So you previously tried product bundling but ran into issues with inefficient inventory and order management, limited reporting, and frustrating shipping processes.
Don’t let that stop you from getting creative with your bundles. When done well, product bundles have driven a 15-20% increase in AOV for brands on Shopify.
Here’s where most brands get product bundling wrong: they believe they can combine multiple SKUs and get customers to purchase them. However, we’re here to tell you the hard truth—product bundling is a lot more strategic than that.
Yes, product bundling can surface some operational challenges, but with the right strategy, you can create high-converting bundles and streamline your entire bundling operations.
The key is to approach your bundles thoughtfully. We’ll show you how to do that.
First, let’s start by reviewing product bundling and its advantages.
First, what is product bundling?
Product bundling is a marketing strategy in which multiple products or services are packaged together as one “bundle.” These bundles are typically discounted compared to if the products were purchased separately, making them more attractive to customers.
Brands can bundle the same SKU (purchasing two of the same socks for the price of one) or combine various SKUs (purchasing a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer in a bundle that’s $10 cheaper than purchasing each product individually).
Each bundle could be sold as a single package (one SKU for the whole bundle) or as individual products (separate SKUs).
Kitting and bundling: what’s the diff?
Product bundling is when you combine two or more products into a single package and offer them at a discount.
Product kitting, on the other hand, is the packaging of individual components into a single kit that serves a specific purpose or solves a particular problem. Kitting is not typically offered at a discount, but instead focuses on convenience and creating a solution for customers.
For this article, we’ll show you examples of bundling and kitting. Both are very similar, and it’s entirely up to you whether or not you offer a discount on the products you compile.
What are the advantages of product bundling?
Product bundling aims to increase revenue by incentivizing customers to purchase multiple products.
And for most brands, bundling is working well. According to Shopify, beauty brand Aisling Organics sees about 30% of its direct-to-consumer sales come from product bundle purchases.
But aside from direct revenue, product bundling also impacts your AOV and retention and lessens your product waste—all of which also impact revenue.
- AOV: By incentivizing customers to purchase multiple products in one bundle, you’re driving them to spend more than they would without the bundle option. In return, increasing AOV.
- Retention: By providing a discounted bundle package and additional value, product bundles give customers more for their money. Additionally, you can help your customers see successful results (e.g. selling a full beauty routine for oily skin versus making customers create this routine on their own and potentially choose the wrong products).
- Inventory waste: Most brands have a minimum of 33% deadstock in their inventory at a time, costing more than the products alone the longer it sits there. Eventually, this stock gets discarded as waste. Bundling is a good way to clear out this extra stock.
Now that you know what product bundling is all about, let’s talk about making a strategy.
Creating your product bundling strategy (with examples)
Before you bundle products together, the first step is determining which products have complementary features and benefits. Next, decide what type of bundle you’ll create.
There are three main bundle categories:
- Multi-SKU bundling: The bundle product and its components are identified by separate SKUs during fulfillment, meaning you’ll see the bundle product and its individual components when a customer orders a bundle.
- Single-SKU bundling: The bundle product and its components are identified by only one SKU during fulfillment. When a customer orders a bundle, you'll only see the bundle product, not its individual components.
- Infinite options bundling: Infinite options bundle accepts line item properties, allowing customers to select specific bundle options without using variants on the bundle and possibly being limited by Shopify's 100 variant limit.
More specifically, there are about nine ways you can bundle products. Let’s review each type.
Cross-sell bundling is when products from different product lines are bundled together. This bundle encourages customers to try various products—often ones they might not have considered before.
Check out Three Ships’ Smooth and Restore bundle, as an example. This bundle is built for mature skin types and includes a full skincare routine (cleanser, serum, and moisturizer) to smooth fine lines and add radiance.
Mix and match bundles
Mix-and-match bundles are ideal for companies that offer a wide selection of products. Here, customers can customize their bundle by choosing different variations and sizes.
