It’s a phenomenon that began with YouTubers – merch. People making funny, informative or random videos wanted to connect with their audience and make a little extra money, so they started slapping their homemade logos on t-shirts, hats and pop sockets, and their audiences ate it up. Fast forward a few years and consumer brands have caught on and started to participate. A great example of a company taking full advantage of this new type of marketing is Taco Bell: from t-shirts and drinkware to pillows and pajamas, there are many ways you can show your love for “living más”.
Merch is like a gift shop for your brand, a marketing strategy revolving around visual awareness and advocacy that connects your brand to your customer’s lifestyle. Consumers desire an emotional connection with a brand. In fact, 82% say they view a brand more favorably after receiving promotional merch. When consumers wear your branded merchandise in their daily lives, you are benefiting from the many impressions they will garner. Having branded merch increases brand awareness because those “repping” your brand will feel part of a community. Branded merch can also compliment other marketing strategies such as social media campaigns, philanthropy or contests. Merch can also generate revenue; many consumers are happy to purchase a branded item so long as it fits their lifestyle.
So how do you start building your merch store? Begin by evaluating the lifestyles of your consumer market. What kinds of things do your customers like to do? Are they outdoorsy? What age range do they belong to? Do they tend to have children, pets? Then, consider the message you want to send with your brand. Are you heavily involved in a charity or community group? Do you strive to be eco-conscious? Do you aim to be cutting edge? There is a promotional product out there that speaks to each one of these scenarios and perspectives. In fact, ASB associates pride themselves on being experts in identifying such products.
Are you a powersports dealer with a showroom full of side-by-sides? Chances are a lot of your customers are hunters. They’re buying hunting gear anyway, right? Why not gear with your logo on it? You can even add a catchy or funny slogan to add to the experience. Multi-tools, knives, flashlights, dry-packs and more can all be included in your showroom and on your website under the “Merch” section.
Selling RVs? It’s safe to say your customers do a lot of camping. There are so many camping-related promotional products that your customers would find useful, such as thermoses, mugs, hammocks, tents and coolers. You don’t have to give these items away; your customers are already buying them. If they can get a good deal, why wouldn’t they buy one from you?
Car dealerships should consider what their core clientele purchases. Are you a luxury dealership? Your customers are likely to be avid golfers, enjoy quality products and prefer name brand clothing. Consider adding branded golf balls and tees to your merch line-up.
Developing a merch strategy involves getting to know your customers on a personal level, which you already do when you perform your fact-finding procedures to get them in the best fitting car, truck, boat, RV, quad, etc. Then finding promotional products that fit into those lifestyles. You can make this process simple by partnering with a promotional products expert like the sales associates here at American Solutions for Business. To start your merch strategy, contact your ASB sales representative. Don’t have one? Click here to find one near you!