This episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast features a conversation with Leigh Barnes, Chief Technology Officer at weareeight.com. We talk about the topic "What are bundles / bundling?"
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- How bundles work and where to use them
- Examples of bundles, e.g. Pre-made bundles, pick & mix, shop the look, gift boxes
- When to present bundles
- What a Bundle Builder can do for you
- And more
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guests: Leigh Barnes
Leigh comes from an early love of digital design that quickly pivoted into software engineering and infrastructure, before embarking on a lifelong love affair with all things e-commerce related.
He has worked all over the globe, Canada, the UK, US, and Africa for really interesting and innovative companies like Amazon, NASA, and Redbull. And has founded and managed startups in cloud infrastructure, payment, data processing, and fulfillment industries. Leigh’s career has been deeply intertwined with the Shopify partner ecosystem. His first experience in the Shopify space was in 2012 when he lead mass e-commerce migration and re-platforms onto Shopify. He has since led the charge for a UK-based agency to become a leading Shopify Plus agency and most recently has found his home at Eight as their CTO, making Shopify Themes and Apps where the mission is simply to make Shopify merchants more successful at selling their stuff.
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Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the e-Commerce Coffee Break. Getting more revenue, increasing average order value, and also delivering a better service to your customers in your shop makes always sense and is the goal of every merchant. One way to achieve that is working with bundles, so bundling your [00:01:00] products and offering there more to your customer with , one payment basically.
So we wanna dive into this topic a little bit deeper in today, and with me is Leigh Barnes. He is the Chief Technology firstname.lastname@example.org. Lee comes from an early love of digital design that quickly pivoted into software engineering and infrastructure before embarking on a lifelong love affair with e-commerce.
So that tells you how DP is into this topic. Lee has worked all over the globe in Canada, uk, us and Africa, , for really interesting and innovative companies like Amazon, nasa, and Red Bull, and has founded a managed startup in cloud infrastructure, payment, data processing, and fulfillment industries. Lee Korea also has deeply intertwined with the Shopify partner system, and his experience in the Shopify space started in 2012 where he led a mass e-commerce, immigration re-platforming for Shopify merchants.
Since then, he's in charge for a UK based company. eight.com and it's their CTO and they're making Shopify themes and apps and are on the mission to [00:02:00] simplify the ways that Shopify merchants can be more successful in selling their stuff. Hey Lee, how are you today?
Leigh Barnes: Hey, how you doing? Thank you for having me on the e-commerce Coffee break,
Claus Lauter: Yeah, welcome on the show, Lee. Let's talk about bundles.
, huge topic. I think a lot of merchants sort of underestimate what a bundle actually can be and how it can be, used in a perfect way in their store. Give me a bit of a background over , how you can do this.
Leigh Barnes: Bundles is a huge topic and , it quite often gets misrepresented across the industry. A lot of people view bundles as sort of the upsells. Amazon sparked out with a lot of , their sort of verbiage, which was. Other people who bought something like this or both bought with this, loosely coupled to something, I, in my view , is much more of an upsell.
, where we fall into that space is much more on the sort of curated multi-product purchase experience, , aspect. Really falling into bundles as far as. This is choose these five products. They actually work together, not, here's a loosely coupled algorithm , that's spat out, five products that you should buy together.
, there's a sort of [00:03:00] difference in that space where you have the upsell item. You also have, , within the bundle space, some people will think of them as packaged set sets. and an individual product that's pre-packaged. We don't really view it in that space, but I think there's a lot of murkiness around what a bundle is in that area.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Gimme a bit of examples of what A bundle actually is and how you can put them together.
Leigh Barnes: , there's a lot of examples, like from our side, more on the pick and mix aspect of it. I think a lot of people understand what a pick and mix type bundle is, where you choose X product , or whatever. Alongside another one and alongside another one next to that. , for us, , we have users that, that use them in all different types of use cases where it's, something like a cosmetics brand that's selling, a toner alongside, , a wash alongside something else next to it, or, , a pallet of different colors.
If it's something based on that and allowing somebody to , choose items that , would best suit them. And we see users sort of using it across a lot of industries, whether it's, cosmetics, , luxury items, jewelry type bundles or customized jewelry where it's, , shoes and necklace, a set of earrings, et cetera, [00:04:00] right into sort of fast moving consumer goods, , where you've got.
The overhead of a household behind it. So we would quite often see somebody, doing detergents alongside a couple of other consumer goods , within household usage, , or food space. Baking goods or something like that where , it changes based , on the consumer group that it's going to, , Nintendo have got technical product bundles where they use it.
