This Post is part of the “FREE Wholesale Training Course”. You can view the entire course listing and introduction to the course here.
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Module 3: Value Propositions
- Introduction to value propositions
- Defining value propositions
- Building a company website
- Building social media accounts
- Other Marketplaces / International
- Bundling products on Amazon
- Creating New Listings and Listing Optimization
- Paid advertising (PPC)
- Other value proposition ideas
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Bundling Products on Amazon
You’ve been doing research on a lot of products, and you realize there just isn’t margin in anything you look at. It’s frustrating you to no end, because you’ve been able to land wholesale accounts – just none of them are any good. You can’t make any money! What should you do?
Bundling is a strategy you can use to create a new listing on Amazon, which reduces buy box competition and increases margins. The basic definition of product bundling is when you offer multiple products together in one listing for a customer. Let’s take a look at one way a seller is using a bundle to their advantage:
This seller must have noticed that Amazon is selling on this listing. They knew it was unlikely they would be able to sell this item, because Amazon controls the buy box. What did they do? They realized the USB cord and ac adapter comes with the items, but weren’t included in the original image on the Amazon listing. If you look at the image below at #1, you can see where they added that USB cord and ac adapter. This is more of a “listing optimization” technique than a bundling technique, because they are showing greater value in the image, which should improve conversions.
Next, if you look at #2 in the image, you can see they added a gift box to the listing. In a traditional sense, just adding a gift box isn’t exactly within Amazon’s bundling guidelines. However, in this example, this seller is sitting in a gray area because the listing is bundling the watch and the activity band, which are items that are sold separately. Amazon themselves just happens to have a bundle of these two items together. Overall, even though this sits in a gray area, it likely satisfies most Amazon guidelines for a bundle.
There are a few reviews on that new bundle listing which tells you people are buying it. In this case, most sellers would just skip this product because Amazon is selling this item. This seller got creative, and they are now making money on an otherwise “dead” item.
Now that we’ve seen one example of a bundle, let’s go over guidelines for a bundle. It’s always smart to go directly to the source for polices regarding things like this, so let’s see what Amazon says about bundling:
Those seem pretty simple right? Well, they had to clarify some things as Amazon sellers took advantage of loopholes:
If you remember the bundle in the example, it’s borderline breaking the “Bundles consist of multiple single items that can each be identified by a unique ASIN/UPC and are sold together as a single offering. A pre-packaged kit or pack with multiple items that is identified by a single ASIN/UPC is not considered a bundle.” policy. Garmin does sell the item as a pre-packaged kit, but also separately. If the seller is bundling the separate items together and not using the pre-packaged kit, they are in line with this policy. If they are using the pre-packaged kit, they are not in line with the policy. See why I called it a gray area? There’s no way to know without ordering the product.
There’s a few other notes from the detailed policy I would like to address:
You need to have your own UPC code to create bundles. Most sellers typically purchase UPC codes from UPC code resellers such as Speedy Barcodes. There is a bit of an issue with doing so. Recently, Amazon started matching UPC codes to the GS1 database. (GS1 is who issues UPC codes, and they keep a database of all the codes they issue). When you buy from a company like Speedy Barcodes, you are purchasing UPC codes that are tied that that company. If you attempt to use one of those paid UPC codes to create a bundle and it doesn’t match what Amazon is expecting for a specific brand, Amazon may not allow you to create the listing. The way some sellers are getting around this is by changing the Brand on the listing to something else. For example, the listing above has a brand name “Garmin”, because all the items in the bundle are Garmin items. The seller possibly could have used “Fitness Gift Packs” as the brand name. Keep in mind, this would potentially be mis-representing the item, because “Fitness Gift Packs” isn’t the actual manufacturer. One way around this would be to find a non-Garmin item to bundle with, which gives you two manufacturers / brands for the bundle. There’s no specific guideline that says which manufacturer / brand you are required to use for a bundle with multiple manufacturers / brands. Assuming you have a DBA of your company as “Fitness Gift Packs”, it wouldn’t be a stretch to be able to use that name as the manufacturer / brand for that listing. This is a very gray area, and is something that Amazon could change a policy on, or clamp down on in the future. When sellers use gray areas, Amazon tends to change policies to eliminate those gray areas. Just keep this in mind, and determine if it’s worth the risk for your business.
- You need to have branded products, and can’t use generic products as part of a bundle. But, you can somewhat use this to your advantage. Let’s say you find a company that sells a lot of generic items. It’s possible you could contact the manufacturer and ask if you can private label / white label their already made generic items. If they are willing to do so, you can design some new packaging, and use a brand name of your own for that product. Now, you have a branded product that can be used with a larger brand name product. Sticking with the Garmin example above, if you found a generic activity band, you could brand the activity band with your name, and sell it with the Garmin product.
- Bundles should have products that compliment each other. This means don’t bundle a Monster High doll with a toaster. But do bundle three different Monster High dolls together with a Monster High stationary set, a Monster High sticker set, and a gift box. We’ll go into more detail below on how to find appropriate bundle ideas.
Ok, great. Any more things I should know about bundles?
Yep. There’s also policies for titles, product details, and images:
Of all the bundle guidelines that aren’t followed by sellers, the title guideline is the one that seems to be skipped the most. A lot of sellers don’t use the word “bundle” in the title, even though they are required to. Just keep this in mind while researching bundles yourself, and when creating your own listings.
