Complementary product and the value of the shopping cart

Customer acquisition

Anyone who has ever set up a store has quickly become interested in the value of the shopping cart and individual purchases. How to increase it? This question - or, in fact, the answer to it - is the Holy Grail of the world of marketing and sales. The definition of a complementary product is the first step to understanding this mechanism. 

A complementary product is a broad concept that allows you to increase the value of the basket by up to 35%. with every purchase. Strict rules apply here, some of which you will learn later in this article. 

Complementary product - definition

As the definition explains, a complementary product is one that complements the item already added to the basket. Maybe he:

  • offer additional functions,
  • complete the set,
  • be similar,
  • be an accessory to a given thing.

It may seem that such add-ons are not important from the point of view of the store's revenues. It's not true! They are great sales support. Amazon states that cross-selling is responsible for 35 percent sales value on this platform. It's the same with all the other big stores. It is also worth remembering that often the mere possibility of buying the missing accessories or supplementing the set makes customers choose a larger store instead of a smaller one. Even if the latter offers products that are better in their opinion. This shows the strength of each complementary product offered in the store. This is why marketing strategies eagerly take into account this type of activity.

Examples of popular complementary products 

The complementary product and its value for marketing is a concept that is particularly well known in the gastronomic world. Fast-food restaurants have achieved the championship in this, with the classic question: maybe chips for this? - and its numerous variants. In this way, the customer who only plans to eat a hamburger leaves the premises with fries, sauce and a drink.  

This strategy is also well used by stores where the checkout often has products complementary to those that the customer may already have in the basket. In the case of clothing boutiques, these are often socks, and in interior design stores - hangers, boxes or other small accessories that will definitely come in handy when decorating your home. 

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The complementary product can also be easily offered on the Internet. Tools for online stores are used for this, such as: 

  • cross-selling, 
  • creating sets, 
  • combining products, 
  • "Recommended" and distinguished products, 
  • bestsellers 
  • and other. 

Store owners do not always realize that specific knowledge is behind the offers of a complementary product. For example, such a product should cost 10-50% on average. original purchase value. It is worth noting that this is most often the case in the examples listed above, which suggests that the authors of these strategies are familiar with these rules. Another rule is that in the case of sets, one of the products should have an optimal price.

Even if it gives a very small profit, price positioning this way is correct. A complementary product, without which it is difficult to imagine the purchase of the first product, may then be more expensive. Why? Because in the mind of the consumer there is already a great need to buy it. In this way, the complementary product can regulate the demand for the goods. Today, even a small and medium-sized store should implement these rules in practice if it wants to compete with powerful players in its industry. 

Complementary and substitution products 

The definition of a complementary product may be clear, but it is also worth mentioning the difference between it and substitute products. The latter can replace an item that the customer already has in the cart. In the clothing industry, gloves, a bag and a scarf will complement the coat. Winter jacket, fur, coats of a different color - these are substitute products.  

The choice is good for the customer. However, it is worth capturing the subtle border beyond which the customer becomes confused with the choice and completely gives up shopping (after all, he will not buy three different winter clothes). It is estimated that a large percentage of the so-called "Abandoned baskets" in online stores is the result of too much choice of substitute products.  

It is also worth remembering that if the customer already has a more expensive and better item in the basket, offering him a cheaper but similar one may ultimately reduce the value of his purchases (e.g. margarine instead of butter). This is why a complementary product works better, because in the worst case, the customer will not buy anything, but will not give up the purchase. In a better scenario, a cross-selling mechanism will take place and the value of the shopping cart will ultimately increase. 

Where to get ideas for complementary products? 

Independent planning and selection of complementary products can be pleasant for the owner of a small shop, although he will not necessarily be able to choose the best offers. If there are several hundred or several thousand products in the store, it is a task beyond the strength of any seller.

Sometimes unsuccessful ideas for a complementary product discourage buyers. This is especially the case when exclusive products are accompanied by low-quality offers - instead of increasing the value of the offer in the eyes of the buyer, the effect may be the opposite. Therefore, before taking up the subject of complementary products, it is worth defining what ours is target group. It should take place next marketing audit and going to specific steps that will maximize the profit from each shopping cart.  

Worth knowing:

What is a complementary product?

The goal of this type of activity is to increase the value of the basket with each purchase. A complementary product can: - be similar to the one chosen by the customer, - complement the set, - offer additional functions. Thanks to complementary products, sales can increase significantly.

What is an example of a complementary product?

The best-known examples are from popular fast-food chains. In such a place, when ordering one thing, we usually come across a suggestion to order more. For example - when ordering fries, we receive an offer to buy an additional drink or sauce.

Where to get ideas for complementary products?

When specifying complementary products in your store, you should first define the target group to which these products will be addressed and which will potentially bring the greatest profits. The second step is to conduct a marketing audit.

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