5 Things to Consider When Purchasing Branded Merchandise

5 Things to Consider When Purchasing Branded Merchandise


You’ve started the business. 

You’ve launched the new product or service. 

You finally finished your new program.


You simply want to make people more aware of your products and services. 

And now you’re ready to order some products and you start looking.  You start your search by entering your search term in the device of your choice.  This usually results in a bunch of results being displayed for you to start looking through.  Oh yes!!! You’re making progress. 

Stop right there!!!  Before you get deep into your branded merchandise search, there some things you may want to consider. 

One of the biggest mistakes many business owners make is that they see a branded item and say, hey “I want that for my business.”  It’s only after ordering the items that they realize they aren’t sure how to get the items to their audience.  This results in one of 2 things. 

  • They give the merchandise out to everyone just to get rid of it.  This means that because many of the people who got the merchandise aren’t in the target market for the organization, they don’t make a connection to the organization.  The merchandise either ends up in the trash or the organization gains no new customers after distributing the merchandise.


  • The merchandise sits in a box undistributed.


Choosing the wrong product, unorganized distribution, and no distribution all have the same result... They cost you money and prevent you from getting the results you desire.  In other areas of business, you must be strategic about the moves you make to see success.  The same is true when selecting branded merchandise. 

Below are things to consider before purchasing branded merchandise.  By considering these items, you ensure that the item you select is appropriate for your audience, that the item is properly distributed to your audience, and that your brand’s message is exposed multiple times for the price of printing once. 

1.        Evaluate Your Goal

The first consideration that must be made is the purpose for selecting the product.  Ask yourself, why do I want branded merchandise?  What am I trying to accomplish?  Do I want to get new customers?  Do I want to communicate information?  Am I trying to increase engagement among my social media followers?  Do I want to achieve a combination of these options or something else? 

Knowing the goal of the program can help significantly with evaluating the type of item that should be chosen.

2.       Determine Your Audience

Ask yourself, who will be receiving the items?  Are they women?  Men? Youth? Techies? Parents? Readers? Commuters?  What interests does your audience have?

This information will be used to determine the appropriateness of the item selected.  Many seniors would find no value in receiving earbud holders, but youth and commuters may find the item very useful.  The person who receives the not useful item is going to throw it to the side.

Be specific when selecting your audience.  You want to be sure to narrow your audience down as closely as you can.  There are many items to choose from, but being specific about the audience will be very helpful to narrowing down the items you should use.


3.       Consider appropriate Items

Now that you know the goal for selecting the item and the audience you will be giving the item to, you can now move into choosing items.  As you review items you need to ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Does this item fit within my goal? 

  • Is it appropriate for my audience?

  • Does this item match the tone and message of my brand?

  • Is the item useful to my audience?

  • Is the item of good quality?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” do not consider that item.  Choose another item.  Continue this process until you have 3-5 items to choose from. 


4.       Establish a Distribution Plan

Now that you know why you want to order an item, who you’re giving it to, and which items are under consideration, it’s time to evaluate how the person will receive the item.

How will your audience get their branded merchandise item?  Will you be giving the person the item directly (in person)? Will you mail it to them? Or do you have some other plan of distribution?  

Keep in mind the cost of distributing the item.  Bulky items often cost more the to ship.  This will impact the price per item and can have potential impact on the distribution plan.  For example, when distributing a branded merchandise item by mail, you must evaluate the cost of postage.  If the cost of mailing the item is more than you’ve budgeted, then it may be wise to either consider a different item or distribution plan. 

Also think about how the items will be stored until they are distributed.  Do you have the storage capacity for the items?  If the items are being transported to another location, do you have to capability (manpower, vehicle, etc.) to get the item to that location?

There are many times when the cost of distribution impacts either the branded merchandise item selected or the distribution plan itself.  The distribution plan is a very significant consideration for selecting branded merchandise. 


5.       Calculate the Quantity Needed

How many of each item selected will you need to purchase?  There are several factors that determine that number.  Your distribution plan will be useful for calculating this number.   

Who is getting the item and how are you going to get it to them?  Are you giving an item to each person encountered?  Is it being given to only customers?  Is it being given to a percentage of attendees at a trade show?  For each of these considerations you need to estimate the number of people encountered in a specified period (event-wide, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.).   

Another important consideration to keep in mind for the number of items ordered is whether the item will be given out once or on an ongoing basis – meaning will you always give this item to people or are you only giving it away until they are gone.  The price of branded merchandise declines as larger quantities are ordered.  If the item will be distributed on an ongoing basis, then consider ordering a larger quantity to reduce the number of reorders needed. 

Review your goal and use that information to help you determine the number of people who should receive the item.

Now that you have considered why you’re giving the item, who’s getting it, and how they’re getting it, you’re now ready to order your branded merchandise and you can hit the submit button with peace and comfort.  You don’t have to worry that your product is going to sit in a storage room undistributed.  You don’t have to be concerned that people are going to throw your item away because they can’t use it.  You don’t have to worry that you ordered way too little or too much.  And most importantly, you can rest easy knowing that the item you’ve selected echoes the message and tone of your brand.

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