Merch kits are nothing new.
Lately, many musicians are putting together merch hits that truly rock. And they’re being wise.
You see, if a promotional kit is done right, then they more valuable than their individual pieces. Instead of just being cool items, they become special editions that can even be given as gifts.
So if you haven’t started planning for one, you better do it after reading this article.
But first, let’s get into the basics…
WHAT ARE MERCH KITS?
For most companies, merch kits are packages with branded items that you give away to both internal and external audiences.
Some of the internal audience being the staff and talents (if they are a record label), while the external audience would be potential investors or clients.
The kits are customizable inside out. They usually contain custom branded items but there are times that there are unbranded ones, like snacks, employee handbooks, or a corporate brochure.
It depends on why you’re putting together the merch kit, so just read on and you’ll have a rough idea of what to have.
Aside from the custom-branded items, the kit, which holds everything together, is also customized. You can choose to have a packet, a box, a tin can, or whatever you have in mind as your items’ container.
These are then distributed to whoever you intend to give them to. In the case of musicians, these merch kits are intended for their fans and are usually offered during a n album release.
For K-pop artists, those who’ve got a large fanbase, release a yearly membership kit which includes both merch and a membership to the official fan club.
WHY DO THEY SELL MORE?
There’s really no need to question why they sell more than individual merch.
Look at it from a fan’s or customer’s perspective.
Would you really buy merchandise individually when you can already have them in a set or kit?
The answer is probably NOT unless I’m flat broke.
Even if a fan only wanted to buy two or three merch from the release, they would still prefer buying the kit because they will surely be saving more money than buying them individually.
Of course, individual merchandise would cost more than the kit since they will have their individual packaging.
Additionally, if your merch kit was created for the holiday, it becomes an awesome gift to give to a fan of yours or those that enjoy your music.
Obviously, sales for the kit would increase and you might even get a shortage.
AWESOME MERCH KITS WE’VE SEEN LATELY
Lots of merch kits have been released by musicians in the past years, so why not take a look at them to get inspirateion.
You can follow what was great about them and improve those that were lacking.
Here are some famous merch kits we love:
#1. BEYONCÉ’S RENAISSANCE BOX SET (POSE 1,2,3 &4)
The Renaissance Box Set includes the CD the latest album.
There are four different versions named Pose 1, Pose 2, Pose 3, and Pose 4 and each version has a different Beyoncé pose which is printed on the included tee and 4-panel softpak.
It also contains a photo booklet with 28 pages and a collectible mini poster. All of these are stored in a black box.
#2. BTS’ 2021 WINTER PACKAGE IN GANGWON
We gotta give it to the Koreans. When it comes to marketing, they know what they’re doing.
We have BTS’ winter package for the year 2021 and it sure exudes that holiday feels.
The holiday set is a purple themed with its purple-colored box package to the varying purple-colored inclusions. Inside the box is a pouch that can be designed using seven wappen stickers.
It also includes a photobook with 240 pages of pictures taken in Gangwon, a making DVD containing footage of the members’ photoshoot in a cardboard jacket, a photo set, a mini photo box, a mini poster set, a 6-cut film photo, a photocard, and a photo sticker.
Fans are surely waiting for another winter package from this group.
#3. BLACKPINK’S BLINK PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP KIT
And because we think one in simply not enough, let’s give it up for another Korean band.
For this year’s Blink membership kit, it had a lot of cute items in it.
It includes a membership card, a hologram photocard set, a postcard set, a normal photocard set, and several customized items.
The said items are a tumbler, a sticker set, a grip holder, a photocard binder, a masking tape+binder set, and a mini notebook set.
All of these are packed inside a pink customized box package. Given that there are a lot of items in it, We are pretty sure fans are loving it so much.
SOME MERCH KITS WE MADE
We’ve been making box sets and merch kits since 2008, and we can honestly say, they’re pretty awesome.
Check out our portfolio here if you want to find out.
Here are some of them:
SEAN PRICE- CAN’T FUCKING RAP
ROB ZOMBIE- MEET THE CREEPER
TIPS FROM EXPERTS
Now, for your information, we are not really experts on merch kits.
So, we really had to do some research about this. To help you better, here are the tips from experts that we were able to scavenge through the internet.
We are super sure they’ll be able to help you start and decide on matters about your merch kit.
1. KNOW THE REASON WHY YOU’RE CREATING THE KIT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
There are a lot of reasons why musicians would like to create a merch kit and you gotta figure out yours.
If you’re thinking of creating it as a way to promote your upcoming release, then you will have to add a download card or a physical album.
If it’s more on just a release for the season like the holidays or during the summer, then you will have to add items that they can use or will want for that season.
2. KNOW WHO YOU’LL BE SELLING THE KIT TO.
For the most part you already know who you will be selling to, obviously it would be your fans or listeners.
The tip here is to know them more like what they want and what they don’t.
To make sure that the kit and the items you have would be appealing to your fans, you will have to study and understand your fans.
3. PICK MERCHANDISE ITEMS THAT WOULD ATTRACT AND STAND OUT.
Generic items won’t do you any good because they can just buy them from anywhere.
It would be best to have branded ones, but better sift through them too so you’ll find ones that would really attract.
But if you must have that generic item, let’s say a pen, then you better customize that and make it stand out when put side by side with other pens.
4. DECIDE ON A COOL AND CREATIVE PACKAGING.
Your packaging says everything about your merch kit, if it looks cheap then the overall look of the kit would be cheap.
