We’re all familiar with upselling and cross-selling. The downsell is where someone has declined your product or service offer (sometimes by simply clicking the close button on your web page) and you offer them an alternative product at a lower price (which you should ALWAYS do).
The advantage of a downsell is that even if a customer doesn’t buy the product you’d ideally like them to buy, they’re at least buying something. That means you get some return for your sales effort. And since they’re now a customer they will hopefully have a good experience with you and be much more likely to buy higher priced items in the future.
The problem with downsell is twofold.
First, they can be annoying. If you’ve pondered over a purchase and decided not to buy, it can be rather annoying to be held up and made another offer. And it might even seem desperate.
Secondly, they can encourage bad buying behavior in the future. If a customer comes to believe they will be made a “better offer” simply by saying no to the original offer, then they will always say no.
In fact, I hate to say it, but I ALWAYS refuse to purchase online the first time I visit ANY site. I’ve discovered that in 90% of all cases, the moment I attempt to click off the page, I receive a better offer. If I don’t, I can always go back to the top of the original offer and purchase it then.