Small Streamer, Big Merch

Merch Madness, pt 2: How Merch-on-Demand Can Make Merch Possible For Your Growing Channel

So, you’re really getting into streaming, and you’re ready to start considering options for making your own merch. There’s a ton of information to consider when planning your merch offerings. In this new series, we’re going to take a look at the 3 major categories of streamer merch, offer best use cases and solutions for each category, and some recommendations. You may be thinking to yourself, “The Noname Nerd sells some of this stuff,” and you’d be right! With that said, we’re about community first here, so we’ll provide you with a fair analysis, and at the conclusion of this series, we’ll give you some details about how you can partner with The Noname Nerd for merch solutions if they fit your needs!

We’ve already taken a look at full-scale merchandising, but what if you really can’t pull down the volume to justify a full-scale operation? Never fear, we’ve got another option that is approachable for any level, from large scale streamers that don’t want to hassle with running their own merch operations, all the way down to a small, upstarting streamer, who always wanted to be able to have their own merch! Allow us to introduce you to the “merch-on-demand” model.

With merch-on-demand, all you have to do is upload your design, put it on some merchandise, and then the vendor will host your merch on their platform. They’ll make the merchandise as you sell it, they’ll ship it out, and handle any customer service issues that may arise. It’s a pretty simple solution that takes a lot of the work out of your hands. Additionally, there is virtually zero overhead, since you aren’t directly paying for staff, warehouse space, or backstocks of merch. 

There are a lot of positives to this model, but there is one big drawback, and that is profit margin. Most services like this will give you a percentage of sales, usually in the lower double digits, paid out as a commission on your sales. While this isn’t as nice as saying “I’m gonna buy this shirt for $10 and sell it for $25,” it’s not really as bad as it might sound on the surface, unless you can pull down massive volume discounts. When you compare cost of goods, labor, warehousing rental and other overhead, and factor them in with your gross profit, the net profit will often look a lot closer to those commission percentages we’re seeing from the merch-on-demand guys. So, unless you’re pulling the kind of volume to get significant volume discounts on product, it’s often even-keel, or even more cost-effective to just go through a merch-on-demand service! 

As you might have guessed, we know a few people who have used services like that. We spoke to Noname Nerd Community Manager Joe Dalton. More importantly to this article; however, he runs BIGBITE Media, which is a smaller, yet successful YouTube channel, weighing in at just over 3,000 subscribers. He told us that BIGBITE has been successfully using merch-on-demand for years now. Thanks to their use of that style platform, they’ve been able to offer a wide variety of merchandise without having to take on additional costs. It’s allowed them to make merch specifically for events, like Extra Life tee shirts or Pride collections. He’s been through a few different providers over the years, and currently uses The Noname Nerd for all of BIGBITE’s merch needs.

Merch-on-demand is a fantastic option to bring merch to your channel, without a ton of work or upfront costs. It’s also fully scalable to the size of your audience and business. And yes, you read that last paragraph right, merch-on-demand is one of the many services we provide to our streamers. At the end of this series, we’ll explore exactly what it is we do here, and what makes our merch-on-demand service special. All in due time. Next up? We’re talking convention swag and giveaways, so stay tuned! Want more resources for streamers? Check out our Discord and Facebook groups! Not already a member? Grab the links to our communities at NerdsBelongHere.com! And as always, stay tuned to this blog for more great tips and tricks!

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