Are you thinking about selling your own band merchandise online? Whether you like it or not, in the age of streaming, you’re unlikely to make a living relying on music royalties alone. The fact is, music itself has evolved from a product to a loss leader or even advertisement to build awareness of your band. Merchandise can in fact become one of your biggest income streams. In this article, we’ll look at how to get started selling your band merchandise online.
What band merchandise should you sell?
There’s plenty of different products that bands can sell to build up a source of income, so it can be tough to know where to start. A good idea is to think about what band merchandise you own yourself, for example have you bought a tee in support of your favourite band, or have you got any badges, or even posters? What are your favourite bits of merchandise you own, and why? Think about who inspires you as an artist, and what do they sell?
Next, it’s a good idea to go out to your fans and learn about what they would want to buy. There’s nothing better than a bit of market research to learn how your fans would be willing to support you. A survey is a great idea, but don’t forget that you’re likely to get just a snapshot of what people may want to buy or actually be willing to spend. Ask your most devoted fans and you may get an unrealistic view of what people may want to buy, so keep it realistic!
Finally, ask other bands what works for them, particularly if they have a bit more experience than you. Why spend years trying to see what sticks when a friendly conversation with a few fellow musicians could point you in the right direction and save you loads of time?
How much does it cost to sell merchandise online?
In the past, bands would have to bulk order a run of each design, particularly for clothing. That can be a major barrier for unsigned or new artists, who may not have the cash just yet to sink into loads of stock. Plus, there’s the hassle of having to package and ship products which can be a real inconvenience if you’re on tour!
Fortunately, that’s a think of the past thanks to new technology. At Lost Divide Clothing, we use Direct To Garment technology, which means all our products are printed to order. That means for the bands that work with us to sell their products, there are no upfront costs to handle production and distribution. Working with an online store like us means all you need to worry about is coming up with cool designs for your merchandise and making sure your fans know where to buy it from. This is a concept called drop-shipping and is great for working musicians who don’t have the time to manage an online store 24/7.
The other thing to consider is your pricing structure for your products themselves. It’s a good idea to offer a range of products at different price points. Not everyone will want to splurge on your custom designed hoodie, so you can offer t-shirts which are cheaper to make. Plus, you can also offer cheaper products such as posters or custom phone cases.
Not only do products at different price points mean you can broaden your potential sales, you’re also getting a chance to sell your higher value products through simple psychology. For example, you might sell a simple band logo t-shirt design for £12.99, and a limited edition t-shirt for your latest tour for £14.99. Why spend £12.99 when you could spend just £2 more for the fancier designed, limited edition tour t-shirt?
While you might not sell many of the £12.99 t-shirts, its helping to push customers towards the superior £14.99 product. And if you use a drop-shipping company like us, you don’t even have to actually pay for any of those cheaper shirts!
How should you promote your products?
Most musicians know they can set up a merch stand at their gigs to sell shirts, however it can be a barrier to entry as you need to to invest in stock up-front with no guarantee you’ll make money on each shirt. What happens if you get the wrong mix of sizes and have a load of extra-smalls left over? It’s no surprise that many people would rather invest this into new gear for their band or spend that money to have their latest single mixed and mastered by a pro.
However there’s plenty you can do to spread the word about your online merchandise store at a low cost.
It might sound a bit corporate, but there is still a place for business cards in a band’s arsenal. Use the front to promote your latest track, EP or album, and on the back, promote your merchandise store, with a picture or two of your top selling products and the URL of where they can be bought. If you choose to work with us, you’ll get a URL where people can shop all your products in one place! Plus, why not print a discount code on each card you give to your fans as a thank you for coming to your gig?
Obviously, you can also promote your store online. Why not try adding a link to your Instagram bio, post about your newest products on Facebook and Twitter, or add links to your products in your Youtube videos?
Don’t forget, you can also get a couple of shirts for your friends and band members to model in your social media posts to help your fans visualise how they might look wearing one!
Not everyone gets born with incredible graphic designing skills, or knows someone who can help them out. Don’t worry, theres plenty of places you can go to hire a designer to help you out. You can hire a freelancer at websites such as peopleperhour.com, upwork.com or fiverr.com.
Otherwise, if you already are a dab hand at design, all it can take to get started is the time it takes to produce your first design. Why not get in touch with us and learn more about how you can start earning a regular income for your music project through band merchandise? Drop us a line today!