||Wondering why your merchandise isn’t selling? You’ve come to the right place! Music Advice 101 is here to help with some great tips on what to do to get those merch sales going. Thank you to Clint Chambers for giving us some great pointers on how his band, Anyone’s Guess, makes the most of their merch table.
1. Sales opportunities at the table.
The merch table is obviously where you want to make some cash to keep the band rolling; but a lot of bands miss out on the fact that it’s also a person to person social hub, and aside from the actual show and social media, it is probably your best marketing opportunity.
Whether you’re selling t-shirts or million-dollar mansions , three important keys for successful sales are; Presentation, Organization, and Networking. While lots of people shop on the internet; the fact remains that people like to buy from people they like.
2. Presentation is everything! Show them what you’ve got!
Music Advice 101: “What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a young new band on how to set up a successful table and display?”
Clint Chambers: “Make sure that you have something! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a show and seen a great band and then when I’m all fired up from their set I go over to spend some money and show them a little support and find out that they not only have no merch table, but nothing at all to sell! Not even out of their trunk or something! It’s a HUGE mistake on a bands part to leave the merch aspect off of their live performance set up. Also, make sure you do not leave cigarettes, wallets, drinks, or other trash, sitting on your display table. Keep it presentable! Drinks can easily spill ruining merchandise like stickers and sensitive equipment like laptops! ”
3. Music Advice 101: “What items do you consider absolute musts for any new band’s first table?”
Clint Chambers: “Every band should at the very least have some sort of recording of their music to sell or give out, at least one shirt or article of clothing with their name/logo on it and at the very least ONE sticker design.”
4. Music Advice 101: How does a band select the best location in the venue to maximize traffic to their table?
Clint Chambers: “Most of the time a venue will designate where a band can set up their merch. Whatever you do, try to stay away from the stage and PA. It’s too loud to effectively communicate with people and it’ll distract folks from the act that’s on stage. Try to get a good spot that’s near the door (so you can nab people as they’re coming and going!) and have sufficient power.”
5. Organization-be prepared!
Music Advice 101: What props or display equipment would you recommend investing in?
Clint Chambers: “Make your merch table stand out! The more creative and attractive your merch area is, the more likely people are to come over and check you out. Have a good folding table that’s sturdy, get a stand or back panel to display shirts and signs, and lighting. Make sure it looks good in the dark because most of the time, the venues you play are going to be dark. A well-lit table is inviting and makes it easier to work. People need to see what they’re buying and you need to see what you’re selling!”
Keep displays lightweight, mobile, & and sturdy. Battery powered LED lights can really enhance your display! .
6. Music Advice 101: How do you pack the equipment and merchandise for the most efficient set up?
Clint Chambers: “I got some nice plastic bins with drawers and separated them into shirt styles and sizes, making sure to label each shirt with its size. That way we’re not wasting time or looking like idiots digging through boxes trying to find stuff for people. Put a couple CD’s out on the table to display, but keep your stock under the table organized in boxes. We also have a couple large plastic bins to pack the entire table display and lighting. That way at the end of the night, everything folds up nice, gets packed in the trailer, all ready for the next show!
7. Music Advice 101: What are your recommendations for manning the table while the band is on stage?
Clint Chambers: “The best situation is a band having a designated “Merch Person” (girls are best, sorry to say it, but it’s true). That way they can keep an eye on everything while the band is setting up, playing, and schmoozing. The band should ALWAYS work the merch table after their set is over, at the very least, the lead singer should be there. After all, they just spent time on stage telling everyone that they want to meet them, why wouldn’t they be at the merch table after their set?”
A great personality is better than just “eye candy” at your table!
I can’t stress enough how important personality at the table is to fans, reviewers, and others who want to know more about your band. While a gorgeous girl or guy, dressed in a hot outfit may attract some attention, “eye candy” doesn’t necessarily sell merchandise or represent the band very well. Particularly if said, “eye candy” is sitting there like a lump, looking totally disinterested just waiting for her boyfriend or girlfriend to get the show over with.
As a reviewer, writer and fan, I can personally relate to the importance of networking. A few years ago, one local Orlando band captured my attention with an outstanding cover song. (In fact, I will go as far as to say that it is still one of my favorite covers ever!) However, I may have only remembered the great cover and nothing more if the band had not been present at their merch table. They didn’t know me and I didn’t know them, but as I walked by the table at least three of the band members stepped out to say hello, I had the chance to tell them how awesome I thought not only the cover was… but really found myself into the rest of the music too. They all signed a copy of the EP for me, and I have been following the band ever since. Just that few moments had a lasting impression. their fan base has grown to the thousands and they have filled the floor of the larger venues like the House of Blues at every show they’ve done there.
8. Make It Easy For Fans To Buy Your Merch:
Music Advice 101: When it comes to forms of payment…. can you give any insight on the best ways to handle all forms of payment (i.e. credit, debt and cash)?
Clint Chambers: “Cash is an obvious one, but more and more often we’re able to increase our sales due to the fact that we can accept credit cards. Right now there are several great options that are super easy to use and pretty much are hassle free. We use Square pay (direct deposit right to your bank account within 2 days, plus very low fees). PayPal also has a swipe option with a very similar setup. Have a designated device (Iike a tablet or iPad) to keep at the merch table to use as your “register”, that way no one has to be depended on for their phone.”
Bartering with other bands is a great way to network! For example, trading a t-shirt for a social media plug. Or even better, trading merchandise for a free drink!.
9. Don’t Leave Money On The Table:
Play up how awesome the merchandise is and offer a good deal. Everybody likes to feel like they’ve gotten a bargain. Offer something special that’s only available at the show… like “buy two $12.00 CD’s for $20.00”; “BOGO ½ off”; or a CD and t-shirt combo package. The fan feels like they are getting something more for their money… and you are still selling merchandise. Here’s a great tip from DIY Musician “if a fan really wants your $12.00 CD, and only has $10.50 in their pocket… for god’s sake sell them the CD!” You’ve lost a few bucks and gained a loyal fan that will tell friends how great you are and will get them into your music and at your next show.
Use your Facebook and website to announce new merch (with photos) that you will have available at the next show. Posting the prices in advance helps too… it gives people the chance to have the money saved or available to get what they want. Sure, they can also order it through your website, but it’s definitely more exciting to get it at the show. Chances are the people who are paying to come to see you have to budget their dollars to get there. The more they know in advance, the better prepared they can be to buy once they arrive.
Compiled by Rose’s DamnedOpinion