Marketing Your Camp Merchandise


My grandparents love to tell stories about going to the local Five and Dime to spend a penny that they had earned to buy a sticky, sweet treat.  These days it seems children have a lot more change rolling around in their pockets, and like most of us, they are eager to spend what they have.  When a camper excitedly runs into your camp store or canteen, how can you ensure they leave with your camp product and not just a fist full of sugary concoctions?  The key is to make your camp branded product just as enticing as the colorfully packaged Gobstoppers. I have compiled a list of tips, as well as solutions, to help you market your camp merchandise effectively.

The first way to merchandise your camp product is to make your camp store look as much like a retail store as possible.  I know this can be a challenge for some, if all you have is a table in a field on opening day or perhaps a small window to peer in a stuffy canteen.  However, even with those obstacles, if you make a few upgrades to the way your product is displayed, you will likely make more sales.  Make sure your product is clearly displayed- people won’t buy what they can’t see.  Consider investing in a few bust mannequins to show off shirts and headwear.  If there isn’t enough space, you might try picking up some foam squares at a hobby store to wrap your shirts around so the graphic is easy to see (this is what we did at my camp).  I know some camps tack shirts up to the wall- and this makes their shop look like a candy store!  Some caps have the store workers wear the product so they become walking displays (a GREAT option for the ‘table in a field’ stores).   Brainstorm about how to use the space you have to display your product so campers can see it and in return, buy it!

Pricing is a large part of merchandising your branded product.  I found pricing items at $5 increments worked better than trying to get a certain margin to make the item $8.50.  I suggest rounding up to the closest $5, if nothing else, it makes working the cash register quicker. If pricing in increments of $5 doesn’t suit your needs, try ending all prices with a $.95 or $.99.  It’s amazing how knocking off a nickel or even a penny can make the price more enticing!  Sale tables or bins are a great way to move older product.  The human brain loves a deal!  If you are trying to sell off old product, make a “vintage bin” for people to go through.  Bundles are a clever way to merchandise product as well. For example, sell a water bottle and a t-shirt together for $15.00. It feels like a deal when items are sold together!  Clearly displayed pricing is just as important as clearly displayed product.  People are much less likely to buy things if it involves hunting down a staff member for a price. At C.C. Creations, we offer much more than logoed product- we can fold, add price tags and even add size strips to your merchandise.  Let us do the work, and all you need to do is put it on the shelf! Ask your sales rep for details on our solutions to help your camp store look and feel like a retail store.

I recall one summer we were having a lot of trouble getting some of our product to sell, so we came up with the idea to do a commercial for the campers.  We did the commercial in a typical camp skit at our daily gathering, and the kids thought it was hilarious!  That evening we ended up selling out of some of the items we “advertised.”  And of course, in the event you need a Hail Mary to move merchandise: have the coolest staff member wear it, over and over and over until the weird shirt from 1998 finally sells.  Kids love cool.  Cool sells.  Anytime a shirt wasn’t moving as quickly as we hoped, we would put it on a handful of cool counselors and they would fly off the shelf.

Remember… campers won’t buy what they don’t like (no matter how well you have displayed it!).   Be sure to do your research and find out what the current trends are.  You want to buy to appeal to the taste of the campers and counselors, not necessarily your particular taste.  This can be a really difficult thing to do, so click here (maybe link to your blog post on trends??) to check out some ideas on trends.  We do extensive research on market trends and can offer valuable information to help you pick the best product and decoration for your camp.  Let C.C. Creations create graphics your campers and staff will love!   Do you have successful ways to merchandise your camp branded gear?  Let us know so we can share it with other camps!