Now that’s we’ve seen one example, and know Amazon’s policies, lets look at a few other examples. Since every bundle is supposed to have the word “bundle” in it, I’m going to do a search on Amazon for the word “bundle” to find some bundles for examples. Then, I’m going to choose a sub-category to find them. In this example, I’m going to use Health, Household & Baby Care from the search drop down box.
After doing that search, I found quite a few different bundles to use as an example. Here’s one that caught my eye:
This a bundle of multiple health and beauty products from the same brand owner. If you search for each of the parts individually, there are listings for each of them. Some of them have decent BSR’s, and some do not. This is a perfect example of taking a good selling product, and bundling it with products that don’t sell as well. When searching through lists of UPC codes from a brand owner, you might see a few good selling items that have no margin, and a bunch of poor selling items that have a lot of margin. Is there a way to combine some of those products into a bundle?
Let’s break down some relevant parts of this bundle in the image above:
- The image is showing all of the relevant parts of this bundle.
- First bullet point of the product shows specifically what’s part of the bundle.
- This one is kind of slick. They have created this bundle as a variation of a product. This allows all of the other products to get additional exposure. Or, it’s possible one of the other variations was selling well, so they added this bundle to capitalize on the traffic.
Let’s move on to a grocery department example.
This bundle is a little different, as it has quite a few different kinds of snacks from all different brand owners. You can find these other items on Amazon in many different listings, but in a lot of cases they are multipacks. What makes this a little unique is they are targeting people looking for a “care package”, which is in the title.
Let’s break down some relevant parts of this bundle in the image above:
- This brand name is different than we saw in the other two. Mainly because it has items from multiple brands, so they couldn’t use one specific brand for the listing. They had to “make one up”. In theory, they should have the name “Hangry Kit” as a DBA if they are the “manufacturer” of this product. It’s unlikely they do, but technically that should be the case.
- Multiple images showing they are using custom packaging for this bundle. This makes it much harder for “hijackers” to hop on the listing.
- They put everything into a branded box. This is extremely smart, as it makes it nearly impossible for anyone else to sell this item. If this company hasn’t trademarked the term “Hangry Kit”, someone could make this exact same bundle if they get boxes made that exactly match the bundle. If I were this seller, I would make sure I trademarked that term, and had a DBA for that name. If they did that, the company could file for brand registry and likely lock out other sellers.
There are a few things they are doing against Amazon guidelines that I would like to point out. They do not use the word “bundle” in the title. In addition, they don’t list the contents of the bundle in the first bullet point. Finally, they also are saying this in the product description:
They are saying they may substitute items if they run out of stock – which is directly against bundling policy.
Otherwise, I think they actually did a really good job on that specific listing. I point these things out so you can see exactly what looks good, and how other sellers are skirting policies. Just because this seller is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too.
Now that you know what a bundle looks like, you may be asking..
How Do I Find A Good Bundle?
If you are totally stumped on how to find good bundles, look at existing bundles on Amazon for ideas. Don’t copy exactly what others are doing – just think of different ideas. Just from the examples above, here’s some ideas you may be able to think of:
- Are there products with my existing suppliers that would work well together as a gift bundle?
- Do I have a supplier that carries a nice line of complementary products, where a few sell well, but some don’t?
- Do I have products that people would want in a care package?
- Is there a twist on these ideas I could use for bundles?
Another good way to find bundles is to use Amazon’s “Frequently Bought Together” and “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” areas. When researching products your supplier has, scroll down and look to see what other items customers have bought with it. Let’s look at an example..
One of your suppliers carries DYMO printers. Amazon sells all of them. There’s no way to compete, right?
Well, let’s scroll down the page a little bit, and look at the “Frequently Bought Together” section:
It looks like people usually buy extra labels with their label printer. The two mentioned in this area are DYMO branded labels. You could create a bundle with DYMO labels, or you could find a supplier that sells other labels under a different brand. That would be a great bundle! Complementary, and supports the main product – the printer.
Scrolling down to the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” area:
This validates that people also buy labels when they buy the printer.
Here’s a few other ways to get the ideas flowing:
- Walk into a store, and see how things are positioned together in a specific store. A lot of times similar items are grouped together.
- Are there accessories for the main item you are selling? You could bundle the accessories with the actual main item, or sell multiple accessories as an “accessory package”
- Is there a task or problem the main item solves? Bundle multiple items together to ensure it is the “complete solution” for the problem.
- Go to other .com websites for your main product and see what they are suggesting to be purchased with your main product.
- Think of any other ways you can provide value to items. Is there an information pamphlet you could enclose inside the bundle packaging? Ebooks are a no-no, but physical ones are good.
- If you were going to buy a gift for someone, and wanted to buy them multiple items around the same theme, what would you buy?
- Do your items work well for Holidays? Could they be marketed as a specific Holiday package?
How To Make Your Bundles Unique
You’ve created this awesome bundle. It starts selling extremely well. All of a sudden three other sellers hop onto the listing, selling the same thing you are. Wow, what to do now? It’s already too late! When you create your bundles, you want to try and make them as unique as possible, which makes it difficult for other sellers to replicate.
Here’s some ideas to make your bundles unique:
- Create your own packaging with a logo / tag line, and make sure it is included in the images. This is the same thing the Hangry Kit listing did.
- Create listings with items that have to be sourced from multiple brand owners / manufacturers. By doing so, a seller would need accounts with multiple suppliers to be able to duplicate the bundle.
- Don’t copy other people’s bundles. If you are going to make something similar, make it better!
- Create instructional materials included inside the packaging that was written by you.
Now that you know how to create great ideas for bundles, it’s time to create and optimize the listings!