Upselling has been highlighted as a major sales opportunity for convenience retailers after research showed it could lead to a 300% increase in promotional penetration and that the vast majority of shoppers found it perfectly acceptable.

A nationwide study of McColl’s stores conducted by research consultancy HIM found that 72% of shoppers didn’t mind being upsold to, and a further 17% actually liked front-line staff notifying them of promotions.

Usually, 3-4% of shoppers say they are being upsold to in c-stores, but after McColl’s staff focused on upselling the average increased to 24%, claimed HIM. Even more impressive was that of those who were upsold to, 10% bought the product. 

“People buy from people,” said HIM director Tom Fender, who discussed the findings at Mars Chocolate’s annual Market Review.  “It isn’t just about promoted lines for McColl’s, it’s about upselling all of them.” 

Nisa retailer Rav Garcha, who also spoke at the event, supported the notion that upselling was a vital tool for increasing sales. “We’ve just sent our staff for training with Skillsmart and one area I want them to focus on is upselling,” said Rav, who owns four stores in the Midlands. 

“The art of conversation is unique and not everyone can do it naturally, but everyone can be trained to do it,” he added.

Today’s retailer Rishi Madhani from Stokenchurch, Oxfordshire, said he encouraged his staff to upsell. “When we get new items in I always give staff a brief,” he said. “When Walkers launches a new range of flavours I put out bowls of each variant and let staff try them. I encourage them to talk to customers about which flavours they like and describe how they taste.”