Concert Update + Merch Sales Tips

Busy, busy week. Angie Aparo killed at Earthlink Live the other night. Elvis Costello and David Hidalgo knocked out favorites from three of my all-time favorite acts last night (they did a couple of Nick Lowe tunes). And Cracker’s in town Friday. And folks ask me why we moved to Athens?

I wanted to share a little insight from Friday’s show that can help your merch sales.

Like most artists, Angie had one big merch area in a prime spot near the exit, just like I’ve been talking about on the IndieBiz calls. The venue had their drinks and food concessions in multiple locations around the perimeter of the seating area.

At the end of the show, the merch table bottlenecked. But drinks and food were still moving. I might have dropped $40-$50 right there on discs, but couldn’t get to the front of the line.

So here’s my outrageous idea for your shows. Split up your merch table.

Idea #1: Always have at least two people running merch. If you find yourself running into occasional bottlenecking, have one of your merch people pull a group of fans (maybe just the ones with cash sales) into a fallback area, so each line seems shorter. Actually, my bank does this with their tellers for folks who want to just make deposits, and it speeds things up. (And generates blog posts about my bank.)

Idea #2: If you get bottlenecked A LOT, which is a good problem to have, start setting up two merch tables far from each other.

Takeaway: Lines ruin your merch business. Keep those transactions moving and those lines small. If you can spread out the business, you’ll make more money selling merch.

One response

  1. I think you have a great idea. I’ve actually created a portable vending machine that give the merch table a little bit of flexibility. Our machine 120lbs (portable but not to easily run off with) and holds up to 100 CDs or 80 DVD with 2 or 4 different titles. If a large portion of the merch industry is live cd’s the customers could use my machine via credit card and have the CD or DVD in their hand in less than 3 seconds per transaction. If you know any merchandisers, please let me know. We’re looking for someone to test the machine.