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Upsell, Cross-Sell, or Clear Dead Stock: Which Product Bundling Strategy Do You Need?

13 min read

Who could resist a deal where you receive more for less? If you’ve ever indulged in a combo offer at a fast-food chain, you’ve seen the art of product bundling. This strategic approach merges two or more items into a single package, typically at a reduced price.

Product bundling can offer numerous benefits to your business, aiding in various objectives, such as boosting your average order value (AOV) and introducing new products.

In this article, we will explore different product bundling strategies and what you can achieve with each. Since each business has its own flair, think of it as a spark of inspiration rather than a strict rulebook.

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Product Bundling Strategies: Examples and Benefits

There are plenty of different product bundling strategies that you can implement in your store. These strategies can cater to various customer preferences and enhance your marketing efforts.

By the way, Ecwid sellers can simplify the process of product bundling using the Product Bundles: Combine Items and Sell More app to create bundles effortlessly. Simply select the products for a bundle and specify the discount amount.

Here are some of the most common product bundle strategies:

Pure Bundles

Pure bundles are a set of products that cannot be sold separately. They are only available as a package.

This bundling strategy works best for products designed to be used together, such as a DIY box or a meal kit delivery.

It may not be a good idea to create a pure bundle out of products that are not directly connected to one another.

Benefits for a business: Offering pure bundles is a quick method to boost average order value, as customers are compelled to buy the complete package even if they need only a few items.

Pure bundles (when created thoughtfully) also help you get the most out of seasonal events, such as Christmas or Halloween. At these times, customers might be looking for a package of products tailored for a specific occasion.

Examples of pure bundles: Blue Apron is a meal-kit delivery service where customers select their preferred menu type and receive all the ingredients along with a recipe for a delicious dish.

Another example is the Dyson Airwrap which comes with attachments:

Also, these kids’ sewing kits include fabrics, filling, and threads:

Same Product Bundles

Same-product bundles are packages that contain more than one item of the same product at a discounted price. Such bundles help customers to save money and reduce mental load.

This bundling strategy works best for products that can be used in large quantities or have a long shelf-life, such as personal care products.

Think of products that are used permanently or repetitively. Oral care products, which are used every day, can make a great same-product bundle.

Pro tip: use order history to identify what products your customers buy more than once.

Benefits for a business: Same-product bundles help reduce inventory costs by moving more products in a single transaction.

They also decrease marketing and distribution costs, as it is more cost-effective to sell multiple items to a single customer than to sell them separately. Bundles are also a more sustainable way to sell and buy convenience goods.

Examples of same product bundles: This 12 Pack of Lemonade from Sprecher Brewery:

Or, 4-gallon shampoo sets for fitness clubs:

Mixed Products Bundles

Mixed product bundles are packages that contain two or more different products sold together at a lower price. Unlike products in pure bundles, mixed product bundles can be purchased separately.

This bundling strategy works best for products that can be used together, such as a fast-food combo or a gift set.

Benefits for a business: This type of bundle is a great help when it comes to slow-moving inventory or the least popular products. Combine one less popular product with one or more bestsellers to motivate customers to buy them all.

Mixed product bundles make it easier to launch new products and stand out from competitors. For instance, you can create a bundle from your bestseller and a new product.

Mixed product bundles also help increase AOV by encouraging customers to purchase more items than initially planned.

Examples of mixed product bundles: A classic one is Big Mac McDonald’s Combo Meal, a burger served with fries and a drink.

Colourpop value makeup sets are another great example:

Or, this car cleaning kit from ArmorAll, which includes cleaning wipes, a car wash, glass cleaner, and other cleaning tools:

Mix-and-Match Bundles

Mix-and-match bundles allow customers to create different bundles from a selected list of products. It invites customers to be creative and provides more freedom to choose what they want.

This bundling strategy works best for products with multiple variations, such as clothing or accessories.

It is safer to give a customer the chance to choose from different items at the same cost. For example, you let your customers choose from various flavors of the same drinks.

Benefits for a business: Mix-and-match bundles provide a personalized customer experience, which can increase customer loyalty.

They also decrease marketing and distribution costs by allowing customers to select items already in inventory.

Another positive side effect is that you can see the most and the least popular product variations after some time and consider this information when restocking.

Examples of mix-and-match bundles: Personalized Bath Experience is a 5-piece gift box from Nectarlife. Customers can modify each of the products and choose the box’s color.

