Order Bumps or Upsells?

Which grows your revenue faster? Order bumps or Upsells?

The other day I saw someone ask which was more useful in driving order value up – order bumps or upsells? You know how important I think these are. And I've written a lot about post-purchase upsells, including a recent look at WooFunnels. I haven't written as much about order bumps, but I'm pretty sure every time I write about CartFlows, I tell you about order bumps.

Let's do a quick recap of each of these options

What's an Order Bump?

An order bump is a something that happens before you finish your order. It's a way for a merchant to give you a recommendation that helps you put something more in your cart.

Let's look at the one you've likely experienced more than once.

See that offer for AppleCare+? It's an order bump. It's offered before you buy the phone. It's putting another item in your cart, even if it's not a physical item. And it will drive your average order value up – by 20%.

That's one of the dynamics of order bumps – they can't be larger than the product being purchased. They often work well when they're under 25% of the original item.

What's an Upsell?

An upsell is a something that happens after you finish your order. If done right, it's a one-click upsell so that a customer doesn't need to enter their payment details again. It's a way for a merchant to offer the additional things you likely will want / need.

I don't need to take you to Apple or anywhere else to remind you of all the times you hoped for a one-click upsell offer…

How many times have you ordered something, or had someone buy you something, and only after you open up the package do you realize you're missing something.

  • Someone buys you a remote control car but doesn't buy you batteries.
  • You buy a printer and only after opening it you realize no USB cable is included.

Thank goodness that most of us now shop at Amazon and even before we checkout, they show us bundles so that we don't forget batteries and cables.

So now that we understand what order bumps and upsells are, let's try to answer the question.

Which is better? That's the Wrong Question

The question of which is better is the wrong question. And that's apparent in my answer to that question, which is, as you likely guessed, that you want both. This isn't an either / or kind of decision you should make.

But if I tell you that you should use both, you may face a new challenge. Which offers do you put in each spot? And that is the right question.

To answer that, I need to explain two concepts.

The Augmented Offer

What's an augmented offer? It's the options that you give people that go beyond your main offer. If I sell you a laptop, shouldn't I also offer you a backpack or briefcase that will protect it?

If I sell you a couch, shouldn't I also offer you delivery and setup? Even take away your old couch and all the packaging?

Augmented offers give a customer a better experience.

The Accelerators

Like augmented offers, accelerators are different than the main offer. I'm not talking about better versions of the same product. A lot of people think about upsells (especially pre-sale) as showing you better versions of the product to help you step up to a more expensive offering. This isn't wrong. But it's not what I'm talking about.

Accelerators do what they're called – they help your customer get where they're going faster.

Let's say I buy software that builds landing pages. What's an accelerator? It's a set of 200 templates that makes it faster for me to get my landing pages built.

Let's say you're offering a course on writing a book. What's an accelerator? Maybe it's an outline template, or it's a private coaching session.

Accelerators give a customer an opportunity to reach their goals more quickly.

What goes into Order Bumps and Upsells?

So now I can answer this question. In my opinion, order bumps are great for augmented offers. And upsells are great for accelerators.


It comes from the psychology of the experience.

Customers who are looking at a product will be interested in any offers that make their experience better. They also are happy to evaluate the value to price ratio while they're making that decision. All of this happens before they click “buy” and it's the right time to showcase those augmented options.

On the other hand, once someone has purchased a product, they've already committed. They've articulated their goal and demonstrated they are willing to spend money to reach that destination. So it's the perfect time to highlight some accelerators.

So there you go – if you want to drive your AOV higher, consider using both order bumps and upsells. And make sure you put the right offers in the right places.