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Becoming a Teacher-Author Entrepreneur Step 9: Bundling - It's Not Just For Insurance

Bundle and save! Bundle and save!

The way the insurance companies tout it, you would think they invented to concept. Hardly. As a child, I sold vegetable and flower seeds, comic book subscriptions, tee-shirts, posters, and pretty much anything else I could at the time. And every one of them had discounts for multiple purchases. So, what do we need to consider when it comes to making a bundle of products for the classroom? Actually, there are a few considerations, mostly common sense ones, before we begin offering bundles. But first, what are they, and when should you offer them?

Putting Bundles Together

Literary Analysis Crosswords
First, a definition for our use: a bundle is any collection of teacher-author classroom products, regardless of if they are for decor, management, lessons, substitute work folders, or games, that the teacher-author offers for sale at a discount. How many products go into a bundle? Great question! Technically, as few as two items, or as many as you can create. Our smallest bundle has 2 crosswords puzzles (and doodles! Don't forget the doodles!), while our (currently) largest bundle has 18 products. We do have 3 products that are classified as "bundles" by the platforms, each with only 2 products, but these are novel studies where you get the second at half price.

So, what goes into a bundle? Again, it would be easy to say, "whatever you want!", and be accurate, however...

Touching Spirit Bear: The Bundle
Contains 18 Related Products
 to Teach the Novel
You want related products that can be used together, or that are used in the same fashion. For instance, everything in the Touching Spirit Bear Novel Study Bundle is from our Spirit Bear line. Everything in it supports the novel study. The Literary Analysis Crosswords are generic enough that they can be used with any literary work, and so they are not included in the novel study bundles. Other options could be grouping as type of work, i.e., Bell Ringers or Bell Work, Math Multiplication sheets, or Elemental Table Flash Cards. We also have our Crosswords as Substitute Teacher Work Folder materials - from my experience, the substitute teachers really enjoy doing our crosswords (and doodles. They love coloring the doodles!).

When to Create a Bundle

Part 2 of the Series, which was
later included in the Bundle.
So at what point should you bundle your products? Again, up to you and the situation. For instance, our Crosswords bundles were started with only 2 puzzles, but our novel study bundles generally don't get started until there are at least 5 related, but not necessarily similar, products. For example, with Touching Spirit Bear we have 4 different bundles in the line - a bundle of vocabulary crosswords with doodles; a bundle of vocabulary building flashcards for review and creating word walls; a bundle of assessments; and the complete bundle which contains all of those and more. Why? Not everybody who buys the Study Guide will want the flashcards, not everyone who wants the flashcards will want the assessments, and not everyone who wants the assessments will want the crosswords; however, there will be people who want them all. Therefore, we offer the Guide as a stand alone item; each assessment as stand alone items and in a bundle of assessments; each crosswords as stand alone or bundled together; and so forth. It is all about what the customers will want or need, and the flexibility to serve as many of those needs as possible. 
So, when was the Bundle created? Did we wait until all 18 products were ready? No. We started with the Guide, the first flashcard set, the two crosswords set, and the bookmarks (which are free anyway). When we posted it, we stated that it would be GROWING, and was not yet complete. Why? If anyone bought at the early stages, they would get the rest of the products FREE. That's a "Growing Bundle".

Unlike the growing bundle, when we created our Focus on Grammar: Bell Work or Bell Ringers line, we knew that we would be doing six 6-week sets, which we would then bundle into a single year-long bell work bundle. In this case, we created all of the sets individually first, then the bundle. With our Poster sets, it depends on the type of poster - is it simple decor, is it motivational, or is it classroom management? Our CHAMPS posters are classroom management, and finite in number because they are editable as well, whereas our motivational set will always be "growing", so customers can purchase a single poster or the entire line. 

Pricing a Bundle

Bundling 2 Novel Studies
Targets a Specific 

Grade Level Range
Your discounted price for your bundle is entirely up to you - obviously. The same considerations you put into setting your prices - how much time and effort you invested, not devaluing your work, etc., needs to be considered here as well. However. The whole point in creating a bundle is to offer the customer the opportunity to save money and receive a great value, while hopefully creating a return customer. So, it needs to be a meaningful amount of savings. The rule of thumb I use is this. If the total price of all of the products in the bundle would be under $10 (US), then we set the discount at 10%; if the total price of the individual products would be over $10 (US), then we set the discount at 20%. There are exceptions to these rules. For example, the Novel Study Guide Mix, Match, and Save products contain two Novel Studies that would separately total $20, but we sell them together for $15 - a 25% discount. We will make back that extra 5% in either repeat customer sales of other product lines or for other supporting products, such as assessments and vocabulary cards.

There is another reason for discounting at 10% under $10: site-wide or store sales. If you are discounting a $3 bundle 10%, you are already at $2.70. If you then have a 20% storewide sale, you are now at $2.16 - almost a 30% discounted price in total. If you start with that $3 bundle already at 20% discount, you start at $2.40, then take another 20% for your storewide sale, you are now at $1.92 and close to devaluing your work.

Growing Bundles are a different story. You can opt, as we do, to have the price grow with the bundle. Alternatively, you can set a final price at the beginning, and trust that customers will trust you to keep adding to it until it reaches a size that makes the price a deal. I have seen it done successfully both ways. That said, I would expect that a "newbie" would not see to many early sales of growing bundles simply because they have not made a "name" for themselves. Not enough customers know them well enough to trust that they will grow the bundle.

Final Thoughts...

What about creating a Curriculum? Isn't that, at heart, just a big Bundle? Not really. So much more goes into creating curriculum than does a bundle, or a novel study, or a year of bell ringers, that it cannot be compared that way.

Remember, the reason to create a bundle of products needs to be two-fold: first, do these products, offered together, give a true value to the customer; and, second, will this reasonably sell in my store?


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