Merch sale on tour is a cornerstone of every live endeavor. No matter which point you’re at as an artist, musical brand etc., the amount of merch sold always resonates a certain crowd involvement, and therefore relationship.
In times of digital metrics and the necessity of non-physical crowd-engagement (playlists etc.), merch is something easily overlooked. And still, it is something most DIY musicians should try to always have in mind when starting a live campaign.
If you’re running your own live show, you have a thousand things to think about. And most of all the musicianship, obviously. This checklist is there to help you remember some vital aspects of merch sale on tour.
Most of you probably think of these things prior to or at the latest while setting up at a given venue, but try prepping early, so you can just lean back and let things flow.
If you don’t print your own t-shirt in your garage, you’re dependent upon external suppliers. Always keep shipping in mind, and plan well in advance.
It wouldn’t be the first time a live production went on the road minus the merch, because supply-chains were not calculated the way they should be.
Always plan in a buffer of at least three weeks, better a month, to receive the merch. There might also be problems connected to prints or the material, and you need enough time to deal with these issues – well in advance.
So – initiate timely orders.
Merge merch with digital
Dig into services like the Spotify integrated merchbar to offer merch while on tour. Considering the fact that many listeners will stumble upon your work via streaming and playlisting, you shouldn’t let this one slip.
On tour you might not be able to deal with the digital transactions of things, so an automized online service will definitely help you out.
Fight for your right to merch
If you’re a small act, maybe even playing support, some venues or productions won’t let you set up an area of your own.
Still, try not to take no as an answer. There’s always a way to set up some form of merch visibility or point of sale. Oftentimes, its only one, disgruntled person who keeps you from setting up shop. Try to be persuasive, no matter what it takes.
Be verbal about it
Many, many acts find it quite un-stylish to get verbal about merch that is sold after the show. I’ve
witnessed bands fighting on stage over who is supposed to shout out some merch-related news, not to speak of the designation of the person who has to sell the merch.
Try to be verbal about your merch. People will want to support you, even though you’re still cramped up about the show, things that didn’t go well etc. Even a messed up show is far from reason enough to refrain from going out there to sell some merch.
Be bold about your merch, be verbal.
Light up the night
This is a super simple trick that can work wonders. Think about using a usb-powered led-light or standalone led-bar on your merch-stand.
Oftentimes, venues place merch-tables into the most back-end, forgotten corners. It’s not necessarily their priority to drive business to a support or minor act.
So, just as larger productions set up their own narrative via light show, try to intervene by bringing a small, unobtrusive light with you.
It also helps you keep an eye on monetary interactions, so there you have an added bonus!