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5 Unexpected Merchandise Ideas for 2024

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Advertising, Branded Merchandise, Branding, Marketing | 0 comments

Consumer tastes and retail habits are forever evolving, shaping the way products are sold and businesses interact with customers. From fashion items to tech gadgets, there seems to be an endless supply of products available for consumers. If you’re a business owner looking for unique and unexpected merchandise ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

In the UK, the landscape for merchandise is in a continuous state of renewal, presenting both challenges and opportunities for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and retail innovators.

With that in mind, here are 5 unexpected merchandise ideas to consider for 2024.

Trend Analysis in 2024

Before diving into the specific merchandise ideas though, it’s important to understand the overall trends that are likely to dominate the market throughout 2024.

  1. Sustainability will continue to be a key focus for consumers, with more demand for eco-friendly and ethical products.
  2. Personalization and customization options will become increasingly popular as consumers seek unique and individualized products.
  3. The rise of social media continues, but even more so with content creators and businesses working together. This means influencer collaborations and branded content will be a key when talking about merchandise ideas for brands.

With these trends in mind, let’s explore the unexpected merchandise ideas for 2024.

1. Customized Mugs That “WOW”

Imagine starting your morning with a seemingly simple black mug, but as soon as you pour your hot coffee or tea into it, a transformation occurs. This is where the “WOW” factor comes into play.

Think custom-designed heat sensitive mugs that come with a special thermochromic coating that is completely opaque when the mug is at room temperature. However, when a hot liquid is poured inside, the “WOW! Coating” becomes transparent and reveals a high-impact design and personalized message of your choosing.

heat sensitive mugs

It’s not just a mug; it’s a conversation starter, a mood lifter, and a unique way for individuals and brands to express creativity. AND a great recognition gift for employees or branded merchandise option for businesses.

2. Eco-Freindly & Sustainable Products

As mentioned earlier, sustainability will continue to be a major trend in 2024. This is why eco-friendly and sustainable products are an excellent merchandise idea for brands looking to cater to environmentally-conscious consumers.

Think reusable water bottles made from recycled materials, biodegradable phone cases, or even compostable coffee pods. These types of products not only appeal to the growing number of conscious consumers, but they also align with a brand’s values and can attract a loyal customer base.

In 2022, approximately 20% of consumers surveyed in the UK reported that their purchasing choices have been affected by sustainability in the past 5 years. This number is only expected to increase in the coming years, making sustainability an important consideration for any merch ideas for brands.

3. Phone Grips with a Personalized Twist

Everyone has a phone constantly in their hands today. Making phone grips increasingly popular and useful. However, why not take it one step further and offer customizable phone grips that allow users to add their own personal touch?

This could be anything from a monogram or quote from your business to simply your company logo. This type of merchandise idea adds both functionality and individuality to an everyday item, making it appealing.

Plus, these phone grips can also serve as walking advertisements for your brand when used out in public.

social media collatboration for merchandising

4. Social Media Collaborations

As mentioned earlier, social media will continue to play a significant role in promotional merchandise ideas. However, instead of simply using influencer collaborations or sponsored posts, consider partnering with social media personalities and content creators to co-create unique products.

This could be anything from fashion items designed by popular bloggers or tech gadgets endorsed by YouTube stars. By leveraging the audience and creativity of these individuals, brands can tap into new markets and create buzz around their products.

5. Coasters with a Purpose

Coasters may seem like a basic household or office item, but with the rise of sustainable and eco-friendly products, they can serve a greater purpose. Consider offering coasters made from biodegradable materials, or coasters with a built-in seed pod that can be planted once finished with.

These types of merchandise not only serve as functional and stylish items, but they also promote sustainability and give consumers a sense of contributing to a greater cause.

Branded Merchandise Examples

To get a better idea of how these unexpected merchandise ideas could look in action, here are a few branded merchandise examples:

The fast food chain previously known as Dunkin’ Donuts is expanding beyond coffee and donuts. It has recently partnered with E.L.F. Cosmetics to unveil a limited edition makeup collection, which includes eyeshadow, primer, lip glosses, and more. This collaboration not only showcases the brand’s creativity and willingness to step outside of its usual product offerings, but it also appeals to a wider audience through the partnership with a popular makeup brand.

Another example is Angel City Brewery, based in LA, USA. They allow customers all over the country to purchase their branded items online. The popularity of craft beer makers’ merch among locals and tourists alike is significant, particularly when it has a unique design and high-quality materials.

Customers’ thirst for both their great ale and their local promotional products.

Bonus Idea for Merchandising in 2024

As a bonus idea, consider utilizing something simple, yet useful, such as custom laptop sleeves and bags. With the rise in remote work and online schooling, laptops are being used more than ever.

Offering a branded laptop sleeve or bag can be a practical and stylish way for individuals to carry their devices while also promoting your brand. Plus, it’s an item that will likely get a lot of use, increasing brand visibility.

5 merchandising ideas for 2024 infographic

Implementation Guide

These merchandise ideas may seem surprising, but that’s exactly the point. In a rapidly changing retail landscape, it’s the unexpected that often garners the most attention.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to bring these ideas to life:

  1. Market Research and Concept Development: Begin by conducting thorough market research to evaluate the viability of your idea and its potential customer base. Develop a unique concept that aligns with your brand identity and values.
  2. Sourcing and Production: Once you have a validated concept, set up a reliable supply chain for sourcing materials and production. For example, if you decided to use mugs in your merchandising, go with a reputable company in the UK such as Prince William Pottery.
  3. E-Commerce and Distribution: Establish a strong online presence through e-commerce websites and social media platforms. Consider the best distribution channels to reach your target audience, including partnerships with local retailers or national chains.
  4. Marketing and Promotion: Develop a marketing strategy that emphasizes the uniqueness and value of your product. Consider influencer partnerships, content marketing, and social media campaigns to generate buzz and drive sales.
  5. Customer Engagement and Feedback: Stay connected with your customers by offering exceptional service and seeking their feedback. Use their insights to continuously improve your merchandise and adapt to changing trends.
  6. The Type of Event: Finally, consider the type of event where these merchandise ideas could be used. For example, customized tote bags and water bottles could be great for outdoor festivals or trade shows. Merchandise ideas that you would use for a charity are different from the ones you would use for a music festival or corporate event. Be mindful of the audience and occasion when selecting your merchandise.

Remember, not all of these ideas are always right for your business and target audience. Consider which ones align best with your brand and will have the most impact on your customer base.

prince william pottery

Elevating Your Brand in 2024

Thinking outside the box and adopting unexpected merchandise ideas can truly set your brand apart. Whether it’s through the innovative use of technology, partnerships with social media influencers, or focusing on sustainability and practicality, there’s an effective way to create a unique identity for your brand.

By carefully considering your target audience and staying true to your brand values while innovating, you can not only enhance brand visibility but also forge a deeper connection with your employees and customers.


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