Boost gig sales: 10 easy ways to do it


Your merch display doesn’t have to be attractive, but it has to attract attention! Whether you’ve pimped out a thrift-store suitcase, constructed a sleek and chic portable display, or simply spread CDs, T-shirts, and candles across one of the venue’s tables, you’ve got to make sure that something besides your undeniable musical genius catches the attention of the people in the audience.

Quick tips to boost your CD and merch sales:

1. Make your merch table intriguing. Try to capture the attention of concert attendees before they hear a single note.

2. Avoid clutter, clearly displaying the products for sale and their prices.

3. Quickly convey your artist aesthetic. It is an extension of you and should reinforce your artist brand.

4. Make it accessible. The merch booth has got to be easy to get to, unobstructed, and clearly visible to many people at once so long lines don’t hinder sales opportunities.

5. Don’t let your merch table become a hangout for friends. A congregation of people blocking the table, chatting away, and not buying anything will dissuade folks with actual interest and actual dollars.

6. Diversify. Offer a number of different items (CDs, t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc.) and bundle them together for a reduced price to entice fans who might be on the fence.

7. Have small bags available. Don’t let the “How am I going to carry all this stuff?” objection lose you a sale.

8. Accept credit cards. Folks attending your show may not have a ton of cash on hand, or might not want to spend their last $10 bill on something other than a drink. No problem! With a credit card swiper, you can accept credit or debit cards right on the spot. And once someone has decided to use their card, your opportunity to upsell or bundle items into a bigger sale just got a lot more promising.

9. Put your email list sign-up front and center. The merch booth is your opportunity to attract new fans even if they don’t buy anything. Have your email list and website info as the centerpiece. This may be the only chance you have to turn a stranger into a lifelong fan. Don’t miss it!

10. Be visible at the booth following your performance. If you’ve created a moment on stage that made a fan say to themselves “I need to take some memory of this home with me,” what better way to ensure a lasting connection than to have a conversation with your audience after the show?

“LEDs. Seriously, LEDs. If you’re not keen on assembling something yourself from the raw parts, go to AutoZone and pick up the stuff people use to pimp out their cars. I found windshield washer replacements that acted like colored spotlights/uplights and could just be bolted down to the backboard of my display and strips of white LEDs to provide some soft fill lighting (doesn’t do much in a lit room, but how many clubs are well-lit?). All of this stuff is designed to run on 12 volt car batteries, so you could either get a plug-in adapter for the lights (also found at Autozone) or rig up a couple of 6v batteries to power the display from any table in the bar. Worst case scenario? Just buy a couple of good LED flashlights and find a way to diffuse the light so people can see your table in the dark.” –Matthew Ebel

“Make sure your display is eye-catching, yet simple. I like to make sure my name is big and bold, and that I have enough stuff displayed to look interesting but not overwhelming. And if you get to choose where you put your stuff, pick a location with a lot of traffic, near the entrance, and make sure you’ve got someone manning the table at all times. In my opinion, when it comes to the merch table, the smallest decisions can make the biggest difference. The most important thing is to be organized and visible.” –Allison Weiss

Have any tried-and-true successes selling merch? Add a comment and share it!