How to design your own merchandise: 5 steps to make it happen

In this evolving, competitive world, industries are leveling up their game to boost their sales and profits. Businesses are diversifying strategies to achieve increased opportunities in an ultra-competitive landscape.

In order to succeed in this goal, a company should prioritise the customer, focusing on delivering unique and interesting products and an excellent buying experience. 

One of the most effective strategies that can advance your business quickly, is the use of promotional products or merchandise. A branded piece of merchandise refers to any type of product containing your brand’s name and logo, which highlights, promotes, and presents your products and services. 

Why Make Your Own Merchandise?

Customers don’t simply purchase what products they need, but they’re also looking for fun and excitement while shopping. Returning, loyal customers, particularly, support their favorite brands through buying their merchandise. 

In 2019, distributors of promotional products reached an annual sales revenue of US$24.2 billion, indicating how implementing merchandise into companies significantly impacted marketing success.

When used correctly, promotional products can drive potential customers to your business. 

How To Design Your Own Merchandise 

Creating and producing your brand’s merchandise should focus on making meaningful relationships with customers, and not only for the sake of gaining profit.

If you’re looking into adding merchandise into your business, these steps and tips will help you design your own promotional products:

1. Identify your audience

While your merchandise is inclusive to anyone, you should accurately pinpoint who your target audience is, which are your customers, supporters, followers, or fans. Through prioritising the interest of your existing customers, you can continue to pursue a long-term relationship while enticing potential customers as well. 

One excellent way to accurately recognise your audience is through conducting polls and surveys on your social media platforms. You can also add some questions for your audience to answer, involving merch design trends, suggestions, and preferences. 

Determining the target audience also helps entrepreneurs to make the most of their merchandise resources. Through knowing what your clients want, you can implement Print On Demand, where you’ll only have to order the exact quantity of needed merchandise and avoid letting them sit in your storage. 

2. Narrow down your merchandise

Moving forward, you’ll have better ideas which promotional products to choose thanks to your audience. The next step is to narrow down your brand’s merchandise. Choosing your promotional products is a crucial step, and you should ensure that it’s supported with research and insights. 

Promotional products have countless options, ranging from wearables to decorations. Here’s a list of the most popular merchandise offered by companies that you can get inspiration from:

  • Clothing items such as shirts and sweaters
  • Coffee mugs and tumblers
  • Stationery items
  • Button and enamel pins
  • Bags and hats
  • Lanyards

3. Collaborate with merch professionals

Designing and bringing your merchandise into life is challenging if you’re only working with your teammates. For a faster and more convenient designing and production, it’s ideal to collaborate with companies who specialise in the field of merchandise. Still, you don’t have to worry because you’re still involved in the production, particularly in the planning process.

One option is to leverage the services of a printing company that can save you the hassle and costs of hiring your own production team. For instance, some printing companies already offer blank apparel and accessories for a base price, then you can add the printing cost of your desired print.

This method is extremely convenient as you only need to download the OGO Shopify App, and proceed with their instructions.

4. Remember who you are

Promotional products aren’t another line or variation of your products. Instead, it should reflect your brand identity. Who will customers remember once they see a certain merchandise? In order to produce your own merchandise, it’s crucial to take a step back on your brand’s identity and ensure that your promotional products are aligned with your image. 

For instance, if your company supports good environmental causes, then it’s worth looking at eco-friendly promotional products including ecobags, reusable utensils, travel cups, recyclable products, and more. The same goes with a brand that empowers mental health through making merch designs related to mental healthcare, and donating a portion of your sales to mental health institutions.

5. Utilise designing tools and software

Hiring professional graphic designers for your merch design are only optional. If you have the talent to design your own, then this is a great advantage for your pocket. Various designing software and tools facilitate in designing your merch, and you can even find ready-made templates on some of them. 

Utilising these designing platforms prove that you don’t have to break the bank to achieve a good quality design of your merchandise. Instead of paying commission to your graphic designer, you can allot these costs for your production. 

The bottom line

Creating your brand’s merchandise might look easy on the outside, but it takes a great deal of planning, designing, and manufacturing to accomplish them successfully.

If your promotional products fail to achieve what they’re supposed to, which is to engage more people into your business, then this will be a considerable financial hit on your company.

Keep these tips in mind when designing your brand’s merchandise and if you have success, let us know in the comments.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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