Not so much for the bundling, but more for almost like compatibility. You're using that purchase experience or the multi-product purchase experience, to mitigate things like returns, incompatible products, et cetera, across, , a sort of traditional single product or a discoverability based, , shopping experience, which would be your , standard e-commerce one.
We see it , across the board, as I said, from everything like luxury goods, the whole way through to, technical products, and even B2B type, high cost items as well.
Claus Lauter: Okay, so when is the right moment to present the bundle to your customer? Because no one goes out and does shopping and say. Oh, today I'm going to buy a bundle. , you are putting , the idea , in the customer's head that a bundle [00:05:00] has some advantages , on buying it. So when is the right moment to do so?
Leigh Barnes: That very much depends , on the store and how their marketing structure is based. If the discoverability is something that's attached to a product. , sometimes it's best to have the call out directly on a product page. So somebody has entered in, they've come through a social channel, they arrive on a site, they get onto a single product, and, below it it has a box that says, Hey, we also sold this as part of a bundle, and you can get X, Y, and Z alongside it with an advanced discount, , or something along that.
That's a very, very effective flow for a lot of users, in other cases. You may have a company whose entire structure is built around bundles, and we see this quite frequently. Something like a florist , or somebody like that , who's building a custom gift box or something where it is their core product, in which case that's front and center.
You almost want to. As soon as possible. , and we quite often see that being called out directly from sort of homepages, , versus or for product or recollection type page.
Claus Lauter: I like the example with the florist. Makes perfect sense. Basically [00:06:00] always try to sell you a bundle with something. Now, from the marketing perspective, , is there any way or is there any, , best practice that you use bundles to, put in your marketing calendar so that they're only specifically available on certain times of the year?
Or is that something that people do?
Leigh Barnes: not from a marketing perspective so much, but more from a fulfillment aspect. , there's different times and definitely the bigger the scale of the sort of merchants, bundles may take you longer to sort of pick, pack and dispatch. there are aspects to it where bundles may not make sense , for somebody over a certain time of the year, whereas for somebody else, they're already prepped for everything being bundles, in which case it makes sense for them to bring it front and center.
there's a lot of this strategic background, which I think people need to put into how you're gonna handle bundles. How's your fulfillment flow gonna work for, it doesn't make sense for us to push this at a high peak time when our non bundle sales are going through the roof or not. and, you know, are there ways to mitigate that?
Can we pre-package bundles, how do we call those ones out? And then how do you display that to somebody [00:07:00] you know, from a marketing standpoint. especially the experience aspect of it that kind of goes alongside, it might be something which you're calling out as something which we do.
We rarely do this curated, and that may make sense to be pushing around a Christmas time or a gift time, whether it's, you know, Valentine's Day. Christmas , or some other form , of festivity birthdays. Just based rarely on what the merchant's selling, I suppose is gonna define when their strategy would be there for it.
, we would always be happy to hop on a call with somebody , and talk them through different, processes that need to happen behind the scenes.
Claus Lauter: . I think that's a very good point. It is that there's a certain, , thought process there. Before we go a little bit more on that side, I wanna find out from you, do you have any examples on what kind of. Additional revenue people can make from, , bundling their things if they haven't done that before.
Leigh Barnes: As an exact figure, I don't think I could give you the exact percentage of it. We know that it is,, incredibly performant at certain times a year. , both from , within my bundle builder experience while I've been at the sort of , app side of it, but also from enterprise merchants.
Before that, [00:08:00] we saw rarely massive upticks where the sort of bundles were making up 25, 30% of, , an otherwise un-bundled merchants. And that was definitely in the sort of FMCG space where all of a sudden it went from a single product e. To emergency cell right through to, boosting that up 25, 50, 60, 70% in some cases.
It's very dependent on the merchant, , and the capabilities they need ready.
Claus Lauter: I remember the times when building bundles or thinking about bundles in Shopify was a really pain in the neck. And , obviously this has changed and was your application bundle builder things are getting much, much easier. , gimme a bit of an overview. What kind of steps. Uh, involved in building a bundle specifically for merchants that have a lot of, skews, a lot of products in there.
how can you make that easier or how do you provide a
solution to make this easier?
Leigh Barnes: mean, Bundle builder is sort of a step by step based setup. You've got multiple options. Initially , you do a product selection for something, for a certain step. We have it segmented so somebody can create multiple steps. choose product, group A, [00:09:00] choose something from product group B C, et cetera.
so you select the products, there's some layout options that go alongside that. , you'd be choosing , whatever it is in the background. , we are sort of creating a pseudo product, which is almost a placeholder for whatever that customer's gonna be selecting. , we've got multiple SKU options, , on the outbounds.
One of the sort of unique selling points within bundle builders that you can choose how. Fill it, whether you want it as , a s pseudo single skew, or whether you want it as multi SKU on the output. , you work through a number of steps and then it spits out a bundle basically.
