Unlocking the Potential of Product Bundles in Email Flows

How to leverage product bundles in your email flows and campaigns without causing friction to your brand’s operations.

Unlocking the Potential of Product Bundles in Email Flows

Key takeaways from this article: 

  • Key email flows and campaigns where bundles work well include the welcome flow, post-purchase flow, holiday campaigns like BFCM, and winback and retention flows.
  • Research shows a 47% increase in LTV for bundled packages, and some brands are seeing 40% of their email sales come from bundles.
  • Bundles can be challenging to manage logistically, but there are solutions to streamline your back-office operations to increase margins and customer lifetime value (LTV).

One often overlooked ecommerce tactic is using product bundles in email flows effectively. 

Simon Paquin, Chief Operating Officer at Felix & Norton, eloquently captures the essence of this opportunity: "Product bundles are the most elegant way to not discount aggressively while increasing your average order value. We also think they’re a great way to move more product and give exclusive deals to people looking for something 'more' than just that one item."

So why aren’t more brands leveraging bundles in email flows and campaigns? 

Unfortunately, bundles aren’t the easiest to manage from a logistical standpoint. And highlighting a 15% off discount seems like an easier win.

But here’s the scoop: Bundling is the way to go if you want to take advantage of healthier margins and higher LTV. Plus, bundles allow you to lower CAC by marketing and selling several items simultaneously.

In fact, research from Recharge found that bundled packages saw an average 47% increase in LTV, suggesting that bundling increases average order value, retention, and lifetime value.

Rather than going down the discount road, we partnered with Fuel Made to co-author this article. We'll discuss how you can leverage product bundles in your email flows and campaigns without causing friction to your brand’s operations.

Note: The email examples used in this blog were not created by Simple Bundles or Fuel Made.

Why promote product bundles via email

According to Nate Lagos, Head of Marketing at Original Grain and Growth Consultant for DTC Brands, “Your email list is your most engaged and warmest prospects—they’re primed to buy. You should always try to get more out of them when promoting an offer. Bundling is a great alternative to always slinging discounts and, hopefully, getting higher AOV.”

So why aren’t more brands promoting bundles to their email list? It requires a bit more research than slinging a typical 20% discount. 

“You have to know what products your customers are naturally buying together without you even promoting an offer, then create a bundle that is good for you margin-wise and equally is a super attractive offer,” Nate explains.

The work is well worth it, though. Instead of cheapening your products and hurting your margins, bundles are a better solution for the long-term health of your brand by giving customers an offer that can seem equally as valuable.

The proof is in the pudding: Fil Pejic, Owner of Pearly Boba Tea Kits, says about 40% of the brand’s email sales come from bundles. Shall we see how?

Low-hanging fruit campaigns to add bundles to

When deciding where to promote your bundles, your email strategy will provide many options. Here are a few of our favorites.

Welcome flow

You can start by highlighting your best-selling bundles in your Welcome Flow. This email flow should be sent to new subscribers who haven't bought yet (for example, pop-up subscribers who sign up for an offer). 

The welcome flow is a great opportunity to educate new visitors on your bundle offerings and help them pick the best one for their needs. If they didn't spend that much time on your store, they might not even realize you have these available, so welcome emails are a great way to put those products forward. 

If you offer Kits, you can highlight the benefits of using various items together, show off customer reviews, and entice a new visitor to shop that full experience, rather than having to pick out individual items.

If you offer mix-and-match bundles, you can explain how those work and make it easy for customers to place their orders. Check out the example below from Pearly, which highlights three starter bundles in its welcome flow:

Depending on your brand, you might want to dedicate a full email in your welcome flow to your bundles, like Pearly does. Or perhaps even more than one. 

You could also include a section above your footer in multiple emails as a reminder that these options exist. It all depends on what else you have going on and how aggressively you want to showcase bundles.

“A Starter Bundle should be in your welcome flow—something that is not too much but still gives someone everything they need to start. For example, for those new to DIY boba or seeking convenience, our bundles offer an easy, curated choice. It's about making the entry or gift-giving process as straightforward as possible in the email journey.”
- Fil Pejic, Owner of Pearly Boba Tea Kits

Post-purchase flow

Once a customer places an order, you should send them a series of thoughtful Post-Purchase emails to continue building your relationship. These emails would include 

  • A thank you message
  • Education about their order
  • Review request
  • Upsell/cross-selling content (where bundles fit in nicely) 

Tip for consumable products: If a customer bought an individual consumable item that's also part of a bundle, you should estimate when they'd need to refill it and then email them about your bundling options. And make sure to highlight the benefits of the other items in that group. 

