It’s no secret that at Bandzoogle we believe that your website should be your main hub on the Internet. So if there’s any place online that fans should be able to buy your music and merch, it’s on your own website.
Why sell direct to fans?
By selling direct to your fans, you not only get most of the money (100% using the Bandzoogle Store Feature), you collect valuable data about those fans which can be used to help with tour routing, and most importantly, you also get their email addresses. That way, you can keep in touch with those fans over the long term to let them know about upcoming shows, new music, and new merch.
What merch to sell?
If you’re just starting out, you might only have music to sell for now. If that’s the case, read this post about setting up the Music page on your site.
But even if you are just starting out, it’s not that difficult to start selling other merch items, which can be as simple as buttons and stickers, or a small run of t-shirts.
Setting up your Online Store
Here are six tips to help you set up your online store:
First and foremost, your online store needs to be organized. Keep the page simple and clean to navigate. If it’s too messy, people might just leave the page without making a purchase.
Organize your Store by creating different sections for music, clothing, other merch items, and special package deals. If you don’t have a lot of merch, this can be done all on the same page.
If you do have a lot of merch items, consider creating separate pages for each type of merch, and linking to them from the main Store page like the band A Primitive Evolution have done on their site:
2. Have images for every item
For each item in your Store, you should have an image. Album covers are obvious, but even for stickers and buttons, you should include an image of what they look like. For t-shirts, you can feature the front and back of the shirts, as well as different colors.
3. Add context: describe each item
Also for each item in your Store, you should add context. For music, things like When/where was it recorded? What was the inspiration behind the creation of the album?
For other merch items, what’s the story behind the item? Who designed it? Briefly explain the merch item and why you think your fans will enjoy it.
For example, A Primitive Evolution have a Handmade Voodoo Doll Plushie for sale with this great short description:
“Printed, sewed and stuffed by us for you! Cast a curse on an enemy or a crappy band perhaps... or just cuddle up with this little guy on those lonely nights.”
4. Offer something for everyone, including freebies
It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll have people visiting your store that are potential new fans, current fans, and super fans. So you should have items in your store that would be of interest for all of these people.
Someone who is checking out your music for the first time might not be ready to purchase an album, but if you offer a free song download, you can get their email address in exchange and start to build a relationship with that person.
For your super fans, chances are they already have your albums, so you’ll want to have more exclusive things to offer them. Think along the lines of signed items (CDs, posters, etc.), limited editions (vinyl, usb keys, etc.), specialty merch items (handmade/limited run), and deluxe packages.
5. Clear way to contact you
When people are shopping online, they want to know that they can easily contact the seller if they have any questions. On your Store page you can include a contact form specific to sales, or a call-to-action with a link to your Contact section.
6. Add new merch regularly
Remember, your website should not be static. Keep your Store page updated with your latest music and merch. Each time you add a new merch item is a great excuse to reach out to your fans and drive them back to your site to gain valuable data about them, get them signed up to your mailing list, and of course, shopping in your Store.