So you've got, initial step , is set up names , and items like that. Then it's product selection, either in single step or multiple, , then into your sort of advanced discount rules. , it's also one of the big PowerPoints bundle builder is that we offer quite advance.
Step based bundle discounts. So based on the products within the previous step into the next one. , and also fixed price items, free gifting type discounts, that can all be built in through those workflows. , but you effectively work through, , a set of about five steps and then you've got a bundle in [00:10:00] front of you and then you can tweak it , to what you really need , on the return.
at the moment, the sort of layout is , quite fixed. , we'll probably be having multiple of those going in the next couple of months.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Let's talk a little bit more about the discounting of a bundle. discounting always was a , big issue in Shopify, I remember these times. , gimme a bit of a background. How does that work? What kind of options do you have?
Leigh Barnes: We've got sort of percentage and fixed based, , discounts, fixed amount discounts off bundles. , and then you've also got the rule based discounts. So based on what's in the actual bundle, it can apply different discounts based , on criterion. , Those are applied , in a number of different ways.
We've got multiple sort of fulfillment and skew based aspects to it , on the output, and that's the complexity with which has always been case with sort of Shopify, unless you want sort of Shopify Plus with scripts where you could do some pretty advanced sort of discounting at that level.
, we build it all into the sort of bundle conf. then depending , on the output approach, we either push something through as a single product that's pre discounted. So single SKU goes into the actual order, , or [00:11:00] multis skew where we generate, , an order in the background and applied discounts, , line Artem by Lan Artem.
Claus Lauter: One thing that you wanna know as a merchant is , how is your, bundle performing compared to the single sale of a product? Is there any kind of analytics or reporting tools involved with bundle builder?
Leigh Barnes: , we've got analytic areas at the moment, which would sort of showcase which bundles are performing. , they're not quantitative at this stage, so that's actually a really, really good point. And I think , it's something which , we've had on pipeline and in roadmap , for a long time, is to start extending that into more of direct quantitative.
Bact two has the single product. , in our case where it is more of pick and mix side, it's not as directly linked to a single product. the analytics , that are sort of becoming available going forward is what products are you selling in bundles?
What are your fast movers? As we sort of go into more and more of the machine learned and the data side of it going forward, that'll then allow you to start forecasting things like p p D, , getting your pre-packaged bundles up. These are our fast movers. Let's not lose an hour packing or 10 minutes packing or whatever [00:12:00] it is that, that somebody does , on that side.
, At the moment, it's got quite light analytics. Most of them are, pre-built into the sort of Shopify analytics flow. , everything's tagged. So if you know how to use queries within Shopify, you can get to most data. , and then there's an export within the app, which , will allow you to attach it to sort of a BI tool, , on the back burner.
And then we are starting to move more and more into that and pushing forward , into specific. We tend to take input in from merchants that we are working with to say, this is something we have. So we, we have requests , for specific types of data, which are , being built in. , but those are the sort of analytics that we have at a baseline.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that sounds great. I specifically, after you build it , in the Shopify reporting tool, then it's easy to use. Is to find
Leigh Barnes: If you want to go and find a bundle or final all your orders, which I've got a bundle sale in it, you can do it.
Claus Lauter: Okay. merchants are focusing on limiting the numbers of bundles in their store, or are they going wild and offer that all over the place in any kind of combination of products they offer.
Leigh Barnes: We get every kind of mix and match across the user base. Everyone that's using it. All over with, a [00:13:00] thousand plus products in some cases, which is quite unmanageable right through , to folks that are rarely , laser focused on, here's our three bundles that cover these three areas, and these are the 12 products in each one of them.
We rarely do get mix and match , of everything, , across the board. what a merchant's sort of appetite, what they view their customer base is gonna find enjoyable as an experience to purchase through. They really get to, to tweak that , as, whatever makes sense for them.
, and that's different for every single customer. That might be a shirt and a t-shirt and some golf clubs in some cases. , and it might be something completely different when it's Nintendo and you. 12 products in it or something like that.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Makes total sense. What's the learning curve to work with Bond?
Leigh Barnes: As with any app, there is some layer of learning curve, and I think to some degree bundle builder is more complex than, something that's purely display based or marketing based or popup or something like that where, it is far less Entwined, , bundle builder, depending on the sort of fulfillment strategy, how you want your SKU handling to [00:14:00] work into, whether you want it multis, single, how you're gonna handle that aspect of it.
There's quite a lot of overhead behind the scenes. , it's easy to get up and going, but , there is thought processes, which people will then start, reaching out to our onboarding team or our support team and going, Hey, you know, we need to do this, or we have this type of, , warehouse infrastructure that we are working with.
