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15 examples of cross-selling by homeware and DIY retailers

Rich Towey
October 16, 2023
10 mins

Online homeware and DIY retailers often thrive due to a simple fact: rarely is a house ever complete. 

There’s always something extra to buy; a problem to fix; an area to improve. That’s why for these retailers, cross-selling is such a compelling case.

Having already surveyed the scene in verticals like beauty, fashion, and consumer electronics, we saw more uses of product recommendations in homeware and DIY than in any other. 

Why is this the case? And what is a good example of a cross-selling recommendation in this instance? Let’s find out.  

What is cross-selling for homeware and DIY retailers?

Cross-selling is the process of recommending supplementary products or services based on someone’s interests.

If that someone is buying a hammer, you might recommend nails. If they’re purchasing units for their kitchen, you might recommend a new sink or taps to finish off their project. 

With just about every product the customer is interested in, there are so many items that could be paired with it. 

The beauty of the homeware and DIY vertical is that it is also driven heavily by impulse. 

If you’ve ever been in a physical hardware store, you’ll have probably been in the situation of going in for a single item, and coming out with 10.

The challenge for eCommerce sellers is to merchandise their products in a way that replicates this situation online. Yes, there are so many opportunities to cross-sell your shoppers, but only if you suggest good ideas at the right time. 

What is upselling for homeware and DIY retailers?

Whereas cross-selling is all about selling additional products, upselling is about selling better (i.e. more expensive) versions of the product the customer is interested in.

Here are some examples:

  • Paint: Show the durability or quality of the finish by advertising a premium option in the same shade. 
  • Lighting: Simply recommend higher-quality versions of the fittings viewed by the customer.
  • Curtains: Suggest options with specific qualities, e.g. blackout or thermal. 

Today, we’ll be focusing exclusively on cross-selling to show you how homeware and DIY retailers go about increasing their average order value (AOV) by recommending additional products.

Example #1 – Dunelm – Shop the collection

Like many homeware retailers, Dunelm has furnishings that form part of collections. 

Clicking onto a cushion and scrolling down the product page brings up recommendations for items belonging to the same range. Much like they would be in a store, the suggestions put everything in the right place.

Example #2 – Bed Bath and Beyond – Matches well with

Outdoor furniture is a product category with an almost endless list of cross-selling opportunities. We decided to test out Bed Bath and Beyond’s strategy when looking at a premium seating set.

All of these recommendations are useful – from the furniture covers for our new purchase to the fireplaces to sit right beside it. 

We’re also fans of the ‘sales and deals’ tile on the selections. It plays on the idea that we could be driven into an extra impulse buy if the price was right.

Example #3 – Ikea – Using data and experience 

There are generally two types of cross-selling strategies that homeware and DIY retailers go for. More often than not, we see a rack of suggestions that ‘customers also bought’ or something along the lines of ‘products that go with your cart’. 

The first option relies solely on data, but it can throw up some interesting suggestions. The second is more about the retailer’s opinion on what goes with our cart, which can be curated.  

Ikea hits a compromise between what it feels will go well with our office storage unit while displaying products that people actually buy with it. 

Two racks of scrollable suggestions provide lots to consider. We like the extra options here. 

Example #4 – The White Company – Viewed products

We decided to head for the premium market next with a visit to The White Company. 

When viewing a product, we saw a list of alternatives to consider. When heading to the checkout with a side table in our cart, we were met with recommendations of items that would sit nicely on top of it.

The checkout can be an underutilized area for cross-selling recommendations. However, just about every single physical store has a selection of items right next to where you pay. The White Company makes full use of the last possible chance to cross-sell.

Example #5 – DIY.com – All we need 

We love it when recommendations come as a set. On viewing wood preserver at DIY.com, we’re recommended a brush to apply it.

The extra touch of DIY.com totalling up the price just clarifies everything we need to know here. Plus, we can get both of the suggested items by clicking the same button, making it super simple to use.

Example #6 – Sam’s Club – Going big

Some retailers prefer to deliver subtle recommendations to avoid interrupting the path to conversion. Sam’s Club goes much bigger than some of our other examples with a striking overlay, but we like the boldness.

The main advice here is to keep your recommendations relevant. Here, we add a mattress to the cart and see correct-size suggestions of beds and bedding. If these weren’t linked to our purchase, they wouldn’t have gone down so well. 

