Bundling on Amazon: 3 Things to Know
by Colleen Quattlebaum, on July 13, 2017
Much has been written lately regarding the merits of bundling on Amazon. Creating a unique product bundle can add value to shoppers and help you stand out in an ever-crowded marketplace.
Before you haul off and order a ton of kit inventory, however, it's important to develop an effective bundling strategy. In this post, we'll share three things to keep in mind when considering a bundle strategy.
Amazon Has Guidelines for Bundling
Like most aspects of selling on the Amazon marketplace, there are certain bundling guidelines that you should be aware of. Those who are considering a bundle strategy should start by understanding Amazon.com, Inc.'s ("Amazon") policy. Click here to read the full guidelines, as published on the Amazon seller help site.
Here are a few noteworthy highlights that may not be self-evident, unless you've read the guidelines:
- Bundles must be composed of "highly complementary" items
- Bundles are only allowed to be listed in one product category (typically that of the highest-priced item in the bundle)
- Generic products may not be included
- Video games or BMVD (books, music, video, or DVD) cannot be the primary item in a bundle (but they can be secondary products in certain situations)
- Bundles are subject to the same listing policies as individual products
- The creator of a bundle is responsible for obtaining a UPC code
- Once a bundle is built, its components cannot be modified
On a slightly more positive note, Amazon makes it clear that referral fees apply to the entire bundle. This represents a cost-saving opportunity, especially if the primary item is in a lower referral tier than secondary items.
Multi-packs Aren't the Same as Bundles
You might be asking yourself a few questions. What qualifies as a highly "complementary" item? Would multiple units of the same item ever be considered complementary?
That's actually a very good question, and there appears to be somewhat of a gray area. Just hop over to the seller forums (like this one), and you'll see a variety of opinion. Much of the confusion goes back to whether or not multi-packs are fair game for sellers to create. As Amazon points out in its ASIN creation policy, "Multi-pack children must be packaged by the manufacturer. If a customer wants to buy two or more of the same product, they can select that quantity for purchase."
Although multi-pack creation is clearly prohibited (at least for everyone other than the manufacturer), it doesn't mean that merchants aren't building them. In fact, you may know sellers who are doing exactly that - and profiting heftily.
Whether or not Amazon enforces its own rules relating to multi-packs is unclear at the current time. Just be advised that multi-packs are not the same as bundles, and they're certainly riskier territory than complementary product bundles.
Success Might Attract Competitors
Creating a unique product bundle can give you 100% ownership of the Buy Box - that is, until someone else copies your idea. There's nothing stopping competitors from taking notice of the kits you build and reverse engineering them. As with any other item on the Amazon marketplace, all sales are funneled through a single listing page. Your bundle is no exception.
To stop (or at least slow down) competitive threats, it's a good idea to be strategic in how you structure your product bundle. If you're a private-label seller, you obviously have an upper hand since you control the distribution of your branded products. For merchants without a private-label offering, it might be wise to work closer with suppliers. Perhaps an exclusive or semi-exclusive arrangement could be developed for a specific item in your bundle, thereby thwarting competitive threats.
Build Profitable Bundles
If you decide bundling is right for your business, I'd like to introduce you to our RestockPro tool. Built specifically for the needs of Amazon merchants, our software makes it easy to build and manage Amazon bundles. RestockPro pulls in important data from your Amazon seller account, making sense of order data, fees and competitive threats. You can even manage your supplier catalog and purchase orders electronically in our easy-to-use system.
Try RestockPro for more efficient and profitable Amazon bundles.