Co-Founder and COO Jed Jed Carlson was gracious enough to take the Music Void on a tour of ReverbNation’s new Reverb Store (in partnership with Audiolife) which is a huge next step for the burgeoning company. For those of you who are unfamiliar with ReverbNation, it is a marketing services provider for over 500,000 artists, labels, managers, and venues worldwide. Customers use ReverbNation’s email newsletter products FanReach and FanReach Pro to send tens of millions of emails every month to their fans.
The Reverb Store is a direct-to-fan eCommerce offering that allows artists and record labels to design physical and digital products online, and sell them on-demand via Audiolife. This way, the artist can create a store without having to manufacture anything and the products are delivered straight to the fan. Michael Doernberg, CEO of ReverbNation said in the store’s press release, “The Reverb Store allows artists to layer a purchasing opportunity into every fan interaction they have online, whether it’s at Facebook, MySpace, a blog, or the band’s own website.”
The ‘Reverb Store’ option will soon become available on any artists’ Control Room dashboard. It’s open for any of ReverbNation’s artists to setup and run without any monthly fees or minimums. An artist can create an online shop for digital downloads and ringtones, as well as fully customizable merchandising items such as t-shirts and CDs. It also provides ways to promote the shop and a tracker to see how the items are selling and where they’re selling the most.
As for the creation of the merchandise the system itself is extremely easy to work with; the artist creates the design of the item, gives it a name, sets a price and it’s all on-demand. It’s also straight-forward in terms of payment, there is a flat wholesale price for costs, and artists then set a higher ‘sell price’ and keep 100% of the difference. Transactions are done via PayPal and the only added cost to the fan is shipping. Audiolife provides a vast selection for clothing options from style to seller. Artists can use the merchandise template or upload their own creations which makes it very easy to generate new designs to put on shirts and CDs with unique font and color settings. Once the merchandise design is published on the site, the artist doesn’t need to order any amount of them since it’s all on-demand. However, there is an extra option to purchase said merchandise with Reverb Store’s competitive wholesale and bulk prices, in case they want to take them on tour for example.
The online shop can appear in many forms, from a fully functional separate website, to widgets and banners that can be put on various different sites, as well as a Facebook Store App, a Facebook Store in MyBand and as a MySpace OpenSocial App. For the website, ReverbNation provides a clean, easy to use page featuring the artists’ products. It is also customizable through the background image (or wallpaper) and the headlining banner for the page, which the artist can upload themselves or they can also choose from numerous templates. The store also allows for three featured items, this could include the latest t-shirt, single, ringtone, or any combination thereof. The featured items are what fans see inside of the digital ‘end-caps’ that are displayed on their ReverbNation page, Facebook page, and emails. The artist can change the featured items at any time and it will update in real time.
As soon as the store is published, a merchandising banner is automatically added to the artists’ ReverbNation page. It is also made available to promote on any website via customizable widgets and banners. Over 15 million widgets have been created by ReverbNation artists and their fans and they automatically become a storefront for the artist. This is extremely useful as it supplies an outlet for any fan to purchase an artist’s items securely without leaving the page. ReverbNation provides the codes to put the widgets and banners on various websites as well as the correct links back to the store and for each item in the store in case, for instance, an artist wanted to make a banner promoting a new t-shirt or CD.
Another convenient feature is the store will be automatically integrated into an artist’s FanReach system and will appear on subsequent emails being sent out to fans. There is also a push/sync option to promote the store and newly added items as updates via the artist’s MySpace, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Finally, all sales show up in the artist’s ‘stats’ section of the ReverbNation control room. The stats come as an organized earnings report that separates sales by category (shirts, CDs, downloads etc), by item and by which method they were purchased. Sales can be tracked on a time-scale to see if certain online marketing pushes helped, as well as monthly reports. Also there is a finance page for payments and a big ‘pay me’ button to deliver the funds.
The Reverb Store provides artists the freedom to create merchandise for their fans and gives them a place to show it off…all for free! There is no need for manufacturing and payment plans as it is all done through the ReverbNation system, or as how Jed puts it, “We just facilitate that transaction by providing the software, manufacturing, fulfillment, and customer service in a turn-key way to the Artist. We do all of the icky stuff so that the Artist can focus on making great products and bringing their fans to see them”. ReverbNation are providing another great service to artists who want to make it independently without devoting too much of their precious time on online marketing.