Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast, everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Kristin Ostrander who is an eCommerce expert (eBay & Amazon seller) of 17 years, serial entrepreneur, speaker and author of Dream Big, Step Small: How Consistency & Taking Action Are Vital to Growing Your Business. She founded Mommy Income where she helps others have the courage to pivot and thrive in business and in their life. Welcome to the podcast. Kristen.

Hi. Thanks for having me yeah, no problem.

I’m super excited to talk to you today because, Ironically, the theme that we’re talking about is for ecommerce businesses that are selling products bundling, how do you bundle to increase your sales for Easter average order value? I actually just had somebody on the podcast yesterday. We talked about upselling and cross selling, and I think all of that is kind of all in the same kind of category. You know, the goal is you’re trying to make it easier for your customers to see, you know, what products that you have really go together, and you’re taking a lot of a little bit of the leg work out of their process of kind of searching through your catalog and figuring out, okay, what all do I need?

You’re creating bundles. And so we’re gonna be talking about that and how to effectively do that. But before we do get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you did get into what you’re doing today?

Certainly. So I call myself a self propane College drop out. It was less than a drop out of more of they kicked me out or told me I could not come back until I declared a major. I had gone to school for a couple of years. I had a couple of children in the meantime, and so I was trying to juggle all that and could not figure out what my career was going to be. There was nothing there for me. I know I had friends that wanted to be nurses or teachers or, you know, business executives.

And I just thought, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I know I needed to somehow and earn some income, but I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. And so I took a waitress job for a while, took some evening classes, and my husband and I were kind of ships passing in the night. And so we didn’t really want that lifestyle. And so at the time, it was about 2003, I had been a buyer on Ebay. And I thought, well, I wonder if I could sell some things in order to kind of make ends meet and things like that.

So I began by selling my daughter’s dresses, you know, those fufu outfits that your kids get for Easter and Christmas that they literally wear for all of 2 hours to go to Church. And then there’s nothing to do with them. You know, they’re still in perfect Mint condition. So I thought, well, maybe I’ll just sell that on Ebay, make a couple of dollars to buy the next set of clothing. Right. Because these kids, they grow so fast. I did that. And I found that it was super fun and interesting.

And I got back almost all of what I paid for this wonderful, amazing, overly expensive dress that she wore once. And so I thought, oh, well, there’s something to this. And so I started selling some other things that my kids had not Ron. And when I ran out of things to sell from my house, I started going to yard sales and then eventually to retail stores to try to find things maybe that were regional, that maybe people couldn’t get everywhere else and started to start selling those things.

And it just kind of took off from there.

Great. But thank you for sharing that. That’s an awesome story. And a lot of times, you know, like you said, you had those dresses and you decided to sell them on Ebay. When I talked to so many of the people that come on the podcast, a lot of what they’re doing is really kind of burst out of a necessity. They were doing something, and then that kind of propel them into, you know, what it is that they’re doing now is kind of a need. You saw that there was a need, you know, why just get rid of these dresses?

We paid for them as well. Go ahead and sell the money. Bay, and then that kind of seems like that kind of burst everything that you’re into right now. So that is good to hear. Well, what as I said at the top of the episode, we’re gonna be talking about bundling wholesale bundling and really why it’s so important, because it really is a big deal. These days. There’s a lot of effort for e commerce businesses to really, you know, especially this day and age with so much competition, really to increase their average order value of each customer.

You know, they’ve done all of this work. They’ve spent all of this money to bring customers to their site. And the bottom line is you want to maximize your profit on that, and Bundling is a great way to do it. So why don’t you kind of break it down as far as the different types of bundles that you could create, and how do you really structure it if this is something that you really have never done before?

Certainly I’ll rewind a little bit because I know I currently now do Amazon and Ebay, and they’re completely different beast. And so maybe a lot of your listeners also have their own Shopify, stores and their own different things. And the principal kind of applies over any in all marketplaces, because I actually did my first bundle on Ebay years ago because just plain and simply, I was on a tight budget, and so I couldn’t afford a lot of different packaging. And then the cost of shipping was more in each transaction has a fee, and then it has a shipping cost, and then you have your packaging.

