It’s a fact: people love merch. Whether it’s a shirt, a hat, a poster, or a mug, merchandise is universally loved and, more than that, can be a major key to your theatre’s growing success. Offering a variety of benefits that will engage and grow your audience, merch should undoubtedly be an integral part of your marketing strategy. We’ll tell you why, as well as how you can incorporate seamless merchandising sales into your future plans with On The Stage.

Key Benefits of Merchandise

It’s just branded stuff, right? Eh, not so much. Merchandise offers you a myriad marketing advantages, including:

  • Building a sense of community – Whether you’re a community theatre or a school program, merchandise builds a sense of unity for a common cause. Walking down the street or down the halls, taking the bus or stepping into an auditorium and seeing people with branded merchandise for your program or theatre immediately creates a sense of belonging.
  • Creating traveling billboards to expand reach – Raising awareness for your work is often the No. 1 goal … but getting there can be tricky. By utilizing merchandise and selling it to patrons, cast members, crew and fans, you now have a slew of walking billboards promoting your work. Even more – people are paying you to advertise your theatre. Talk about passive income that increases reach and builds buzz!
  • Driving patron loyalty – Branded merchandise can drive your patrons loyalty without you having to use additional resources. As compared to the other marketing tactics, the merchandise can ensure loyalty in a short amount of time. By popping on a logoed shirt or drinking out of a mug with your theatre’s image on it, you’re building allegiance with minimal effort.
  • Raising Revenue – Perhaps the most simple perk of merchandise is that it helps you raise capital. A more padded bottom line is always a perk, right?

The Challenges

So … if the benefits are so clearly amazing, why aren’t more people utilizing merchandising for their marketing strategies? Well, all good things have a few challenges to overcome. These include:

  • Anticipating exact inventory numbers: Managing to guess the exact amount of inventory you’ll need to order is nearly impossible, which will most likely lead to wasted money on either extra product, or expedited shipping for the items you forgot to order. No fun!
  • Ordering far in advance: With everything you have going on, adding the component of ordering merchandise early in your theatrical season is an element you may have to forgo if you’re juggling too many things. (Which, let’s be real, you probably are.)
  • Storage and pick-up hassle:  So your merchandise got here on time, but your customers or students didn’t pick up their order. This means you have to bug people to retrieve what they’ve ordered and find a place to store it in the meantime, or more commonly, end up having to store the items indefinitely when orders are never picked up.
  • Money, money, money: No matter which way you flip it, making large merchandising orders is costly. Balance that with taking individual payments from your customers and keeping things organized … things can get tricky!
  • The stress of item fulfillment: Sorting, packaging, schlepping to the post office, paying for postage, and ensuring delivery of each individual piece of merchandise is a huge time suck, no doubt about it.

But don’t worry; if you think these challenges are insurmountable, On The Stage has you covered. Keep reading!

Getting Started

You may not know where to get started in terms of incorporating merch into your marketing strategies. Here are a few things to remember as you begin the journey:

  1. Branded merchandise is tangible marketing that takes your brand – in this case, your theatre and your work – into the world. Think long and hard about the type of merchandise you want to create before jumping into production. This will save you time and money in the long run.
  2. Along the same lines, think of merchandise as an extension of your theatre. Diving into your theatre’s identity, and everything it represents, is valuable information for creating meaningful products that will stick with people.
  3. When you’re first starting out, remember that consistency is key. Decide on a logo and design, and stick with it. Once you create a familiarity with your community, you can shake things up with your branding.

How On The Stage Can Help

As we’ve established, merchandising can be a hard component to manage when you’re already juggling a variety of logistics for your show. Luckily, On The Stage provides an on-demand solution to make merchandise sales far more manageable and, dare we say it, fun?

Here are some of the perks On The Stage offers within its merchandising suite:

  1. Seamless, easy-to-use set-up: With On The Stage, you can create and sell theatre merchandise from your online store (also easily created through On The Stage). Merch offerings include show shirts, mugs, posters, and more, featuring your production artwork or theatre logo.
  2. Flexible pricing: You set the pricing to fit your needs and revenue goals.
  3. You can take a back seat: On The Stage handles the automated printing, the production, and the order fulfillment. Amazing, right?
  4. Numerous design options: Not sure where to start when it comes to your graphics? On The Stage comes preloaded with item templates that you can select for your merchandise campaign. The design is handled automatically with your show art or logo.
  5. On-demand: Each custom souvenir is printed on-demand and shipped directly to the customer. This means you don’t have to worry about order fulfillment or stock management!

The perks are clear: With On The Stage’s merchandising campaigns, you’ll sit back, relax, and let us handle the logistics while you collect revenue and passively build brand engagement and loyalty.

Less waste, less stress, less hassle. More revenue, more control, more time to focus on what matters. Sounds great, right? If you’re ready to get started, book a demo with On The Stage today.