5 Steps to Launch Your Ecommerce Branded Merch Store

If you are a coffee shop, music venue, restaurant, bar, or other brick-and-mortar business, having an online merch store can boost your reach and revenue. It’s a great way to step into the world of e-commerce and give your most loyal customers a way to show you off as their favorite. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on selling swag to your super-fans.

Define Your Brand:

Think about your brand as a whole, and how you can craft merch designs that your current customer base will relate to. Figure out where you will be sourcing designs from. Consider the impact you want your merch to have. As silly as it is, the Texas gas station Buccee’s does a pretty dang good job of influencing visitors to leave with a piece of Beaver emblazoned merch. Sometimes, a successful merch design can simply be riffing off of your current branding.

Choose an E-commerce Platform:

Pick a platform like Shopify or Square that suits your needs and budget. Make sure it integrates well with payment systems and offers inventory and sales management. If you are a brick-and-mortar, Square can be a great out-of-the-box solution for e-commerce and in-person point-of-sale.

Select Your Merchandise:

Curate a selection of items that reflect your brand and appeal to your audience. If you are a music venue, for instance, consider selling drinkware, shirts, or bags. Choose items that make sense in the context of your business. Add your designs, and iterate them across various colorways and product options. Consider using a print-on-demand service if you don’t want to carry the initial cost of buying and stocking inventory yourself. (More on Print on Demand in a moment.)

Showcase Your Products:

Invest in high-quality images and clear descriptions. Design your store with your brand’s look and feel in mind. Be sure that your top navigation and product categories are easy to use on desktop and mobile. Consider the markup over wholesale prices, a typical markup could be anywhere from 30-50%. 

Promote Your Store:

Use social media, email, and partnerships to drive traffic. Offer incentives like discounts or limited editions to encourage purchases. Be sure your product offering is seasonally relevant. Engage with your audience to build a community around your brand and be sure to advertise your website at your locations too.

When it comes to e-commerce providers, each platform offers unique features tailored to different business needs. One solution that we love to use for e-commerce, is Print On Demand. Both Square and Shopify integrate with services like Printful and Printify. Print on Demand allows you to offload the printing, fulfillment, and shipping of your orders. You also don’t have to meet a minimum wholesale order quantity to get started or solve the cost and space issue for warehousing an inventory. For our clients just getting into selling merch online, this helps create a flexible, scalable, and low-risk launch. This also gives you the user-friendly option of choosing from hundreds of customizable products that are already built into the database. 

We love chatting about e-commerce, and we’d love to help you! Reach out to us at [email protected] or schedule a brainstorming session with us here.

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