, okay, this is what it’s about. And I want to buy more. And I want to try this feature. And once they try this feature, I say, okay, now every time I ask them this question, okay, you’re paying this much. How much more are you willing to pay for this specific product if I add it into the software audience software market in my software product, and they say, okay, I will be willing to pay X more because now I save this much time.

I make this much time. I can do a lot more things because of this. I don’t have to build it myself or stuff like that. Right? So I think whenever you’re thinking about upselling and cross selling, I think it makes sense whenever you launch a new product or when you find something new to launch in your ecommerce store, make that fake door to figure out this thing, could you upsell it or should you cross sell it or how do you bundle it together? And that way you will be able to increase the average order value and profitability.

So that’s my opinion. I don’t know what you think about it.

I think that’s a great idea. What you said as far as opening it up, a new feature to just a small set of your customers, seeing what they think, seeing how much more they would pay for it, because that little small subset of your customers can represent their opinion can represent the opinions of your entire customer base. If you pick just kind of a sampling and it can give you an idea of where to start with without just throwing something out there and then throwing it to the Wolf, so to speak, and then just see what happens.

So I think that’s a great strategy with that model. One thing that we’ve done on our end is another thing that can be done kind of in the same lines on our end. But what we do a lot of times with new features, new ancillary services that we’re adding on is we show customers our current customers. We show it to them during support meetings because our support staff, we do one on one support sessions via Zoom, go to meetings, we meet with our customers, we help them.

Our support staff steps them to setting up certain features and a lot of times what we’ve done with newer features is because we’ve got the ear already of their customers. They’re fully engaged because they want to know how to do something. They want to complete their set up. So we got them there. And then at the tail end of that session, what we’ve done is our customer support team has introduced some of these new features, showing it to them, briefly getting their opinion about it. And that’s another great way to get feedback, because these are sessions that we do daily.

We have slots locked up daily, and most of them usually get filled. So we’re talking to our customers every day and we’re getting their ear. And that’s a great way also to get some feedback and then figure out how to introduce a product or feature or cross sell to them without just throwing it out there with kind of a cold offer, just using your own gut feeling.

Exactly. So I think that’s the key learning from this part if I would have to give, like talk to your customers, figure out before launching a new product, if it could be upsold or could be sold, whatever that is, and then iterate from there onwards.

Yeah, definitely. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got the customers. You got to figure out what it is that they want and then go from there, take the data, make a data driven decision, which is kind of the main thing these days. Well, yeah, it’s been great. And thank you for offering for us to dive into that because I think that would be very helpful for customers listeners to know. But I always close out with my last kind of closing fun fact question. If you don’t mind sharing, I’m always interested to find out what people are into outside of their business activities.

So you don’t mind sharing one fun fact that you think our audience, their listeners would be interested to know about you.

I have several of fun facts so you can do another podcast on that if you want. But two things I can tell you, one is that I used to be a Boy Scout.


And we used to have a motor called Be Prepared, and I live in Germany, and my girlfriend is German, and she says either you are not prepared at all. So they are so planned that my Boy Scout training did not help. And the second thing is I am a salsa, Bachata and Kizomba dancer. So outside of working, I dance every Friday, which is currently held up because of the code 19.


And that’s how I met my girlfriend as that.

Okay. Well, thank you for sharing that. And I’ll have to just throw in there. That’s very ironic. It’s a small world. We have a couple of things in common. Not only are we in the tech space, but I actually was a Boy Scout as well. When I was growing up, I was actually a Scout master for a troop out of a Church. So I’m very familiar with the Be Prepared motto. And a lot of times I’m not prepared these days. They have so much going on, so I’m going to have to go back and look at my Boy Scout manuals in the credo.

And then Secondly, I also do dance Machata as well as salsa. For the past several years I have been taking lessons at a local studio here in Orlando and going to their social dancing on Friday. I haven’t gone back. They had resumed it because of the whole culvette 19. I’m not that comfortable dancing with a mask on and just kind of going through all of that, but it has resumed, but I do want to get back to it very soon. I love dancing. I love fossil.

I love Berchada. Don’t know too much about Kazumba. I’ve seen videos. I’ve tried to do it a little bit when they played it a few times, but I don’t know. I’m going to need some classes.

You will forget about Bachata and Sarasa if you start doing quezomba because it’s another level. It’s not about moving more. It’s more about using your body to guide somebody, not your arms. And that’s like another level. But if there’s a Shopify conference happening next year, anytime soon. And if you meet in the conference, I’m happy to go on a Salza bar and I have a friend to enjoy it.

Okay. That’s awesome. I’ll definitely Mark that down. Once we kind of get back into getting into the conference circuit, I would love to do to meet up and we can go to a salsa club studio or what have you. That’s awesome. Well, thank you as all for sharing that. I definitely appreciate you coming on to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast, but finally, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brand anymore about upselling, cross selling or any other digital marketing strategies, what would be the best way for them to reach you?

So I am pretty much active on LinkedIn so they can find me at Aazar Ali shad. You can put it in show notes and my Twitter ID and Azer shot, and you can also connect there as well. I would say like if you really are trying to be different and trying to change your mindset in digital marketing and not follow the suit and try to be different. I would highly recommend to listen to my podcast Growth Marketing stories, where I bring these people who are thinking differently through their mental models through their different kinds of frameworks and not just copy pasting a strategy or tactic, but actually creating them.

So that’s something that I focus on. So I think that would be the best place for pick my brain before picking my brain got you.

That’s awesome. I’m sure you have a whole library of knowledge there through the podcast. I encourage our listeners to check that out the Growth marketing stories, so I’ll be sure to check that out myself and see if there’s an opportunity for me to get on that show as well. Well, thank you again, Aazar, I appreciate you coming on. It’s been a pleasure. And thanks everyone today for joining us on the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast.


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Podcast Guest Info

Aazar Shad 
Head of growth marketing at Synthesis