For example, this brand bundles “kitchen essentials,” which include an apron, market bag, and dish towel. Each item offers color variations. Instead of creating a bundle for every variation (that would be a lot of work), customers can use a drop-down menu to select which color and pattern they want for every item.
A mix-and-match bundle gives customers complete control over their purchase, making the offer more enticing.
Multi-packs and pre-packs
Multi-packs (also known as pre-packs or size packs) provide multiple copies of the same product at a discounted price. A multi-pack could give customers the option to purchase a 3-pack, 6-pack, or 10-pack of socks, which MeUndies offers. The goal is to give customers more options and encourage bulk purchases.
Also, as wholesale businesses continue to gain traction in the commerce market, multi-pack bundles are a useful option for retailers to purchase in bulk.
Buy more, save more bundles
These are similar to multi-packs in that they offer a discount for customers who purchase more than one item. Usually, the difference between multi-packs and buy more, save more bundles is that customers can select different versions of the same product or mix and match products.
Bariatric Fusion lets customers build protein bundles with a bundle builder quiz. With the builder, customers can select their protein flavors and then receive a discount to use when purchasing the bundle.
Upsell bundles are used to encourage customers to purchase higher-end products. This can involve bundles of similar products or bundles of one high-end product and several lower-end products.
Also sometimes referred to as “combo bundles,” this bundle is meant to highlight two or more products designed to be used together.
Amazon always creates these bundles, where a brand will recommend add-ons based on what you’re purchasing and what other like-minded shoppers have purchased in the past. And according to McKinsey, 35% of all Amazon purchases come from these bundle recommendations.
Product variant bundles
Product variant bundles encourage customers to purchase a single product in different variants. For example, a bundle of three T-shirts in different sizes or colors.
Here’s a simple example from Beeswax Wraps. When purchasing the wraps, customers can choose if they want to purchase three, seven, or ten. Next, they choose the pattern of the wraps.
Gift set bundles
Gift set bundling is a popular way to convert holiday shoppers into buyers. This bundle typically involves a selection of related items that are attractively packaged and priced for gifting. Think about popular holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, and even birthdays.
Send A Friend uses a birthday bundle to package the stuffed animal, stickers, buttons, socks, a birthday card, and more, which makes it super convenient for customers to send a gift to a friend.
Buy one, get one (BOGO) bundles offer one item at regular cost and one of the same items completely free. Remember when we mentioned leftover stock earlier in the article? BOGO bundles are one of the most useful types for eliminating any leftover stock on certain SKUs.
Check out this example from Braxley Bands, where you can see how the second band is shown as $0.
Exclusive bundling is exactly what it sounds like—it involves selling products only available as a package (not sold separately). Brands use this tactic to build FOMO and make the products feel more exclusive, especially if they’re only available for a limited time or quantity.
Revolver Mag teams up with bands to create exclusive bundles often. In partnership with the band Ghost, the bundle sold out within days. You can see right in the bundle title how they share how only 250 are available.
Now that you’ve seen the nine bundles you can create, how can you ensure your strategy is successful? As experts in product bundling, we have several tips to help.
8 Product bundling tips we promise you haven’t read about before
At this point in your ecommerce career, you’ve likely heard the same tips shared over and over again: understand your goal, think about your target audience, etc.
Yes, these tips are essential, but as product bundling experts, we’re here to bring you the nitty gritty details instead of the basics.
Our goal is to help you increase margins and maximize profitability. We promise, there’s at least one new tip in this list that you haven’t thought about before!
Here’s what you should consider if you want to bring your bundles’ value to the forefront:
Analyze your customer needs
The first step is understanding what customers want and expect from product bundles. Pain points trigger customers, so your bundle should solve their problems. That’s why skincare brands bundle products that target skin types (oily, sensitive, acne-prone).
Think about what your customers need and how a group of your products could help them achieve a solution.
