How To Develop Your Merch Strategy In 5 Easy Steps

Selling merch for your channel can be incredibly lucrative for content creators. However, to make a meaningful number of sales, you’ll need to be a little business savvy. Start by developing a merch strategy even before you start designing your products.

Here’s how to develop your merch strategy in five simple steps.

1. Choose a selling platform that’s compatible with YouTube’s Merch Shelf feature.

With the Merch Shelf feature, you can advertise your merch directly below your videos. In order to be eligible, your channel must first have monetization turned on. Additionally, you’ll need to have at least ten thousand subscribers. Finally, your channel cannot be set as “Made for kids,” violate the platform’s monetization policies, or have any Community Guidelines Strikes for hate speech.

Once your channel is eligible for the Merch Feature, you should set up your online shop on a compatible platform or retailer. The platforms you can use are limited to Spreadshop, Spring, and Suzuri. You have a lot more options when it comes to retailers, including Merchbar and Design By Humans. You can find the full list of supported retailers here.

2. Compile a list of products your viewers will actually want to buy.

Next, you need to determine what products you’re going to sell. The most important factor is that you choose things your audience will actually want to buy. For example, just because hats and shirts are standard merch items, it doesn’t mean they’ll sell. Your viewers might prefer plushies and mugs.

Start by determining what kinds of merch your audience is already asking for. Read your video comment and Twitter mentions. To get more specific answers, make a post on your community page asking what kind of merch they’d be interested in. Then, take the most popular answers and turn them into a poll. The results will reveal what products are most likely to sell.

3. Create designs that tie in with your channel’s branding.

Now that you know what kinds of things you’ll be selling, you need to narrow down your designs. Since this merch is meant to represent your channel, your designs should tie in with the branding you already have in place. Turn to your logo, channel art, and catchphrases for inspiration.

Start with a color palette. Choose a few colors from your channel’s logo, header, etc. as well as other shades that complement them. For example, if your channel logo is red, it would look better on a green shirt than a pink one. Then, decide if you want your channel logo on your merch or a more unique design. If you don’t consider yourself artistically inclined, work with a graphic designer.

4. Test the waters with a small amount of inventory.

Before you fully launch your merch store, test the waters with a product or two. Unless you’re using a print-on-demand service, begin with a small amount of inventory so you won’t lose too much money if it doesn’t sell out. Go into it prepared not to make the full amount back, just in case.

Then, launch your small collection. Promote the few items you’re selling the same way you’d promote a fully stocked online shop. Observe your audience’s reaction to specific elements, such as the price point, the products available, and the final designs. Their reactions should inform your strategies for your full launch.

5. After launching your complete collection, use promotions and sales to keep bringing attention back to your online shop.

Once your merch store is fully launched, you need to keep promoting it. Plan out several promotions and sales throughout the year so that you can keep your buyers coming back. For example, you might put hoodies on sale during winter or mark down notebooks during the back-to-school season.

Additionally, you should keep the momentum going by continuing to launch new products throughout the year. Try selling seasonal or limited edition items. You can also add value and exclusivity to products by signing them or including an extra, such as an art card.

To make as many merch sales as possible, you need to have a solid merch strategy in place before you launch your first collection. Follow the steps outlined above to develop your plan of action.

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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.

1 Comment

  • Take advantage by promoting your channel as a whole, as well as your individual videos. Push for subscribers and link to your account wherever you can. This will help your videos rank higher in YouTube and Google searches. Win some extra eyeballs by anticipating what people are looking for. Use holidays, popular movies, and trends as opportunities to post relevant content. You’d be surprised how well this strategy can work!

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