January 13, 2017
A big reason why fans purchase music merch is to connect with others that share a common interest, and to show off their musical tastes.
Merchandise is also a great way to advertise your artist. We find that items with the artist’s name included tend to sell better than items without it.
It doesn’t have to be splattered in huge letters across the front, but including the artist’s name visibly on the item helps.
Make sure to include items like long-sleeve shirts, sweaters or beanies in the colder months and tank tops, tee shirts or muscle tees in the warmer months. You want to have a good range of items available at all times.
We recommend a tour tee along with at least one more tee shirt, 1 or 2 hats, and a sweater. In the colder months you can switch out a tee shirt for a long sleeve shirt and switch out a hat for a beanie, etc.
If you’re just starting out and can’t afford to have 5-plus items, start off with a shirt, a hat and maybe one more item based on the season.
Too many artists rely on merchandise that looks the same as it did 10 years ago. Look to current street wear and fashion trends to give you ideas on how to stay current.
What kind of hats are in now? Five Panel, dad hats, trucker hats? Are tee shirt designs elaborate or minimal? Colorful or dark? Maintain a similar thought process as a clothing line when planning your merchandise.
Some artists are successful establishing a branding for their merchandise. They used similar color schemes, fonts and designs consistent across all their items.
Centering the design of your merchandise around your latest album is another way to get fans excited about new merchandise releases.
It’s important to have your designs finalized and items picked two weeks before tour to reduce costs from rush fees for production and shipping.
If you have an item that’s just not selling like the rest, don’t restock them later on in the process.
Can’t afford another design? Try putting the same design on another garment. If you can afford to do so try new designs to replace poor performing ones.
You can even try the same design on two different garments to A/B test which garment sell the best and adjust for future tours.
You should be ordering the sizes of your tee shirts with your audience in mind.
Are you a hardcore band with a largely male audience? You may want to make sure you have more larger sizes than smaller ones and have a few 2x and 3x on hand.
Do you cater more toward a female or a younger audience? You may want to include extra small or women’s cut tee shirts. The better data you collect (We’ll touch that on later), the better idea you’ll have of your size breakdowns.
In today’s day and age, being able to have card-swiping capability is a must. We’ve seen artists as much as double their sales by including a card option. Try your best to make it obvious you take cards. Even announce it from the stage if need be.
Some of the most popular credit card reading apps:
It’s important to keep track of sales. You want to keep a log of each show separated by venue on a spreadsheet.
When you’re counting in and out of your merchandise at a show make sure to count by item and size; then mark down the total number of items broken down by their size. Divide the gross sales by the attendance at each show to get a per-head figure.
This gives you the data needed to make projections for future tours or shows. You can get a general idea of how much merchandise is needed for each show, and get a more detailed look at which sizes sold the best throughout the tour and at each individual event.