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Merchandising Tips to Boost Team Spirit and Revenue

Offering special limited-edition items like hoodies can boost your team’s sales & spirit. Read on for other merchandising tips to help you increase both your sales and your revenue.

Relative to other sports, swim teams are huge. The average swim team has more than 100 athletes on the roster. And with that size comes some high overhead costs for coaching staff, pool rentals, insurance, not to mention expensive equipment like pace clocks, scoreboards and timing systems.

When costs go up or a team wants to upgrade equipment or technology, the most obvious solution is often to increase team dues. And while raising dues is an easy option, a hike in swim team dues can make participating on the swim team too expensive for some families. Higher dues usually result in a decline in membership, which can negatively impact the cohesiveness, character and competitiveness of the team as a whole.

So, when your team needs a little extra revenue, but doesn’t want to raise their fees, what can they do?

Merchandising To The Rescue

One of the easiest ways for teams to generate extra revenue, without putting a damper on membership, is by selling spirit wear. Most teams already include a free t-shirt with each swimmer registration and sell extra t-shirts to parents, so expanding or fine-tuning their existing merchandise program is often the easiest route.

When managed smartly, a well run merchandise program can generate thousands of dollars in extra revenue for a team, while also boosting team spirit and without having to lug around boxes of t-shirts or risk getting stuck with outdated inventory.

After working with hundreds of teams across the country, we’ve learned some merchandising tips to get the most out of your merchandise program and we’re pleased to be able to share them with you.

Merchandising Tips:
Tip #1: Open a SwimOutlet Team Store

When you outsource selling and distributing your team gear to SwimOutlet your merchandise coordinators save a ton of time and headaches, and your team can sell fundraising items and make cash back on every sale. When you set up a SwimOutlet team store your team can:

  • Work with SwimOutlet specialists to help you customize suits, t-shirts, towels, and more so your team can show their team spirit every time they’re on the pool deck.
  • Make cash back or store credit on a percentage of every sale. If your coach requires certain swim equipment for practice, put it in your team store! Goggles, kick boards, fins, your team can can make cash back on all of it.
  • Get all your team gear delivered directly to your families, without having to waste money pre-ordering items, or hauling it to the pool and distributing it from the trunk of your car! Let SwimOutlet do the work.
  • Choose specific items to use as fundraisers – SwimOutlet lets you pick a price and your team makes all the money on the mark up.

Learn more about SwimTopia’s partnership with SwimOutlet, and how one of our teams, the Quechee Otters love to use their SwimOutlet Team Store.

Tip #2: Offer More Options, But Don’t Go Overboard

While t-shirts are the staple of many swim teams, if you want to increase revenue for your team and provide your swimmers and parents with more options to show their team spirit you shouldn’t limit your merchandise options to t-shirts.

SwimTopia’s in-built merchandise features allow you to source and sell other types of spirit wear that you can’t find on SwimOutlet. Common popular items include yard signs (a great promotion for the team too!), auto decals, tumblers, and cooler bags. Many teams get creative with their merchandise with fun items like mascot-specific toys and temporary tattoos and more.

That said, we caution against going overboard. While offering items beyond just t-shirts is pretty much guaranteed to increase revenue to your team, the more items you offer outside of your SwimOutlet Team Store adds complexity to the delivery and distribution for your volunteer merchandise team.

Tip #3: Offer One Limited Edition Item Each Season

The most successful strategy we’ve seen is to offer just 3-4 items for sale each season, including 2 or 3 standard items like a t-shirt and yard sign which are available every year, plus one special “limited-edition” item like a hoodie, parka, or a towel that is offered for only that season.

By limiting the availability of these special items, you can increase demand for that item because parents will know it won’t be available next season. This strategy also makes it easier to identify families and swimmers that have been with the team for multiple seasons. These special items can serve as fun status symbols, but can also encourage swimmers and families to stick with the team for more seasons.

You can choose to sell special items in SwimOutlet with their fundraising feature, or through your SwimTopia merchandise features if it’s not something sold by SwimOutlet.

Did you find these merchandising tips helpful? Do you have any ideas for better merchandising that we missed? Let us know by liking this page, or drop us a line at