I thought, well, if I bundle some things together, that’s one fee, one shipping rate, and one package that I have to provide for all of these things, and the customer gets a little bit more, which they always regardless of the items within the bundle. We also think when we get more, it’s more value, even if it’s not necessarily a large value. If you get five things versus three things, you think, oh, my gosh, this must be more valuable because I get five items, even if each item might not be the same monetary value.

It just we always think we get more with this, and it could be the same price. And yet we think, oh, we get the same for the same price to get this. So that Bundling idea applies to all. But, you know, if you’re into wholesale or if you’ve done wholesale before and you’re buying things for manufacturers, there’s just a lot of fees involved with e commerce. Whether you’re running your own e commerce store, what Shopify, or any of the platforms that you have there, there’s always fees involved with all of these and to reduce your bottom line and also bring value to your customers, that’s really a win win.

So putting bundles together is really an important concept to think always first about the customer. What do they want? What do they need? What would enhance their user experience? And let me be honest, sometimes Bundling also means just slightly upgrading that packaging, right? I mean, in this day and age, let’s be real. We have Amazon boxes driving to our house every single day. We all of us are shopping on that, right? When you get something from Amazon or even a an Etsy store Shopify store, anything specialty.

And it comes in a different style box, and it’s a different color or it’s a different vibe. You’re automatically more excited because you think you’re we’re so used to Brown Amazon boxes on our ports that we almost don’t care that they’re there for a couple days. I mean, unless it’s a new iphone, right. And then we’re opening it. But Besides that, we’re just like, oh, just another Amazon box. We’ll pick those up in a minute. But if you see some bright yellow fun thing, or if you’re a lady, you like to see, right, pink or red or something sparked on your board, you’re like, oh, let me get that right now.

And so packaging and bundling can make the customer feel as if they’re a little bit more appreciated, a little bit more value just because you spent two cent more on a colored envelope. So really bundling things together. It’s all about creating a value for your customer that makes them want to come back to you.

Great. It really does sound like this bundling also kind of goes under you mentioned. As far as the packaging, adding multiple items and things like that, it kind of all comes under the category of the customer experience. You’re really improving their experience these customers have with your particular products that you’re selling, whether it’s, you know, just little, small things that you’re adding in there, it all helps these customers form a better impression of your business, and they give us an overall better experience. Therefore, they’re gonna come back, spin more, and they’re gonna even tell others so that’s I think that’s really all when it comes down to, you know, I think a lot of what business owners that are currently selling right now, whether they’re selling on direct to consumer, on their own site, where they’re selling on Amazon, I think the tricky part of all of this and this bundling is getting an appropriate pricing strategy together, because obviously, you would want someone to get a bundle where, you know, they’re gonna spend a little bit more.

But at the same time, how do you get your price effectively get your price point down. So it’s not something that people just glance over, like, oh, that’s way, that’s too much. That doesn’t make sense to me to buy that, you know, is there a particular rule of thumb when you’re trying to come up with pricing for these bundles?

Certainly. And let’s talk about let’s put these into a couple of different categories first, because your Amazon customer is going to be a little bit different than, say, your direct to consumer customer, there’s a different field. There’s a different five different experience Amazon, which we all. I mean, let’s just be honest, 99% of us probably have Amazon and on our phone, and we’re prime members, and we expect two day shipping at our door. We want it now. We want a selection. We want the quality. Amazon customers are willing to pay a premium for most things because of the convenience factor of basically having access to millions and millions of products in multiple varieties and styles.