Remember that packaging is the first buyer attractor, so make sure to have a great eye-catching packaging.
5. MIND THE WEIGHT AND SIZE OF YOUR KIT.
Kits that weigh less than or equal to 1 lb have cheaper shipping fees through regular mail.
If you’re still planning your kit, then why not look out for the items’ weights right?
This will help you save money from all the shipping that you’ll surely be doing.
6. HAVE SUPPLIERS DO BULK SHIPPING FOR LESS INDIVIDUAL PACKAGING
When you order from a supplier, most items come in individual packaging.
Additional packaging adds weight and volume per item so most are put on kits without one.
If you already have an arrangement in mind for the items and you know you won’t need the individual packaging, then why not reduce those and request your supplier to ship them in bulk.
7. CHOOSE A NON-BREAKABLE VERSION OF THE FRAGILE ITEMS YOU WANT IN YOUR KIT.
If it would not break the aesthetic image or the overall theme of your merch kit, then we suggest having the non-breakable versions of the fragile items you intend to have on your kit.
If you were a fan yourself, We’re sure you wouldn’t want to open a kit where the goods are already broken.
8. SWAP OUT HAZMATS OR ITEMS WITH LITHIUM BATTERIES.
Hazmats and items that use lithium batteries are such a hassle to have and ship because they will cost you more since there will be a need for additional labeling and packaging
. If you can, and if it’s possible, it would be best to replace them with other items. If you can’t then be ready to face delays and complications.
Now that we are done with the tips from experts, here are some do’s and don’ts that you must follow to make sure you produce merch kits that would sell well even outside your fanbase.
1. CHOOSE ITEMS THAT ARE ECO-FRIENDLY
With the current state of our planet, most people are very environment-conscious.
There are also states and places that are already going plastic free, so it would be best to choose items that are made of eco-friendly materials e.g. cloth & paper.
2. INCLUDE YOUR FAVORITE FOOD ITEMS
This is another way you could connect with your fans.
If you include your favorite food in your kit, fans who also love it would find something in common with you. This makes you human for them, thus making you more reachable and approachable.
This will help you have a more genuine connection with your fans. You can also try adding food items you endorse, just make sure they are to your fans’ taste.
3. USE BUBBLE WRAPS OR YOUR MERCH SHIRT FOR PROTECTION
If you have delicate items and those that are easily deformed, then you better have those bubble wraps on that kit.
You can also consider adding a merch shirt to protect them, if you feel like the bubble wrap would be ruining the image of the kit.
Just remember to put some cushion for your fragile items so that they won’t be ruined.
4. ORGANIZE THE MERCH ITEMS.
You will definitely need to organize your merch items.
You wouldn’t want your fans to open their kits with the items in complete disarray, right?
Focusing on how the merch is displayed is a must do, or fans would think that you just threw everything in and shipped them.
The organization of the merch items speaks of your image too. You can have custom dividers made of cardboard or foam.
The way you present your merch shirt also falls here, you can use it as a divider if you roll it, and you can use it as the base for other items if you have it folded flat.
5. GIVE IT A RETAIL TOUCH
The items you will have for your merchandise, if they’re not customized will have nothing of your brand on them so the best thing to do is give it a retail touch.
You can use hang tags and even add a message on it.
Custom band stickers would also do , or if you want you can have a custom printed ribbon tied to the item.
1. PICK POOR QUALITY PRODUCTS
Don’t pick poor-quality products. When looking for a supplier, you better scrutinize the items they supply before choosing.
You wouldn’t want to outsource items that are defective and not of high quality.
Make sure to not do this, or the next merch kit you release will see sales that are close to none or none at all.
2. INCLUDE THROW-AWAY ITEMS
Don’t include throw-away items when you’re deciding on merch items to have on your kit.
Throw-away items are not sustainable and will be residing in landfills for years, which is something we have to avoid.
Having these easily disposable items is not an environment-friendly decision and fans will feel hesitant to buy your kit if you do so.
3. JUST USE YOUR LOGO
Don’t just use your logo.
You have to use bolder and more attractive designs for your custom merch items or your fans won’t feel that the release is special or a big deal.
Remember that your merch items must stand out.
If your merch won’t attract the eyes, fans and casual listeners would be hesitant to buy the kit and even the individual merchandise.
4. OVERDO OR UNDERDO THE PACKAGE DESIGN
Don’t ever, ever overdo or underdo your package design.
Yes, you have to have a cool and creative packaging, but don’t go overboard or fans will find it too much of a mess.
You can have a simple design that will still look cool or exude that cool vibes, but don’t make it too simple or it’ll leave a bad impression.
All you gotta do is find the right color, the right font style, and the right arrangement of your design’s elements and you will be able to have a great packaging.
5. FORGET TO PUT INFORMATION ABOUT THE ITEMS
Don’t forget to put information about the items on your kit.
If the items are quite rare and unfamiliar, the little information you will be putting would be very helpful. You can put how to use the item, or what it is.
If it’s a branded one, then maybe put some background information about the item, how it was made and how it can help save the Earth.
If it’s customized, maybe put a backstory of how you came up with the design.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what a merch kit is, and why it’s awesome to have one.
Just remember that a merch kit and its contents always depends on the reason why you want to have that merch kit and who you will be selling the merch kit to.
And of course, try to always choose items that would be good for the environment.
Follow the tips and the do’s and don’ts and we can guarantee you that you will be selling a lot of those merch kits.
Good luck and in case you need our service, we’re here to help!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.