6 Strategies to Boost Merchandise Sales at University Graduations 

University graduations are not just academic milestones, but also celebratory occasions filled with pride and joy. For University retail stores looking to capitalise on this atmosphere, selling merchandise at graduation ceremonies is the ideal opportunity. In this post, we’ll share six strategies that have helped our retail clients maximise revenue when selling merch at university graduations. 

1. Stock up on Bestsellers

Sometimes less is more, focusing on size inclusivity over the range of products. One of the most effective ways to boost sales is by offering merchandise that resonates with graduates and their families, graduation bears are a great example of this. 

  • Graduation Bears 
  • Graduation Sweatshirts 
  • Graduation T-shirts 
  • Scarves 
  • Graduation Certificate Tubes/Scrolls  
  • Graduation photo frames 
  • ‘Year of’ clothing and merchandise 

Ensure that you have enough products in stock and choose a supplier who can utilise on-site stockholding, cutting out the middleman and ensuring stock can be transferred rapidly, ensuring that no sales are lost through lack of product availability. 

2. Ensure your Online Store is Up and Running

Send a link to the store to all attendees before graduation so your customers can browse your merchandise range before graduation, and even make purchases in advance to save them carrying merchandise with them throughout their big day.  

Running paid ads on Google and Bing, or even your Meta channels during graduation season is a great strategy to maximise the number of people who find your store, even beyond those who are graduating.

3. Consider a Pop-Up Shop or Merch Truck

Setting up a pop-up shop for graduation near the ceremony venue offers a strategic opportunity to boost revenue and merchandise sales. By capitalising on high foot traffic and providing convenience to attendees, you can maximise exposure to potential customers and increase the likelihood of impulse purchases.  

Additionally, the pop-up shop enhances brand visibility, creates a sense of occasion, and provides a lucrative revenue stream during this peak period. Overall, the pop-up shop is a powerful branding tool, driving sales and strengthening your brand presence during one of the biggest events in your calendar. 

4. The Power of Social Media

Make effective use of your social media channels to raise awareness and spread the word. In today’s digital age, social media is a powerful tool for reaching and engaging with potential customers.  

Leverage platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X to promote your merchandise before, during, and after the graduation ceremony. Share sneak peeks of your products, behind-the-scenes footage of your shop setup, and customer testimonials to generate excitement and drive traffic to your booth.  

You can also create event pages or hashtags to get your influencers on board and encourage attendees to share their graduation experiences and highlight your merchandise in their posts. 

5. Engage with Graduates and their Guests

Personal interaction can make a big difference. Train your staff or yourself to engage with graduates and their families in a friendly and approachable manner. Strike up conversations, congratulate them on their achievement, and share the story behind your merchandise.  

Building rapport not only creates a positive shopping experience but also increases the likelihood of repeat business and word-of-mouth sales.  

6. Offer Limited Edition Graduation Merchandise

Create a sense of urgency and exclusivity by offering limited edition or exclusive merchandise that is only available during the graduation ceremony. Whether it’s a special edition design, a limited quantity run, or merchandise featuring a guest speaker or notable alumni, these items can generate buzz and attract collectors and enthusiasts. Promote these exclusive offerings in advance to grow anticipation and ensure they sell out quickly during the event. 

Graduation is a prime time in the university calendar. By implementing these six strategies that have helped our retail clients maximise revenue when selling merch at university graduations– stocking up on best sellers, opening your online store, opening up a pop-up shop, harnessing social media, engaging with your customers and offering exclusive products- you can maximise revenue and make the most of this celebratory event.

So, prepare to implement these tactics, and witness your merch become the talk of your next graduation ceremony. To speak to our experts about how we can help, contact us.