27 Aug 2015 Bundles – A Selling Strategy Yet to Take Off in Microstock
Bundled packages are starting to become popular in microstock, but only outside of the “typical” microstock agencies.
It’s an interesting strategy that works for customers, agencies and contributors. But will it catch on in the rest of the market?
What is it?
In the stock industry, bundles are limited-time offers of multiple media files for purchase at a single, heavily-discounted price. The discounts are huge: they can be as much as 97% off the sum of the items’ normal prices.
Bundles tend to be grouped around some cohesive concept: a theme, a purpose, an author, or a media type.
Agencies Offering Bundles
Envato was the first agency to try this tactic, starting with their first Birthday Bundle in 2009 (to celebrate the company’s 3rd year). Over time, they’ve added a lot more, and they now have a whole separate bundles site.
Most of Envato’s bundles combine items from all their marketplaces: images, illustrations, video, audio, etc. Envato’s staff selects items to be included in bundles, and content creators can decide to accept the deal or opt out. Sometimes, after the opt-in process, a selection of approved items are put up for a vote on the community platform in order to decide what to include in a certain bundle. Contributors earn a lot of money from bundle sales and are usually very happy to participate.
Creative Market offers lots of different bundles, organized by theme or by file type, with varying offer lengths. They package agency-wide curated bundles, while contributors can also create their own at their shop-fronts.
They’ve also started a “Pay It Forward” bundle, associated to non-profit organization Watsi. This product is permanently available for purchase on an a la carte basis, and a percentage of the proceeds are used to help fund healthcare around the world through Watsi’s network.
What’s interesting about Creative Market is that other stock photo agencies have opened shop-fronts on this platform and are trying the bundle strategy there. Stocksy and 500px, for example, are premium pricing agencies (relatively, for microstock), but they have both tried selling special photography bundles on Creative Market.
Besides using Creative Market’s channel, 500px started offering their own time-limited bundles on their site earlier this year. They include photographs only, since the agency doesn’t sell any other media, and so far they are free giveaways.
They did one with photos by 500px’s co-founder (images that were used by NatGeo and other high profile companies) months ago. Right now, they’re advertising one with a “modern office environment” theme. All of the images in this bundle were shot at 500px HQ by contributor photographers, and some of the models are actually part of the company’s staff.
Why Are They Doing It
This sales strategy has a similar function to offering freebies. The point is to boost sales by offering extremely low cost access to an agency’s content.
Just as with free offers, bundles aim to bring buyers’ attention to products—and uses for them. This is especially true for companies who package multiple file types in their bundles. Envato started using this strategy to direct traffic from one of their marketplaces to others. People who would only buy images could discover their video and audio files through a bundle, leading them to visit VideoHive and AudioJungle later and potentially make more purchases there.
Supported by effective marketing, these super low priced packs sell over and over while they’re available, so in fact they can and do generate considerable revenue. This is effectively an extreme version of the microstock model of high volume sales compensating for low prices.
Contributors whose work is included in bundles can get decent revenue from them. Especially for beginners who are slowly growing their income stream, this can really boost short-term earnings. Bundles are also great windows of exposure for their work, which can lead to returning customers and even potential assignments on the side.
Is it Working?
Both agencies and contributors report very good incomes from bundle sales. Even better, after a bundle expires, both say they see a boost in sales on the whole marketplace.
As for the main microstock photo agencies, they haven’t attempted this strategy yet. What do you think? Will bundles catch on?