5 Tips for Setting Up an Effective Merchandise Booth

If you’re a working musician — or an entertainer of any variety — chances are, you make a big chunk of your money at the merchandise booth: Bat-eating Ozzy Osbourne, for instance, reportedly grossed $15 million in merchandise sales to go along with his $35 million in concert ticket sales in 2004, and the profit margin is high: Artists may keep as much as $10 from every $25 t-shirt, according to Brandchannel. Here are five tips for making your setup an effective sales vehicle.

  1. Make sure your signage is up to scratch. In a crowded venue, audience members may easily miss your merchandise booth on their way out the door. Put up a branded sign that’s large enough for people to see from across the room and that’s simple enough to read from any angle. Before the crowd arrives, take a look at your booth from various spots around the room to make sure that your branding materials can be easily viewed.
  2. Offer custom goods. Of course, you want to put your core product — such as your CDs — on display. But you may win over more prospects by offering alternatives. For instance, consider selling a custom flash drive that features your entire back catalog, for fans who’d rather download music than buy CDs. In addition to pushing promotional staples such as T-shirts and posters, you may want to offer eco-friendly tote bags and water bottles, too.
  3. Give something away for free. Everyone likes free stuff, even if it’s just a sticker or a bookmark. Handing a sample product (one that’s branded with your logo and includes your contact information) to everyone who passes by is a conversation-starter, and these samples can serve as unconventional business cards.
  4. Present your products well. Make sure your merchandise booth’s surface or covering is clean. Crusted food or other stains are likely to turn off potential buyers, so eat your pre-show dinner elsewhere. When it comes to your products, make sure that they are neatly organized, with shirts folded, posters displayed on the booth’s back wall, and CDs and DVDs sorted into stacks or slotted holders.
  5. Don’t leave until the last audience member is gone. Being on sales duty isn’t always exciting, but if you’re selling products related to your own talents, buyers will turn up at your booth as much to talk to you as to take something home. If you can avoid it, don’t outsource your role. Be friendly, ask people how they liked the show, and offer to sign any merchandise they buy. Being charming in one-on-one encounters here can help you build fans for life.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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