Sell Your Merchandise
Why Sell Merch?
The merch stand has been a part of every gig we’ve been to for as long as we can remember for decades now and it’s easy to take it for granted as just a way for artists to earn a few extra bucks or score a few impulse buys of their trendy new t-shirts. T-shirt sales can mean big things for artists of every level though when the acceptable cost ranges between $20-$50 per unit. When it comes to the acts who sit at the peak of the music world it can mean big dollars x 10!
Currently, merchandise licensing generates $12bn USD each year, and even the most ‘credible’ bands would struggle to ignore the temptation of a merch stand altogether. Merch pioneer Dell Furano claims that touring artists earn between 10-35% of their revenue through merch sales, while the very biggest names bring in $300-400,00k USD, all in the space of a few hours.
However, most emerging artists and seasoned musicians I’ve worked with have little experience when it comes to knowing how to sell their products and merchandise at live events. Having trained and mentored internationally touring artists to sell from a stage has meant the difference between making a few sales per gig to 80-100 sales in one night with a few simple selling techniques. The good news for those with a loyal fan base of 1000 is that you only need to sell one t-shirt to one fan, once a year worth $30 to make $30,000 per year. Add a USB stick or digital download code for your new EP worth $10 and a signed poster/photo for $5 and the figure increases to $45,000.
Key Skills and Investment Required
If you want to sell merchandise at your gigs, be prepared to re-design your entire act from scratch and learn a few sales techniques. Once your musical performance is up to a high standard (i.e. you have practiced until you can’t get it wrong) only then will you be ready to develop your act of ‘selling from stage’. This involves strategically designing and planning out your messages and call to actions (CTA’s) in between each song so that the entire act flows seamlessly and effortlessly. If you’ve done this correctly and placed strong CTA’s at the right times throughout your performance, your sales will increase significantly.
Selling merch requires time to design and create your products from scratch as well as an up-front investment to carry stock. However, don’t overestimate your ability to sell from stage without any previous sales experience. Sales is a skill like anything else and your ability to inspire people to buy will require you to first establish enough trust and connection with your audience before making your pitch. This is measured by how well you can articulate your message, your unique selling point and the values that relate directly to your audience or niche market.
This is imperative if you want to create a monetary exchange between you and your fans.