We all love that one company, that one brand, that one restaurant. Sometimes we love these businesses so much, to be willing to buy (and use) their merchandise.
Kevin Roberts called these brands “lovemarks”, in 2004, and for a specific reason. These companies, whether they’re a coffeeshop or a technology company, know how to connect with their customers. They know how to engage them, how to make them feel part of the “family”. One of the many ways they do it is by selling branded merchandise, and the perks of doing it are countless.
What is branded merchandise?
Branded merchandise can be anything with your logo, distinctive artwork or quote printed on it. The best selling items by far are t-shirts and other garments, but it can also be mugs, tote bags or even home decor. It really depends on your business and with what it operates. If you own a coffeehouse, shirts and mugs might be the best choice for you. If you own a car dealership, you might want to go for keychains and baseball caps instead.
Anyhow, selling branded merchandise is nothing new. Companies have been doing it for decades, benefiting of the financial and marketing advantages it offers. Even though its effectiveness is well known, many businesses still second guess its potential.
Additional source of income
First of all, custom merchandise is a great source of additional income. Depending on what kind of business you own or manage, there are almost infinite ways to start using this new source.
Tech companies like to sell shirts, hoodies and caps with their logo on it. Restaurants with international and exotic cuisines sell their cookbooks and sauces. I Scream Sundae, a horror-themed restaurant, sells horror-themed shirts for example, and their customers go crazy for them.
The ways to make extra revenue on branded merchandise are many, and your loyal customers will gladly spend some extra money on a business they love. It’s important to remember though, that a strong brand is necessary to keep your customers loyal and interested. Not only to you as a business, but also to the causes you might stand for or your company’s mission.
Greater connection to customers
The connection to your customers is twofold. One the one hand, branded merchandise creates a sense of pride and community among your most loyal ones. On the other, it is to be noted that retaining existing customers costs you almost five times less than acquiring a new one. Of course, it is easier for you to keep customers with your services and products, than making new ones.
Many businesses today are creating lifestyles around their brands. Apple does it, as Nike and Starbucks do too. But nowadays you don’t need to be a big franchise to promote the lifestyle your company represents, if it is relevant in your industry. You must have a strong brand though, that engages your customer base.
Your most loyal customers come to you because they like the atmosphere in your local, or because you offer a great customer service. They might come because you stand and fight for a cause. If so, they are very likely to buy a custom shirt with your logo on it and are proud to wear it.
Also B2B companies use branded merchandise, usually as an extra (useful) service they add to their bundles, for example. Even though your customers might pay a little more for it, they are more likely to choose you over a company that does not offer any.
The connection to your customers and their interest to your merchandise increase with how you make it. Merchandise must me thoughtful, with great quality and design.
Protect your business with diversification
We all know the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This has never been nor true. I mean, the pandemic reminded us of that: many business had to stop operations completely and lost every source of income.
Expanding to other markets makes your business more valuable and opens numberless new opportunities for growth in the future.
Uncertain times require creative ways to survive.
The pandemic has been a great example of how flexible companies must be to survive. Combining your business model to another one, especially as flexible as branded merchandise, can make your company stronger. Before the pandemic hit, the profit margins for clothing retailers were up to 13%, while grocery store up to 25%. It can be a backdoor out of a crisis. The risk of investment is also modest, compared to other kinds that offer less perks.
Whether it is for a greater connection to your customers, more income at the end of the month or more stability, the power of branded merchandise should not be underestimated. It can expand your margin of profit significantly if done well, and is flexible in so many ways to be a “one size fits all.” The ways of combining it to your business are almost infinite, and worth at least a thought.
We offer a vast choice of apparel that might help you start your own merchandise line. We are ready to help you design new logos or improve yours, as well as to counsel you on the apparel that might fit best for your business.