Holiday Sales Sprint   //   December 21, 2023

The art of bundling: How brands are promoting buy more, save more deals this holiday season

This holiday season, brands want shoppers to stock up. 

Amid inflation, holiday discounts have gotten even steeper. Adobe Analytics found that on Cyber Monday, for example, discounts among furniture products peaked at up to 21% off, compared to a peak 8% discount offered last year. 

One way brands made these deep discounts more palatable – while driving up AOV – was by offering bigger savings to customers who buy say, three of one item instead of one. While it’s a tactic that’s historically offered every holiday season, this year in particular, shoppers are being bombarded with “bundle and save” sales from direct-to-consumer brands like Caraway, Material, Mack Weldon and True Classic.

But there’s more to building a successful bundle and save offer than simply telling customers they should buy more. Brands that offer this type of sales promotion first have discussions internally about which of their products people are most likely to stock up on. Some brands have gamified the sales tactic by creating bundle builders on their website, where people get encouraged to add more t-shirts, socks or underwear to their carts in order to reach a higher discount. In turn, they are constantly running A/B tests to figure out what small tweaks will get people to add more to their carts. 

Direct-to-consumer kitchen brand Caraway is one such brand that historically offers a bundle and save sale every holiday season, according to founder Jordan Nathan. Now through December 31, Caraway is offering 10% off on orders of more than $85, 15% off on orders of more than $425, and 20$ off on orders of more than $525. For customers who spend more than $975, Caraway is also throwing in a free tea kettle.

Meanwhile, apparel brand True Classic is promoting a “pack builder” on its website where customers gradually save more depending on how many t-shirts they buy, getting as much as $40 off if they buy 8 units. 

For men’s apparel brand Mack Weldon, revamping the “bundle and save” feature on its website was a major focus heading into the holiday season. Since rolling out a redesigned bundle and save feature in late October, the number of orders placed each day that utilize the bundle and save feature has more than doubled. And compared to the previous bundle and save experience, Mack Weldon has seen a 25% increase in the number of new customers adopting the feature. 

According to Anna Stearns, vice president of e-commerce and CX at Mack Weldon, the company has had a bundle and save feature on its website for years — but initially, the bundling feature only offered people discounts on underwear. That’s because, according to Stearns, three packs and six packs are among the most popular SKUs for underwear companies. Customers save 7% if they buy at least three pairs of underwear, 10% if they buy at least five pairs and 12% if they buy at least 7 pairs. 

But over the years, as Mack Weldon added more products, it saw people wanting to bundle different types of items. 

“We actually saw very similar buying habits with our t-shirts and undershirts and socks, that kind of matched underwear,” Stearns said. “We also had a lot of feedback from customers that they wanted more options in different sizes, [and] asking us ‘can we buy packs of four instead of three?” 

Another big focus was in getting more customers to adopt the feature. “Historically, when customers were coming to our site or new users were coming to our site, it was harder to find the pack builder,” Stearn said. “And I think they were less willing to probably buy into bundles just because it was a higher value purchase.”

So, the goal was to get more people to utilize the feature by offering more customization, across a greater variety of products like t-shirts and socks; since t-shirts are a higher margin item, customers receive bigger discounts on these. Another focus was on reminding shoppers that the pack builder existed by promoting it in more places. To do that, Mack Weldon introduced a dynamic bundle builder on its product detail pages. If a customer lands on a pair of boxer briefs to their cart, they can toggle between seeing what that item would cost on its own, and how much they would cost if they bought two or three. 

Stearns said that while Mack Weldon wanted to encourage more people to use the bundle and save feature, “we don’t want to make a difficult shopping experience for the customer either. We don’t want them thinking through, ‘do I need two pairs of pants?’” Rather, the focus was on encouraging them to buy multiples of items they might already have considered stocking up on anyways.

That was a consistent theme echoed by executives who said their brands are pushing more bundle and save sales this holiday season. 

Eunice Byun, co-founder and CEO of kitchen accessories brand Material, said her company is experimenting with more bundle and save offers this holiday season. Throughout December, Byun said that Material will be “testing offers to encourage multiple set purchases across our bestselling cutlery and glassware products.” Some of these offers have yet to be finalized, though Material also offers discounts on certain sets on its website – customers can save $36, for example by buying four glass sets. 

Byun said that one of the customer behaviors Material has observed over the years is that “a lot of our smaller items are great for gifts, and people start putting some multiples into their carts.” They stock up on say, five or six of Material’s cocktail jiggers or cutting boards, and then give them as gifts to people throughout the year for different occasions.

So, Material wants to encourage more of this by “creating promotions that allow us to kind of lean into that type of behavior,” Byun said. And, as a now six-year-old brand, Byun said that Material now has more data to effectively run these promotions.

“We just get a little bit smarter I think each year as we get more insight onto customer behavior, and ultimately, also the margin structure that we need from a company perspective,” she said.