Watch buying trends
Paying attention to the products your customers purchase together naturally gives you a good idea of which products may make a good bundle. Plus, it’s easier for customers to purchase the bundle versus them hunting down each item individually in your product catalog.
Develop segment-specific bundles
Different customer segments have different needs, so it’s important to tailor bundles for each segment.
For example, a hair care brand might sell products for people with curly hair, straight hair, thin hair, or even dyed hair. Each hair type has its own products, and what works for someone with straight hair likely isn’t the same product that someone with curly hair should order.
Your bundles should make it easy for each customer segment to discover products that are relevant to them. Three Ships does this well with its three-step kits. One is for dry skin, and the other is for acne-prone skin.
The dry skin bundle:
The acne-prone skin bundle:
Create bundle landing pages
The purpose of creating product bundles is to give customers an easier shopping experience. Still, if customers can’t find those bundles easily on your website, they won’t see their value.
Creating landing pages for product bundles is important because it offers a more focused customer experience, making it easier for customers to understand the bundle's value and how it can benefit them.
Landing pages also help drive conversions by making the purchase process easier and faster for the customer. Every bundle should have a dedicated product description page, and you should include bundles in your nav bar to make them easily discoverable to browsers.
As a bonus, you can upsell your bundles on pages with products already included in the bundle. Strategic placement of your product bundles can help encourage “quick-decision purchases.”
Side note: Landing pages are great for SEO purposes, so each bundle landing page you create can be optimized for specific keywords, boosting your search engine rankings.
Consider how you will track bundle SKUs
Every brand tracks bundle SKUs differently: some may look at the entire bundle as a single SKU, while others may separate the products and use multi-SKU.
Think about the best option for you to streamline your operations—and what will be the most convenient to the customers purchasing the bundle.
There’s a strategy behind which option you choose, so before you decide, consider the following:
- How do you want your customers to see the bundle in their cart and receive the order? (bundle only, bundle contents, or both?)
- How do you want the packing slip to be displayed? This varies depending on how the contents or bundles are stored in their warehouses. (For example, do you want them to show individually in different locations or as already pre-packaged with a separate bundle SKU?)
- How do you want customers to be notified when their order is fulfilled? This is especially important if you have multiple fulfillment locations and each product in the bundle is in a different location.
We recommend tracking each product in the bundle individually to manage your inventory properly. Why?
Individual SKUs help you gain better control and visibility over your products, optimize your operations, increase sales, and provide a better customer experience—especially if you’re working with various fulfillment partners with software that sends and receives data differently.
If you have multiple store locations or drop shipping partners, tracking individual SKUs tends to be easier and more manageable for your store operations.
Also, knowing the individual SKUs for bundled products allows merchants to break out the individual items from a bundle after a customer purchases them, making ordering and packing them easier. This streamlines the fulfillment process and ensures orders are fulfilled quickly and accurately.
We know tracking each product individually can be difficult to do manually. These experiences cause friction for your operations team, which is exactly why we created Simple Bundles in the first place.
Not only can Simple Bundles help break out individual line items in your bundle SKU, but it also automatically marks your bundle SKU as fulfilled in Shopify, so it doesn’t get sent to your fulfillment center. Instead, the rest of the bundle’s contents remain unfulfilled until you and your team pick, pack, and mark these individual SKUs as fulfilled.
Improve productivity by automating your back-end
Technology and automation can streamline the fulfillment process for product bundles and improve productivity.
If a merchant has inventory in multiple locations, it’s also important to create automation that suits how the warehouse wants the inventory for the individual bundle SKUs to be handled.
For example, should bundle inventory be determined based on the stock in a single location, so it’s shipped together? Or can the bundle contents be in any location, and a bundle order can be shipped from multiple locations?
If your bundling app isn’t automatically integrated with your logistics tech stack, several automation tools are available (Shopify Flow, Zapier, and Alloy, to name a few). These tools will help you automatically send order data from your bundles to the warehouse to get orders picked and packed efficiently. This saves you from sorting through the orders and sending the data manually.
