As a performing musician You need unique & engaging musical performance to encourage repeat customers and increased ticket sales. Statistically individuals are going to fewer show, so there are to be a compelling performance and high entertainment factor to bring people
out en masse.
Often when working with artists, I find their merchandise table either missing completely, or missing significant sales opportunities.
I pulled together 5 tips to help you:
-Increase your sales
-Create meaningful engagement with your fans
-Manage inventory / cost
1) INTERESTING TABLE: Think about high traffic areas in stores, they often have colorful interesting displays to capture your interest. Think of your merch table as your own personal fan store. Even if you only have a table with a mailing list on it, have a colorful tablecloth and a sign (something that ties into your bands image) if you’re a country act, a picnic table w/ tablecloth vase of flowers and a framed sign. A Punk band might have a black vinyl or red PVC material with chains and a metal box displaying cds. Your local fabric store often has remnant materials you can buy for next to nothing, also look at recycled items to repurpose.
Many venues often offer you a tiny cocktail table to sell from so you need to be creative and prepared- having a card table that you can set up, it takes up a small footprint and doesn’t use a lot of valuable space in the tour car/truck.
2) MAILING LIST: At the very mimimum your table must have a clip board & mailing list that you can pass around and have people sign up. TIP: Between songs right before the break take a few pictures of the crowd from the stage, tell them if they sign the mailing list, you’ll be posting the pics in your next newsletter for them to see THEIR mugs at the show. It WORKS!
3) INVENTORY: If you are just starting out, you may only have a couple of songs or a demo cd of “pre-released” or live songs. Give a free demo or song to everyone who signs your mailing list. Stickers, are also a very low cost, easy to give away item in exchange for a email address. Remember, you want to give them a reason to come back, and tell their friends about your show.
If you have several inventory items display them in a interesting way so people can see different styles.
Make it clean & well organized and have something at various price points- If you have a $15 admission fee, you better have something for sell for $5 since everyone will have at least a left over $5 from the $20 they paid at the door.
4) ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS: You are losing 30-40% of your sales if you do not have a card swiper. Think about that! If your fan’s spend their $5 from item #3 on a drink at the bar, you want them to use that cute little debit card in their wallet. Keep it simple and have a swiper machine and the credit card slips it’s the best $30 you will spend You can also use various apps with your iPhone/iPad as a cc machine however, you need to have a strong internet connection for them to work. You don’t want to worry about losing merchandise sale because the bar your playing in doesn’t have a cell signal right?
5) ATTRACTION: If you are the performing act, during the break and after the show, you work the merch table, talk to your fans AT THE TABLE. Do not go to the bar, you are working! At the table you can sign cd’s, shirts, and invite folks to join your mailing list. Usually artists have PLENTY of enthusiastic fan will offer to buy you a drink I promise! If you see someone always showing up at your show, give them a free cd or shirt, they are free walking billboards for you! Yes you want to make money AND spread the word.
Recruit the cutest sales gal you can find to wear your band T-shirt and work the table during your performances. Men and women can’t resist talking to a cute girl with a smile on her face! Honestly your sells will go up accordingly. Make sure you give them a little cash or at the VERY least pay for their dinner for helping YOU make more money that evening / tour. *Remember NO eating at the merchandise table- no one can sell well if they are shoving food in their mouth, save the noshing for AFTER the show when the audience has gone home. Having a merch. person keep track of the money and being proactive about working your “store” while your performing will make a huge difference to your earning potential and turn your merch table into a cash cow when you look at it as your own personal fan store!
Ultimately, it is about reaching out to your fans, and creating a new connection with them so they come back and bring their friends.
Do you have a really cool merch set up, email me a pic if you think you have a awesome space efficent merch set up!
CD baby swiper http://members.cdbaby.com/moreservices/creditcardswiper.aspx
Merch case: http://www.hughshows.com/merch.jpg
Looking for something fun to collect your merch $ in? How about your VERY OWN cash cow!