We all have that favorite concert t-shirt that has it all – the looks, the comfort, the style. It’s the one perfect shirt. What makes that t-shirt so perfect? The fit? The fabric? The design?
Branded merch serves as an important part of our identity. It reminds us of good memories and tells other people what we like and what we’re about.
Let’s Start with the WHY
If you’ve never sold merchandise for your haunt before and are intimidated by the task, or are looking for fresh ideas, this is the post for you.
If you’ve got it flaunt it – and boy have you got it! The spooky mood lighting, terrifying costumes, plenty of cobwebs, some jump scares, and the sound of a chain saw playing on repeat. The only thing missing now is a cup of hot coffee steaming out of your well-branded, haunt-themed coffee mug.
How many times have you been to a concert or haunters convention or your favorite shop and bought their merchandise? Probably dozens of times. Well, it’s time to start considering giving your haunt’s guests the same opportunity.
It may seem like a scary task (you might rather sew Frankenstein together again instead), but if your guests want to support you and rep your brand, you should make it as simple as possible for them to do that. Whether you opt for branded t-shirts, a spooky sticker, or a coffee mug with a goblin’s face on it, well-designed merch could be a game changer for your haunt.
When considering what merch you want to provide, you should first determine WHO will be purchasing this merch – in other words, who is your target audience? And each item could potentially appeal to a different guest.
For example, maybe you design a t-shirt which would appeal to your younger audience. Then, maybe, you design a coffee mug to appeal to an older crowd (hopefully not the pitch-fork toting angry mob kind). Hot tip – stickers go over really well with younger generations (specifically Gen Z).
Wondering how to determine who your target audience is? Start with identifying their age, income level, hobbies, interests, and even their style. To figure those out you could use attendance records, check out the competition, or send out a survey to past guests. These demographics will give you insight and allow you to create a well-rounded and appealing offering for your guests.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to limit yourself to only one target audience. You can create different products that are designed for different audiences and cover all the bases you want to. Once you determine who will be buying your merch, then you can sit down and design something truly terrifying; but in a ‘this is now my favorite coffee mug or t-shirt’ kind of way.
Now that you’ve sorted out WHO you’re designing merch for, you have to decide WHAT you want to offer. This part is often tricky, because you want to design something that people will really want to use/wear.
The important thing to keep in mind is that slapping your logo on something and calling it a day isn’t going to cut it with your guests. They’re looking for something unique and out-of-the-box that appeals to their ghoulish side. Maybe that means designing a goblet with your haunt’s name etched on the stem, or maybe that means building a miniature version of your haunted house they can use to decorate (that one’s a much larger task though).
Here are a few ideas you should consider:
- Classic t-shirts
- Coffee Mugs
- Water Bottle
- Travel Mug
- Drink Koozie
- Phone Case
- Sweat Pants
- Face Mask
- Tote Bag
There’s no need to try and reinvent the wheel with this one – sometimes less is more. There’s no shame in going with the tried and true as long as you put your own spin on it and think of it as a fun, engaging way of advertising your haunt. You don’t have to sell all the things all at once either, start with one or two staple items and branch out from there as time goes on.
The WHERE & HOW
We’re the first to admit that a great werewolf costume can be scary effective, but selling merchandise at your haunt doesn’t have to be that scary (leave that up to your scare actors). There are literally hundreds of places you can source merchandise from and many of them will help you create designs that represent your brand and your style.
WHERE should you sell these items? For the best results, we recommend selling your merch online and on site if you have the capacity. Creating space in your box office or gift shop for merchandise as well as setting up an online option will allow your guests to support you with ease.
You might already be selling merchandise at your haunt but haven’t made it available online yet. If that’s the case, you’re potentially leaving money on the table. If your merchandise is well designed, it should hold up throughout the year and since people spend more money online, it could offer a somewhat passive income during the off-season.
It’s great to talk about who your audience is, what type of merch you may create, and where to sell it, but you might be curious about the HOW. Specifically how to list your merch online and set everything up.
The great news is that if you’re already using HauntPay (or if you make the switch today), you’ll be able to list your items, manage inventory, and track sales from the same platform where you sell tickets. If you don’t have existing merchandise to sell, you could even work with a drop-shipping provider or print-on-demand marketplace to eliminate the need for keeping a large inventory on site.
Not to mention things like upsells and bundles which allow you to increase your revenue and your guests to get all their favorite things for one easy price.
Interested in learning more about selling your haunt’s merchandise and tickets on the same platform with ease? Schedule a demo with HauntPay and learn how!