Merchandise (more widely known as “merch”) is one of the more popular ways that artists generate revenue, advertise their project / music and connect with their fans. Merch includes everything from stickers to vinyl records, graphic tees, jewelry or hats. It usually travels with the artists and they may need a hand selling from time to time – and this guide is here to help!

1. Touch Base with Artist Team

You’ll want to touch base with your artist’s team both before and after the show to check in on any preferences they may have that could deviate from this blog!

2. Scope Out Your Space

Many artists need things like power and wifi to run their merch stand smoothly. We recommend arriving early enough to scope out your space, set up your station and address any missing information or equipment you may need. Here are some things to consider as your evaluating where your merch stand will be:

  • Security – Is there a wall or partition to help secure the space or provide a barrier between seller and fans?
  • Environment – Are you setting up inside or outside? If outside – you may want a tent and some paperweights to protect the product from the elements.
  • Location – Is the space visible from the stage where the artist can motion to it during the set? Can it be easily located by attendees?
  • Power – Do you or the artist have lights to hang or a POS (point of sale) system to power?
  • Wifi – Does the artist require wifi for their POS? Is there a wifi password you’ll need to note?
  • POS System – What point of sale system does your artist use? The most popular POS apps include Shopify, Square and AtVenu. Some artists may also use Venmo / Paypal – be sure to get their account names for these apps as well!
  • Merch Bank – Is your artist providing you with petty cash to make change for cash transactions? If so, be sure to count your starting bank amount!
  • Lighting – make sure the space is adequately lit. This includes lighting for while you are working as well as any lighting that may be needed to “beacon” the merch table to other fans.

Merch will usually arrive during artist load-in so you’ll want to have an idea of where your merch table will be prior to artist arrival. Somewhere visible from the stage against a wall or with some sort of barrier is most ideal. A merch table with a wall behind the seller allows some security providing a buffer between the merch and any fans / unauthorized personnel.

3. Count Inventory

Before, during and after the artist’s set – it’s important to ensure all merch is handled and stored properly. This includes using care when handling more fragile items, ensuring vinyl is stored upright and out of the sun / away from heat sources and that posters are stored or weighed down (if outside).

Selling merch can get hectic so it’s important to set yourself up for success before doors open. Organizing merch by product, color and size will allow you to find what you need quickly and keep your line moving. Bring a pen, some masking tape, and some sticky notes or a notebook to label boxes that the merch is stored in. Some artists may even request that you take inventory of their items to help them keep track of how much they’ve sold and if anything needs to be ordered for future dates. This can be a time consuming process so arriving early and prioritizing your organization is your best bet for a successful night!

Here is an example of a quick scribble-down inventory sheet:

Black Tee
S – 6 / 2
M – 5 / 1
L – 11 / 9
XL – 5 / 4
2X – 12 / 11

White Tee
S – 3 / 1
M – 5 / 2
L – 7 / 4
XL – 3 / 3
2X – 1 / 0

EP – 10 / 4
New Release – 11 / 3

Since inventory will likely need to be done twice (before and after) this allows a quick and easy way to recount, organize and report your totals back to the artist. Your initial count is shown on the left side of the slash and your end-of-night count on the right.

4. Set up & Organize Merch

Now that you have all of your counts completed, all of your information gathered and pricing info organized… You’re ready to set up your table! Check in with your merch gear to see if the artist came with anything to spruce up the layout of the merch stand. This could be t-shirt grates, lights, or a tablecloth. Be sure to incorporate these into your setup as they help draw in fans to check out their merch.

Your table set up should clearly show all items for sale in an organized and appealing manner (or as good as possible with limited space). Vinyl and CDs should be organized by release date; t-shirts should be folded neatly (or hung on the t-shirt grate). If you’re working with two-sided shirts or hoodies and have the space, hanging or placing two of the same shirt to showcase the front and the back is best. If no space is available, just make sure to mention the full design to patrons.


How you present the merch is a reflection of the artist and their brand. Fans are more likely to invest in merch when the products are presented tastefully and in an organized manner. You’ll want to prioritize the visibility of the following info to optimize your line and answer your most asked questions in advance!


All pricing should be visible for each merch piece. Feel free to group like items with the same price together (example: Tees – $25 or Vinyl – $30). If there are several different price points for like-items, it is best to list the price for each item.


During inventory you may notice that an artist is out of a specific size. If possible, notate this to ensure fans can quickly find an alternative merch item in their desired size. This will prevent you from having to dig through boxes to search for an item that is no longer in stock – holding up your line.

Release Dates / Music Products

Someone hearing an artist for the first time may want to buy a vinyl or CD that sounds the most like the set from that show. If possible, this is a great question to ask the artist. Additional information to have are the release dates of all music products. Release years can typically be found on the back of a CD or vinyl,  otherwise Spotify, Apple Music, or even a quick Google search can provide this information. For simplicity – feel free to organize your CD / Vinyl presentation from oldest to newest.

5. Sell!

The night is underway and your stand is bustling! Some things to keep in mind throughout your shift – how busy you find yourself will likely ebb and flow. Reorganizing your inventory during any downtime will help keep you at a good pace when sales pick up again. Keep a small notepad nearby to indicate any sizes or products you sell out of throughout the night. This is a great reference to have to quickly answer any questions and prevent any unnecessary digging around!

6. Tear Down

As your sales wrap up and you’re getting ready to tear down, you’ll want to make sure you’re setting up the artist for a great and organized start tomorrow. A closing checkover list will help the artist at their next show and leave a great impression on you and your organization!

  • Complete count out inventory
  • Merch is organized and packed with care
  • Any power cables are wrapped neatly
  • Petty cash is recounted and noted
  • Any display items are taken off of hangers or display grates and packed

If you were logged into an artist’s account on a POS app on your personal device, be sure to log out (in front of a member of the artist team if at all possible!) before leaving.

7. Square up with Artist Team

Touch base with a member from the artist team and physically hand over petty cash before leaving.

Merch split settlements

Check in with your day of show contact to ensure they follow up on any merch split agreements that they made with the venue. They may have a few questions regarding what was sold, so you may need to provide some of your sale data. This is usually quickly found in the transaction history of the point of sale app you used for your sales.

Lastly – pat yourself on the back! Successfully running merch for an artist is a great way to lighten the load of their team – knowing they can depend on you to help make sure things run smoothly.

Jen Buhrow

Entertainment Logistics Coordinator | How To Concerts

Jen‘s love of live music led to gigs as a stage manager, merch seller, and more. She now keeps us organized by handling contracts, timelines, and calendars. Have questions for Jen? Feel free to reach out.

920.600.8100   |

Jen Buhrow

Entertainment Logistics Coordinator | How To Concerts

Jen‘s love of live music led to gigs as a stage manager, merch seller, and more. She now keeps us organized by handling contracts, timelines, and calendars. Have questions for Jen? Feel free to reach out.

920.600.8100   |