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How E-commerce Helps Creators Grow Their Business

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From single content sales to memberships, social tokens and NFTs, there are many ways for creators to monetize content online and grow their business.

In a world that’s growing more digital by the day, tangible products are still a key source of revenue for many creators. In fact, according to the Influencer Marketing Factory’s (IMF) 2021 Creator Economy Report, 7% of creators rely on merchandise sales as their main source of income.

No matter what you create, a diverse monetization strategy is a crucial part of building a sustainable business. If you’re a creator who’s interested in selling merchandise as a way to complement digital sales, opening up an e-commerce shop might just be the answer.

Before you get started, however, there are a few points you should consider. Read on for some frequently asked questions about launching an e-commerce shop, along with tips on getting the most out of your intellectual property.


What kinds of products can creators sell?

These days, many creators choose to sell goods and products they develop themselves, or branded merch produced with the help of a manufacturer.

Short for “merchandise”, merch can be anything from t-shirts, hoodies and hats (the most popular examples), to things like books, bags, accessories and more. Merch is meant to be unique to your brand and your brand alone, so the types of products creators offer will vary. The important thing to remember is to create products that reflect your fans’ interests.

Try following the lead of Korean professional League of Legends team T1. As one of the world’s leading esports organizations, T1 has countless fans from around the world, many of whom have become members of the team’s official b.stage-powered platform.

T1’s FRONT1ER membership kit is available exclusively to those fans. Those who purchase the kit can show off their T1 fandom with a branded t-shirt, a custom gaming mousepad, and other goodies that tailor to their interests.


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Why should you consider selling merch?

In addition to opening up a new revenue stream, selling merch can be a great way to promote fan engagement. 

According to the IMF’s creator economy report, buying merch is one of followers’ favorite ways to support creators – more so than tipping them or buying products they sponsor. If your followers trust your taste and opinions and love what you provide, it may be time to consider selling merch to get them even more engaged.

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What are some other benefits of selling merch?

In addition to helping them form stronger connections with their most loyal and engaged fans, selling merch can offer creators a number of other important benefits.


Brand awareness

Each time your fans use your merch as they go about their day, they can expose your brand to more people, setting your profile or channel up for more growth.


Brand affinity

Research shows that 82% of consumers see a brand more favorably after receiving free promotional merch. If your fans are so enthusiastic about your brand that they proudly use your products, others may take that as a sign that you’re worth checking out.


Community

Merch can also help you foster a sense of community among followers. If you’ve taken steps to bring your followers closer to you and your work – like launching your own membership platform – adding merch to the equation creates another way for your fans to bond over their shared interest.


Revenue

If your fanbase is engaged and you’ve tailored your merch to suit their interests, it can evolve into a steady source of revenue. Plus, because your shop is open 24/7, it creates more opportunities to sell to new and existing fans.

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How many followers do you need to sell merch?

While some may think merch is something that’s reserved for creators with millions of followers, the truth is that creators with smaller fanbases can build reliable merchandise businesses too.

This is especially true of creators with enthusiastic fanbases. When it comes to growing your business, fans who will gladly purchase your products and spread the word about your work are worth their weight in gold. This makes it all the more important to use every tool at your disposal to form deeper connections with your followers and turn them into superfans.


How can you tell if you’re ready to sell merch?

If you think you’re ready to add e-commerce to your monetization strategy, take some time to consider a few things:


Are you seeing signs of demand?

Have fans raised the idea of merchandise before? Or have you noticed certain fans who are especially active in your comments and might be interested in supporting you in another way?


Are you ready to commit to promoting your products?

Promoting your merch means promoting yourself. If you’re shy about doing that, or if you don’t put enough effort into promoting your products in content, through your channels, or when launching your e-commerce shop, you may find it hard to earn steady revenue.


What kinds of products will you sell?

As mentioned before, it’s important to consider who your audience is and what kind of merch they’d want. Ask fans for their opinions and consider what makes your content and fans unique.


Once you’ve answered those questions, you may be ready to find a manufacturer or print-on-demand company to get the ball rolling. Or, if you’re especially industrious, you may decide to design a few mock-ups and manufacture them yourself.


Take your business to the next level

However you choose to start your e-commerce journey, you’ll want your fans to be ready and enthusiastic about helping you get your products off the ground. With support for global e-commerce and a wide range of fandom-enhancing features, bemyfriends’ bespoke platform builder, b.stage, makes it easier for creators to connect their products to their biggest fans.

Now, in addition to selling everything from subscriptions and memberships to single content sales, creators can use their b.stage-powered platform to sell and deliver a wide range of physical products. When you factor in support for NFT and social token-verified memberships, a b.stage-powered platform offers creators all the tools they need to maximize their monetization.

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Full ownership of your platform means you’ll have full access to your e-commerce shop’s valuable tools and insights. That includes a dashboard that makes purchasing data easy to read, and can customize everything from exchange rates to payment methods.

You also get convenient access to global warehouses, low global shipping fees, presales support, and much more. By streamlining sales and the processes that deliver products to fans, b.stage can make it easier for creators to seize control of their financial future.


Make something they’ll love

Selling merch can be challenging, but having the right tools and insights can make your experience that much easier and more rewarding.

As you get started, remember that your products’ greatest power lies in their ability to strengthen fans’ connection to your brand. Ultimately, those connections are what will inspire fans not just to purchase your products. They’ll also inspire them to engage with your content and take part in the tight-knit community you’ll create when you build your own platform.

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