Tip for items purchased separately: For customers who haven't bought any items as part of your bundles, you can trigger a Post-Purchase email that tells them about your bundles after their first order. This gives them an opportunity to come back later and buy the bundle as their second purchase.

BFCM and other holiday campaigns

Remember bundles when deciding your holiday offer strategy, especially if you want to improve margins and avoid deep discounting. 

According to Simon, the holidays are a great time to position bundles and kits as gifts and create a guide on who might like each bundle you sell:

“Oftentimes when people are gifting something, giving multiple products 'looks' better and is not a cognitively difficult decision to make. When presented with a bundle gift idea, customers feel like they’re giving more, and usually the brand is able to give a little discount on the ensemble of products.”

You can see how Felix & Norton does this in its Valentine’s Day Gift Guide email. There are curated bundles for life partners, friends, and family—this makes it easy for shoppers to choose an option for whoever they’re buying for.

You can still promote bundles during the holidays, even with a smaller product catalog. BOGO deals, for example, are a perfect solution. Here’s an example from Original Grain, using a BOGO watch deal during Christmas.

“We know we can email a code for 30% off at any point and have good results. But what I strive for is the only way someone should be able to get a good deal out of us is to spend more. That's what we really focused on with our email list this past Q4 and Valentine's Day, making sure we were getting the most out of sales while also giving the highest value offer to our loyal customers.” 
- Nate Lagos, Head of Marketing at Original Grain and Growth Consultant for DTC Brands

Winback and retention flows

Haven’t heard from a group of customers in a while? Create a bundle-focused email in your winback or retention flow. The key is to choose (or create new) bundles that are enticing for customers who haven’t purchased recently. 

This is the approach that Fil from Pearly uses. “We put a variety of bundles to allow our customers to try new flavors and encourage them to share them with others,” he said.

Here’s an example from their retention flow, highlighting the top Boba Gift Sets with various flavors.

“Moving forward, we'll implement a build-your-own bundle tool to allow customers to mix and match their favorite flavors,” Fil continued.

What he’s referring to is an experience similar to what Magic Spoon offers. 

A campaign like this can be the main focus of an email in your winback flow, directing customers to a page where they can easily add items to a bundle and personalize it to their flavor preferences (a super fun way to re-engage past shoppers).

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Best practices for promoting bundles via email

When positioning your bundles, consider the following best practices to entice as many customers as possible:

"Start here"

First, you should develop a "starter bundle" or a "best sellers bundle." 

Simply said by Fil, “I think every store needs a ‘start bundle’ and a ‘big X bundle’ to give customers a chance to either get a bundle on their first purchase, or a bundle with all your main products once they are a loyal customer. It makes the shopping experience much easier and it's fun to market!”

With customer acquisition costs sky-high, anything to make it easier for a new customer to select something and place their first order is a win.

You can also turn these bundles into an easy gift option, which Fil does in Pearly’s holiday gift guide.

Streamline bundle operations

When asked why more brands don’t promote bundles in their email flows, Fil said simply: “Bundles are hard to manage. All the products need to be in stock, which can be hard for many brands.”

This couldn’t be more true. It can be a logistical nightmare for many brands to manage—which was the case for the GothRider Coffee team before streamlining their bundle operations.

With expensive customer acquisition costs, GothRider faced a challenge many ecommerce businesses do: making the first sale profitable.

The economics of selling coffee — whether as a one-off purchase or on subscription — were tough. 

Bundles became the perfect solution because they offered a way to increase average order value while minimizing losses on new customer acquisitions. 

However, GothRider's bundles were far from simple: "Our bundles included T-shirts with six different sizes, choices of coffee roast, and even the type of product like ground coffee or K-cups, which added a higher level of complexity that exceeded Shopify's out-of-the-box capabilities,” shared Phil Kyprianou, founder of the edgy coffee brand. 

This led to two core issues: 

  1. Inventory Tracking: The bundles didn't break down into individual components, making it difficult to manage the inventory of each item within a bundle.
  2. Fulfillment Integration: Conventional fulfillment systems struggled with the specific demands of bundled products. Fulfillment centers could only see the parent product bundle when processing an order, forcing Phil's team to list individual products in each bundled order manually.