And to have it based. I arrived to your door in two days. Wherever you live, that’s usually the reality. So Amazon customers are willing. I mean, let’s just be honest. I did this a couple weeks ago. My contact solution, I wear contacts. I know I could drive down a few minutes down the road, go to Target by my contact solution and have it here, right here and now. But I looked at the bottle and like, I got a couple of days left in here. So I went to Amazon and I paid about 20% more than I would have to drive down to Target to buy it, only because I didn’t want to drive down to Target by.

I just I have two days left of this. They’ll just deliver it in a couple of days. I added it to the cart as I was getting ready in the morning, and I moved on with my life. Time is money. And if you can save your customer time, if you can save them time by not having to shop around to add a couple of different products into their cart because they’re not. If you can sell them together, you’re giving your customer something that no one else is giving them.

You’re giving them some time back. You’re putting a product in front of them that they already want to buy and things that frequently bought together. Let’s use a fun example of a bundle. So most people with hair care products, they usually buy the same brand of hair. Come. I know I’m talking to you who has a beautifully shaved head. So you’re like hair hair? Come on, girl. Okay, but I’m a curly hair girl over here, so I’m always talking about hair products. So I buy hair care products.

I buy shampoo conditioner and this wonderful styling cream all from the same brand. So if I have to go to Amazon and add three of those things to my car all at once, or even if you’re doing your own specialty shop and you sell these all products separately, if I have to add them all to my car and then check out and do all these things, that’s just giving a lot of time. But if somebody puts that into you, hey, you’ve got this curly hair hair bundle, and we’ve got the shampoo, the conditioner, the styling clean you already bought.

And then they add this small little extra product in there, either as a sample or as just a trial size of this something else we’d like you to try. I’m all about that. It’s one swipe added to cart by now. Moving on with life. They save me time. And they gave me this little extra product in there. That just as a thank you. So I feel valued by the person offering me this item as the seller are going to make more margin on that item because it’s one fee, one package, one transaction.

And that automatically eliminates a lot of different extra fees and time and energy for you. So it’s really a win win to be able to combine things that people are already naturally buying together as sort of a kit, a gift set, a starter pack, a beginner pack, something those are languages that we use to kind of lead people in the direction of spending just a little bit more and showing them they’re getting so much more for that value.

Yeah, that makes sense now, you know, when we’re thinking about it, because I see this more and more these days. I mean, it’s really a big thing. Companies that are, you know, bundling these things together. And, you know, most of the time it’s like it does get the buyer to the point where they need to make a decision. But it’s more of a logical decision because they are, in essence, it’s kind of a cross sell opportunity because since you’re bundling products that really go together, person I was speaking to yesterday, I gave an example of a company that was selling a jacket.

I think it was some type of leather sway, some type of jacket. And one of the things that you have to be careful about is as far as if you’re thinking about upselling is you don’t want to upsell item where it’s a higher cost, where it’s going to give somebody too much of a thought process of whether they got the right item or not, or should they get that higher price item that leads a little bit of fogginess in someone’s head. But across sale is, I think, really what happens with these bundles, because a cross sell opportunity on one of the options that we were talking about yesterday was somebody selling a jacket.

And then that company also selling a lint roller to go with it to get the lint off of. It was just a five dollar additional add on. And so that was something that that company kind of bundled together. You get the jacket and then, you know, it was optional. You saw the jacket alone, and then you saw bundled kind of kit where you saw the jacket, you saw the roller. And I think there was some other type of very low, expensive or low cost, some type of care product or whatever, something you rub on the jacket.

So by just doing that, you’re kind of easing people into a cross sell, and they don’t really realize that to them, the customer is not that big of a deal because maybe they’re paying $5 more less than $10 more for it. You as the business owner, you know, that’s adding to your margin, and that’s definitely, you know, adding to the profit. So all of those little things definitely help. And you really I think the power of these bundles is the fact that you’re taking a lot of the work.

As I said earlier, out of the customer, they don’t have to go around searching and figuring out what goes with what you put it all together there for them. And so that’s something that I think is really a big thing.

