Put a Bow on It
For better or worse, 2020 has dramatically changed the retail landscape. After stores reopened, many reported shoppers spending less time browsing. This means that retailers need to figure out how to encourage consumers to shop faster, and bundled products might be the solution stores need in order to keep sales up.
Bundled products are perennial favorites around the holidays because they’re easy to grab, they often contain items everyone loves and they help speed up the shopping process. They’re also important right now, in this landscape of speed shopping and lower shopper volume than is typical this time of year.
Several retailers are successfully selling bundled products in their shops.
Waterlemon Kids is a party venue and boutique gift shop for children in La Grange, Illinois. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they could no longer host parties, but knew parents would still want to have a celebration. They created the Bash Box as a solution to “bring the style and energy of a Waterlemon party” to the families who would otherwise celebrate at Waterlemon, according to Nina Makovski, owner of the shop and venue.
Within the clean, white boxes chosen not to compete with the brightly colored contents, Makovski and her team added a garland or banner, plates, cups and napkins, a birthday crown, candle and balloons. They also add a cello bag of candy with a matching ribbon and a personalized birthday card from the Waterlemon team.
Waterlemon opted to discount the Bash Boxes to incentivize the sales, which they chose to provide the feel of a good deal while maintaining profitability. The themes of these boxes encompass a wide range, including mermaids, unicorns, rainbows, dinosaurs, space and safari animals. Those with bigger groups can add additional place settings that match from the collection in-store. “We’ve been really pleased with how they’ve done,” Makovski said.
At Zinnia’s Gift Boutique in Scotts Valley, California, owner Dedra Bennett and her team created special care packages to thank medical workers as well as for Mother’s Day and Easter during the start of the pandemic. The kits often contained hand sanitizer, a face mask and some Easter candy. A mug or a book made an appearance in others.
After the kits started flying off the shelves in the spring, Bennett began to get phone calls asking how others could share the “packages of joy,” and they would order them for Easter, Mother’s Day or new babies. New baby kits got a cute outfit, stuffed animal, soft blanket and a book.
These kits are special in that they are often customized by the shopper with the help of the Zinnia’s team. To inspire shoppers, the Zinnia staff created storyboards to give suggestions of items that could go into bundles together — mixing together products from different sections of the store and suggesting different scents to use. They discount it if they can, based on the margins on the included items. Bennett even picks up snacks at Costco to add to the kits in order to save her customers an extra trip.
Recently, Zinnia’s was able to open up these kits for corporate gifting. Bennett attributes the success of the program to “Being open and nimble to hearing needs and responding, whether for grandma or mom or corporate; being open minded to the needs and listening to the community, not just saying this is what I did,” Bennett said. The Zinnia’s team is excited about the prospect of how these will perform in Q4 and how they can continue to inspire different customers to continue to bring light into others’ lives.
P. Graham Dunn is a retail inspirational home décor store, with two locations in Ohio, which also sells wholesale to 8000 other locations. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they created Boredom Busters, kits filled with DIY items for kids or adults. They filled the kits with crafting items such as unadorned wood, paints and stencils. For the kids’ kits, they included puzzles, indoor activities and books.
With a slight discount and with reducing the number of aisles shoppers needed to walk through, the kits flew off the shelves. Many customers opted to pick them up curbside, too.
The wholesale collections are a bit different. They’re theme-based, such as for a pet, bathroom or black and white. Their ten or so categories of bundled products are now available in their catalog. “Shoppers might come in looking at one piece and buy several because they work for the theme,” said DeVon Miller, marketing manager at P. Graham Dunn. “This will probably be a growing strategy for us. We enjoy putting them together, they’re easy to promote and can have a vast variety of products. When we can do a bundle, it’s easier for them to understand and capture the variety of items we carry,” Miller continued.
The retail and wholesale makers at Rinse Bath & Body Co. have always carried gift sets that were boxed and ready to go. Besides just offering sets based on a scent theme, Rinse has bundles of products that sell better together than alone. “Put a bow on it, and it’ll sell,” said Heather Swanepoel, owner at Rinse. Including their shower bombs in a gift set opened Rinse up to more individual shower bomb sales than they had prior to including them in sets. They also include non-Rinse items such as socks in some bundles.
In previous holiday seasons, Rinse has offered sets at price points from $12 up to $100, and all of them sell well. This year, they will expand the offerings to over 200 different gift baskets, which are discounted online but the same price as the items sold separately in stores. They’ve also started offering complimentary gift bundling to those looking for something customized.
“They’re a great anchor piece to put around individual products as well. It inspires the shopper. Overall, they are excited to see that they don’t have to do the work, (they’re) super cute, great price point and increase sell-through,” Swanepoel said. With an average item price of $8, the bundles help increase the overall transaction average at Rinse’s retail locations.
Rinse is introducing the gift sets to wholesalers at market this year. And like Zinnia’s, Rinse offers the kits for corporate giving.
With the success other retailers have seen in bundled products — especially in this new normal of guests spending less time on average in a store — retailers should consider adding bundled products, kits and gift sets to their line-ups both to move products faster and as a service to guests this holiday season.