Brand merchandise and brand merchandising are terms that are often used interchangeably despite being different functions with different meanings.
If you run a retail store, a craft brewery, distillery, winery, or restaurant, for example, you may sell brand merchandise like apparel items such as custom hats, vests, t-shirts, hoodies, and unique promotional products.
To sell those items, you would consider different merchandising strategies, that is, various ways to display and sell these items.
Think of a brick-and-mortar store as the channel in which brand merchandise is distributed and sold, an opportunity to create a lasting personal experience and connection, and another touchpoint in the buyer and customer journey.
Many brands merchandise their products in a creative and unique way that aligns with their industry, company, products, and services in order to attract buyers and retain customers as part of their ongoing marketing and sales strategies.
AdAge shines a light on leaders in the merchandising space — Nordstrom and Starbucks — as the first retailers to demonstrate effective merchandising of their products to curate a lasting connection with their audiences.
“Long heralded as savvy marketers, what they are really doing was focusing the vast majority of their marketing resources into one distinct discipline: merchandising,” writes Jane Stevenson at AdAge. “To create an emotional linkage, they were able to merchandise an experience that would be conveyed to the world through their base of loyal customers rather than through traditional media.”
In addition to contributing to a brand experience, merchandising is an effective tactic to help differentiate a brand from its competition as well as open up an ongoing revenue stream directly benefiting the bottom line.
Companies that keep investing in their merchandise store can also use them as a communication channel to reach their target audience, threading in marketing messaging and further telling the brand story in a relatable and tangible way.
General Store at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
A good example of how brand merchandise is then merchandised in a company’s store is to look at what the folks over at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey have set up.
The single malt whiskey distillery embodies its home state of Colorado throughout everything it does. From the use of Rocky Mountain water in their whiskey products to having its headquarters in the heart of Denver, the Stranahan’s General Store, too, epitomizes the Centennial State’s rustic western culture.
From the amber-toned lighting to the log cabin vibe complete with camping-esk touches, the General Store is stocked with Stranahan’s whiskeys as well as its private-label apparel such as vests, headwear, t-shirts, scarves, water bottles, and promotional accessories.
Every detail of the store is clearly crafted with as much intention as the brand’s main product, thus, continuing the Stranahan’s experience through brand merchandise and how that merchandise is displayed and sold.
Now that the difference is clear, connect with one of our brand consultants to get your brand merchandise inventory locked and loaded and for insights on how best to set up an effective strategy to get out in front of the right people at the right time.