Published on March 7th, 2013 | by Dylan Lott1
Create An Awesome Merch Store
Setting up a merch store is extremely important. Besides touring, it’s the only way for people literally all over the world to get their hands on your stuff. Whether it be CDs, shirts, mesh shorts, or whatever else you can sell, your store needs to at least be open for business online and it’s best if it looks good while doing it. Here’s a guide to setting up a great merch store.
1 . Setup A Merch Store – First and foremost, you’re going to need the actual store to setup. We suggest using BandCamp (https://bandcamp.com/signup?from=main), BigCartel (http://bigcartel.com/signup) or Storenvy (http://www.storenvy.com/join). They both are free and easy to setup. Set one up and save the login information somewhere so you don’t forget it.
(Pro Tip): With Storenvy, you have to create an account with their online community first and then you setup a store from there. We recommend BigCartel, as Storenvy tends to be a little more complicated, but is more customizable and more powerful as your store grows.
2. Pick A Designer – Finding a good designer to work with is key. If you can, find a designer that will do unlimited revisions. This way, you can be sure the design is exactly what you want. If you’re not sure where to start looking, here’s a good sized list of designers that have either been highly recommended to us or we’ve personally worked with in the past – (link).
3. Find Out What Your Fans Like – Some people already have a good idea of what their fans want, but others don’t. If you aren’t sure, it never hurts. Post a status or two asking what style people like, what ideas they have, etc… Generate some buzz about it, too. It’ll help when you launch the store.
Did your fans voice their opinions? Good. Do you have a better idea of what you want designed? Great! On to the next one, then.
4. Get It Designed – Talk to your designer, make the deposit on the artwork, and start getting it designed. Remember to keep in mind that merch is half for the band, but also half for the fans, too.
ProTip: In our experience, several revisions will be necessary and in my opinion are required to make the design the best it can be.
Got your designs back? Does everyone in the band like them? Perfect. Continue.
5. Submit Your Designs To The Printing Company – For printing, we recommend MerchHero. They specifically cater to bands and their pricing is the best we’ve yet encountered. Not to mention, they use the best quality products and they can print most anything a band could want. Make sure you submit your designs in the highest quality possible. Generally, 300dpi is the industry standard for resolution, and most printing companies prefer to be sent either .pdf, .tif, .jpg, or .psd file versions of the design.
Do you have your merch in hand? No? Sit tight. If you do, then head to the next step!
6. Release A Mockup Of The Design On Your Facebook – Hype up the release of your first design by dropping either a teaser image of the design (a close up of the design or only one small part of the design) on your Facebook. Push it out across all of your social networks.
7. Prepare For Release – Contact promotion sites and let them know you’re dropping new merch. Offer them a discount on a shirt for helping promote the release of your designs. Building relationships with these sites is always a good idea. Promotion sites / pages tend to have a lot of clout with their followers, so if you can get them to post about your merch or even just about your band, it’s definitely going to help. People trust promotion sites to bring them quality music, so learn to use them if possible.
Make sure you have the merch ready for shipping as well. You’ll want to buy some mailers like these ones. They are the cheapest way to ship shirts and most merchandise.
ProTip: For shipping CDs, you can request to ship things via Media Mail at your local post office. Media Mail is cheaper than standard post.
Have your shirt mailers ready? Have your merch in hand and organized by size? Perfect. Next step.
8. PUT THE MERCH UP FOR SALE! – This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. It should be everywhere. Let your friends know, bug people to repost it, and push it out across all of your social network sites. If you have a budget for it, run a small Facebook ad promoting the post as well. Anything you can do to drive traffic to your store.
The number one thing to remember is that you need to drive traffic to your pages. Make sure that it’s as easy as possible to buy your merch. A lot of bands don’t understand this concept. Make it easy to buy your merch and make the way to purchase it extremely apparent. People are stupid, you’ll have to learn how to work around that.