Musicians and Bands: 5 Tips for Selling More at the Merch Table

Sell More Merch at ConcertsWe’ve all experienced it: You just played a killer show. The venue was packed. The crowd loved you. And yet . . . you only sold 2 CDs (and one of them was to your little sister, Sammy).

Getting your fans to the merch table can be tricky and also one of the last things you want to think about when you’re dealing with sound checks, set lists and late bass players.

But putting some time and thought into how you sell can pay off . . .literally.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Paxton)

1. Step up Your Presentation

How many times have you seen a band drag out a cardboard box at the end of their show and place it at the foot of the stage?

Then somebody mumbles something into the mic about CDs and walks away. If you want to sell merch, you need to SELL it. Present it in an attractive way and put your best salesman (or woman) at the helm.

Bring a tablecloth and maybe a suitcase you can display your albums in.

Decorate with items of interest. What will make people stop by and ask “what’s that?” or say “that’s cool!”?

Instead of writing your prices on a dirty cocktail napkin, get one of your artistic friends or bandmates to create a sign with style. What about calligraphy, a woodcut or a painting?

Bring tape, tacks, hangers and whatever else you need to display your T-shirts, posters, and other merch in a semi-orderly fashion, so fans can easily see what’s available.

Set up the merch before you play, and make sure it’s attended to during your performance.

Bring a light. Clubs are dark. Make sure your merch is visible.

2. Give Them Payment Options

Make sure to bring some one-dollar bills for change, and don’t charge 9.99 for anything unless you have a big bag of change.

Not everybody has cash on hand. Sign up for CD Baby’s Swiper program so you can take credit cards at your shows, or use one of those nifty iPhone apps that take credit cards.

Get one of those “Accepts Visa/Mastercard” table tents so people know they can pay how they like.

3. Sell More than Just CDs

Not everybody still listens to CDs. Sell download cards for the digitally inclined. Sell vinyl for the music collectors.

Sell T-shirts, mugs, stickers, DVDs.

Try to think of items that your audience will connect with.

4. Sell From the Stage

You’ve got the ears of your audience. Take advantage.

Describe what you’re selling on the mic.

Introduce the person who is selling your stuff. Tell the audience how nice and approachable they are.

Don’t wait until the end of the set to sell your wares; plant the seed after your first few songs. Remind them again at the end of your set.

5. Special Offers

Special offers are a great way to encourage sales and make your fans feel appreciated.

Offer your fans a discount for buying more than one CD.

Offer a special limited-edition T-Shirt or single.

Tell your audience that everyone who stops by the merch table gets something free like a sticker or . .  I don’t know, a pocket protector?

Try a raffle or a contest.

What are your experiences at the merch booth? What worked and what didn’t? Let us know in the comments below.

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