What are you bundling?

What are you bundling?
Photo by Artur Tumasjan / Unsplash

The Greek cousin of Chipotle, Cava, recently made its NYSE debut. For me, the lack of any 'feta is beta!' or 'alfalfa is alpha!' puns was alarming, but the price of the stock didn't reflect it.

Frankly, I love the place too; there's one less than 10 minutes from here. From things I recognize to things-I-don't-but-pretend-to, the ingredients are excellent, and the service is good enough.

We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life. — C-3PO

But what I hate — and I mean despise, perhaps the way matter feels about anti-matter, are the choices.

For me, someone that delights in carefully-researched strategic trade-offs, the panoply is paralyzing. No one, and I mean no one, understands the combinatorics of choosing from 6 bases, 6 dips & spreads, 6 proteins, 14 toppings, and 6 dressings. And before you say it's 18,144 possibilities — because I know you, I will harissa it up and give you the option to choose up to 3 spreads and any combination of toppings your kardiá desires.

My family gets me now; standing in front of this knapsack problem purgatory I become an embarrassing, malfunctioning C-3PO.

But just before my brain-fans hit maximum RPM's, I've learned to make a single choice instead: I shove my optimization penchant down into the pit and pull a page from Herbert Simon; I satisfice by choosing one of the 6 pre-designed bowls.

Well-meaning Cava employee: "Great! One Harissa Avocado bowl? And what would —"

I've learned to cut them off: 'No! I mean yes. Just, whatever is on it. What's written there (points) on the menu. Just all of that.'

'Oh. Okay!'

Suddenly, I'm awash with the high of relief that, no, it will not be the best bowl ever, but it will be a damn good one, and that's good enough. $18.65 later (assuming I'm alone), and all is well indeed.

I'm Weird, But I'm Not Alone

Anakin only assembled a single protocol droid, but I know I'm not the only one this side of Tatooine. This story plays out every time the market decides to bundle because the consumer no longer cares what's included in the meal.

At the lowest level of the buy-stack we call this packaging. Said no one ever: "oh damnit, they included Duracell batteries?! I wanted Energizer!" This is pushed so far you'll notice that the pre-packaged batteries are never a recognizable brand. As Bezos could say: "your apathy is my margin!"

And that's fine. Because sometimes we just don't care. Or we're so overwhelmed we don't want to care.

In these cases, the winner in the market becomes the one that packages what we need by taking away the choice we didn't value.

The Defenestration of Choice, the Annexation of Context

What should you bundle or package in your own offering?

Pre-fit, observe what's required for the buyer to be successful — that drink, those batteries, as well as the context into which your early adopters take and deploy your product.

For the former, ask yourself if the necessities are commodities. If so, you have a strong packaging opportunity to find the lowest priced batteries and shrink wrap them in. These are often synonymous with Kano model must-haves.

For the latter, you've got to be more Jane Goodall. When they drag your product away, where do they install it? 'Oh, everyone is embedding it in their marketing site (or wants to)!' 'Oh, the ones that love us have a Y!'

In these cases, you have the opportunity to either integrate seamlessly, or annex that context by vertically integrating — making it a part of your own product. To find fit, Summit needed to include not only a CRM integration, but also a micro-site for marketers to deploy the apps they build with the platform.

What opportunities do you have to replace unwanted choices with immediate value?