Virtual bundles are a great way to grow your product portfolio on Amazon, increase sales, improve the profitability of your items, and conduct market research on the world’s largest product search engine at the same time.
What sounds like the egg-cellent solution is in fact very little known and used by vendors. That’s because Amazon itself doesn’t peddle this issue. There is also nothing in the VendorCentral help or resource center about virtual bundles.
In the following we will explain what Amazon means by a virtual bundle, how you can create one yourself and we will go into the pros and cons.
What is a Virtual Bundle?
Normally, Amazon’s ordering algorithm works at the item level. That is, if you want to offer a bundle to the Amazon user because you think the customer will like to buy these items together, you would have to create your own listing. With your own article number, your own EAN, your own warehousing, etc. This is quite complex, requires resources, time, and usually different departments in the company have to be involved. That’s not always easy either.
With a virtual bundle, on the other hand, you bundle 2 to 5 of your products only virtually via an Amazon Excel sheet, Amazon creates its own ASIN for this bundle and takes care of the pick and pack for customer orders itself.
Your effort is reduced to just filling out an Excel sheet!
How does creating a virtual bundle work on Amazon?
Amazon has a pre-made Excel sheet for creating the bundle. You can get that either through a case in the VC or here with us.
A bundle always consists of a basic ASIN, quasi the main product and 1-4 additional products.
Example virtual bundle of makeup palette and makeup brushes
You create the product title directly for the bundle, for the bullet points you can decide if you want to use your own or if Amazon should create them from the individual products. You can select for each bullet point individually, from which of the articles it should come.
An MSRP can also be set for the bundle, but in our experience, Amazon ignores this price recommendation in the vast majority of cases.
The image mapping for virtual bundles
You can also leave the creation of the main image for the product bundle to Amazon, although the results are often only semi-optimal.
Image template for a virtual bundle (source: Amazon)
In this graphic you can see the possibilities of how the main image of the bundle can be designed. You simply select the template and Amazon uses the existing main images of the individual products and assembles the image from them.
Depending on what products you want to bundle, this may be sufficient and look good, or not (for example, if the sizes of the items are not correct).
It is possible to design and upload your own images for the bundle, but not via the usual way via Amazon Vendor Central catalog, but only via a support case.
The pricing of virtual bundles
As a consumer, we would expect a set of several items to be cheaper than the sum of the individual prices.
Unfortunately, Amazon sees things differently with virtual bundles. The selling price of the set is the simple addition of the selling prices of the individual items.
If you still want to give a price incentive, you can add a coupon to the bundle’s ASIN or offer a discount in VendorCentral under Marketing -> Promotions. However, these opportunities are always limited in time, so that the discounts must be reallocated at regular intervals.
The upload to Amazon
You can send the completed Excel sheet via VendorCentral to Support (Manage catalog data -> Add products). And be sure to write that they should tell you the newly created ASIN. You save a lot of time and further back and forth writing…
What are the advantages and disadvantages of such virtual sets?
|Utilize upselling potential
|Item is only displayed if all individual products are available
|Better profitability through higher shopping baskets
|No sales or traffic figures in Brand Analytics
|Improving the sales of slow-moving products
|Advantageous price only representable via promotions such as coupons
|Low internal costs
|In some circumstances, the set items are shipped separately to the customer
|Market research – positive results can be transferred to other sales channels