Grouping items together into a package and selling them at a special bundle price has a couple of huge benefits to any retailer:
- Customers know that they’re getting products that are compatible with each other, a challenge for new customers in many industries, including detailing
- Customers often save more than they could by buying the products individually
- Retailers can provide more value to the customer while still working within MAP pricing guidelines (minimum advertised price). This is why you always see Best Buy or Amazon adding in free gift cards or accessories with Apple products or new video games
We’ve had a package system as a part of our shopping cart from day 1. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been updated since day 1 because we couldn’t figure out how to improve it to what we wanted without creating an unreasonable amount of work for us. We have roughly 100 packages. We made it easier on us by not photoing every one. Instead we’d auto generate an ugly photo with the most expensive item in the package, like this:
We also wrote in-depth product descriptions for each one about how and why the products work well together. The lack of a photo hurt our ability to attractively sell the package as a whole. In particular, when a customer was on a product page we did a poor job of showing the packages that include that item, which is one of the easiest upsells you can make to a customer already interested in the product.
After (literally) years of discussing how to improve these, we finally launched an improved packages system last week. From start to finish, it took us roughly a month, and it will be reasonably easy to maintain going forward.
The single largest improvement is that we took pictures of each package instead of relying on the auto-generated photo and individual item photos on the package page. We felt like, as a shopper, it really helps to see exactly what you’re getting all together in one photo. Instead of our usual square product images, we decided to use wider photos at a 2:1 ratio of width to height. This gives us extra space to fit everything into one image without it looking tiny or distorted. The resulting page for each packages looks so much better:
We do still have the auto-generated images to fall back on, as well as automatically cropped square images for use in places where we need to still use squares, such as on the checkout page.
When browsing categories and brands on the site we decided to intermix the wide shots with our normal square shots. It actually turned out pretty well. For example, on the wax category page you can see the package alongside individual items:
Mike came up with the idea of using an orange highlight, similar to how we highlight new, sale, clearance, and daily special items throughout the site. It really helps the packages jump off the page. Most packages are under our DI Packages “brand” since all products need both a brand and a title, however we decided to hide the text “DI Packages” from the site. In an example like the one above, “Black Car Wax Kit” looks a lot better than “DI Packages Black Car Wax Kit”.
Similarly, on our left nav we previously had the category “DI Packages”, which really doesn’t mean anything to a new customer. We renamed that category to Packages & Kits, a name that despite it’s redundancy is crystal clear. On that category page, we widened the products out a bit to provide more space for the large image:
We flip-flopped images for descriptions. We used to auto-generate the images, now we’re auto-generating the package description. In an ideal world, each of our 100+ packages would have custom descriptions. In reality though, we only have limited resources and those descriptions take hours to write and require constant maintenance. If we wanted to be able to constantly add, remove, adjust, and tweak our kits, we needed to eliminate this barrier.
Each description has an intro paragraph, a bullet about each item (automatically pulled from the product page), and an outro paragraph with a link to contact us if they have questions. I built a system to allow us to add specific sentences to the intro or outro depending upon the products in the kit. For example, all buffers have a sentence linking people to our buffer comparison chart.
Not ideal, but not horrible either. In the end we made the call that customers would value the photos more than the descriptions in most cases since it’s usually pretty obvious why/how the products work together. Maybe more important, it’s easier to maintain and will allow us to iterate much faster, which in turn will result in us creating better packages for our customers.
Item Page Upsells & Cross-Sells
My guess is that the way most customers find our packages is through the item page. They’re shopping for a Rupes Polisher, and on the item page they see this:
Likewise, on the package page itself it will cross-sell you to other similar packages:
More & Better Kits
Lost in all of the design improvements is maybe the most important improvement of all: better kits! Greg completely overhauled our offerings by editing, deleting, and adding to our packages section. He looked at our numbers, looked at trends in the industry, and experimented with a few ideas to see if new types of kits will be popular. While what we’ve launched with is much improved, we’re setting ourselves up to be able to iterate in the future as I alluded to above.
One improvement we made to simplify our kit structure was to allow for quantity discounts like we offer on select individual products. Now instead of having to create separate pad kits with 4, 8, 12, 16, etc pads, we now can create one kit with 4 pads and offer an additional 5% off when you order multiple kits.
Improved Packing Slips
Our system for packing kits previously wasn’t ideal either. They were listed out separately at the bottom of the packing slip. This might not seem like a big deal, but on a busy day it’s not uncommon to have several customers order a lot of products and multiple packages. In these cases, you’re effectively snaking through the warehouse multiple times and potentially picking the same item multiple times if it’s in multiple kits. Not only is it a time-waster, it also makes errors more likely and the order more difficult to double-check.
I overhauled our packing slip to intermix package items with normal items to solve these problems. Now every single time someone picks an order they’re only moving through the warehouse once using our inventory zones. To make this happen, we had to remove prices from the packing slip, since someone could theoretically purchase an item and also get it as a part of a kit. We had a similar problem if someone used a coupon code for a free item it was listed separately. Now someone can get a towel kit with an all purpose towel in it, buy some all purpose towels, and use a coupon for free all purpose towels, and they’ll all show up on one line with the quantities appropriately tallied.
We’re really excited for all of these changes heading into Spring. It really took a team effort creating the packages, photoing the packages, improving the site, and setting up our processes moving forward. It’s been a while since we’ve done a project that involved everyone like this. It was impressive how we all came together and got it done while still getting our day-to-day stuff accomplished.