Or, Hey, how do I do X, Y, Z? Or, random custom themes that have some type of layout that they need to integrate with. , we are always available from a support standpoint, and we try to mitigate that as much as possible, but there is some layer of difficulty in some cases. , to get going , is pretty minimal, but then it's once you start strategizing about it becoming a core part of your business, that it tends to get more complex for people.
Claus Lauter: One thing you touched on themes. , obviously Shopify changed to the online shopping 2.0 framework last year it was June last year. It's a while ago. I hope that a lot of merchants by now have, , moved over to a new theme, but I know also of some that are still working with the old one.
how does that work or how does it [00:15:00] impact the work with bundle
Leigh Barnes: We work in the theme store quite extensively. That's why I know those dates very well cuz we had sort of five themes that needed to be updated overnight, really. , It is complex. , , as far as sort of stats, we tend to see couple of months ago, there were about 25% of users that were still using an older version of a theme or one that's, come , from a side sort of aspect, not through the direct Shopify theme stores, , where some of those haven't been updated yet.
more common. We see folks that have spent quite a lot on their sort of themes to get them customized to a level, to bring in a whole bunch of tooling for them, et cetera. And then they would have that cost again, , going to OS two, especially if they were off the beaten track a bit. , there's quite a lot of overhead around it.
We have a process internally where, the installation used to be very manual. And that was far more of a headache pre OS two. Now it's all based on app embeds. So you turn the app embed on, and from our team, we put out , a process where we went through every single one of the top well.
at that [00:16:00] stage, every single one of the themes on the theme store and built in compatibility for its selectors , to bolt it into it. , at this stage, Shera, there's probably a few new ones, which it doesn't have support for directly out the box, but we would add it through support immediately for them.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, that sounds great. It's, , always, , a process, , to get something customized and really that it works nicely. So hearing that you do that from your site with your support is actually quite good. , tell me , about the pricing of Bundle Builder. How does that work?
Leigh Barnes: Bun Builder sort of. Two core tiers, which are the generally accessible ones, and then one which is a sort of a pro tier. , the basic cost of it is $25. At this stage, that is likely to jump up just because , we have seen a lot of increases , within inflation, within base costs in the next little while.
, and originally sort of s Shopify plus users were at about $75 a month for the app to be running. , we do. A select group of individuals and folks that want more input. So they want a merchant success individual working with them. we have sort of boosted resources , and speed aspects , for some of the folks who go [00:17:00] to our, what we call our pro level, , which I think is, 2 99 a month.
But that then gives you fair wack of a sort of input , into the team, across the board. So , that's our price point on it. We really do care about sort of the merchant success in a lot of this. So we are continually trying to push users to up their turnover through bundles.
If sitting in there, they're on $25 and they haven't sold a bundle in like 12 months, that's no good for us. That's just somebody out there. So we really care about that sort of, and we, we turn that into our metric for how people boost through those.
Claus Lauter: Okay, that sounds great. I think I'm giving a bit of consulting on how people can use apps in their store helps. As you said in the beginning, a lot of people, I have the misunderstanding that a bundle is a upsell or cross-sell, which is not, and that completely has a different, , strategy behind that. And if the help is coming from you, that's great.
Where can people find out more about bundle?
Leigh Barnes: Obviously , the core location , for everything Shopify is , the app. . I think it's apps slash bundle [00:18:00] builder, or just search for bundle builder and you'll find it. There are a lot of bundle apps. , they're sort of seven or eight pages worth of bundle apps. , some of them are upsell, some of them are package sets, some of them are something else.
The core bit of marketing is , on there and that's got an intro video that walks everyone through everything. , and then, especially for, folks within the agency space or within , the development space. If you've got a dev store, it's free to install.
So we do, ask folks , that are looking at it from an agency space, you know, install it, speak to us. , there's an onboarding call option where people , can chat , to somebody on our team, which , they'll sort of walk them through, you know, Hey, what are you looking to do? What are the ideas?
Okay, here are some examples of what other people have done, et cetera. , but that all starts from the app store.
Claus Lauter: Okay, sounds great. I will put a link in the show notes and you're just one click away. Lee, thanks so much. That was a great overview of bundling and bundles. , I think a lot of merchants should really dive deeper into this topic and find out what it can do for their stores. And thanks for your time and talk soon.
Leigh Barnes: Awesome. Thank you very much for having me.
Today’s episode is made possible by our friends at BundleBuilder.
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Let your customers choose their bundle contents for a personalized experience or set up pre-built bundles, one click and it’s in the cart.
Install today and schedule a call with our onboarding specialist. We look forward to bundling with you! More info and app download here.
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