With the growing competition and increasing costs, today’s consumers have to evaluate their options and think hard before purchasing a product or service. They cannot just buy something off the shelf like they used to. Companies have found ways to slip hidden fees in their pricing structures, thus, deceiving customers into paying more than they should. So, people are impelled to think ten steps ahead and only go for deals, which offer value, cost less, and save their expenses in the long run.
One of the dilemmas that many consumers face during shopping is whether to sign up for bundle deals or dismiss them in favor of a la carte services or products. Bundle deals are wholesale selling tactics, set up by companies to entice consumers into buying in bulk. They are often advertised with discounted pricing, which has the effect of reeling people right in. But, are bundle deals cost-effective in reality or just a hoax orchestrated by businesses for profit engineering? Let’s find out below.
What are Bundle Deals?
A combination of two or three services or products is called a “bundle deal.” For instance, when you move into a new neighborhood and head into the telecom market to purchase internet, TV, and phone services for your home, you are presented with two types of offers: a la carte or bundles. In the a la carte mode, you can separately sign up for internet, TV, and phone plans, and even get the individual services from different providers in your area. Whereas, in the bundling mode, you have the flexibility to pair all three services together in a single package with one main provider. Some providers even let you customize your bundle deal as per your liking. Cox bundles are quite popular in this regard.
Can You Really Save by Bundling Your Products or Services?
Let’s come to the question of savings. Bundle deals are designed in such a way to give off the “more for less” impression. In other words, companies pose bundle deals as a one-stop solution to all your problems. The slashed pricing and combined amenities are advertised to be in your favor. Here’s a deeper insight into it:
- Discounted Rates – While preparing a bundle deal for you, companies snip off the costs here and there from individual products or services included, and give a collective discount on the overall price tag. This is called a “promotional rate,” which new customers are eligible to enjoy. For instance, your cable company may bring down the price of TV from $65 a month to $50 a month when you pair it with the internet, thus offering you $15 saving every month, which may grow to $180 annually!
- Freebies – Companies sweeten their bundle deals by throwing in free gift cards or other amazing benefits for you. The word “free” catches the attention of consumers, unlike anything! So, when you sign up for a cable and internet bundle deal, chances are that the provider may give you free installation, free Amazon gift cards of a certain value, free premium programming, free data for a year, or waived fees, etc. upon signing up. You may not get these freebies with standalone plans.
- Homogenous Support – Bundle deals save you from the hassle of contacting different retailers in the event of a problem and wasting your precious phone minutes on them. Since you buy services or products in bulk from a single provider, so all you have to do, in case of an issue, is reach out to a single customer support number and get your request resolved in minutes. Thus, bundle deals also have an indirect impact on your tertiary expenses, such as phone bills, keeping them low and cost-effective for you.
What are the Possible Downsides of Bundle Deals?
On the other hand, by seemingly benefiting you with bundle deals, companies also benefit themselves. How? When you buy multiple products or services from a provider in one go, you help the company avoid extra lead acquisition costs, which is why they are so willing to hand you those discounts, but at a price. Here are a few demerits of bundling:
- Promotional Expiration – Yes, they enrich your budget with discounts and savings, but promotional rates, of service subscriptions especially, are not permanent. They expire after a certain period. If you’re still connected to the company at the time of expiration, then you may have a problem at your hands. For instance, you may be joyfully paying $90 a month for your cable and internet. However, after the promotional expiration, the regular rate will set in from the next month, requiring you to pay double the price i.e. $180 of what you were previously extracting out of your budget. This may leave you in shock.
- Contract Chains – Withdrawing may be easy in certain situations, but if you have signed a contract, then canceling a subscription before the end of its duration may land you with a terribly expensive ETF or Early Termination Fee. This is a strategy of many shrewd companies. They ask you to sign a contract to avail of bundle pricing, which ultimately forces you to stay on as a regular customer and pay the regular rate for the services or products bundled.
- Excess Offerings – Bundles are great in that they give you more for less. However, sometimes, they give you more than you essentially require. For instance, in a TV and internet bundle, you may have to pay for channels you don’t even watch, as well, just because they are part of the deal. Besides, certain sellers on e-marketplaces like Amazon also compromise on the quality of products or services in a bundle, which leaves customers complaining endlessly.
The Final Verdict
Therefore, bundles are cost-effective in reality for average consumers as they offer discounted pricing, many delectable freebies, and homogenous support. But, before purchasing a bundle, make sure not to fall into the promotional pricing x contract ETF trap, as discussed above, and prefer those companies which allow you to create your own bundle to avoid paying for products or services you don’t need.