Now, I was going to speak to your point there really quickly, because I think that’s a great thing to kind of piggy back on there. Is that also for the seller for, you know, the one that’s providing the products that five dollar up sale that you’re talking about, maybe it’s that Lint Roller and their customers only paying $5 for that, but they have a perceived value. That number one, that five extra dollars are spending to probably protect over 100, maybe $200 jacket is just a drop in the bucket to where oh, this is an extra measure of protection.

And the thing is about the what I consider perceived value ads is that for the customer, that value ad is probably worth ten to $20 to them. And the $5 that you’re charging is still margin for you, because you probably paid pennies on the dollar for that Lint Roller or whatever it is. But the perceived value of this extra item shows it’s an emotional decision for them. It’s not just, oh, that’s only $5. They look at that, and they make these subconscious decisions of wow, this five dollar item is gonna protect this $200 item.

And so that’s why I’m going to pay this extra $5. And so it really does create that customer feeling, even if it’s just an instant that, hey, this seller, this company, this website, these people care about me and care about my investment not only in this jacket, but that I keep it nice. So there’s a little bit of psychology behind what you provide in your bundles, because it really shows that you’re carrying people have that perceived value. Even if the item seems inexpensive that you’re bundling along with your item, it shows a level of I want to give you value.

And they often see the monetary value as even more than it probably is, because it’s just this extra thing that they get within the bundle.

Yeah, that is very true. One of the things that I was thinking also is with these bundles. I guess this is more of a question is that I’ve seen a lot of different presentations of bundles. But in your experience, whether somebody is selling on Amazon Ebay or is direct to consumer, is there a I guess you’d say best practice as far as the presentation of these bundles, because I’ve seen a lot of different types of ways that they’re presented, whether it be a whole separate category in the catalog, or what would you suggest as far as presenting these bundles to the end customer presentation is everything.

As far as if I believe that side by side is best because the customer then we have to trust our customers that they’re smart individuals and they kind of know what they want, hence the reason they’re landing on your store or your product to begin with. So we have to assume that they’re conscious of what things cost and what they’re wanting and looking for. And so I love the sidebyside presentation rather than separate categories, because you can show someone. Okay, the shampoo is 999 and the conditioners 999.

And all these different things are about $10 a piece. But then you give them the bundle five items, and each item collectively is $10 a piece. But then you give them this bundle. That’s $55. So it is $5 more than what they’re paying individually. Okay, but they look at this presentation, this box, this you get five items for this price. And yes, it costs $5 more. But the perceived value might be that you’ve added one more small thing. Maybe it’s the packaging. Maybe you added a Lufa to that, even though literally Lupas cost pennies.

So that could be the value add item that you’re adding with that. And although that Lufa isn’t worth the extra $5, as far as maybe their mind might make that decision right away, they see this whole big package. They see the ease of the fact that they only have to make one transaction and one get one package and all that thing. And they look at the perceived value. So I love the idea of having individual products in the catalog listed and then having the bundle listed right next to it, because it’s a really easy scan to be like, oh, yeah, I need shampoo and conditioner, and I need this styling cream.

And oh, this one comes with this. But it also comes with this little Lufa and something else. I’ll just buy the bundle because then you feel like you’re getting a little bit more, even though you’re actually spending more. And sometimes people make it for less money. It’s all about your own profit margin there. But if people are generally choosing multiple products anyway, I’m looking at them side by side. They already automatically assume that more is more. And so they want to pick the item that just comes with all the things that’s generally the behavior that you see when see people see things side by side as individual and then as a collective gotcha gotcha.

I totally get that. And just from my own experience, the side by side presentation seems to be the best way to go because people are already in line of purchasing something. And like you said, in the example of the shampoo and the conditioner, obviously, usually you would buy a shampoo and conditioner. And so to put it side by side just makes it easier for the customer to make that decision. Whether they need both. They need one they can make that quick decision, decide what they want to do, go from there rather than putting bundles and just a whole separate category, it would be a little bit more leg work for people to kind of go back and then see what are some things that are all together versus just doing the side by side presentation.

