As the quarter and the calendar year draw to a close, forward-thinking businesses and 3P Sellers will be turning their attention to the promise of the new year. With a proactive approach that’s attuned to the needs of your customers, you can take 2020 by storm. The festive spend-a-thon that is the holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean that consumers will be padlocking their wallets and shredding their credit cards.
Indeed, there’s great opportunity in the post-festive economy as hordes of bargain-hungry shoppers take to the high street (and of course the internet) in the pursuit of bargains on which to spend their Christmas money and gift cards. As the world’s biggest and most trusted ecommerce channel, there’s no doubt that Amazon is a great place to target shrewd shoppers as they hunt for deals.
And if you present them with the right bundle listing of products, your business will benefit. Here’s why...
Why bundles are brilliant!
Bundles can work wonders for your business on a number of levels. First of all, they give the ‘cost-conscious’ more for their money. And even bargain hunters will be willing to spend more if they feel that they will be getting a great deal. But the value of bundles doesn’t stop there.
Bundles let you sell lower-performing products in higher volumes by partnering them with better-performing products. Bundles let you increase your average order value, allowing you to be more profitable — something that can be leveraged within your ACoS strategy. For small retailers, bundles can also increase your product catalog to the three-threshold mark required to run sponsored brand ads. Beyond all of that, bundles can actually increase your brand’s visibility on Amazon.
When you list a single product, you face stiff competition from other brands selling similar items. This is true anywhere, but it might be most true on Amazon. This is because of the ‘Buy Box’. When multiple Sellers list the same product on Amazon, Amazon lists those products on the search results page as a single item. Amazon then decides which product is actually sold when the buyer clicks on the ‘add to basket' button — the Buy Box.
Many buyers aren’t even aware that they can find other bundle listings of the same product further down the page. 82% of purchases on Amazon are made through the Buy Box — and that figure is even higher for mobile purchases. Bundles, however, count as a unique product. If you have a unique product, you will win the Buy Box each and every time.
It is worth mentioning that being a ‘unique’ product does come with downsides. Namely, you are forced to create a new listing when making a bundle, meaning that reviews and your BSR (best sellers rank) will not carry through from single products to the bundle. With that said, the many benefits of bundles outway this problem if approached correctly. Primarily, that means thinking carefully about which products to bundles and how they are priced.
With that in mind, here are some strategies for creating irresistible bundles on Amazon...
1. Understand Amazon’s rules
Amazon, of course, has rules about creating bundles. If you want your Amazon bundling strategy to work, you need to make sure that you follow Amazon’s rules and don’t get any of your product bundles flagged and removed.
Amazon’s rules for bundling can be broadly summaries in three main points:
- Each product within the bundle has to be a unique product. That means each item needs a unique ASIN/UPC — prepackaged products with a single ASIN/UPC do not count.
- The items within a bundle need to complement each other. This is a subjective point, but if you start bundling entirely unrelated products, your bundles will not be accepted.
- Amazon has specific rules regulating the bundling of video games, books, music, videos and DVDs. Basically, none of these products can form the ‘foundation’ of a bundle. These products can only be included as secondary products — a yoga DVD bundled with a yoga mat, for example.
If you want a full explanation of Amazon’s rules, check out their policy page here.
2. Choose products that complement one another
Amazon demands that you bundle complementary products. But looking to pair products that go well together is critical for reasons beyond ‘the rules’. If a customer does not want both products in your bundle, they aren’t going to view that bundle as adding value, even if it’s a good deal. Ultimately, picking products that go together is a critical part of creating that added value in your Amazon bundling strategy — think a guitar and a set of guitar picks, or running shoes and athletic socks.
Customers don’t have to love everything in the bundle, but there has to be more value in the bundle than buying one or two of the items individually. Crafting bundles of complementary products isn’t the only way to do this, but it’s probably the most straightforward way.
How to do it
Some items lend themselves well to pairing on a functional or thematic level. Socks and underwear, gloves and scarves or matching bedding and curtains, for example. Sometimes, however, you might need to get creative.
Analytics tools and machine learning can be invaluable here. If you have the tools to make sense of your Amazon customer data, you can identify which products customers buy together and even the order in which they buy them. These ‘buying trajectories’ are a great tool for crafting creative bundles. You can also pull data from paid search campaigns by telling Amazon to target “compliments” through product targeting. Products with a high conversion rate should be flagged as good bundle candidates.
Armed with this info, you can present buyers with an item that they want to buy today and something the data tells you that they’ll likely want to buy down the line. When they buy them together, they can get both items at a great price.
3. Build bundles around your bestsellers
Not sure where to start when it comes to curating bundles? As in all things business, it’s always a good idea to lead with your strengths. A bundle is likely to be more appealing to a broader audience if it has a popular product at the center. Using a best selling product as a starting point and building out from there is a great way to build popular bundles.
Leading with more popular items is also more likely to generate search traffic. And the more eyes fall in your bundle, the more you’re likely to sell them.
How to do it
Again, analytics are key. For registered brands, you can pull sales reports from Amazon Brand Analytics. But third-party analytics dashboards deliver a more streamlined source for review. These tools not only integrate detailed data from across the Amazon reporting ecosystem, they can pull data from your own retail website sales. This kind of complete view is what’s really needed to make the best bundling decisions.
Ultimately, what you need to do is determine which products sell the best within your target market at this time of year. Or, if you have a product with evergreen popularity, you can use this as a starting point.
4. Use bundling to shift inventory that's gathering dust
There’s nothing worse than seeing your stock gathering dust on your shelf. It’s not only demoralizing, it can seriously bottleneck your cash flow and prevent you from making more prudent capital investments which can improve your operations or generate more sales.
Upselling is a popular strategy to help shift items that aren’t selling as well alongside their more popular counterparts. Bundling is a great strategy to improve the sale of struggling product lines — allowing you to attach them to related products with higher customer traction. Items that are unlikely to be bought in isolation can be readily accepted as add ons at the point of sale.
Bundling products can add perceived value to both products being sold. You can also couple a bundling strategy with coupon marketing strategies and promotions in order to increase the appeal of the products. This can add a sense of urgency to the buying process, make the products ‘seasonally’ appealing, or simply grab a shopper’s eye.
How to do it
Product-specific analysis can help you to get to know the buyer personas of the people who buy your less popular items. You can then pair those items with other items that may be of interest to them for an irresistible combination. Alternatively, you can find functional or thematic links between some of the most and least popular items in your inventory and bundle them together. Once you have your products selected, you can start to think about ways to promote them and test outcomes.
5. Use up-to-the-minute insights to understand what customers really think about your products
Bundles are of huge benefit to those selling their products on Amazon. But if you want to get the most out of bundle selling, you can’t expect to pair items together arbitrarily and expect them to fly off the shelves.
You need to pair complementary items in combinations that are designed to appeal to the needs of your target audience. And the better you know that audience, the more likely you are to create winning bundles that appeal to the bargain-conscious masses in the new year.
Robust analytics are such an important investment for Amazon Sellers and Vendors. However, the control that 3P Sellers have to tailor and manage their listings means that every ounce of information you have can be put to good use.
The analytics tools that can help you craft tailored bundles will also help you assess how your bundles perform. Turn those tools back on your Amazon bundling strategy to A/B test combinations and iterate on success. By staying up to date on what works, you can double down on what works and dynamically grow your bundling strategy day-by-day. The more insights you have, the more deeply you will understand which products mean the most to your customers and your target audience. That is the key to a successful Amazon bundling strategy in 2020 and beyond.