Most artists today are more concerned than ever with their merch sales but are frequently baffled when they find they’re not selling as much as they anticipated. If that’s you, here are 10 possibilities why people are not stepping over one another to buy your offerings. Chances are that at least a couple of the following are occurring. Here they are in descending order.
(The following tips are excerpted from Bobby Owsinski’s “Selling Music Merchandise” course at http://Lynda.com.)
10. Your merch is the same on every tour. You can’t expect people to purchase an item they already have, even if they really want to buy something from you. Try to vary either the design, color or add new items so the hardcore fans have something to buy.
9. Your merch is designed poorly. It pays not to skimp on the graphic design when it comes to merch, since you’ll sell a lot more if it’s attractive. Hiring a professional graphic designer is worth every penny if that helps the items sell like hotcakes. Remember that people don’t want ugly items no matter how much they like the band or how inexpensive they are.
8. You’ve priced it wrong. Many artists can’t get a grasp on pricing, but it can be a lot easier than you think. Remember that other bands are selling roughly the same kind of merch, so fans know when they’re getting a deal and when they’re being ripped off. Do some research to make sure that your prices are in the ballpark, but make sure that you’re making enough money to make a profit and cover all costs and expenses. (Very important!)
7. Your merch table isn’t bright enough. A dark merch table is very uninviting, and some people can even miss it completely. Besides, if people can’t see what they’re buying, they probably won’t buy it.
6. The location of the merch table is bad. Just like with real estate, with a merch table it’s all about location, location, location. You can have the most attractive merch in the world but no one will buy it if they can’t find it.
5. You don’t have someone at your merch table all night. While you’ll probably get the most traffic right after you play, you’d be surprised how much you can sell at other times during the show. If your table can’t be manned at those times, you’ll lose those potential sales.
4. You don’t take debit or credit cards. This is inexcusable these days, with services like Square and PayPal that are so inexpensive and easy to implement.
3. You think that the money from merch won’t make much of a difference. You don’t make the effort because you underestimate the importance of earning an extra $100 to $200 per show. It may not seem like a lot, but it all adds up over time. If you play 20 gigs a year and sell an average of $100 per gig, that’s $2,000, which could pay for a lot of gas while it covers the investment in the merch itself.
2. The guys in the band refuse to promote merch. Musicians hate to be salesman, but this one’s actually pretty easy to overcome. Just have them hang out at the merch table after the gig. All they have to do is meet and greet the fans that want to talk and the merch will do the rest.
1. You don’t connect with your audience while you’re performing. Let’s face it, if no one likes you or your music, they’re probably not going to buy your merch either.
These are 10 reasons why you’re probably not selling merch, but each of them can be easily turned around. With just a little effort, you can sell a lot more than you ever thought possible.