April 6th, 2007 | 2 MIN READ

A Good Example of Bad Cross-Selling

Written by Jason Billingsley

Cross-selling is an important tactic used to increase average cart sizes and hopefully average order values, but sometimes cross-selling goes bad.

The Sharper Image is struggling as a company. I see press release after press release citing declining revenue across the board - now I have a good idea why. I'm not sure they understand ecommerce or their customers, especially after seeing the recommended accessories for a product I was curious about.

The Sharper Image toy

So, I see this neat toy called the RipStik Caster Board. Not that I'd ever purchase it, I just like new fun ideas. I was curious what kind of accessories they could possibly pitch (and why in the world would you force a user to click AWAY from the product to see related accessories is beyond me).

The Sharper Image Caster Board Accessories

Now, I don't think Bose In-Ear Headphones is too far of a stretch - a skater may want nice headphones to listen to music as they mess around (maybe not the optimal cross-sell, but understandable).

Here is the fun stuff. For all you active teenage RipStik Caster Boarders out there, get your ladies' Wet/Dry leg shaver to enjoy stubble free legs for up to four weeks! Oh I know, it is to help prevent infections if boarders get road rash. We don't want hair in the cuts. But wait, there is more. After your big day out on the board, why don't you sleep on a comfy pillow for 50% off.

Now I understand it takes a lot of work to create good personas and relevant and personalized merchandising offers, but this is way off. I now fully and completely understand where the root of The Sharper Image's troubles stem. My advice is to automate the commerce platform's merchandising with automation tools that adjust offers based on analytics, or hire better merchandisers. This is inexcusable for a Top 100 retailer. But then again, that pillow does look inviting.

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