How to Sell Bundles on Shopify

  • Technology
  • November 11, 2021
  • by Julia Friesen

Bundling products is a great way to guide your customers on which items complement each other, whilst also building their baskets (and in turn, your AOV and UPT). It’s long been done in the world of bricks-and-mortar, and as these techniques are brought to the digital world, we see them working well for both enterprise and small businesses alike.

If you’re on Shopify, there are many ways to offer bundles. In this article, we’ll walk you through the different options, and highlight their pros and cons. 

But before we jump to that, let’s quickly lay out the components of a bundle:

  1. Parent product: the ‘overall bundle’, if you like. This is the product page shoppers visit to add the bundle to their cart.

  2. Child products: the individual items making up the bundle.

In the different configurations of building bundles, you can emphasize the Parent or the Children to track sales. There are advantages to both, which we’ll get into later when we cover bundle reporting.

Firstly, let’s dive into the options you have for building bundles initially.

Option 1: Merchant Prescribed Bundles 

With this option, the items in the bundle are set by the merchant. This can be a great way of allowing merchants to test different bundle configurations online, without pre-packaging items together at the manufacturing stage. This is also a good option for stores where customers are looking for recommendations that can simplify their purchase journeys e.g. showcasing the likes of ‘First time buyer’ bundles, or ‘Mother’s Day Bundles’ to make gift-buying easier.  

Pros:

  • Easiest bundle method to plan inventory around

  • Has a clean UI

  • Easy add-to-cart (ATC) for shoppers as they can add multiple items with a single ATC button

  • Less decision fatigue for shoppers

Cons:

  • No customization options for shoppers — does not support variant selection e.g. a shopper can’t select a mug in a different print than what’s offered in the bundle

  • Can result in multiple Product Display Pages (PDPs) with iterations of similar product offerings 

  • Reporting trade offs (due to Parent/Child product dynamic)

Option 2: Shopper Can Fully Customize 

Here, you offer shoppers the ability to choose a specific number of products for a set price. It doesn’t matter what products they select — they merely need to meet the required quantity to qualify for the bundle price. This method is often offered within a single category of products. Do note, it’s important to keep all items at a similar price point to avoid deep discounts on certain SKUs.

Pros:

  • Shopper is able to customize their products

  • Great for bundling low/mid-range price-point products 

  • Provides a landing page for ad traffic promoting bundle 

  • Encourages multiple products being added to cart

Cons:

  • Lots of decision-making for the customer 

  • Products must be of similar value

  • UI needs to be super clear to guide customer through the process to avoid confusion

  • Reporting trade offs (due to Parent/Child product dynamic)

Examples:

See Third Man Records and Penguin Books

Option 3: Shoppers Can Customize a Portion

With this option, merchants specify part of the products within the bundle, but give shoppers the freedom to choose some of them too. It’s a nice way of letting the customer see what sort of products complement one another, whilst still allowing them to customize to their personal preference. A happy medium of customization and ease of purchase!

Pros:

  • Shopper is given some customization

  • Has a clean UI

  • Simple add-to-cart (ATC) for shoppers as they can add multiple items from a single PDP

Cons:

  • More difficult to plan inventory around

  • Heavy development effort 

  • Reporting trade offs (due to Parent/Child product dynamic)

Example: 

Knix

Option 4: Shoppers Bundle as They Browse 

Option 4 allows shoppers to build bundles as they shop, and comes in as a way around the Parent/Child dynamic, avoiding conflicts of how to track sales. This is often seen with the apparel market e.g. buy 3 t-shirts save 10%. This bundle is primarily focused on value shoppers.

This option can be accomplished without a parent PDP and instead, through clever sign posting (think badges, collection page images and text blocks), alongside Shopify scripts to discount the items. 

Pro tip: leverage the automatic scripts badge added at checkout as a place for clever micro copy!

Pros:

  • Shopper is able to customize their products

  • Shopper is given freedom to browse the site

  • Low development implementation costs

  • No reporting trade-offs (no Parent/Child product dynamic)

Cons:

  • All shoppers will get the discount automatically (even if they aren’t looking for one!)

  • Does not provide a landing page for ad traffic

  • Lots of decision-making for the customer 

Example:

Kotn

Getting the bundles’ cart UX right

Regardless of the PDP experience, there are three different ways you can showcase a bundle in the cart.

Show bundle products as you would any other products

This option shows the child products in the cart as if they’d been added individually. This is the most simplistic option that keeps the development work at bay. We recommend adding a badge to indicate this item was added via a bundle, so customers can keep track. 

Also, if there are any discounts as a result of the bundle, customers may be less likely to remove the items from their cart — so be sure that slashout prices show any cost savings. 

Show the Parent Product Card

This option hides the child products from the view and provides a clean UI. This can be ideal for ensuring customers keep all items in the cart, but can create confusion or uncertainty if customers want to check what specific items they’ve added to their cart, as it just shows the parent product. 

Show the Parent Product with nested Child Products 

While this demands the most development work, the UX of this provides a happy-medium to allow a view of what child products have been added to the cart, without the option for customers to edit the contents of the bundle. 

While locking the editing removes customers’ ability to adjust one item within a bundle (meaning they’d need to remove the bundle from cart and start again if they wished to change anything), customers can misunderstand bundle rules and mistakenly lose their discount. Locking the ability to edit the cart this way, avoids this. 

Ensuring accurate bundle reporting

Now for a quick note on reporting. Because there are parallel products required to support bundles (Parent and Child), stores need to decide where the reporting will be attributed as it can’t be reported to both without double counting sales. 

Focusing on the parent product allows you to attribute sales to that PDP, without assigning it to any particular Child product. This is great for tracking the progress of a bundle and making a case for pre-packed bundles down the line, such as our client, Lauren Conrad Beauty’s.

Reporting sales against the child products is great for tracking the sales’ impact of individual SKUs, but can make it difficult to pinpoint the value that bundles bring to the business. We recommend complementing this reporting style with Google Analytics’ events tracking of the parent PDPs. 

Can I use an app for bundling?

We always recommend building features into a theme where possible. Aside from the operating costs, apps’ response/servers often impede site-speed. 

There will be certain use-cases where using an app would be worth it. Say, when a feature would take too long to build. Or, perhaps, the back-end work an app could accomplish simply couldn’t be achieved by many developers via the theme. 

Generally, though, we advocate for custom front-end work built into your store, with inventory management handled by your middleware or ERP. As well as the performance and long-term cost benefits, this is going to give you a solution that’s visually more on-brand: see what we built for Third Man Records.

Conclusion 

That’s our breakdown on bundles! We see them as great option for selling online and believe the development work to make them happen is worth the increase in AOV and UPT. 

If you want to explore adding this feature to your store. Reach out to us whenever. And another pro tip: bundling is a great project to involve your retail and live-chat CX teams on as they’ll have good insight on what upsells happen fluidly.


Authors

Julia Friesen

Julia joined We Make Websites at the end of 2020. She has a BBA and is a certified Scrum Product Owner. She has worked in E-comm for 4 years, helping young Shopify Stores improve their dev work flow, app purchasing and customer UX.


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