You don’t like to sell.
It makes sense. Sales can feel sleazy, especially to creatives. After all, you’re in the music industry because you want to share your art with the world. Not to become a hyped-up salesperson.
But selling doesn’t have to be pushy.
Marketing is about putting your name out there. It’s about getting your music in front of new listeners.
Selling merchandise is essential to an artist’s career today. It’s a reliable form of income. Artist merch has the potential to generate far more money than merely relying on royalty payouts from your music streams.
And your fans LIKE merchandise. When you think of merch as a way to connect with your fans, the act of selling feels way less weird and gross.
It’s important to market your merchandise online–and at Artist Serve we sell your merch online for you. But the #1 place that drives sales is your live concerts….
In other words: the merch booth.
Does your merchandise display maximize the full sales potential of your products? Keep reading to discover 7 ways to sell more items at your merch booth.
Let’s dive in!
Source: Theresa Sanchez
1. Make Your Merch Table Visible
Big, clear signage – so your fans already know the prices and what you’re selling (so you don’t have to discuss these things) Make sure your merch table is well-lit – this way it grabs people’s attention and also people can get a chance to look at your merch & decide what they want to buy. They need to be able to see your merch. Be prepared with extension cords. Use lighting that won’t break (rope lights?)
2. Hangout at the Merch Booth
Whether it’s before or after the show, the merch booth is an opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with your fans.
Getting to know the people who come to buy merch from you is essential to grow your community. You might be thinking you don’t have the time in the moments right after you finish a set, but it’s surprisingly a key opportunity for every artist.
Not to mention, you’re offering your fans a first-hand look into the items you’re selling. You helped develop these designs, so naturally, you’re probably excited about them.
You can share stories from what’s behind the design or a funny anecdote about the design or production process. People love to hear stories and they’ll instinctively feel more of an emotional connection with you and the merch if they connect to your story.
After all, it’s scary for people to approach music artist and have a conversation with them. No matter if you’re famous or relatively unknown. If you can make a personal connection, people will naturally become eager to make a purchase from you.
3. Don’t Leave the Merch Booth Unattended
Until your audience reach grows, you won’t have the budget to hire a dedicated merch team. However, it’s still necessary to have someone manning your merch booth at all times.
Fans who get to the show early have a lot of time where they’re standing around waiting for the performance to start. They’ll often check out the merch booth before the show while the crowd is smaller.
Same for during the show. People stop by on their way back from the bar or the restroom. And after the performance? This is where the real action begins.
This is also the timeframe where you have to quickly pack up any equipment from onstage. If you don’t have someone overseeing the merch booth, you’re missing out the majority of potential sales.
Ask a friend to help you out if the show is local. If you’re on the road for a gig, post a volunteer gig on Craigslist or Facebook. You can offer free entrance to the show or free merch item (under a certain dollar amount) for helping out with the sales.
4. Accept Multiple Forms of Payment
It’s tempting offer cash only transactions.
Overall, there’s less to deal with. You just have to be prepared with change at the start of each show.
But here’s the thing. You’ll miss out on a TON of sales if you don’t accept credit cards. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to take credit card payments today without needing extra tech tools or other equipment. You can use your phone!
Companies like Square have little card readers you can attach to your phone. You might’ve seen small businesses use these before. Yes, there are transaction fees associated with each purchase. It’s usually around 3%. Even with the transaction fees you have to pay, you’ll still end up with keeping more money in your pocket compared to losing the sale entirely.
5. Track Your Sales
Want to sell more? Keep track of your inventory.
Filling out spreadsheets might be tedious, but they’re an all-important task in promoting merchandise. Inventory management enables you to see what items are selling the most. You’ll know what sizes are the most popular and how much you need to bring to your next gig.
You’ll also gain insights into what your fans want to buy from you–which helps you plan merchandise better and net a high return on investment in the future.
6. Hide Your Merchandise
Keep your merchandise hidden from view behind the merch booth.
Why does this matter?
It’s about the experience from a fan’s point of view. When you’re charging $30 for a t-shirt, you don’t want a fan to see you pull it from a stack inside a cardboard box or a plastic bin. It just feels less special, you know?
Go ahead and use plastic bins to hold your merch. They’re good for protecting merchandise and keeping you organized. Create a system for storing merchandise–when the line runs efficiently, you’ll sell more merch.
Just remember to hide them from plain sight.
7. Include Multiple Price Points
The average price for an artist t-shirt is somewhere between $20-30; most fans have come to expect this range. However, the price that a market can support will all depend on the design, quality, and reputation of the artist.
When you’re upcoming talent, you don’t need to offer tons of different merchandise. Just focus on the staples. You want to provide a couple of t-shirt designs, but also include some lower price point items.
Not everyone can afford to buy a t-shirt, but they might be interested in some fresh artwork or an special tote bag. Offering multiple price points makes your merchandise inclusive to everyone in your audience.
In truth, there’s always opportunity to maximize the potential of your merch booth and get fans interested in buying more from you.
Does merchandising still seem complicated? Let’s get in touch! Reach out to our consultants at Artist Serve and we’ll help you take it to the next level.