Show the value of the bundle right away
Customers don’t always immediately see the benefit of a bundle, so paint a clear picture for them by
- Showing the cost savings, they get from purchasing the bundle versus the products individually,
- Highlighting if it’s a holiday special or a limited-time offer,
- And what’s convenient about the bundle (that they get free shipping with the bundle, or how bundling the products makes life easier for them)?
Generally, ask yourself what makes the bundle more enticing than buying each product separately, and highlight the answer on the product page.
Test and measure on an ongoing basis
You should continuously perform tests to measure the effectiveness of each bundle and make adjustments accordingly, but there’s more data to consider than bundle conversions alone.
There are various data points to help you determine the effectiveness of your bundles. Here’s the data we recommend reviewing:
- Conversion rates and revenue: since your primary goal is to increase this number, you want to pay attention to the percentage of revenue your bundles are driving for your business and check if they’re increasing revenue.
- Landing page engagement: are users interacting with the page and adding products to their cart, or are they bouncing quickly off it?
- Data between bundles: Are some bundles performing better than others? Is a certain customer purchasing more of one bundle than another? Is each bundle page set up differently, and one showing better conversions?
- Data between variants: If you offer variant bundles, is there a combination that’s converting more? It might be worth turning that variant into an official bundle separately.
- Bundles versus individual products: How do your bundles perform compared to the products individually? For example, is there a reason why a single lipstick is selling better on its own than in the bundle? You can try various combinations to see what converts best.
- Seasonal bundles: Are there bundles you’re offering year-round that sell better seasonally? You can change your marketing strategy by making them seasonal only and building FOMO.
If you’re using Shopify to power your ecommerce store, you’ll also be able to see which bundles are your best-selling over a period of time, your total bundle sales, and average order value.
How to create product bundles on Shopify
Creating a bundle in Shopify is easy, and you can streamline your entire bundle operations with the right tool.
Step 1: Create a new bundle in Shopify. If you’re using Simple Bundles, then there's no need to specify the quantity or price as you can add and adjust them later on Simple Bundles. These changes will be reflected on Shopify as well.
Enable “track quantity.” And to avoid negative inventories, we recommend unchecking “Continue selling when out of stock."
Step 2: If you’re using simple bundles, go to Simple Bundles and select Build bundle in the Bundles tab. Find the product you just created and click Add.
Step 3: Start adding individual SKUs to each of the options. Select Add products in the Products section and find each of the individual SKUs you wish to add to your bundle. You can adjust the quantity of each individual SKU and the bundle's price.
Check out this article here to learn more about creating bundles in Shopify with Simple Bundles.
Using a different platform than Shopify? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Simple Bundles works with your platform.
Important: calculating bundle price
Before you start bundling products, you need to consider one more part of the strategy: how you will price your bundles.
The cost-plus pricing method is the simplest way to calculate a bundle price. Simply add the cost of each item in the bundle and then add a profit margin, which is a percentage of the total cost you want to make as a profit.
For example, if each item in the bundle costs $10 and you want a 25% profit margin, the total bundle price would be $12.50.
Note: If you sell items individually, keep in mind the price of the product sold individually and as a bundle. Using Simple Bundles, you can start by adding individual item prices to your bundle list to calculate the bundle price. Then, if you want to offer a discount on the bundle, you can calculate a new margin since it might be worth giving a discount to get a higher AOV.
Successful product bundling needs a thoughtful strategy—and a trustworthy partner
Ready to put your strategy into practice?
By creating attractive bundles that offer customers greater value, you can increase your AOV and create a competitive advantage in your market. With careful research, planning, and execution, product bundling can effectively reach new customers and drive conversions through convenience.
You may have the tips, but now you need a good partner.
Simple Bundles can help you create various bundles, and automatically send order details to your fulfillment center for picking and packing SKU bundles and kits.
You can try it for free by installing directly on Shopify here.