Merch sales have declined this year in a tough climate for the concert industry, but products connected to bands and tours are still an enormous driver of revenue and artist marketing. Here is the second part (click here for part one) of Billboard's tips for maximizing merch sales.
If you don’t have one already, set up an online store for your merch (services such as BigCartel.com and others can help you manage and integrate your store with your website). While a concert situation argues for limiting selection and focusing on products related to the current tour and/or album, an online store has fewer limitations. “E-commerce has become a huge part of the business in the past five years--all the fans know that if you miss purchasing the merchandise at the concert you can go to the online store,” says Live Nation Merchandise CEO Dell Furano. “It’s in your online store that you can add a broader product selection--jackets, work shirts, sandals, and products that go back to earlier tours.”
Price To Sell
Many fans want to come away from a show with something, even if they don’t have a lot of extra cash, so offer items at a range of prices. Furano suggests a product range that starts at $2, $5, $10, with t-shirts around $25, and an upper limit of $70-$75. “We don’t sell a lot over that range, and we advise artists that it draws attention from the media,” he says. “If they sell an embroidered, super high-quality sweatshirt for $95, people will say the artist is selling $95 t-shirts.”
Make It Pop
At a crowded merch table under questionable lighting, attention-grabbing artwork and design is critical. Furano says that big, bold designs with the artist’s photo or bright image are still by far the best sellers. “Often times a manager or artist will say ‘I just don’t think that’s my crowd,'” he says. “But small, understated designs really don’t grab your attention.” Artists should keep in mind that it’s hard to touch or try things on at a merch table, so the quick visual impression is key. Consider saving the more modest designs for your online store.
--Evie Nagy, N.Y.