5 Tips to Drive Sales with the Art of Product Bundling
Product bundling has been around for a long time. From luxury car feature combos to cable television channels to, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ fast food deals, bundling has been used to entice tired customers into purchasing pre-selected packages.
Yet in 2015, retailers are seeing exciting innovations in the art of bundling. Carefully crafted and curated combinations of products are exciting customers with value and beautiful visuals, while throwing the doors open to new, hungry consumers.
1. Bundles provide convenience in a fast-moving world
The philosophy of the old school bundle was rooted in negative synergy — that is, that customer would only be willing to buy the bundle if it was cheaper than buying the products individually. The traditional bundle therefore was a ‘value’ or bargain deal.
While a bargain bundle can still drive sales for retailers, product bundling in 2015 is driven by positive synergy. Customers see the well-curated bundle as more valuable than the sum of its individual components, and they’re willing to pay accordingly, which is great news for retailers.
What drives this value? Convenience is number one. For the customer who values his or her time, being able to purchase a collection of complementary products without visiting multiple stores or waiting on multiple shipping dates is an affordable luxury. No longer are they left holding the cake mix but waiting on the frosting.
2. Bundling invents new products from old
Bundling allows you to take ordinary items and sell them in a whole new way. Many pink-and-blue Easter bunnies sat on clearance shelves long after the holiday had past — 2015 stamped on their paws. Worthless? Valueless? That may have been the case for most retailers. But smart bundlers snatched them up and teamed them with onesies, bibs and baskets to make New Baby gift baskets at incredible margins. By adding beautiful or niche packaging you can showcase products within your bundle, creating positive synergy and increasing the perceived value of the bundle in the eyes of the customer. Much of the art revolves around intersecting two concepts or creating interesting juxtapositions and bundles are proof that this works in the marketing world. The art of bundling is finding connections between products.
A shirt and a bag of coffee may seem unrelated until you team a Hawaiian-print shirt with Kona coffee for the perfect luxury Dad vacation gift. Glowsticks, sunscreen and a band shirt are cheap items individually, but put them together in a sturdy gift box and a music festival devotee will cheerfully pay for their festival suitcase-stuffer. Bundle novelties into gift sets for the holidays, and your customers will thank you for making their shopping less stressful. If you bundle well, consumers will pay a premium for your taste and choice.
Not only that, but a beautiful bundle can look visually appealing, drawing customers into a store and encouraging them to purchase several complementary products.
3. Curation makes customers feel special, creating loyalty
The massive rise in subscription boxes over the last two years has been unprecedented. There are even services such as Subbly or Cratejoy to help ordinary people curate subscription boxes. Each box is mailed regularly to subscribers and contains a small selection of luxury or specialist goods, from fresh gourmet ingredients to beauty products to clothes. There are even specialist boxes such as Lootcrate and Nerdblock, both stuffed with toys and gadgets for a primarily male audience that is notoriously difficult to buy for.
The joy for subscribers is in receiving a handpicked, surprise selection each month. The challenge for retailers is to continue delighting subscribers and keep them looking forward to each parcel.
A starter Plated recipe box is $48 plus shipping and contains fresh ingredients and instructions for two recipes (four plates) delivered to your door. A little more expensive than shopping at the supermarket, but it has two big advantages over supermarket shopping — convenience and pampering.
Some consumers may be hesitant to surrender choice over their meal plans, but for many, not having to think about meal choice is a refreshing luxury, especially when a respected chef is choosing for you. In 2015, where celebrities are branding perfumes, restaurants and frying pans, there is clearly an untapped market for celebrity bundle subscriptions.
4. Bundles create a hook for new customers
A Harvard study on bundling video games found that customers can often be enticed to buy a console earlier after launch when it is bundled with games. A customer who buys a console early is likely to buy more games and become a more valuable customer than one who waits.
A bundle that a customer feels is particularly valuable, time-sensitive or exciting can provide a great hook for future purchases, introducing them to new products and driving commitment to your brand. Bundle a coffee maker with a new brand of coffee and create a loyal audience of coffee drinkers. Bundle chocolate with marshmallows and graham crackers, and you have a s’mores kit. And bundles don’t always have to be obvious — at some point, someone decided giant buckets of popcorn were essential for movie-watching. Coffee shops were bundled into bookstores. Urban Outfitters put oversized candy boxes on the counter, their flashy colors complementing their trendy, young clothing dynamic. What’s stopping your hair salon from bundling organic shampoo with gourmet cane sugar soda or your cycling store from private labeling trail mix? (Need more ideas? Check out this retailers’ guide for starting your own private label.) Product bundling in 2015 thrives on these kinds of creative ideas.
5. Bundles drive your competitive advantage
On online marketplaces such as Amazon.com, price can be the only distinguishing factor for many products. By bundling products together, creating branded gift baskets or repackaging products into a unique selection box, the seller can create an individual product that is difficult for competitors to emulate. Instead of sharing the listing with numerous other sellers, they can take control of the listing of their product and the way it is marketed, including photographs and keywords. They are also free to price aspirationally rather than competitively.
The new generation of bundling is a growing art form in the marketing world, full of opportunity for retailers. Walking the floor at ASD Market Week and checking out the incredible selection of new products can stimulate a world of ideas, connections and juxtapositions that are ripe for bundling, curating and sharing with your customers.
Want to learn more about bundling? Meet the author of this post, marketing & creativity expert Katharyne Shelton at ASD Market Week February 28-March 2, 2016 in Las Vegas! Get your free ticket here to ASD Market Week, a B2B merchandise trade show and retail conference in one.
Katharyn is a leading expert in eCommerce marketing and creativity. Over 250 sellers have taken her Bundling Masterclass, learning to create successful bundles to sell on Amazon.com. She heads the popular private label and product creating group ‘Blue Sky’ and the 6,000+ member reseller group, ‘Treasure Hunting with Katharyne.’