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Move that Merch! (Marketing Cafe Merchandise)

Successfully marketing merchandise is a strategic process. The good news is we found a tried-and-true four-ingredient recipe “The Marketing Mix,” which frames a merchandising structure that won’t overwhelm customers at checkout. The best part is it’s customizable, so anyone can replicate the structure while keeping it on brand.




It may seem aggressive to have a process for your merchandise, but these can be some of the highest margin products in your store. They also create advertising for you, once the customer has left the cafe.


Step 1: The More You Know

People are influenced by knowledge and experience. The more you know about your merch and have sampled and tested your products, the more credibility you earn to give an informed opinion. Credibility is influential, and customers will trust and respond to your authentic feedback.


This also means your baristas. As they are an extension of you, when you are not around, train and teach them well.


Step 2: The Price Is Right

If you price it, people will pay. That sounds overly simplified but let us explain. The price of a product is less relevant to customers than the reason it’s priced. Once you have taken the time to get to know your products, you’ll become more aware of the sourcing, quality and the price points of competitors for similar products. Do a price comparison of similar merch, at other cafes in your area. These are strong foundations on which to build your price points and market merch, respectively.


While you’re there, take stock of *what* they are selling as well. Well branded merch seems to move better than a logo on a white Gildan Tshirt. I know it sounds crazy, but while you’re at the cafe, ask the barista. What sells the best? What is the product they’ve had on their shelves forever? 


Insider tip, if they’ve changed logos recently, and still have merch with the ‘old logo’, it’s been there too long 🙂 



Step 3: Let It Flow

Customers should be engaged from the moment they walk in the door to your café until the moment they walk back out. The path from the door to the cash register should flow naturally and the placement of your products can help drive traffic and, ultimately, drive sales. Use this flow to stagger merch in different price ranges to keep from overwhelming customers and to make each item stand out.


Try this, instead of having all of your products that you have out on the shelves / at the register; just put one sample of each of your products. This showcases everything you have, yet keeps your area clean and simple. (It can also give the perception that your merch is in high demand.)





Step 4: Promo Pros

It stands to reason that promoting your merch externally will ease the worry of overwhelming customers at checkout. Use your digital presence to market your merch, so customers interacting with you in that space will engage both online and in-house. In addition, promoting items through flash sales (think “One day only!”) will boost sales on featured merch.


It all boils down to this: Know your product, price it accordingly, place your merch strategically and promote it on outward facing platforms.