Lane’s BBQ offers its customers the option to choose four out of eleven seasonings and the size of the bags.

Cross-Sell Bundles

Cross-sell bundles are packages that include a complementary product offered as an addition to the initial choice.

This bundling strategy can be used for items with complementary products, such as fragrances and scented lotions.

When creating cross-sell bundles, keep in mind products that are often bought together. In Ecwid, you can show related products in the You May Also Like section on a product page and at checkout.

Benefits for a business: Cross-sell bundles can handle slow-moving inventory. You can use products that may not sell as well on their own as complementary.

They also can be helpful during the holiday season when people tend to buy more than they planned.

Examples of cross-sell bundles: This Fine Fragrance Victoria’s Secret set comes with perfume, body lotion, and mist.

The “A little something extra” section at the checkout on Asos is an excellent example of cross-selling strategy. These items can be combined to create a bundle.

Forever 21 uses a similar approach with its “Complete the look” suggestion.

Upsell Bundles

Upsell bundles offer a product upgrade to the initial choice. The idea behind this strategy is to offer a customer a better version of a product for a reasonable price.

This bundling strategy is a perfect choice for products with premium options or add-ons, such as gift wrapping or premium subscriptions.

Benefits for a business: Upsell bundles increase AOV and customer satisfaction by offering premium options that improve the overall customer experience.

Examples of upsell bundles: Bands and loops for Apple Watch are offered when customers add watches to their carts.

Crocs allows their customers to add surprise accessories to their shoes.

Eyeglasses stores often offer additional lens protection, cases, and other ways to upgrade the initial purchase.

How to Choose a Product Bundling Strategy?

While each bundling strategy has advantages, it is important to choose those that best suit your business goals and your customers’ needs.

Here are some steps you can take to choose which bundling strategy you should try first:

Ensure the Bundle Offers Better Value Than Buying Items Separately

Before deciding on a bundle strategy, make sure that the bundled items offer a better value to customers than if they purchased the items separately.

If the bundle doesn’t provide a significant discount or doesn’t address a certain pain point, customers may not be inclined to purchase it, and it could negatively impact your sales.

Bundling a T-shirt and a scarf is probably not effective since these products are usually purchased separately in different seasons. Combining a matching scarf and hat, on the other hand, maybe a good idea.

Define Your Goals and How the Bundle Strategy Can Help Achieve Them

It is possible to have many business goals, but when choosing a product bundling strategy, focus on one or two.

Are you looking to increase AOV, reduce inventory costs, or launch new products?

Pure bundles will be perfect for an intense holiday season, but they won’t be as great at representing your customers’ preferences as mix-and-match bundles.

If some of your products take too long to sell, it might not be a good idea to sell them in the same product bundles. Consider including cross-sell or mixed product bundle strategies instead.

Once you’ve identified your goals, you can review the list above and determine which bundle strategy is best for them.

Address Customer Pain Points and Solve Them with Your Bundles

Consider your customers’ pain points and how your bundles can address them. For example, if your customers often buy the same product, it can be convenient for them to buy in bulk.

Or you can put together a set where each product solves a different part of a complicated issue. Think of items like baby boxes or skincare beauty sets.

Test Different Combinations to Find the Best Fit for Your Store

Try different bundling combinations to see which ones work best for your store. You can experiment with different products, pricing, and discounts to determine what resonates with your customers.

For instance, you may find pure bundles not working for your business but notice a significant increase in sales with mix-and-match bundles.

Get Inspired by Effective Bundles of Other Businesses

Research big businesses that have implemented successful bundle strategies and see if you can adapt their strategy to your store.

Look at your competitors’ bundle offerings and see how you can differentiate yourself. Examples provided in this article can be a source of inspiration, too.

Implementing a successful bundle strategy can take your business to the next level and open new growth opportunities. Any of the six bundling strategies mentioned in this article can boost sales or introduce a new product.

The Product Bundles: Combine Items and Sell More app is a great help to any business owner adding bundles to their store. Feel free to experiment with different strategies, and always keep in mind both your goals and your customers’ needs.


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About the author

Arina Khokhlova is a content writer at Simcase. She focuses on online marketing and ecommerce strategies to help businesses thrive in the digital world. When she's not writing, you can find her doing yoga or getting lost in a good book.

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