You can make a few different arguments for selling Amazon bundles, but the simplest reasons why the extra effort is worth it are as follows:
- Bundling can dramatically increase your average order value. If someone has four products in their shopping cart instead of one, they’re going to spend more money.
- Bundling creates more unique ASINs, which mean potentially less competition. Similar to how longtail keywords tend to convert better in search, a bundle is going to be found by a shopper who has already done quite a bit of research and knows precisely what they are looking for.
- Bundling can liquidate slower-moving inventory without losing as much of your margin. It can help you pair up more popular items with less popular yet complementary products in your inventory to keep your storage from being overwhelmed.
- Lastly, bundling can reduce shipping costs because it’s generally cheaper to ship one large item than several smaller ones.
There are certainly reasons to not bundle, but this isn’t an article discussing the pros and cons of bundling; we’re here on the assumption that you’ve decided it’s worth it. So let’s look at what to do when you bundle products on Amazon, and what not to do.
Dos of Amazon Bundles
Follow Amazon Bundle Guidelines
The first order of business — and this is true not only for Amazon bundles, but for anything you do on Amazon — is to follow the rules that have been set by the company.
There are so many guidelines that it’s best you read them yourself, but there are a few very important ones to keep top of mind.
BMVD bundling is not allowed
Bundling products within the Video Games, Books, Music, Video, or DVD categories is not allowed, but you may include products within those categories as secondary/complementary items within a bundle.
Bundling is not an exemption from the rules
You have to follow the same guidelines for selling bundes that apply to non-bundled products. In other words, there are no exceptions to the general rules Amazon expects sellers to comply with, only more rules!
ASIN Creation Policy
Within Amazon’s guidelines for bundling is the requirement to create a new ASIN. Obviously, each product within the bundle has its own unique ASIN, but because you are creating a new product, it needs a new identifier.
Ask Yourself if Amazon and Your Customers will Benefit
Amazon has come this far because it has made it insanely convenient and easy for customers to find exactly what they are looking for. When you create an Amazon bundle, be honest with yourself and ask if this is something that customers would find insanely useful.
Are you pairing together products to make their shopping experience easier, and in some cases to save them a little bit of money? Or are you creating a bundle because you think it will make you more money?
Be Specific About What Your Amazon Bundle Includes
Writing an optimal product description for a single product is a bit different for bundles. Your product description should make it clear what’s there and what’s not, starting with the title, which needs to specify that the customer is looking at a bundle and not a kit or pack. If you’re selling many items — pick an arbitrary number like three or four — it can’t hurt to include a reference somewhere in the title to the quantity of pieces that come in the bundle. The first bullet point should include the word bundle and a list of each item that’s included in it.
This also extends to product photos. Take pictures of everything together, and then include separate photos of each item that is included. The default photo needs to include an image of every single product in the bundle.
This example from cast iron cookware company Lodge is a textbook example of a bundle. It combines three of their related products into one. The product title includes the word bundle, as well as brief descriptions of each of the three frying pans that are included in the bundle. In the bullet point section each product is again listed at the very top, and then the rest of the description follows conventional product copy.
Have a Fulfillment Plan in Place
If you have never kitted products for fulfillment before, you’ll want to think about the process before you list your bundle for sale. Whether you use an FBA prep specialist or outsource all of your product fulfillment to an SFP-designated partner, labor costs will probably come into play, because those products won’t bundle themselves!
Unbundling Is An Option
The flip side is that if you discover that a single item within your bundle is so popular that it would be more profitable to sell it by itself, you can usually have your fulfillment partner break down the bundles so that you have more inventory available for sale.
Bundling Makes Returns Cost More
For returns, if someone is unhappy with even one item in the bundle you are obligated to accept the entire bundle back. On a related note, a warranty or service plan must cover the whole bundle as well.
Make sure that you bake in the cost of shipping in both directions when you list your bundle for sale, because if/when a customer decides to send it back, it will cost you more than it would if you were selling single pieces of inventory.
Don’ts of Amazon Bundles
Moving on to the “thou shalt not” section of this article, it’s important to remember that Amazon imposes pretty stiff penalties for improper listings on their marketplace. The consequences range from a listing getting removed to getting your account suspended.
Sell Without Proper Authorization from Manufacturers
If you do not own the license or label for selling a certain brand on Amazon, you better get written consent from whoever does. This especially goes for bundles where you combine items from competing manufacturers. Amazon will take action against sellers bundling products without the approval of manufacturers and brand owners, and you’re asking for a lot of trouble by ignoring this directive.
Put Your Amazon Bundles in the Wrong Category
It should not be too difficult to determine which product category your bundle goes in. The rule of thumb is that a bundle goes into the category of the most expensive single ASIN. If you sell a bundle like this five-piece camping pack from nCamp, you’ll notice that the bundle contains items that could be individually marked within different categories. The camping stove clearly belongs in the Sports and Outdoors category, but the coffee maker belongs in the kitchen goods category, and arguably so does the bamboo cutting board.
Because the camping stove commands the most value out of the five items listed, the bundle is therefore categorized as a Sports and Outdoors product. The only exception to this rule is if the highest priced item in the bundle is a BMVD item; in that case, the next-highest priced item determines the product category.
Mix Up a Kit or Multipack With Bundles
From Amazon’s bundle guidelines: “A pre-packaged kit or pack with multiple items that is identified by a single ASIN/UPC is not considered a bundle.” What does that look like in practice?
It can be tricky to identify the difference between a kit and a bundle.
Looking at the following example, what distinguishes this rock climbing kit from a bundle? It includes a harness, chalk bag, chalk, and carabiner. These are all highly complementary items within the same Sports and Outdoors category Some of them are manufactured by Petzl, the seller, and some are not. There is a single ASIN to identify the product. This could probably be listed as a bundle if the seller wanted it to, in which case they would need to rewrite the product listing. But otherwise they’ve already done most of the work to call it a bundle.
Distinguishing multipacks from a bundle is a lot simpler. This 6 pack of women’s running socks from Puma is just the same item cloned six times. While you might wax philosophical about the complementary nature of a pair of socks, that’s not going to meet Amazon’s criteria for complementary items. This is clearly a multipack and should be marketed as such.
Include Generic Items in a Bundle
If you have a private label brand, you still need to go through Amazon’s Brand Registry. Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob recommends registering your brand with Amazon at the outset to prevent competitors from sabotaging your account, but it’s also useful for ensuring that none of the products you might want to bundle can be marked as generic.
Selling on Amazon is challenging enough, and even veteran sellers have filled out pages and pages on SellerCentral discussing the nuances of the rules behind bundling. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, particularly if you think you’ve found a magical combination of useful products that could strike a chord with your target audience.
As long as you use common sense and don’t try anything too cheeky, you might unlock a gold mine of growth that takes your seller account to new heights.