Boost your cinema business – try cross- and up-selling

What’s often surprising for customers, most of the time a box of popcorn is priced higher than the movie ticket. People go the cinema for the experience but… they actually pay much more for snacks than for the experience itself. Nothing weird here – cinemas have a low initial price and many additional offerings at a price premium. There is a fixed number of seats and screens which makes it hard to come up with ways to increase profits, especially during and after hard times (like the pandemic right now). This is why cross- and up-selling may be a way to go.

Up-selling in the cinema business

Up-selling is a sales technique with the purpose of increasing the average sales value of a customer. It’s a way to persuade a customer to purchase a more expen-sive version of the chosen item or other add-ons.

What can you do to start up-selling in the cinema business?

Use price incentive – offer the bigger popcorn for as little as $1 more.

Create concession stands with free gifts – instead of raising prices of tickets or snacks, offer some freebies. You can create snack sets (popcorn + soda) and add a promotional giveaway from one of the movies to be collected at the stand.

Install a video-games arcade in the lobby – it may be an option for kids wait-ing for the movie. It might be a great way to bring some additional revenue.

When done right, such up-selling techniques can improve the shopping experience. You increase Customer Lifetime Value and make your customers come back for more. Remember – it’s much easier to upsell to existing customers than to acquire new ones!

Cross-selling in the cinema business

Cross-selling is a sales technique with the purpose of adding some extra products to a customer’s purchase that they are already making.
The examples of cross-selling in the cinema business:

You offer popcorn at a special price for each ticket bought by a customer.

You offer a large soda to each popcorn a customer bought.

You sell gadgets from the movie.

Cross-selling is an extremely effective way to boost sales. Your customer has al-ready committed to at least one purchase so you already have their trust. All you need to do is provide the customer with more value. Cross-selling might also be an amazing opportunity to present your new products. Do you have a spanky-new fla-vor of soda? Or maybe a crazy popcorn flavor? Use cross-selling to promote them!

Up-selling or cross-selling – what to choose?

Both techniques are employed to increase the amount a customer spends with the business. These terms are often used interchangeably but they are not quite the same thing. Again, up-selling is selling a higher-end version of the product and cross-selling is selling an additional product to a customer who’s already buying something else. Choosing one of the techniques doesn’t mean you cannot also use the second one. Up-selling and cross-selling often overlap. You can do both at the same time for the same product. In order to fully maximize their potential, especially now when the pandemic limited the cinema business, the best option is to combine both techniques at the same time.

How to do up-selling and cross-selling right

A great thing about up- and cross-selling techniques for cinemas is that you can easily include them in your omnichannel strategy. Not only do the techniques work inside the cinema, but also you can use them online – on your website or in the mo-bile app. The techniques can be implemented before, during and after purchase. Keep in mind that the most important part of up- and cross-selling is selecting the right products. Your offer should make a customer think “this is what I need!”. Re-member to ensure the customer is aware of the offers, use your digital signage monitors and customer display screens on your POS stations to display the deals and ensure your staff are properly incentivised for every upsell/crossell they make. And, last but not least, do not go too far with your offer and the price. For example: a customer who buys popcorn for as little as $5, shouldn’t be offered an “extra deal” to buy an add-on for $50. Get up- and cross-selling wrong, and the overall effect might be negative.


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