Now, speaking of presentation, as we get ready to wrap things up, I’m always a huge advocate of looking at other successful ecommerce stores and what they’ve done. Are there any particular stores that you’re familiar with or that we all may have seen that we can go check out that have done a great job bundling products, presenting them and have been successful with it.

So one of my favorite ones would be I’m trying to think of it’s hard on Amazon because I know a lot of them on Amazon to have specific store. So specific brands you could check out an Amazon would be like the Hangry Kit. They have this wonderful packaging and an experience of adding a bunch of snack packs together. Crave packs, things like that. Started using multiple items for multiple brands. They’ve created their own packaging and own experiences. But off of Amazon, I feel like the subscription type boxes, those types of Create Joy and places like that.

Although it’s kind of a different business model. They have subscription boxes. They have essentially made bundles that customers really want and are selling them. Then month by month by you’re basically getting a different bundle every single month. And they’ve structured that in such a way that you think, okay, for $40 a month, I’m getting this huge box of value to where they’re obviously making a very healthy margin on that. But as a customer, it looks like, wow, I’m getting a book and a candle and a Journal and a thing every month for this small amount of money.

And you just feel like you’re getting such a great deal and you’re getting exactly what you want and exactly what you ordered. And it’s really about that customer experience and the perceived value you think you’re getting for the money you’re paying. And so I think they do a really good job with Create Joy and some of the subscription boxes that they do, and another one would be Beat the boredom box on Amazon. They really do a great job at providing bundles for people to solve specific problems that really help different generations and different people, whether it’s seniors or women or men or anything else, with putting things together that people really want as a gift set.

So I think they do a really good job with putting the gift sets together that really help people solve those problems.

Gotcha. Thank you for highlighting those examples. We definitely check those out. It’s always good to see the presentation of other companies that have been successful with these types of things. So you can kind of get some ideas and figure out what have they done or these things that I can do for my own business. So that definitely helps. Well, it’s been great talking to you, Christian. I’ve definitely learned a lot, and our listeners have as well, because this really is a big thing. There’s so many stores that I’ve seen these days that I’ve been online just looking at some of our customers.

And just in my own experience, where the bundling is the thing to do. Yeah, it definitely is the thing to do these days. And so that’s some of a business owner is not currently doing it definitely something that they should look at to increase their overall sales. So they’ve got the customers there. And you might as well try to get maximize the money spent to require that customer by getting to purchase additional items. So I think that’s really the bottom line here. Well, I always like to pivot here my last question, just so our listeners can get to know you just a little bit better.

So if you don’t mind sharing one closing, fun fact about yourself that you think our listeners would be interested to know about you, certainly.

Well, I am actually a black belt in mixed martial arts and have that require that black about doing a type window and some different other martial art practices there. So I’m short but mighty. So I know most people don’t see that on here, but I’m all of five foot tall. I’ve run a good game. I can probably meet you up.

Gotcha I’ll scare to you. Well, that’s a good one. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Martial arts definitely something that can help you with all aspects of your life, the discipline aspect of it, the fitness aspect of it. So much concentration and confidence, and the list goes on and on. So that’s awesome that you’re into that. And I appreciate you sharing that as well. Well, thank you again, Kristen, for joining us today. But lastly, before we let you go, if there’s any listeners that want to get a hold of you pick your brain anymore about bundling or any other types of digital marketing strategies.

And what is the best way for them to reach you?

Sure. I’m at Mommy Income com so you can reach me there. And all the social channels, including YouTube and every other place is at Mommy Income. And of course, I do have my Amazon Files podcast. So if there’s Amazon people or Amazon interested people, I am the host of the Amazon Files podcasts, and you can tune in there as well. And thank you so much for your time and energy today. I appreciate the invite.

Oh, yes, no problem. And thank you for joining us today. Kristen on the Ecommerce Marketing podcast.

Thank you for listening to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Kristin Ostrander
Founder of Mommy Income