The Internet has revolutionized how people buy things, but the psychology of marketing and persuading people to buy hasn't changed. The power of suggestion is as strong as it has ever been, and people love a good deal as much as they ever have. Have you ever upgraded to a combo meal because a fast food clerk asked if you wanted “fries with that” or because you saw a photo showing an ice cold drink and side dish next to the sandwich you were about to order? Have you ever bought more groceries than you needed because of a “buy two, get one free” offer?
Product bundling is offering a slight discount if the customer buys a group of related items, instead of just one. In e-commerce, suggesting a product that complements an impending purchase is a simple but effective way to get customers to slow down, think about the add-on item, and decide whether to add it to their carts. If it’s offered at a discount, chances are some customers will happily jump at the deal. Research suggests that up-sells and cross-sells are responsible for 10 to 30 percent of e-commerce revenues.
Up-selling and product bundling are techniques that are as old as commerce, but they’re being implemented in new ways by savvy online sellers who tap into sales data for up-to-the-minute insights or personalize offers based on customers’ profiles, browsing histories, and past purchases. Here’s what you need to know about how to use product bundling to boost average cart values.
How Bundling Works in E-commerce
Product bundling works in any number of ways, but the core concept is to introduce a complementary or related item just before or immediately after the customer puts their initial purchase into their cart. The second item can be introduced via an image that's permanently embedded into the page, a comment and a link to the related product in the description, or when the customer is at the cart page and a "last minute" suggestion is brought up before they go ahead with the purchase.
Figure Out What Items Pair Well Together
Some things go together naturally. A protective case for an electronic device, tennis balls to go with a new racket, gloves with a hat and scarf and so on. Other suggestions require more insight or expertise on the seller’s part. Some of the ways to choose items to bundle together include:
- Look at sales data. Analyze buyer purchase patterns and see what items people typically buy together.Source
- Listen to your employees- They can probably tell you what’s selling well.
- Examine social media- Social listening can give you insights into what people say about your products, what they like or dislike, and what they’re recommending to their friends and followers.
- Use your own expertise- The number of choices online can be overwhelming to many consumers. Studies have found that shoppers actually appreciate recommendations from merchants, as long as it’s not pushy. This is especially true when it comes to taste and style. Different colors can influence buyer behavior. For instance, red is stimulating and communicates urgency and excitement. If your brand has a particular aesthetic, share it through personalized product suggestions.
- Show products by the same manufacturer. Many e-commerce stores automatically present products by the same author, label, brand, or manufacturer. It’s a less refined way to bundle products, but it works in a pinch – particularly if it’s the type of merchandise that has a “brand loyal” following.
- Let your customers choose. You can allow buyers to customize their own bundles by offering discounts if they purchase a certain number of items from a group of goods or pass a certain spending threshold. You provide an incentive to buy more items and make it easy for them to consider additional purchases.
Once you've got a formula that works to bring items together, you can start adding items that aren't moving quickly out of your inventory.
Highlight Less Popular Products
Bundling can help you move slow-selling inventory by pairing it with more popular items at an attractive price. Sometimes, good products don’t sell well simply because buyers don’t know about them. Highlighting them through bundling raises customer awareness and helps improve inventory turnover. What was once something taking up room on your shelves might turn into a small profit center simply because you made people aware of its existence.
A/B Test Your Bundles
A/B testing gives you the opportunity to test items together and figure out which combination sells better. This does require extra website code that swaps the A and B out at specified intervals, but it's a worthwhile endeavor. Different customers get different items to choose from to add to their order and you can track the results.
Besides which products sell best together, you can also test include different titles, where you place things on the page, how you time the offer, different calls to action, value propositions, and so forth. With some patience and analysis, you can figure out how to maximize average cart value.
Add Real Value
Bundles work best when you offer a discount. The goal is to get your customer to feel that they got a deal for buying two instead of one. How much you discount is up to you, but you do need to give the customer a compelling reason to add that second item. Lowering the price if they buy both items is the best method of making the sale, but there are other incentives you can employ.
If you have a small order fee for purchases under a set amount and the bundled items don't reach that amount, consider waiving the fee. Customers don't like fees even though there's a reason for their existence. Eliminating the fee for those items has the potential to increase the sales to the point that you won't feel the loss of the fee.
Another option is to reduce or waive shipping costs. This is especially beneficial when the items don't weigh a lot and shipping costs are minimal. Make sure that you don't increase your retail price beyond that of your competitors when building the cost of shipping back into the retail price.
Shop Your Competition
The advantage to e-commerce shopping is that you can put items into a cart without committing to buy. This lets you find out how your competition is pricing the same item, how they're bundling it, and what, if any, discounts they offer for bundles. Information learned from your competition is something you can use to your advantage for your own e-commerce site. Create bundles that are similar or raise your discount or lower the price on a single item. Being flexible and quick to match and beat competitor pricing through bundles benefits you in the long run by increasing sales and gaining more customers who associate your site, with better prices.
Product bundling is a powerful way to increase average cart values and speed up your inventory turnover. It also creates a sense of a relationship with your brand. Personalized suggestions make customers feel like you understand their preferences and pain points, while discounts make them feel like they’re getting added value. Done well, it benefits both buyers and sellers.
This is a guest post by Laura Gayle of Business Woman Guide.