You’ve started your own brand, and you want to sell t-shirts (or hoodies, or other garments). But HOW will you sell them? What’s the best way to get your products in your customer’s hands? There are 4 main pillars of selling merchandise: hand-to-hand, vending, direct shipment, and drop shipment. We're going to give you the details on each pillar in this special blog mini-series. Up first is hand-to-hand sales. Let's dive in.
Pillar 1: Hand-to-Hand Sales
Hand-to-hand sales is maybe the simplest, most organic sales method. This just means that you are selling your products in person. The product literally moves from your hand to your customer’s hand when you make the sale. A lot of hand-to-hand sales are transactions conducted with people you already know. This is a great way to jump-start sales when your brand is new, or when you release a new product.
For this sales method, it's helpful to leverage your family and friends as your first customers. You start with the people you already know, people who would love to support you, and you meet them in person and sell them a garment on the spot. You can even offer discounts for buying early as a way to incentivize anyone who might be reluctant to purchase. If it’s a new design, you can offer your hand-to-hand customers a bundle deal, where they get a discount if they buy your new product and one of your older products at the same time.
So what does this method look like in practice? It looks like pulling up to your aunt and uncle’s house, grabbing some t-shirts from the box in your trunk, and selling them to all your cousins on the spot. It looks like walking the halls of your school or office with a stack of t-shirts over your shoulder, selling them to anyone who is interested as you pass by. It looks like bringing a stack of t-shirts to your little brother’s birthday party and selling them on the spot to your brother and all his friends.
Using your existing contacts as your first customers and conducting hand-to-hand sales is a great way to get your merchandise out in the world and to develop your brand’s market presence. Pros of this method are that it creates a very personal shopping experience for your customers, the immediate delivery of the product gives instant gratification to the buyer, and you never have to charge shipping fees. The cons of this method are that your sales are limited to what you can carry, your reach is limited to only the people you know well enough to meet in person, and having to accept payment on delivery can create problems with handling cash or the ability to accept credit cards.
Join us next week for part 2 of our special mini-series on selling merchandise, when we will talk about pillar number 2: vending.