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17 effective examples of cross-selling by beauty brands

Rich Towey
February 15, 2023
8 mins

If raising average order values (AOV) or spend per customer is the goal, then cross-selling is arguably one of the best strategies to deploy.

Maximizing the potential of every cart by recommending additional products is a simple way of growing your revenue. Meanwhile, customers get a great experience receiving advice on complimentary products. You just need to make sure the recommendation is actually relevant.

In this piece, we’re focusing specifically on examples from beauty brands – one of the biggest adopters of cross-selling. But first, let’s outline what we’re looking at.

The difference between cross-selling and upselling

With upselling, you are encouraging the customer to purchase a premium (invariably pricier) version of the product they are already checking out with. In beauty, that could mean pushing a customer to buy a larger size, or more premium version of the same product.

Cross-selling is your way of recommending additional products to complement what’s in the cart. Sometimes this could mean creating ‘sets’ of products, like recommending shaving gel to someone checking out with a razor, or soaps to someone purchasing bath salts.

Why cross-selling really works for beauty brands

As we raised in our previous piece covering how to set up a beauty product recommendation engine, for sellers of beauty products, cross-selling is a perfect strategy for a number of reasons:

Extensive product catalog

RevLifter works with lots of beauty brands stocking tens of thousands of different items from thousands of brands. The more products you have, the more opportunities you have for cross-selling. And the more help visitors need finding the right products.

Complimentary products

Having lots of products often means lots of natural links between them. This creates the fuel for relevant recommendations.


Beauty customers occasionally need guidance when it comes to making purchases. When programmed correctly, a product recommendation can provide assistance by making suitable recommendations, much like an in-store expert.

In short, cross-selling is perfect for beauty brands. Now let’s look at some industry-specific examples to give you an idea of how they can be deployed.

Example #1 Harrys Razors – The last chance saloon

Harry’s uses the checkout page as its last opportunity to grow the cart. It’s nailed the relevancy angle by recommending face wash to customers buying a razor.

We tested this one by placing a few different products in the cart and got a slightly different recommendation each time. Kudos, Harry’s!

Example #2 Lush – Social proofing

Lush uses the space at the bottom of its product pages to recommend best sellers.

It’s all about the language here. Subtle touches like the use of ‘Lushies’ gives a community feel. There’s definitely some element of social proofing too, as we’re cross-sold products that we know people are buying and loving.

Example #3 Beautified You – The regimen

If you drop by a store to get recommendations on skin treatment, you probably won’t be recommended just one product. It’s likely that you’ll receive a few different options to form a regimen.

That’s what Beautified You does with the example here. We’re also a big fan of the use of reviews to show how many customers were happy with these recommendations.

Example #4 L’Occitane – Save with the set

Want to go one better? Try showing customers how much they save by investing in a product as part of a full routine.

This requires a little more work on the data side of things, but it’s one way of providing value to your customers. Here’s how the offer appears on the L’Occitane site.

Example #5 Winky Lux – Choose your swatch

You might think that the more recommendations you provide, the better chances you have of suggesting something worthwhile. Maybe you’re right, but it can result in a cluttered experience.

Winky Lux makes every pixel count by enabling shoppers to customize their recommendations. Here, I can pick my favorite swatch on lip balm and tinted moisturizer.

Example #6 Barry M – Grab their attention

Native overlays are probably your best chance to cross-sell with impact.

On this occasion, I’ve added a nail paint to my cart at Barry M. I immediately receive an overlay advertising a discount on a ‘nail paint vault’ containing multiple products, including the one I’ve got in my cart.

Example #7 Dollar Shave Club – Subscription extras

Dollar Shave Club works a little differently to some beauty businesses. By running a subscription model, where customers pay to receive razors and other grooming products on a monthly basis, the brand locks in a good source of recurring revenue.

The challenge is being able to cross-sell customers that essentially buy the same thing month after month. Dollar Shave Club manages this by pushing ‘extras’ just before a box is shipped.

Here’s an example from an email campaign, which would also work as an overlay served within the membership area.  

Example #8 Boots – Deals front and center

You don’t always need to recommend a product to cross-sell a customer; sometimes they’ll cross-sell themself.

After adding a Fenty lipstick to my cart at Boots, I see a deal encouraging me to spend £60 or more on Fenty products to save 10%. I click the deal and it takes me right back to the brand’s range of products, where I can grab what I need to make a saving.

Example #9 Barry M – Everything must go

Here’s another tip: cross-selling should be about giving your customers what they need while driving your goals.

Pushing sale items as part of your cross-selling strategy is an ideal way of moving excess stock. Cosmetics retailer Barry M has this one down to a tee.

Example #10 Space NK – Customers also bought

‘Customers also bought’ has to be one of the most commonly observed phrases in the recommendation playbook. Here’s Space NK’s method of recommending items that are bought alongside my Coola sunscreen spray, but look out for the catch!

We don’t know if Space NK is actually recommending products that customers also buy with what’s in our cart, or if these are simply items they want to push. Something about the recommendation of deodorant from a totally different brand just feels a little too irrelevant.

What we do know is that other beauty brands are crunching the data to recommend ‘commonly bought with’ items. We know this, because RevLifter offers this as a dedicated product recommendation type within technologies like Offers Wallet.

Example #11 FEELUNIQUE – Going big

Feel Unique goes in very strongly with its cross-selling tactic. After adding a brow gel to the cart, 50% of my display is taken up by an overlay showing ‘frequently bought together items’ with a deal for each.  

The placement of this overlay on the right side of the window almost makes it feel like a shopping cart. It makes the recommendation more native and seamless, which isn’t always easy with such a large display.

Example #12 Face the Future

Here’s a smaller version of the same play from Face the Future, which uses RevLifter’s technology to serve personalized deals and recommendations.

It’s a much tighter display, which means every suggestion has to be relevant.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Face the Future grew AOV by +33% with the Offers Wallet, here’s a special recommendation from us: view the case study.

Example #13 MAC – Keep it simple

We love the simplicity of this cross-sell from MAC.

We’ve added lipstick to the cart and we get three recommendations, two of which are definitely relevant to the order. No big displays – just a few useful suggestions.

Four we didn’t like

On our travels, we came across lots of great examples of cross-selling, with some truly awful ones thrown in for good measure.

We won’t reference the brands, but we can list their strategies to prevent you from falling down the same traps:

Example #14 – Confusing customers with two types of recommendations

Note to this well-known department store: displaying two different reels of options for ‘You may like’ and also ‘Recommended for you’ next to each other creates unnecessary confusion. Why not put all your attention into making one good reel?

Example #15 – Down-selling by recommending a smaller product

One of the world’s biggest luxury brands actually recommended a 50ml version of the 100ml fragrance we had in our cart. Way to decrease the value of your sale.

Example #16 – Bad recommendations

To this pharmaceutical giant, if I place a men’s fragrance in my cart, there must be tens of thousands of more suitable recommendations than… lip concealer.

Example #17 – Intrusive from the start

We appreciate that some customers need more guidance than others. But if you’re recommending very specific products with an overlay before we’ve even headed into a category, there’s a big chance we won’t be interested. (We’re talking to you, budget beauty reseller.)

Final thoughts

Hopefully we’ve given you a few ideas for running your own cross-selling promotions.

If you think we’re onto something, why not start cross-selling with RevLifter? We work with leading brands like NAVY Haircare, LOOKFANTASTIC, and Face the Future to grow their revenue via 1-2-1 recommendations and offers.

Simply get in touch and we’ll show you around our award-winning platform.

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