Smart Merchandising Strategies for your Business


You’ve been put in charge of buying branded merch for your company – congratulations. With a few tips and some planning you’ll create successful, smart merchandising strategies for your business.

In this article, we’ll share our best tips for planning and executing smart merch campaigns that raise your brand awareness and are eco-conscious. And we’ll help you avoid some pitfalls.

Avoid conflicting merch messages

Take the time to ensure your brand values and messages don’t conflict with the merch you choose. If they conflict, you’re sending a confusing brand message that can create a loss of trust in your target customer.

For example, if your brand promotes the “buy local” message but puts that message on a tote bag manufactured overseas, that’s a conflicting message. In this case, look for a tote made in your home city, state, province, or country. Your brand is focused on sustainability – make sure your branded merchandise reflects those same values.

dont do drugs merch

Test your merch

Always test your merch for all intended uses before creating it. Run through scenarios of how it will be used, re-used or given away. The best example of a branded merchandise program that didn’t go to plan was the “Too Cool To Do Drugs” pencil campaign. In this infamous campaign, the brand engraved the phrase “TOO COOL TO DO DRUGS” written up the side of the pencil. Unfortunately, their merchandising strategy didn’t consider that kids would be sharpening their pencils. As they did, the messaging changed by dropping one word at a time:

Considering the intended use of your merch also applies when you do car wrap advertising. When designing marketing graphics or ads for car wraps, don’t forget that doors open, windows close, and van doors slide. When they do, your message may get distorted. Here are some funny car wrap advertising fails.

The pencil and car wrap examples help us illustrate our point: make sure any intended (or unintended) uses of your merch (or advertising) don’t distort your message.

Always Speell Chek

If your merch has any text, run a spell check and have several real people make sure there aren’t any typos, like there were in that last heading! Also make sure any URLs, phone numbers, emails, and other critical information has been fact-checked to ensure accuracy and correctness. It would be a disaster to print 25,000 Golf Shirts only to discover your URL is wrong or you have an embarrassing typo.

Always spell check!

Choose eco vs one-time or “wasteful” products

If you want a strong response from your product merch strategies, opt for environmentally friendly or conscious products for your merch. Also, consider printing fewer promotional items people just toss away (like pens, stickers, and balloons) and more that people can use multiple times (like drinkware, backpacks, and high-quality apparel).

Be smart about your merch choices. Opt for fewer, higher-quality items rather than more, lesser-quality throw-away promotional items.

Check the efficacy of eco-merch

It’s easy to order merch just because it uses buzz words like “eco-friendly” in the description. Research the manufacturer (and any third parties you may be working with) to ensure that the product’s eco-claims are truthful.

Then, look beyond the product itself to the company and their ethics and business practices:

How to start a smart merchandising strategy (the right way)

Do you have an idea for a marketing campaign and want to use branded merch in your smart strategy? Do you want to order merch with your logo on it for a tradeshow or giveaways?

Your best place to start is by talking to a customized merchandising company that shares your values. Talk to one who knows each of their promo item suppliers and can tell you which ones will create merch to align with your ESG or sustainability goals. Look for a merchandising company that puts sustainability as a top priority in its business practices.

Fairware recognizes that our business can have a negative impact on the environment and is committed to promoting sustainability in all of our activities. We are committed to reducing the impact of our work both in the office and when work takes us away from the office.

When you work with a company like Fairware, we can help you be smart when creating your merchandise strategies. We know the best suppliers who provide high-quality, environmentally conscious products.

Tell us your vision for your smart merchandising strategy or campaign, and we’ll help align your ideas and goals with the perfect custom-branded products. Contact us to get started today.