If you’ve been thinking about selling merchandise at your music school, then this article is for you! Looking to up your revenue? Want to increase your brand awareness? Searching for a way to set yourself apart from your competition? We’ve put together a list with everything you need to know to about selling merchandise at your music school.
Why Sell Merchandise at Your Music School?
But before we cover how to open your own retail store, let’s first talk about why. The way we see it, a music studio is the perfect place to sell items like sheet music, instruments and even branded apparel. Here are the two main reasons that opening a music school store should hit the right note with your students:
1. You’re already the expert
Your students already see you as their go-to for lessons, why not add merch to your repertoire? Your credibility is already established, so it’s not much of a leap to recommend items for your students to buy (such as music workbooks, sheet music, instrument accessories, etc. ) and then to offer those products yourself.
2. It’s convenient
Today’s fast-paced society likes nothing better than a one-stop-shop! Get everything you need in one place? Multi-task your errands? Save some valuable time? Yes to all of those scenarios!
When you offer your students the convenience of buying merchandise in one place (either in-store or online) you’ll boost your perceived value along with your bottom line.
How to Sell Merchandise at Your Music School
OK, now that you’ve gotten an understanding of why it makes sense to sell merchandise at your music school, how do you get started? Check out our step by step guide and follow your path to success:
Step 1: Decide what to sell
First thing’s first: what do you want to sell? Start by asking yourself what people are interested in buying. Or even better, go right to the source: ask your students what they would like to see in your store. You could sell music, instruments, sheet music, branded merchandise (think clothing, water bottles, bag accessories) and more!
You might even want to list a few choices and send out an email to your students. This will help grow awareness for your endeavor, and get some valuable feedback – a double whammy!
Another important thing to consider is profit. If you want to make money, you’re going to have to do some math. Invest in inventory that you think you can sell. You don’t want to have items that won’t move and end up having to decrease your profits by selling them at a lower price.
How do you figure this out? The idea is to mark up your inventory so that you make a profit, but keep your margin low enough that it’s still attractive for purchase. One tip is to stake out your competition to see what the going rate is for a similar item. That’s a great way to get an idea of what you might be able to charge.
Don’t forget to include all costs associated with the item before you decide on your retail price. This is a common mistake! Forgetting that you paid for shipping, manufacturing, branding or any other “in process costs” when you calculate your margin will leave you in the red.
You want to offer a fair price to your students for the merchandise at your music school, while making a healthy profit at the same time, that way everybody wins!
Step 2: Consider where you will sell your merchandise
Now that you know what to charge for the merchandise at your music school and the items you plan to feature, the next question is where should you set up shop?
Whether you go with in-store or online, there are pros and cons to consider for both:
Let’s start with the obvious: having the stock in-store offers your students the ability to touch and try the items before they buy them.
While that may help sales, it means that if you physically have the merchandise at your school, you need to buy it first! That comes with a certain amount of risk: not selling that inventory could result in a lower profit if you have to put it on sale later.
Conversely, while selling merchandise online provides no “sensory experience”, you may only have to purchase the items as they are bought and paid for by your students. So minimal financial risks for you!
On the other hand, having items for sale at your music school means better awareness, as students will see your store on the way to their lessons. With an online store, the “out of sight out of mind” principle may negatively affect your sales.
While having your merchandise available at your music school provides the convenience of purchasing during your students’ visits; selling online offers the convenience of purchasing anytime, anywhere via your Client App. And in the digital age, consumers have notably moved over to shopping online.
There’s a lot to consider! The point here is that you need to find a model that works for your business. Both options can be successful, and some people try a little of both. Poll your students, do some research, decide the best approach for your music school — and then, rock on!
Step 3: Decide where to source your inventory
The next issue to tackle is the question of where to source your merchandise.
Our suggestion? Look local! Here are just a few of the reasons why we feel that shopping within your community will improve the experience for you and for your students:
People like to support businesses in their own neighborhood. By helping the families of small business owners in their own backyard, you and your students will know that you’re helping your own community grow and prosper.
How can shopping locally save you money? Well, imagine being able to avoid duty at the border, additional tax or the cost of shipping internationally. Local suppliers and producers offer the opportunity to save on all those costs. How great is that?
Partnering with experts in your community means that you may be able to develop friendships and partnerships that will help your business grow. Co-branding, sponsored events or partnerships are just a few of the ways that business relationships can help you prosper in the future. Not to mention, a local ally can be a great resource when building your business and your brand.
Ready to meet the producers in your community? Source local suppliers, develop relationships and then tell everyone you know!
Step 4: Look at how to promote your store
You’ve decided what to sell and how you’re going to sell it. Now it’s time to get the people to buy! How do you convince your existing customers to check out the merchandise at your music school?
Let’s start with the basics: awareness is key. If people don’t know you’re selling merchandise, then they can’t buy it.
How can you get the word out? Start with the basics! Good, old-fashioned word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread great news. Put a sign up at the front desk, take your students on a tour (or virtual tour) and remind them at the end of class to check out your merchandise.
Email or text marketing is another effective way to reach a lot of people at once. Not familiar with the concept of mobile marketing? That’s where software comes in! Check with your software provider to see what email and SMS capabilities they offer.
Also consider using social media to get the word out. Host an event, a launch or offer a promo to build up the hype and get people excited.
Now it’s time to start tooting your own horn! (See what we did there?) When it comes to building your business, don’t hold back. You’re offering your students the convenience of buying merchandise from an already trusted source. It’s a service they’re sure to appreciate.
Step 5: Get help
Why try and do it all yourself? Get the experts involved to help simplify the process. WellnessLiving offers an all-in-one music school software, with email & SMS capabilities, a customizable client app, online store management, and much more. We are trusted by music school owners and wellness businesses worldwide! So why not make it easier on yourself? Let us take some of the work out of growing your studio while you focus on starting your store.
Time to Get Started!
Now that we’ve covered the why and the how of selling merchandise at your music school, what are you waiting for?
By booking a free, no-commitment demo with WellnessLiving, you’ll get to take advantage of our expertise, while saving precious time to get your store up and running. If this is music to your ears, contact us today to get started!