When your customer looks at your company, does he see a laundry list of services and products, or a solution combining products and services into a product bundle to designed to fit his needs?
Marketing starts with standing in the customers’ shoes: feeling the customers’ needs as they feel them, and seeing your company as the customer sees you – the customer perspective. Customers want solutions, not just a raw product.
If your website presents laundry list, you have expressed what you can do from your perspective, not the customer perspective. Rather than a long list of offerings, you want to anticipate the customer’s needs: offer a product bundle, i.e., packages of services or options planned to meet the most common sets of needs.
Usually your customer wants a solution, not just a product. The solution will be composed of several elements. They want to buy a package, often including services in addition to raw products. From the customer’s perspective, the solution will be a bundle of your capabilities, packaged into a single purchase. Does your offer package that solution for him?
Design Several Product Bundles for Common Sets of Needs
When creating these product bundles, you realize some customers want more services and more customization than others, yet they do not want to buy more services than they need. Customers appreciate choice, but they also appreciate simplicity. They avoid complexity. So your product strategy should be to give them a few choices — a few product bundles — but not too many.
As an example, think about buying a new car. The manufacturer offers a long laundry list of options, but he packages them into groups: EX may be basic, LX may be the middle ground, and SX may be the premium package. In an Olympic year, you might think of them like the three Olympic medals: bronze, silver and gold. You choose one package for a single price, and then maybe add one or two other a la carte options for a separate additional fee to customize the product to meet your needs.
Do you know your customers well enough to select several common sets of needs?
Product Bundle Strategy: Good, Better, Best
One proven strategy is to segment your customers into three groups. Start with the most common set of needs. Design a product bundle for this type of customer. Then imagine the careful skeptic who just wants dip a toe into the water. Design a basic product bundle for them. Third, imagine the professional who wants a top-of-the-line package. Design a complete product bundle for this group. Now you have a set of three bundles: good, better, and best.
Another approach is to imagine three different customer situations, and design a product bundle for each. For a photographer, these might be graduation, wedding, and family portrait. You might even design a set of three good-better-best bundles for each customer situation.
Presenting Product Bundles on the Website
The next question is how to present your bundles to customers, starting with your website. Using the photographer example, she may offer wedding photos, graduation photos, family portraits, event photos, plus videos for all these events as well. For each of these events, there may be multiple photo sessions, different photo and video editing options, and a variety of media options from proofs to albums to disks. This is the laundry list. The product strategy is to bundle all these services into three packages. How does he or she structure the website or brochure to simplify the complexity?
On each “customer situation” page, he offers three product bundles: basic, standard, and premium, using “catchier” names. He presents the bundles in a table, with a column for each level of package (tier) and a column on the left for services.
There is a row for each type of service: sessions, proofs, editing, and delivery format. Under each of the bundle headings, he enters either an X (if it is provided), or a number (e.g. number of proofs), or types of editing services available in this product bundle, or leaves it blank if that service is not available in this bundle. At the bottom, he provides a link to an “a la carte” services page, where the customer can add a specific service for a specific fee.
This “a la carte services” page can be set up as a table as well, with a row for each service showing the name, a brief description, the standalone price, and a column for “included in package”. This entry in this last column would show the name of the packages or tiers that include this service in the package price. For an example, see Web Hosting | Secure Hosting Plans with Unlimited Bandwidth.
Customers can go to the page that matches their situation, select the package that fits their need and price range, and then go to the “Services” page to add customization. They have a choice, and the choice is simple, yet can be tailored.
Product Bundle Result: Higher Sales
Customers often decide to upgrade to a package with more services. With a good-better-best product bundle strategy, those who thought they wanted only basic services can easily see what they are missing. Product bundling thus becomes a sales tool!
For more on this product/pricing tool, and a description of how this “decoy effect” leads most to choose a higher level product bundle, see Pricing Technique: Good, Better, Best.
Does your product strategy start with the customer perspective? Do you offer good-better-best product bundles based on common needs?