Reduce returns 50% by reframing bundles
Sales & Marketing

Reduce returns 50% by reframing bundles

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Ever wondered how to make those product bundles irresistible and keep returns low? Here's a golden nugget for you: frame your product bundles as gifts. Yep, you heard that right. Let’s break it down to understand why.


Short version: When running a product bundle promotion, frame it as a “gift” (e.g., "Buy X for $49, get Y free") rather than a bundle ("Get X and Y for $49"). This simple tweak can drastically reduce returns (by up to 50%!) and save you money!

Here’s a quick example to get you thinking:

  • “Buy a TV for $500 and get a free speaker” beats “Get a TV and speaker for $500” hands down.
  • “Buy a business class ticket for $1000 and get a hotel night free” works better than “Buy a business class ticket and one night’s hotel stay for $1000.”

But why does this work? 🤔

We judge value in two main ways: utilitarian (saving money, convenience) and hedonic (fun, excitement). A bundle makes us think about the money saved, but a free gift adds an extra layer of joy. It’s like getting an unexpected bonus, making us less likely to return it because we don’t want to lose that feel-good factor.

What the data says 📊

A study showed:

  • People were over 2x more likely to return a bundled item (30%) compared to a product with a free gift (14%).
  • In an experiment, folks were more likely to return a sweater when it was part of a bundle (“buy a sweater and scarf for $49.90”) than when it came with a free scarf (“buy a sweater for $49.90, get a free scarf”).

So, the free gift approach makes returns less appealing.

What to watch out for ⚠️

This trick works best with brands people already know. If you’re new on the scene, this might not be your magic bullet. And it works when the gift is of lesser value than the main item. If the items are of equal value, the magic might not apply.

One more thing: If you plan to sell the “gift” separately later, remember it might seem less valuable on its own after being a freebie.

How to do it ✅

Here’s how you can make this work for you:

  1. Audit your promotions: Look at your current bundle deals and see where returns are high.
  2. Reframe your offers: Change the messaging to frame the lower-value item as a free gift.
  3. Test and track: Always test different messages and track which works best for your audience.

So, next time you’re planning a promotion, remember: everyone loves a gift. Give this strategy a whirl and watch your returns drop and your sales soar.

Want to learn more? 🤓

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can dig into the nerdy details in the original marketing study.

Quote of the week 💬

"Reducing returns isn't just about saving money. It's about creating an experience so delightful, customers wouldn't dream of giving it back!"

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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