If you’re looking for ways to boost sales for your ecommerce business and reduce packing and shipping costs, kitting may be just the ticket. Kitting can increase revenue and customer satisfaction while improving your bottom line. What’s not to like?
What’s in a Kit?
Kitting is the term for pre-packing and selling multiple items together. This could be a literal kit, such as a knitting pattern sold with the yarn and needles needed to make the project, or something as simple as a convenience pack for orders that include multiples of same item. Perhaps you sell soap for $5 a bar but offer a three-pack of your three most popular scents for $12. Pre-packing the variety soap pack under a separate SKU for the pack is an example of kitting.
Customers Love Kitting
Kitting can be a huge help to your customers. Rather than assembling the wig, clothes and fake guitar for a heavy metal musician costume for Halloween, your customer can order all the pieces together in your 1980’s Heavy Metal Rocker costume. Your customer saves time and can be sure he’s got all the right components for an epic Halloween costume.
Smart kitting can improve your customer satisfaction ratings too. For example, if you sell auto parts, you might put together a kit that includes all the parts and tools needed to install a new carburetor. You can’t make your customer get up off the couch and go to the garage to do the project but your kit will increase his chances of successfully completing the repair when he does. He won’t thank you, of course – he’ll assume it’s his own wrench skills that made the job a success. But he’ll remember you and the ease of getting everything he needed will bring him back to your site when he’s ready to swap out the muffler.
Kitting is a plus for gift shoppers, too. Instead of fishing around for the right gift items for your favorite home chef, a kit that includes a dried soup mix and a carved wooden spoon with that new stock pot will instantly transform your customer from a procrastinating last minute shopper into the world’s most thoughtful gift giver.
Kitting Gives You More Sales Opportunities
If you list on sites such as Amazon or eBay, kitting can increase your exposure. You can offer all the individual items by themselves plus the kitted items, giving you more SKUs.
Kitting gives you an edge over your competition as well. In a crowded marketplace, there may be dozens or hundreds of other sellers offering the same merchandise, but you might be the only one to combine a full rugby outfit with knee braces, bandages, and antiseptic spray, to take care of your customers on and off the field.
Kits can save customers time and increase your sales volume. But that’s just the beginning of what kitting can do for your bottom line.
Kitting: Up Front or On Demand?
At Red Stag Fulfillment, we can do kitting for our customers in two ways: on the front end (when inventory is received into our warehouse) or on the back end (as the orders come in). There are good reasons to choose one way or the other, depending on your circumstances, but kitting on the front end yields the greatest costs savings.
The labor to do the kitting all at once when the inventory comes in, rather than creating kits one at a time during the pick and pack process, is less time consuming and, therefore, less expensive.
In some cases, it makes more sense to do the kitting as orders come in. Customer embroidery or mailboxes with address numbers affixed are two examples of a kitted product (sweatshirt plus embroidery) that needs to be put together after the customer places the order.
Either way, the kitting process can automate frequent order combinations, which can save you thousands of dollars per year on your order fulfillment service costs.
Kitting and Shipping Costs
Another benefit to kitting up front is the potential to find savings on shipping. For instance, in the case of the set of three soaps, each bar of soap comes in an individual box. You could take the three boxes containing the three soaps and pack them together into a larger box. Or you could kit the three bars into one box designed to hold exactly three bars of your soap. Not only will you save on packaging costs, but the package with one box instead of four weighs less, so you save on shipping as well.Kitting can provide a great advantage on shipping costs for bulky items. When you package a dorm room starter kit of plates, cups, bowls, and utensils with your mini fridge, you can pack all the extras inside the fridge and ship the whole kit for not much more than just the fridge by itself.
Kitting can also save time (and money) when your fulfillment warehouse ships an order. Unlike a package assembled from various SKUs, which needs to be weighed before shipping, a kit has a predetermined weight so your fulfillment warehouse can skip weighing and may even be able to print postage in large batches, all of which can save you money.
Kitting and SKU Management
Kitting isn’t all roses and sunshine. You may need to order additional inventory to create the kits and, if they don’t sell as expected, you have extra stock tied up on your fulfillment center shelves. It’s a good idea to wait until you have enough selling history to understand what combinations will appeal to your customers before going big into kitting.
Fortunately, at Red Stag we are able to give our customers a great deal of flexibility in kitting their products. If your kitted items are insanely popular and you sell through them but still have the component items in stock, we can do another run of kitting for you or create kits during pick and pack.
If you guess wrong and the kitted items are a flop, we can break your kits back down into the individual items and change the SKUs to reflect this. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to help you move your inventory, and flexible SKUs is a big part of that mission.
There is a risk with kitting – if you put the wrong wig with your 1980s Heavy Metal Rocker costume, it might not sell. But you’re ecommerce savvy and your knowledge of your products and your customers’ order patterns can help you use kitting to increase sales and cut fulfillment and shipping costs. You’ll have your customers happily head-banging all night long next Halloween, with the perfect costume, assembled with your costuming expertise.