How to increase sales with easy add-ons
  By Barbara Crowhurst

     Increasing sales through add-ons is an important strategy for the continued growth of your retail business. Have a look at this example. If your average sale is $30, and you want to increase sales by 15 percent, show each customer one more product at $4.50. Do your own math to come up with your own ideas as to what to show. You make your money on the second item you sell to a customer—the item you add-on.

     Your staff must be trained to contribute to your sales goals by taking ownership of add-on sales. Go over generally why you are asking them to buy into this idea, then tell them how to bridge the conversation with the customer from the item they are buying to the add-on sale item.

     For example, they could say, “Have you seen this?” or “This goes perfectly with ... .” You may have to put this down in writing for your staff. You can write the script, or it can be a written collaboration of ideas and words on which you and your staff agree. Role-play; if you have never done this with your staff, it may seem awkward at first, but soon, all will feel comfortable and realize what a great tool it is for training.

     Finally, your add-on sale program should be implemented in a minimum of two places: on the sales floor and at the cash counter.

Other ideas that will help increase sales:

  • Share daily sales targets with your staff.

  • Give staff sufficient information about events and promos.

  • Share average sales numbers with staff so they can take ownership of the sales process and contribute to your business’s sales goals consistently.

  • Ask for feedback, and check in with your staff to see how they are doing.

  • Count traffic. Keep track of how many sales you make each day. If you are not selling to everyone who comes into your store, there is your next challenge. Turn walk-ins into buyers.

  • Give sales staff a bonus for reaching a weekly or monthly add-on sales goal (either dollars or units), or pay them a small bonus (25 cents, 50 cents, $1) for each add-on sold (bonus based on price of add-on).

Barbara Crowhurst is an author, business coach and founder of RetailMakeover™, a retail consulting business based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her CD and downloadable e-book, Retailers ... Ask the Pro, addresses retailers’ top challenges and concerns. Learn more at

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