How Influencers Can Capitalize on Quick-Turn Merch
Social media marketing is skyrocketing and expected to reach a record high by the end of 2023. Influencers are looking for the best ways to capitalize on this growth and make a living purely off leveraging social media content. Selling merchandise is one of the less-obvious ways that content creators generate income, but when done correctly is a strategy that can be highly lucrative. One creator made $40,000 in just one day selling bucket hats, hoodies and other merch.
Recently, there has been a boom in creator merchandise. Even influencers with as little as 10,000 followers are churning out their own products and capitalizing on social media buzz. Viral moments come and go quickly, meaning for influencers of all sizes to be successful at this, the entire process has to be as quick-turn and efficient as possible.
Understanding Your Target Audience
Having success in creating profitable, quick-turn merch begins with understanding your target audience. Determining who your customers are and what they're looking for in advance will help with the ideation process, creating a quick timeline and shaping exact product offerings. This will also determine the type of product, content (logos, specific phrases, etc.) and quantity that you choose to offer — some of the most important factors in generating successful merch.
A successful merch drop is also dependent on staying authentic to your following and brand. Not every moment is going to be the right moment to release merch — and that’s OK. It’s important to keep in mind that merch is marketing in itself and is always a reflection of an individual's brand. It's not something to do on a whim just because other creators in the space are doing it. In one extreme case, an influencer with over 2 million followers on Instagram failed to sell even just 36 T-shirts.
Find a Merchandise Provider With Top-Tier Customer Service
As viral moments are short-lived, it's important for creators to move as fast as possible when creating merchandise to avoid missing out on any opportunities. A partner with great customer service can speed up the process by staying in constant communication, making last-minute changes, and dealing with any issues that pop up along the way seamlessly. The better the customer service, the faster any quality issues can be resolved.
Reading online reviews and using third-party platforms to determine customer satisfaction rates and reaching out to merchandise providers directly are all great ways to research different options and ultimately decide who to partner with.
Keep Quality Top of Mind When Choosing Suppliers
Choosing lower quality suppliers and items to increase profit margins can be tempting, but at the end of the day is always risky. Offering merch is a great way to strengthen your audience and customer base, but poor-quality products can hinder consumer trust and have even caused controversy across social media channels for creators in the past. We often see creators release multiple merch drops — high-quality products will help generate returning customers within a loyal fan base. Starting with high-quality products from the beginning will create a foundation for continued success in future merch drops. Thorough testing of multiple suppliers and product options is a great starting point to ensure you're working with premium quality suppliers.
The bottom line is low-quality merch is very likely to be a failure. Looking at the bigger picture, this could not only lead to losing customers, but also be a poor reflection of an influencer’s brand.
Rob Mobsby is director and head of digital at EverythingBranded, a provider of promotional products including custom mugs, pens and corporate gifts.
Rob Mobsby, EverythingBranded, Director and Head of Digital
As director and head of digital, Rob Mobsby is responsible for all aspects of marketing operations for EverythingBranded with a focus on digital transformation and expansion of the company’s online presence. Rob joined EverythingBranded after in 2018 having worked within the digital landscape for the past 18 years including roles at large companies like Amazon. Rob brings a digital mindset to a traditional industry.