Top 10 Ways To Sell More Merch


I remember reading an interview with the band D.R.I. many years ago, who said that if it wasn't for t-shirt sales they wouldn't be able to exist as a band. As a kid, I was shocked that a band wasn't able to survive on music sales and performances alone. And that was many years before music's digital revolution.

So here we are in 2010 and band merchandise is more import than ever. As an artist, independent or signed, merch is your lifeblood. It's your store front. It's where you make your money. It's where you connect with your fans. It's what gives your band a face on the streets.

Your merch table is your
music career survival kit, and it deserves to be treated as such.

As a former music buyer for one of Canada's largest music chains, I spent many hours analyzing consumer behaviours and how people react to product placement, display techniques, and their affect on sales. It's not a hard thing to grasp, much of it is common sense: Make your shit look good and put it in a highly visible location.

So let's get to it. Here's my list on how you as an artist can make the most of your merchandise...


Top 10 Tips To Increase Your Band's Merch Sales:

1. Set up your merch area before the doors open.

2. Have someone standing behind your merch table at all times.

3. Create "bundles" which offer incentives to buy additional items at a discount.

4. Offer a product within each price-point category (
ie. Under $10, Under $25, Under $50, etc.)

5. Have proper signage: Band Name, Price List, Bundle Descriptions.

6. Make your display look sexy and eye-catching.

7. Make sure your merch person is friendly and talks to each and every person who approaches the table. In any sales environment, customer engagement is essential in closing a sale.

8. Don't be too hardcore militant with your pricing. If a kid only has $8 and you're charging $10 for a CD...just make the sale and just give it to him for whatever he can afford.

9. Sort your merch by size and style ahead of time to make the sales process quick and simple. Roll up your shirts by size and put an elastic band around them, along with a piece of tape with the size info.

10. Have a clipboard on your merch table, with a pen attached, to collect email addresses for your newsletter database.





This is the portable merch booth for the band Black Hat Villain.




The band travels with everything they need to accommodate any venue size or selling location. They bring their own fold up merch table, table cloth, t-shirt hangers, and most importantly...a slick fold-up, multi-panel custom graphic display board.





Black Hat Villain offers different product and packages for sale at $5, $10, $20, $45, and $60...there's something available for any budget. Each product and package is clearly priced and detailed. Also note the band's online website's clearly listed, as well an advertisement for their iPhone app.




a site from
brian thompson
music consulting & marketing coach

Brian Thompson - Zen Thinking - Thorny Bleeder - The DIY Daily

i spend most of my time over on my new website now, Zen Thinking. it's where i share all of my writing and poetry, as well as the journey in writing my debut book, Sparks to Awaken. i'd love for you to swing by and check it out:


Zen Thinking - Brian Thompson - poet, writer



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