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to attempt to sell a customer (additional or more expensive goods or services)
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Derived forms of up-sell

up-selling, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What does up-sell mean?

To up-sell is to try to persuade a customer to buy things in addition to or that are more expensive than what they originally intended to buy, as in The salesman tried to up-sell me on a deluxe package even though I told him I just wanted something basic. 

Up-sell is a marketing term used to describe a way of increasing sales by persuading the customer to buy more than one item or to buy a more expensive item instead.

The term sometimes is sometimes used in the context of a seller who is pushy or aggressive, or when the item being offered is unnecessary or simply not what the customer wants, as in Please don’t try to up-sell me—I really only need the one. 

The noun up-selling refers to the act of someone attempting to up-sell, as in I try to avoid salespeople due to their constant up-selling. 

Example: All I wanted was a small drink, but the cashier kept trying to up-sell me on a larger drink and a tub of popcorn.

Where does up-sell come from?

The first records of the term up-sell come from around the 1950s. The word sell commonly means “to offer for sale,” but up-sell uses the more active sense of the word—”to try to persuade to buy.” The word up indicates that this kind of selling is being done with the goal of leveling up the purchase—having the customer pay more for something additional or better.

Up-sell is used much more positively by sellers or salespeople than it is by customers. Many companies train their salespeople to up-sell, and many retail websites are designed to automatically up-sell during the purchase process. But customers often prefer to simply buy what they want to buy and be done with it.

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What are some other forms related to up-sell?

  • up-sold (past tense verb)
  • up-selling (continuous tense verb, noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with up-sell


What are some words that often get used in discussing up-sell?

What are some words up-sell may be commonly confused with?

How is up-sell used in real life?

Up-sell is typically used in the context of business and retail transactions. Customers are more likely to use the term in a negative way than salespeople.



Try using up-sell!

True or False?

A salesperson who up-sells a customer is trying to get them to spend more money.

How to use up-sell in a sentence