If you’re a musician, odds are you’re working your ass off to do what you love and still make money. Typically, musicians want to focus on their craft and nothing else, but in this industry, that’s no longer enough. You have to promote yourself and your brand to make it big, but most musicians don’t want or like to take on the role of salesperson. I get it.
Buuuuutt… it has to be done.
You don’t need to completely lose focus of what really matters to you, but you definitely need to allocate more of your efforts to selling merch if you want to remain profitable. The more money you can make by selling merch, the more freedom (and money, of course) you’ll have to do the things you really care about.
Here are 5 Ways to Sell More Merch at your shows:
Have a great pitch
Don’t freak out. You don’t need to throw on a suit backstage and become a different person to do this. Your “pitch” is simply choosing a moment to remind your audience that you have merch available for sale. Hint: You don’t want to do this too early on, because your audience will forget about it. My suggestion is to throw this in right before your last song so the audience has it fresh in their minds once your show ends. Be genuinely enthusiastic about what you have to offer. Don’t be too uptight about this; the more laid back you are the better. Trust that people want something to remember your show by and make sure you’ve got it.
Wondering what merch will sell the best depending on your genre? Check out this post for inspo.
It’s 2019. Nobody carries cash anymore.
If half the people who come up to your merch table don’t have cash, you’re throwing away a huge opportunity to sell stuff to all those people. We’ve all been in that situation where you don’t have any cash or just don’t have enough cash to buy something and end up being turned away, and a lot of us manifest this weird hatred towards that vendor from that moment onward, boycotting their policies forever. (Might be exaggerating just a bit, but the point stands.)
Thankfully, this is totally avoidable. You can easily get one of those card readers that plugs right into your smartphone, and they typically charge less than 3% on each transaction. Crisis averted.
Offer to Sign Stuff
It’s definitely not a terrible idea to walk over to the merch table after your show to draw in those fans that would love the chance to meet you. While you’re over there, offer to sign some of the items they bought! (Ego check: No matter who you are, you ain’t above signing some merch. Be humble, ya’ll.) Your fans will never forget how awesome it was that you took the time to talk to them at your show and sign their stuff.
Keep Everything Organized
If your fans walk up to your merch table and all they see is a big pile of what looks like dirty laundry, they’re going to walk away. If they ask for a certain shirt and it takes you over 20 minutes to find their size, they’ll probably change their mind, talk shit about your awful service, or the people in further back in the line will lose interest. How appealing your merch table looks and how efficient your service is can absolutely make or break your sales. The best method for this is to have multiple bins that are labeled by size/type. That way, you can quickly grab what you need without any fuss.
Try Different Table Locations
Think about the last time you approached a vendor, did you march right up to them and demand what you want, or did you hang out around the edge of the table and wait to be noticed? If you’re like me, you do the second thing.
If you normally have your merch table right in front of the stage or someplace intimidating, people might be hesitant to approach you. People like to have some space. Try putting your table off to the side and walk over there after the show. You’ll notice people naturally migrating towards you when there’s no pressure to be assertive, and you’ll make more sales.
You don’t need to be the ultimate salesperson to successfully sell merch at your shows, but it doesn’t hurt to try new things and see what works for you. Hopefully these tips are just what you need to boost the merch sales at your next gig.