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Order fulfilment

Optimise bundle returns in 4 easy steps

Versha Kamwal
April 24, 2022
5
mins read

Customers do love a steal deal—especially kits, combos and bundles.

Product kits, combos or bundles are a great merchandising technique that helps in increasing revenue and Average Order Value (AOV). It also offers an opportunity to rebrand deadstock.

Although the list of benefits of kits and bundles is expansive, the biggest challenge that ecommerce brands face is executing them. From monitoring the availability of individual SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) to managing them for multiple sales channels in the warehouse, seems like a daunting task. Adding to the complexity, handling returns of kits, combos and bundles bring chaos to the entire fulfilment process—if not done strategically.

In this blog, you’ll learn what are product bundles, the benefits of product bundling, what are the types of product bundles, the major challenge of product bundles and how to optimise your process for bundle returns.

What are product bundles, combos and kits?

A product bundle (a.k.a. product kit and combo) is a combination of two or more products that are sold as a single unit of sale. Instead of selling items piece by piece, an ecommerce brand can combine similar items together to create bundles or kits to offer special deals and cross-sell promotions.

Bobby Brown's product kit, combo, bundle
Bobbi Brown's product kit

What are the benefits of product bundling?

benefits of product bundling

benefits of product bundling

What are the types of product bundles, combos and kits?

Product bundles come in all shapes and sizes. The following are a few common examples:

1. Bulk buying product bundles

One of the simplest types of product bundling is to offer a discount to customers who purchase a large quantity of a single product.

Dollar Shave Club offers bulk buying combos
Dollar Shave Club offers bulk buying combos

2. ‘Buy one, get one’ (BOGO) product bundles

Another common form of product bundling is a BOGO deal. When consumers purchase one product, they receive another product free or at a discount.

BOGO bundles
BOGO bundles

3. Product bundles with variations of a single product

When customers purchase a single product, you can offer a different product as a bundle—enabling them to try new styles, flavours, or other options they may not have purchased yet.

Nunn offers bundles with variations
Nuun offers bundles with variations

4. Product bundles of complimentary items

Product bundles can feature complimentary products that can be used in combination together.

Laneige offers bundles of complimentary products
Laneige offers bundles of complimentary products

5. Capsule collection

You can offer a capsule collection as a product bundle in which you can include a selection of interchangeable products that complement each other.

Bath and Body Works offer collections of similar products
Bath and Body Works offer collections of similar products

Bundle Returns: The major challenge ecommerce brands have to face

Bundling products together is an obvious solution for ecommerce brands when it comes to increasing revenue. Ecommerce brands can either create kits, combos and bundles on their own or leverage a tech-enabled fulfilment provider like Eshopbox to streamline kitting and assembly while ensuring cost-effectiveness. You can offer different types of kits and combos to your customers including pre-built kits and virtual combos. Moreover, you get access to Eshopbox’s technology-driven inventory management. You can manage SKUs and how your products are grouped, bundle your products for promotions, and request kitting of your inventory in advance with an actionable dashboard.

But there’s also a big question that needs to be answered when it comes to bundling: what happens if a customer wants to return a bundle or part of the bundle?

The right way to handle the return depends on how you’ve structured your bundle. So you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you listed the bundle as a single SKU, or each product in the bundle as its own individual SKU?
  • How will you handle the discount applied by the customer? Will you list each SKU at its discounted rate or will the discount be taken at checkout?
  • How will you handle exchange requests within product bundles if they are listed as a single SKU or individually?

While optimising returns for product bundles is one piece of the puzzle, the two other important elements are creating a pleasant return experience for the customer and ensuring profitability for your ecommerce business.

Now, let’s understand how you can manage all three elements with a great strategy.

How to optimise your process for bundle returns?

Here are the best ways to optimise your bundle returns:

1. Single SKU or individual SKUs

If you have listed your bundle as a single SKU, your customers can return the bundle as a whole. Whereas, if you list each product in the bundle as its own individual SKU, your customers can easily return any item of the bundle. Thus, creating bundles out of multiple individual SKUs can give you more flexibility when managing returns.

2. Discount applied

While returning a bundle with a single SKU or individual SKUs, you need to handle the discount applied by the customer. For a single SKU bundle, you have to apply the discount at the checkout, so that you don’t refund too much at the time of return.

On the other hand, for an individual SKU bundle, you have to list each SKU at its discounted rate so that you don’t refund too little for partial bundle returns.

3. Exchange requests

Just like a return request, you need to analyse how you would handle an exchange request for bundles with a single SKU and individual SKUs. Creating bundles out of multiple individual SKUs can give you more flexibility while processing exchange requests as you cannot track items in a single SKU bundle.

4. Restocking

When the product bundles reach the ecommerce warehouse, you need to decide if you want to keep them as a single unit or perform de-kitting. So that they can be added back to the available inventory for selling again and recapture the lost revenue.

Bottom line

Returns are always a challenge for any ecommerce brand. While product bundles and kits can drive a business to better conversion rates, bundle returns can hold them back in the most chaotic way. By analysing the nature of your bundles and answering all the necessary questions, you can jot down a strategic plan that can help you find the best solution for optimising bundle returns.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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