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Episode 117 - Bundles in Your Shopify Store

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Hey, Scott Austin here. 

In this episode, I'm going to talk about the new Shopify Bundles app. But before getting into the app, let's do a little Bundles 101.

Bundles are a combination of multiple products or services that are sold together as a single package. Bundles can be offered at a discounted price when compared to purchasing each item separately. Here are some different types of bundles:

  1. Pure Bundles: This is when products are only available as part of a bundle and cannot be purchased separately. For example, a special edition of a video game might come bundled with exclusive in-game items that aren't available for separate purchase.
  2. Mixed Bundles: In this case, products are available both individually and as part of a bundle. Customers have the choice to buy items separately or together at a discounted rate. For instance, a camera might be sold on its own or bundled with a lens and a bag for a reduced total price.
  3. Cross-Category Bundles: These bundles combine products from different categories. An example might be a laptop bundled with a printer and a software package.
  4. Complementary Bundles: These bundles group together products that complement each other and are often used together. For example, shampoo and conditioner might be bundled together.
  5. Starter Kits: These are bundles designed to provide everything a customer might need to start a new hobby or activity. For instance, a beginner's painting kit might include brushes, paints, canvases, and an instructional booklet. 
  6. Seasonal or Thematic Bundles: These bundles are curated around a theme or season. For example, a "Summer Beach Bundle" might include sunscreen, a beach towel, and a pair of sunglasses.
  7. Bulk Bundles: These bundles emphasize the cost savings of buying in bulk or as a set. For example, a "Buy 2, Get 1 Free" offer or a discounted price for purchasing a six-pack of a product instead of individual units.
  8. Gift Bundles: Curated specifically as gifts, these bundles can include a variety of products suitable for special occasions, holidays, or specific recipients like a Mother's Day Spa Bundle.

And now, let's talk about how bundles can be good for your business.

  1. Bundles are convenient for customers.  Your customers, like the rest of us, are probably pretty busy.  They may not have the time to select individual products and the bundles help them make confident shopping decisions.
  2. Increased Sales: Bundling products can encourage customers to purchase more items than they initially intended. By offering a discount on a bundle, customers see they are getting a better deal and are more likely to buy.
  3. Moving Inventory: Bundling can help you move older or overstocked inventory. By pairing slower-moving items with best-sellers, you can clear out old stock more efficiently.
  4. Enhanced Shopping Experience: Bundles can be curated to provide a better shopping experience. For instance, a "starter kit" for a new hobby or a "complete set" for a particular task can help customers feel they are getting everything they need in one go.
  5. Cross-Selling Opportunities: Bundling allows you to introduce customers to products they might not have considered otherwise. This can lead to increased awareness of your store's product range.
  6. Competitive Differentiation: Offering unique bundles can set your store apart from the competition. This can be especially useful in saturated markets where you are looking for ways to stand out.
  7. Promotional Opportunities: Bundles can be used in marketing campaigns, flash sales, or seasonal promotions. They can be a compelling way to attract attention and drive traffic to your store.
  8. Cost Savings: Selling products in bundles can reduce shipping and handling costs, as it's often more efficient to ship items together rather than separately.
  9. Brand Perception: Curated bundles can enhance your brand by showcasing the thought and care you put into creating combinations that cater to your customer's needs or preferences.
  10. Customer Loyalty: Offering exclusive bundles to repeat customers or loyalty program members can foster a sense of appreciation and encourage repeat business.

So let's talk about Shopify's new bundle app.  This app is developed by the Shopify team, so they get to do things that other apps cannot do which will come into play as I explain things.

You can get the app in the Shopify app store like any other app.  Just search for Shopify Bundles and add it to your store.  The app is free to install and use.

When you go into the app, you'll see a Create Bundle button which you should click on.  You'll then give the bundle a name and add products from your store to the bundle.  Once you've created the bundle, it will show up in your Products in the Shopify Admin where you can add all of the product data like category, images and description.  When you look at the bundle in the products area, there will be a new section on the page for Bundled Products.  This section shows the products that are included in the bundle.  There's also a link in the section that allows you to edit this bundle in the bundle app.

Now one of the problems we have in Shopify with bundles is inventory management.  The inventory system in your Shopify store can not handle bundles when the bundle is built with other products in your store.  And that's where the bundle app comes in.  What the bundle app is doing is creating a bundle product as you define it and presenting it to the customer as a single product.  And then on the backend the bundle is converted to the seperate products in the order.  And that allows the inventory to be properly managed by Shopify.  The available inventory of you bundle is the inventory count for the product with the least inventory in the bundle.  So if you have 5 products in the bundle and 4 of them have an inventory of 100.  And the fifth product has an inventory of 20.  Then the bundle will have an inventory of 20.

So far, this is all sounding good.  But there are some big limitations to what the bundles app can do.  What Shopify did for its bundles is to display it in your store like any other product.  And the beauty of that is that bundles work in every theme without editting any code, even old themes.  But this also means that the bundle has same limits as a product.  First, the bundle can only have three options.  By default the bundle product inherits the options from all of its products.  So if you have two products that you want to bundle and they both have two options, it won't work.  Because 2 plus 2 is 4 and that exceeds the 3 option limit.  The work around for this is to not allow the customer to make the option choices.  When you are defining or editting a bundle, you can limit the choices the customer makes.  For example, let's say one of your products has a color option with 7 colors.  In your bundle, you can set the color to blue.  This becomes a choice the customer doesn't have to make and can help get you under the 3 options per bundle limit.

Another product limit that is placed on bundles is the 100 variant limit.  

There's also a limit in the bundle app that a bundle can have no more than 10 products in it.

During the shopping experience for your customers, a bundle looks just like a product on the product page and in the cart.  The display in the checkout looks different though.  In checkout, the customer can click on the bundle product and it will expand to show all of the products in the bundle.

And then in the order, the customer will see each product as its own line item.  This should be acceptable for most stores.

If you look at the reviews for the app in the Shopify app store, it is not reviewed well.  It currently has a 2.8 out of 5.   The comments in the reviews show that people are dinging it for its limitations, which is fair.  But here's the thing, within the limitations, the app works wonderfully.  It's easy to use and requires no theme customization.

If you have a third party inventory management system and manage bundles with that, you probably don't need the Shopify Bundles app.  And if you are using one of the paid bundles app, you'll need to decide if the Shopify app will meet your needs.  Though my guess is that it won't.

But if you aren't using bundles in your store yet, then I highly recommend that you try the Shopify Bundles app.  It can add a new layer to your merchandising that customers can find value in.  

Bundling is a long-standing commerce strategy that most stores should at least try for their business. Just be sure to focus on the customer and their needs when putting together your bundles so the bundles provide genuine value to the customer.

I recommend coming up some customer personas or scenarios and asking yourself what bundles would these personas want.  Here are some examples of personas or scenarios:

  1. A budget consious student
  2. Someone shopping for their 10 year old niece's birthday
  3. A fitness minded 30-something guy
  4. Someone wanting to spend $100 on a Mother's Day gift
  5. A retiree looking into aging in place

Come up with the personas that represent your customers and design bundles for them.  And then add those bundles to your marketing and advertising efforts. 

Most stores will see an improvement in their revenues from their bundles.  I hope your store does too.

Thanks for listening.

JadePuma is a certified Shopify Expert. If you need any help with your Shopify store, we can help.