Product bundles have multiple functions for a store, from spotlighting an exciting new line to increasing the perceived value of existing inventory.
Creatively curated product bundles should be a profit center in themselves—and they’ve proved vital in many stores’ COVID-19 sales strategies—but they’re also a way to accomplish other goals for your business, from moving inventory and testing new products to building your brand.
Testing New Product
While dance store bundles often incorporate staples like leotards and tights, they give storeowners, at low risk, an opportunity to highlight fashion-forward items or a new category you wish to test, such as accessories. Be sure to follow up via e-mail or social media to find out how clients liked specific items in their baskets.
Moving Old Product
Variety is the spice of the basket. You can tuck in slow-selling items (as long as they’re not clunkers) as bonuses. Combined with newer items, this creates an attractive package, increases the perceived value of all the items and helps move older inventory before it has lost all its value sitting on a shelf.
Cross-selling and Add-ons
Bundles can entice customers to buy items that may not be on their shopping list. Emily Mayerhoff, owner of Atittude Dance Boutique, notes that one in three customers who comes into the shop picks up her Ballerina Bundle, which she started selling for back-to-dance in 2018. “Some moms come in for tutu dresses then add the bundle because it is such a deal, while also adding a skirt or two and tap shoes for a mini dance wardrobe,” she says. Amy Manning, whose store Gabie’s Boutique markets a basic bundle to make it easier for moms new to dance to prepare their child for a first dance class, agrees. “At the great price customers get for their basics bundle, they’ll usually also pick up a skirt, legwarmers, a wrap sweater or something for the hair,” she says.
You can order items to take advantage of discounts from manufacturers, then pass along savings to customers while also still making a profit. Be sure to let clients know the deal they’re getting. Mayerhoff appreciates early apparel discounts from vendors, as much as 35 percent. “I can use that to help me pass it along to customers, and it doesn’t decrease my cost of goods as deeply as if paying full price,” she says. “It allows us to be generous to our customers.”
Value creates anticipation that draws return customers. Regular clients will tell Mayerhoff they’re awaiting this year’s Ballerina Bundle, or families with multiple dancers bring in all the sisters to enjoy the treat. Gabie’s Boutique includes a coupon in its bundles for clients to use later in the fall.
The Bottom Line
The unique contents of each bundle you sell perfectly positions your unique POV as a retailer, reinforcing your role as an expert and unparalleled resource—something no box store or online source can meet. Go one step further and enhance clients’ community loyalty and access by partnering with a celebrity curator, such as a local dance star or style leader. DanceWear Corner, in Orlando, FL, for instance, sells different “Dancers Haul” product subscriptions, one curated by Miami City Ballet’s Kathryn Morgan. A quarterly box for dancers, each contains must-haves including dancewear, warm-ups, foot care and more.
Charlotte Barnard is a writer living in New York City who often reports on retail trends, design and branding.