Bundling, Pure Bundling and Mixed Bundling

The terms "bundling", "pure bundling" and "mixed bundling" are often used interchangeably but there are important differences between them.



...is a marketing practice that involves offering several different products for sale as one combined product. Examples would include things like "combos" or value meals at fast food restaurants (where a combination might include a burger, a drink and a beverage) or the concession stand at a movie theater (where it might include popcorn, soda and candy). Bundles are also common from cable companies (their bundles include the basic service, hardware like the cable box, access to specific features like packages of movies, sports and other specialty programming, etc). It is a popular practice that can increase revenue for the seller (by increasing sales) and provide increased satisfaction for the customer (who enjoy any savings and the convenience that comes with having to evaluate a single price).


Pure Bundling...

... is a type of bundling where the individual components that make up the bundle are only available when purchased as a bundle – they are not available for purchase separately. One example would be the cable company – you can choose different bundles of services and channels, but you can't select the individual channels that make up those bundles. Pure bundling is sometimes favored because it is seen as a way to increase sales – to get the channel you really want you also have to pay for a lot of channels you really don't care about. Because pure bundling also limits the choices available to the consumer it can come under scrutiny and even be subject to litigation.


Mixed Bundling...

... an approach to bundling where the individual components that make up the bundle are also available for purchase individually. Movie theater snacks and fast food combos are examples of mixed bundling – you can purchase each item individually, or together as part of the combo for a single price.



Pure bundling and mixed bundling are both examples of product bundling. The big difference between pure and mixed bundling is that mixed bundling allows the consumer to purchase the items separately while pure bundling does not.

Bundling offers a very powerful way to increase sales and also customer satisfaction. Although unbundling has become very popular, especially in things like flower delivery where perceived cost can be reduced with separate service fees and delivery charges, there are many customers that prefer the convenience that comes with bundled pricing.

Watch the customers at a movie theater, where the bundled packages offer little if any savings (almost always less than 5%). Customers love the bundles because there is less thinking (they don't need to add up the prices in their heads) and greater perceived value (they assume savings even when they aren't there).

More specifically mixed bundling is good, pure bundling more problematic. Mixed bundling allows your customers more options, when they want them, something they appreciate. Pure bundling can effectively force them to spend more money, but does anyone really like dealing with the cable company? Unless there are very few alternatives for your customers pure bundling is generally a dangerous game.

But mixed bundling offers the best of both worlds. Customers are not trapped, they have the ability to choose each individual item and you are not limiting their options. At the same time you are offering them the convenience of a bundle of products at a single price.

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