Bundled software – software packages that contain several individual programs – are a great way for developers to increase their exposure, improve their portfolio, and earn more money.
So how exactly does bundled software appeal to consumer psychology? And how can you use bundles to get more from your customers?
Use Bundles to Control Supply and Demand
Supply and demand, the age-old economics terms, refer to the volume of available product versus the consumer’s desire for that product. Generally, supply and demand work together with the marketplace’s competition to set a product’s price – in this case, a software bundle.
But, for quite a while, marketers have been manipulating the perception of supply and demand to alter the price of a product. If you artificially limit supply, then you can increase the demand and the price. And if you are able to generate demand, you can increase the price.
Software bundles are mechanisms that automatically make use of certain marketing concepts to manipulate both supply and demand. But by setting artificial limitations and by taking advantage of the benefits that bundling offers, you can affect both factors.
At first glance, supply may not seem to have anything to do with software bundles, since digital goods can be reproduced on-demand, ad infinitum.
And though physical supply, manufacturing, and the supply chain have no effect on the price of a product, demand – along with the production costs – do have an effect on the price.
Using Scarcity to Increase the Perceived Value
To get around this, marketers and advertisers have long been using artificial scarcity to affect the pricing and order volume of products. By placing a limitation on your product, you increase its perceived value, with the goal of increasing the demand for the product.
Short-term bundling is a tactic frequently used by companies such as Envato, a marketplace for digital goods. By discounting prices and only offering bundled content for a limited time, they increase conversions and revenue.
Here are a couple examples of limitations you can use to enhance the value of your bundle in the customer’s eyes:
Use deadlines. A limited time offer works, because customers know that the price tag will go up after a certain period of time. If you drop the price of your bundle for a limited time, or only offer the bundle for a fixed time frame, you’re automatically creating scarcity and demand.
Only offer your product in a specific bundle. Even if a smaller piece of software, such as a plugin or extension, can’t stand on its own, it may look more valuable if it is only available as part of another software bundle.
Only offer a set quantity. If you advertise a limited edition bundle to a set number of customers, then they are guaranteed something unique. The artificial limitation of supply and the principle of scarcity drives up demand, and can also drive up the price.
Play Up the Social Proof
In addition to scarcity, social proof is another marketing concept that affects consumer demand. Social proof refers to the idea that the reputation of a product, service, or company can be improved by the quality of the companies associated with it.
In the same way that a man is judged by the company he keeps, a company is also judged by the company it keeps. When you bundle your software, your software, your work, and your company gain the social proof associated with your partner companies.
Even if your company is completely new, you will gain a measure of authority, not to mention market exposure, simply by including your software in a bundle.
For instance, a lone plugin on a basic website doesn’t have as much social proof as a plugin that is part of a complete suite of products being offered by ten different partner developers.
The perceived increase in value, then, will warrant a price increase.
Closely tied to the idea of social proof and artificial scarcity is exclusivity. By placing quantity limitations or limited time frames on your bundle, you will also promote the idea that your bundle is “exclusive.”
With this concept, consider the VIP table at a fancy restaurant or club. The VIP table or the scarce software bundle appeals to the self-esteem of the user, who wants to be part of the in-crowd. Limited editions, baseball cards, and so forth are all examples of exclusivity in action.
By creating a unique software bundle, in one sense you are automatically creating an exclusive product, simply by packaging together a handful of other products that already exist.
Bundling is a staple marketing and monetization tactic that every developer should test. With a little artificial scarcity and a bit of marketing finesse, you can use software bundles to work “supply” to your benefit, generate demand, and earn more money.