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Merchandise Your Event.

Andy Robertson

Any event is an opportunity to generate additional revenue with merchandise sales. Not to be confused with artist merchandise, they will organise their own distribution channels, this is a chance to promote and brand your event and it works for any size event. 

Depending on the nature of your event you should select merchandise that is relevant and appropriate. A small one-off event in an existing venue will dictate specific products perhaps limited to clothing like T-shirts and tote bags. A large music festival opens up more opportunities and in addition to clothing (hoodies and T-shirts being the obvious) you can expand your range to include drinks bottles/containers, bags, back packs and event posters and programmes. 

Having your own branded merchandise will help promote your brand and also acts as a souvenir for the customers. If you use an innovative branded product with a limited production run the merchandise can become collectable too.   

To source your merchandisse just search online and you will find a supplier near you who can provide a variety of products. In deciding which supplier to go with consider artwork requirements, timing, order volumes, clothing size estimates and environment considerations. Sourcing your merchandise should form part of your event planning process so that you can start selling months before the event date. Try and judge production volumes and get some kind of flexibility from your supplier should you need to order more at short notice.  

Assuming you have an e-commerce functionality on your website, make your merchandise available as soon as possible. Early sales will give you an idea of product popularity and help with future planning. In addition to your website you can offer your merchandise for sale on your social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Shop). Maximise cross sales opportunities by pushing merchandise during the ticket sales process, equally push visitors to ticket sales if they are purchasing merchandise.  

At your event ensure that you have your own pitch to sell your merchandise so include this in your vendor pitch planning. Post event you can still sell merchandise online so don’t assume demand will dry up as soon as your event is finished. Also utilise your customer data to target event customers by email with merchandise both before and after the event. This is your prime audience and the most likely to buy your merchandise. As with any marketing activity try and include an element of testing and promotional offers to learn the most popular products and the acceptable price levels.

Given the profile of your audience it is highly likely that the environmental credentials of your merchandise will be important. Is your clothing manufactured in an ethical manner using Fair Trade principles Are materials used made from recycled or sustainable materials for example? Are there partners you can work with that are well known for sourcing environmentally friendly products? Consider partnering with a relevant charity and donating all merchandise proceeds to them, that can be really good for your event brand.  

If you are using an event software solution like FestivalPro it already has marketing and vendor/pitch management functionality built in that will help organise your merchandising channels. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. Using a system like this you can be rest assured that your merchandising is under control. 

Photo by Athena from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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