Related Products vs. Cross Sells vs. Up-sells (and when to use each)



Related Products

Related products are meant to be purchased in addition to the item that the customer is viewing or purchasing. Related products are most often confused with cross sells in that both product association types are trying to promote a product in addition to the product being purchased in the first place.

In Magento, where related products appear will vary depending on the theme and page layout. Typically though, it will appear near the bottom of the product view page (this is also in contrast to cross-sells, which appear in the shopping cart).


Cross Sells

Cross-sells are sometimes referred to as 'impulse buys', as they would typically be the products strategically placed at checkout. They are essentially products which your customer may not have had in mind when making a purchase, but are willing to quickly add to their cart when checking out.

In Magento products assigned as cross-sells will appear in the shopping cart.



Upsells are products which you would like to see your customers purchase instead of the one they are viewing or intending to buy. Upsells are more expensive, so as to encourage customers to spend more money. The product you are selling as an upsell may be the same model of the product they are already looking at, but have additional features or be of a higher quality material etc.

In Magento, products assigned as upsells will also typically appear on the product view page.


In Summary

  • Related products and cross sells are both displayed with the intention to be purchased along with the product being viewed.
    • Related products have tick boxes on the product view page so that they are then added to the cart at the same time of the main product.
    • Cross sells are shown in the shopping cart so that they can be added to the cart once the main product is already added.
  • Upsells are displayed with the intention to be purchased instead of the product being viewed (as they are improved, but similar versions of the product.
  • All product association types are designed with the intention to help your customers spend more money. Each type can be powerful if the selection of products is appropriate (and appropriately placed).
  • Enterprise allows for rule based product relations to help ensure the product recommendations are always dynamically displaying relevant products (more on rule based product relations here).
  • How these recommendations is presented is ultimately up to you! Labels can be customized, as can the position where each are being displayed - feel free to discuss if you think improvements can be made here.
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