LeAnn Rimes has been captivating audiences for more than 25 years. Over those years, the award-winning singer/songwriter has learned a thing or two about personal autonomy and creative control. Berry Interesting Productions has been a perfect fit for her touring and tech team because our values are perfectly aligned.
Taking a long-established relationship to the next level
BIPi officially started working with LeAnn in 2019, although Chris, who is BIPi’s COO, had worked with LeAnn previously as her stage manager from 2003 through 2007. LeAnn has done the big stadium tours backed by a global music label, but is now focusing on smaller venues where she can perform the music she wants, in the way she wants. She’s also launched her own label, EverLe Records, to produce music and other products she loves. It’s important to her that she has the autonomy to make professional and artistic decisions that make sense for her, not for a label or venue. BIPi was brought in to help her do that.
How? In short, four ways:
- Stage Management from 2018 to present
- VIP hosting, production assistance, and merch management for the 2018, 2019, and 2021 holiday tours
- Full-service merchandise management during tours in 2019, 2020, and 2021
- Website design, development, and technical support for leannrimes.com and soulofeverle.com from 2019 to the present
Let’s get into the details.
Maximizing the talents and cross-functionality of the team to improve revenue
Because LeAnn’s team is small, they are all used to pitching in where needed during a tour. However, the team realized the tour would benefit from a team member with more experience in stage management and backline tech support. So BIPi was brought in to do both and be another “all-hands-on-deck” team player. It was a great fit from the beginning.
When BIPi got to work, we quickly realized there were other areas where our expertise was needed. For example, there was an opportunity to optimize LeAnn’s merchandise sales. This included selling merchandise at events, streamlining inventory, and organizing backend sales management.
Leveraging technical support and digital savvy to make Day Of Show easier
LeAnn’s tour needed technical support for every concert, no matter the size or scope of the venue. With such a small team, it took a lot of front-end planning and expertise. Our founder D’nelle’s ability to create a full tech stack that organized each appearance from start to finish and stored the necessary information in a place accessible to the team – but not dependent on any one person – was invaluable. We were responsible for the coordination of holiday VIP events, including room decoration, fan hosting, and hospitality. Our services also included hospitality and craft services management for 10-12 band and crew members.
When we uncovered the merchandise management opportunity, we approached the problem digitally. We rebuilt leannrimes.com and soulofeverle.com using a new WordPress theme that created a better user experience. We integrated Shopify into both e-commerce stores and started using atVenu’s live POS and inventory platform. We also set up Shopify’s POS register to integrate print-on-demand items into on-site sales. This new technology enabled the team to sell merchandise that was not at the concert venue and drop ship the item to the customer. It made it much simpler to manage stock levels, sell more of her more popular items, and allow for expanded size- and color- options for fans.
Because of this new technology, BIPi added more lower-priced items like koozies and stickers to the on-site inventory to increase sales at 30+ show dates during the tours. The software tracked inventory in real-time, and BIPi could pull sales and inventory data at any given moment to help LeAnn’s team make decisions on future tour date merchandise sales or web inventory needs.
We also took on the day-to-day tour responsibilities of shipping and logistics management of inventory, purchasing of stock, on-the-road accounting, day-of settlement for all merchandise sales, and truck pack, load-in, set-up, and load-out of the merchandise stand, product displays, and venue signage.
While the day-to-day tour activities were going on, we also maintained the functionality of both websites so that LeAnn’s team did not have to worry about it, and her fans had a positive experience every time they visited a site.
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What we learned about optimizing the efficiency of a small touring crew
Our work with LeAnn continues, but over the last few years we have learned quite a few things that will shape our partnership in the future. Regarding merchandise sales, we learned that even with a new digital POS system that drop-shipped almost any item, it was still essential to have core inventory at concerts for fans to touch and feel. Even though we’re living in an era of blurred lines between online and physical spaces, merch sales in conjunction with a live event experience are still heavily reliant on fans’ ability to buy something tangible right here, right now, to take away from the experience.
This learning was reinforced by sales data. When we added smaller items like koozies and stickers to the live inventory, our number of sales transactions increased. In addition, the add-on items also increased the average transaction value between $5 and $10.
While we did see a 15% increase in day-of-show sales when BiPi added the Shopify POS register to on-site merch during LeAnn’s 2021 Christmas tour, that bump was primarily for items that were online exclusives. We drove those sales by offering a coupon code that mitigated the purchaser’s shipping costs. Moving into 2022, still thwarted by covid-related uncertainties, we’ve continued using the Shopify POS. Not only have we been driving presales of her upcoming album (releasing this September), we offered a “Tour Exclusive” bundle that includes a version of her tour t-shirt that includes the actual tour dates on the back (an otherwise-risky bet for printing ahead of time due to last-minute additions to or cancellations of the tour schedule). We added a display to the physical merch stand including postcards with a QR code to drive fans to a hidden page on the online store where they could pre-order the bundle. In addition to the revenue bump we saw from adding the online component, overall we have seen a 30% merchandise revenue increase since we took over merch management and have continued to hit that new revenue benchmark and turned merch sales into a profitable component of her overall brand.
Looking ahead to future shows, tours, and albums
LeAnn Rimes epitomizes BIPi’s sweet spot for the artists we love to work with. These artists play venues with about 1,000-5,000 capacity attendance, clubs up to smaller arenas. Our favorite artists have small, handpicked teams who create stability over the long term and work together to make each concert feel intimate and special from the time fans walk in the venue until they’re headed home still aglow with the energy of the show. No one says, “that’s not my job…” and neither does our team. We get the show on the road and to the stage by having the experience to recognize when it’s sensible to do it ourselves versus bringing in a specialist. We understand and recognize the value that such advice can bring to independent artists.
LeAnn Rimes’ team trusts BIPi to bring professionalism and excellence to every show, every merchandise transaction, and every web visit. Our long-term relationship continues, and we look forward to supporting her as she builds her brand, well into the future.
The two sites mentioned in this post use purchased themes – leannrimes.com uses Croma from Envato Marketplace, and soulofeverle.com uses Velvet from My Boutique Themes. If you’re curious about how Berry Interesting Productions can help your team build — or rebuild — an outstanding website, we’re always happy to help! Drop us a line or book a consultation directly with our fearless leader, D’nelle. You can also sign up to get emails from Berry Interesting, and we’ll keep you in the loop.