As expected more and more streamers, no matter of size, are pushing merchandise. Everything from T-shirts, snapbacks, stickers and all the way down to socks. However there’s a few things that have made me stop and think about how well these really go and what you can do to make your Twitch channel merchandise a little bit better.
Twitch channel merchandise sales are bad
You have your Twitch channel merchandise ready to go but you haven’t started the campaign yet. You’re thinking about setting up something for October, you do what you always do and start the campaign. It’s not a super success but you make a profit. Now what do you do? You have Christmas coming up right? So you look at what other streamers are doing and you see that they’re doing discounts for Christmas. Smart right? You catch that Christmas spree where people buy as much as possible.
Well here’s the thing you’ve now set the standard that if your audience just waits long enough they can get it cheaper. This might not happen the first time around and you might even get some feedback like “Great! I missed it the first time around!”. Yes it’s great news for those that couldn’t afford it or just missed it the first time. However as you keep going more and more will catch on that if they only wait a little longer they can get the same product (and sometimes a updated version) for a lower price.
“But hey Daniel this is what all of my local stores does. They have summer sales, winter sales etc. and when clothes go out of style they also do discounts.” Let me surprise you with something here, you’re not a clothing store! You don’t have new shipment of clothes coming in from wherever they get their clothes and you don’t run your channel based around seasons. (*Alright there’s a case to be made that with good branding you can make that concept work but it’s unless that’s kept in mind you’re not going to get a better return on your Twitch channel merchandise because of that.)
What can we do to make Twitch channel merchandise sales better?
When we look at Twitch channel merchandise as it stands today it’s not a clothing store and it’s not a grocery store so we need to adjust how we sell Twitch channel merchandise. Let’s start with why people buy your shirts or other Twitch channel merchandise. Reciprocity. That means that they might not be buying from you because you have the coolest design but because you’ve given them entertainment enough for them to now pay you back. While not always the whole truth it’s a big part of it. This goes for really anything that you do. Someone will only retweet or share your channel if they think you’ve given them enough and if they see that sharing your channel with someone will benefit that person (that’s also why you need a clear brand message).
Liking. It’s pretty simple when someone likes your content you’re going to see a larger return. However it can be something smaller as a show you have, a emote you have or a catchphrase. The mere fact that people like these things will allow for you to better sell your Twitch channel merchandise.
To a much smaller extent we also have Social Proof. Why do I say it’s to a smaller extent? The thing is that it’s not really something that we’ve seen used that often with Twitch streamers. Sure having StreamerNews post about it is a huge upside and shows that it’s something you might want to pay attention to. However again you’re not a clothing store or produce anything so it’s going to rely a lot more on who you are. I’ll give you this idea for free: Cross-promotion. I’m sure you’re already networking a bunch and know other streamers. Reach out to them, create video or do a stream together, create a campaign together, tell them that you’ll help them the next time and so on. This the reason why you network so use that to your advantage.
Lastly I want to talk about Scarcity. As I mentioned above a lot of streamers have certain process with Twitch channel merchandise. In that first it goes up and then it goes on sale at a discounted price at a later date. Setting this standard will only make it so people rather wait for that sale/discount. What can we do instead? Clothing stores create scarcity by telling you that there’s a end to the sale, however we’re not a clothing store so that’s never really going to work. It’s already in place that Twitch channel merchandise is on countdown but again if we keep adding discounts that countdown stops having any meaning.
The real way to create scarcity here is to flip it and reverse it. Instead of having a discount we do the sale upfront and we do the higher price later. That would always mean that buying on the first printing will also be a benefit and will always be a better choice rather then to wait. The thing we you do the opposite of this and have the sale at the end is that you’re punishing your most loyal fans with a bad deal. The same way that you if you only wait long enough can get a game 60% off and launch bugs might even be gone at that point.
There’s a bunch of ways to get scarcity to happen but this right here is a starting point. However the point here is to think outside of the box for all of the above points. Try something new and interesting. What works for a big streamer might not work for you and what works for you might not work for a big streamer. Use your strengths, passion and if you’re a small channel even use that to your advantage.
Want to talk more about Twitch channel merchandise strategy with me? You can always hire me to do that and your Twitch branding as well. Twitch channel merchandise strategy is a part of Twitch branding after all.