How to Sell Merchandise at a Virtual Event

Having merchandise available at your events can be a crucial part of connecting with your audience. Customized, unique merchandise gives customers the ability to rep your brand after the event, and is a valuable way of engaging with your event attendees. 

Merchandise is also a great way to extend your company’s brand awareness and value. If the people who attended your event liked it so much that they want to spend money just to represent your brand- that says a lot. 

It’s also important to note the extra revenue that merch can add to your overall returns. Even if a small amount of your audience decides to purchase your products, at the end of the day, that’s still an extra $10 in your pocket. 

For years, it’s been commonplace for in-person events to have merch stands and sponsored shops scattered around the venue. In the past year, however, in-person events have been few and far between. As virtual events have suddenly become the new norm for many companies, there’s been a distinct change in the event merchandise sphere. 

As so many in-person events were canceled and quickly converted to a virtual medium, the majority of planners wrote merchandise stores off as an unnecessary element to worry about. The few online events that did include products often just sent out counteractive emails that had links to virtual stores.

So, how can you effectively sell merchandise at your digital event? 

Here’s our guide to selling merchandise at online events

As we’ve already mentioned, selling merchandise at your event is a great way to connect with audience members, spread brand awareness, and make a little extra revenue during your event. 

According to an article by Eventbrite, merch stores provide a physical connection that many attendees are missing during a digital experience. This article references a beer festival held by Vegas Beverage Group where attendees could preemptively order packages that contained ten featured beers and some extra swag. This kind of merch is super effective not only because it directly coincides with the event itself but also because it gives people a similar experience at home that they would have had at an in-person event. 

While not all events can return to an in-person medium, there are still a lot of people who miss the physical experience. The best you can do is offer everything you possibly can to make your audience members feel connected and engaged. 

Before you start working on your new and improved merch store, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose your merchandise partner wisely. No one wants to buy a scratchy t-shirt with an ironed-on logo. Make sure your products are top-notch and worth the money that people might spend on them. You want people to be excited to use your branded, high-quality mug for their morning coffee.
  • Remember who you’re marketing to. You know your audience. What kind of products do you think they’ll love? If your company is focused on music production, make some branded headphones that consumers can use at work. 
  • Make the experience as smooth as possible. Don’t make your attendees sort through disorganized links or multiple web pages. Utilize the opportunities that virtual events offer and make your merch store accessible and easy to navigate.

We’ve found that the best way to sell your merchandise at an online event is within the platform itself. You don’t want to run the risk of attendees clicking links that take them away from your event. By having an in-platform merch store, you allow potential customers to continue enjoying the event while also browsing your virtual storefront.

Jumbo’s platform offers several different tools and widgets that can be customized and added to your main stage. Alongside the live chat and the list of attendees, you can enable an in-platform merchandise store that allows customers to check out your swag while not missing a single second of your event. Your audience doesn’t want to click through different links and close out of multiple tabs just to view your merch store. Make this experience seamless and easy while also eliminating the risk of attendees clicking off of your event. 

Hopefully by now, we’ve proven the importance of having merchandise at your online event. 

If you still need some convincing, check out this study. According to Kite, a product printing company, 85% of people buy merchandise at some point in their lives. The same study also found that 50% of people who buy merch feel more connected to the brand after purchasing. Not only does this show that the majority of people are interested in buying merchandise from events, but it also shows that it can increase brand attachment and trust. 

While some might see merchandise as an unnecessary expense, we see it as an opportunity to make connections and spread brand awareness. 

From music festivals to sporting events, nearly all in-person experiences offer merchandise in some way, shape, or form. Why should virtual events be any different?