5 Tips to Become a Merch Sales Monster

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Screen printing monster

What could your band buy if you doubled your merch sales and CD’s from every show that you played?
More pizza, beer, a van, advertising, cocaine, hoes, I don’t judge!

More importantly, what if your music reached twice the amount of people from every show that you played?

I’ve done it with my own band and other bands that I’ve managed, and I’m being completely honest when I say that it’s easy as hell.

Read on…

So there I was, just getting off the stage from playing in front of my band’s biggest crowd yet.
It was our CD release show, and I was thinking “Hell yeah, this is awesome. We’re going to sell a lot of our CD’s tonight.” It’s not the money that I was thinking about- it was getting my music into people’s hands that I obsessed over.

At the end of the night, I walked over to our merch table only to find that we had only sold a few albums.


Over 100 people came for us, and only a few of those people left with our brand new CD??
Turns out- it was the merch guy’s fault. Dick.
With a combination of him either leaving the table too frequently to talk with girls/smoke, not engaging people that passed our table, taking too long to sell merch (the line got too long) and being a dick to the people that were interested in our stuff, he screwed us.

If you’re in a band, you’ve probably run into a situation very similar to this. If not, you can still benefit from this blog. No merch guy is a perfect salesman. If he were, he’d be making $100k per year as a salesman selling something else (Being a merch guy isn’t THAT much fun).

Print and give this list to your merch sales guy/girl and you can thank me later.


1. Sell the right merch
If you want to sell anything, you have to have the right product. It doesn’t matter how good you are at selling, you must have something the fan wants. Watch the trends of what the larger bands in your genre are selling at their shows and online. What are they screen printing? Underwear, booty shorts, sweats, hoodies? What are they printing on them? Zombies, block letters, foil text? Also, consider what the weather will be like where you are selling the merch. Good luck selling a lot of hoodies in Arizona.

2. Hire the right people to sell your merch:
Most bands choose their friend or some random fan sell their merch, only to see them sitting around as fans pass the merch table. If you can, find someone that is socialable, outgoing, and attractive. Hot girls sell a lot of merch. Hell, I know someone that owns a Mcdonalds and hiring hot cashiers have increased his sales by 30%!

3. Have enough change on hand:
Many fans have been turned away because the band didn’t have enough change to offer customers that purchased their merch. Don’t assume that fans will be coming in with lots of small bills. Here’s my tip: Keep $50 in small bills in a money container that locks to the leg of the merch table. Additionally, get SquareUp to charge credit/debit cards on your phone for the fans without cash. I’ve seen bands double their sales because they accept credit cards.

4. Print enough merchandise:
Printing enough merch and CD’s is essential to boost sales. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen fans walk away after hearing that the band ran out of that fan’s size. Track how much of each size of your merch that you sell. A large % of band’s shirt sales are of Large and XL shirts (not surprising in the country that we live in). Once you get a pretty good understanding of what sells the most, plan for it when you order your next batch of silk screen printing.

5. Train your merch guy/girl to be a salesman, not a seat warmer:
Sometimes, having the right type of person (outgoing, attractive, etc.) isn’t enough. They have to know how to sell! I could spend 20 pages talking about tips on selling, but I’ll be a lazy ass and refer you to this amazing resource: https://stores.inksoft.comblog.crunched.com/salescrunch-top-50-sales-blogs-2012/
Make sure your merch guy reads as much as possible. If they’re too lazy to, find a new merch guy.

What could your band buy if you sold twice as much merch and CD’s from every show that you played?
What if your music reached twice as many people?

I’ve done it with my own band and other bands that I’ve managed, and I’ll say it again: it’s easy as hell.

Complete these 5 steps and let me know how everything pans out in the comments below.
What other things have worked for your band? Post it in the comments below!

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