The solution? Leveraging Simple Bundles

"When we found Simple Bundles, it solved all of our issues in one shot," Phil said. We created our first test bundle and saw that it really works exactly the way we want it to."

How? 

  • Deconstructing Bundles: Simple Bundles allows for the breakdown of bundles into individual line items, enabling precise inventory management and reducing the risks of overselling, shipping errors, and returns.
  • Customization Flexibility: The platform allows users to customize bundles without Shopify's native limitations, allowing brands like GothRider Coffee to market and sell their products creatively.
  • Seamless Integration: Simple Bundles integrates smoothly into a brand's existing infrastructure, including subscription services, third-party logistics (3PLs), returns, and accounting software.

This meant GothRider Coffee could simplify the backend process and offer a variety of complex bundles that appealed to their customers' diverse tastes and preferences while efficiently managing inventory and fulfillment. 

It's insights like these that truly illuminate the unseen challenges of brand ownership. You can read more about Phil’s story and tips for managing your product bundles inventory and fulfillment here

Consider your bundle offer and positioning

When promoting product bundles through email flows, it's crucial to consider how you position them to maximize perceived value and maintain your profit margins

As Nate points out: "Find a way to position these products together with a really high perceived value that also works out for your margin-wise. For example, our buy one get one 60% off is the same as selling two watches at 30% off, but if we just sent out a 30% off discount code, we would have sold way fewer watches. The 60% off was a way more enticing offer, so we were able to sell a lot more watches at the same margins."

By presenting a BOGO deal, you create a sense of urgency and exclusivity, making the offer more appealing than a straightforward discount (which many customers have come to expect).

Segment, segment, segment

Klaviyo lets you see what products a customer browsed, added to a cart, and/or purchased. With this information, you can identify which subscriber is interested in which product or collection. Then, you can build a strategy to highlight your bundles in the most relevant way. 

We recommend researching ways to collect zero-party data directly on your store. You can use pop-ups, quizzes, or surveys to ask customers targeted questions about their preferences. You'll then follow up with education on the most relevant bundles you have for their needs. 

“Our bundles boost margins with strategic add-ons: Including high-margin items like special straws or premium teas in our bundles improves our profit margins. If we know a customer doesn't have a certain accessory, we can target them with bundles that include it.”
- Fil Pejic, Owner of Pearly Boba Tea Kits

Hold your customers’ hands

Never assume that customers will know how your bundles work. Make sure you provide detailed instructions (emails are great for that) on how to put them together, how to select items, and how to place their order. 

Don’t overthink it

One of Nate’s favorite tips is to keep bundle emails simple—sometimes, even just a plain text email is all you need. 

"Plain text emails hit so hard. It's one of my favorite plays in the playbook. I have branded myself to our customers as 'Nate the marketing guy.' A lot of these emails come from my voice, and I'll say things like 'Hey, it's Nate here, the marketing guy from Original Grain. My boss told me to tell you about this.'"

One standout example Nate mentions is from a Cyber Monday promotion: "We were doing a Cyber Monday buy one watch, get the second for 60% off. I didn't sign off as Nate the marketing guy, I signed off as ‘Nate, OG's Whiskey Guy’ because the email was 'last-call' themed. So the subject line was, 'Last call sucks, but someone's gotta call it.' I love this one, and it crushed super hard."

Nate emphasizes the effectiveness of these campaigns: "If plain text emails aren't in your playbook, they should be. They're really easy to execute, the deliverability is great, the engagement is great. Some of our best-performing emails all year were plain text emails."

This approach highlights the power of simplicity and the personal touch in email marketing. By speaking directly to customers in a relatable voice, you can create a strong connection and drive impressive results.

About the authors

This blog post was co-authored by Lisa Oberst, Director of Retention at Fuel Made, and Tina Donati, Head of Marketing at Simple Bundles. Together they bring a combined 12+ years of ecommerce expertise.

Fuel Made is a Shopify CRO, web design and development, and Klaviyo email and SMS marketing agency. They specialize in helping brands optimize their online presence and engagement strategies. For those looking to elevate their email marketing efforts, Fuel Made offers email strategy consultations.

Simple Bundles is a Shopify app designed to simplify the bundling process. It allows brands to break down bundles into individual SKUs for real-time inventory syncing and easy order fulfillment. Simple Bundles is available with a free plan on the Shopify app store.