Example #7 – Laura Ashley – Mix and match

There is nothing wrong with using a deal to land a much bigger order. By doing so, your discount works harder and delivers incremental revenue. 

In this example, Laura Ashley lets us choose our own item to purchase alongside our TV unit, with a multi-buy reward of 10% off.

Personalized product recommendations are always welcomed, but deals can increase your AOV in a totally different way.

Example #8 – Wayfair – Low-value recommendations

It would seem logical to recommend expensive extras to someone spending nearly $1,000 on a top-of-the-range air fryer. We could add Ninja pans to our order, which would really take the cost up. But there’s something more tactical about Wayfair’s approach. 

The recommendations of boxes to hold food and the budget-level chopping board remind us of the inexpensive but no-less inviting items that tend to feature close to the checkout in a physical store.

As this is the virtual checkout, we think shoppers are far more likely to add these to their cart than something more expensive that requires a lot more consideration. Smart stuff, Wayfair!  

Example #9 – Target – Shop the look

‘Shop the look’ is a phrase more commonly linked to the fashion world than homeware and DIY. But Target of all retailers uses it to good effect here.

We place a cabinet in our cart and receive suggestions from items that would go well with our purchase. It’s ideal for those moving into a new home and worried about having a disjointed interior design.

Example #10 – Home Depot – Filling in the user journey gaps

From cabinets to cement – hey, we needed to cover all the bases! 

When creating these lists, we always try to put ourselves in the position of someone coming to a retailer with a specific product in mind. Here, we’re going to Home Depot in search of cement, and we’re using it for the first time. 

We were delighted to see the retailer recommending the basic essentials, like a trowel, acrylic fortifier, and a product for fixing any cracks.

After seeing these, we wanted to test the accuracy of Home Depot’s other recommendations. Clicking onto the acrylic produced another rack of suggestions – this time more relevant to someone trying to fix up a specific area.

There’s nothing too fancy about the UX and design here, which goes more down the Amazon route of simple but effective. Still, it shows that even some of the less glamorous corners of the home improvement world have some form of cross-selling at play. 

Example #11 – Lowe’s – Service recommendations

Lowe’s offers just about everything under one roof. We figured this was the best place to test a cross-selling play on a high-ticket item that wouldn’t come with accessories.

When adding a refrigerator to our cart, we’re recommended a ‘haul away’ service to remove our old item. There’s also a ‘protection’ service to provide peace of mind in case we need to repair our new purchase.

We like how these recommendations are given instantly rather than at the checkout to catch us in the purchasing mindset. 

Example #12 - CB2 - Multiple recommendation types

Another compelling example of serving different types of recommendations can be found at CB2. We place a set of drawers in our cart and see recommendations for other items in the same collection. Then we get a ‘complete the look’ section with smaller items to match the style of our purchase.

Data comes into play with products that ‘people also viewed’. Finally, there’s a reminder of the items we’ve viewed previously, just in case we wanted to go back in for those. 

The design of this product page is sleek, which makes the recommendations easier to digest, rather than too extreme.

Example #13 - Floor and Decor - Creates a project

Laying a floor is a typical DIY job that must attract its fair share of amateurs. To help its customers with their project, Floor and Decor cross-sells with tools they’re likely to need.

We also noticed a handy ‘save my project’ button right above the recommendations – ideal for a purchase like this one, which is highly considered. 

Example #14 - Loaf - A reason to continue shopping

Premium homeware retailer Loaf has a great way of plugging its mattresses to customers shopping for beds. We’re on a product page for the latter and, while a mattress could be of interest, there’s every chance we’d look for this elsewhere. 

The brand decides against recommending a line of mattresses (which, let’s be honest, will all look fairly similar) and decides to include a note about its 100-day trial on these products.

With mattresses, it’s all down to comfort, so this is the right message to cross-sell the customer in this scenario.

Example #15 - Argos - Getting us thinking

A really basic recommendation is made here but it’s the right one. We add garden storage to our trolley at Argos and we get a reminder to buy a lock for it.

There’s a recommendation for a specific product as well as a plug for the category in case we wanted to assess our options. In doing so, Argos makes a great tactical move by suggesting a low-value yet highly relevant item. 

Get something similar

Here’s something we think you’ll like. 

Start cross-selling by delivering personalized product recommendations at your own eCommerce store with RevLifter’s Intelligent Offer Platform. Book a demo and find out how you can increase AOV by highlighting complimentary products.