Virtual events are always better with shirt merch ideas.

The future is here faster than predicted. For a long time the world has been digitising. News papers and books can be read and downloaded online. Gadgets are getting smaller and smaller. Things that were once physical options have become normalised as a digital counterpart.

Much the same is happening with events, sped-up ahead of time because of the pandemic. We are all being forced to find alternate solutions that still bring people together and keep the community connected — but more importantly connected with your company or brand. 

The important takeaway is that the pandemic is causing the events industry to reinvent itself and going virtual is a solution! It is generating a new generation of events. Which are more than just attending online, but also socialising, learning and gaining merch. 

What Are Virtual Events? 

Have you seen the virtual events tech these days? The above screenshot is taken from the 5th edition of the Cybersecurity Virtual Fair. Attendees created avatars to navigate the 3D fairground amongst other participants, from anywhere in the world. Think of all you could accomplish with this sort of tech and some promotional merch ideas. 

Cyberised events can range from webinars, video conferences, tutorials, summits, employee onboarding, workout classes, training, team-building activities, online courses, tours, interviews, performances, tradeshows and livestreams, (youtube and social media platforms). Which are all carried out in the familiarity of your desk-chair, bed, yoga mat or even toilet seat! 

I even watched a livestream of the sun rising over stonehenge on the solstice — an event observed by the natives of the UK for god-knows how long — even-now unmissed thanks to tech. 

sunrising over Stonehenge virtual event

As virtual events are experienced online rather than in the flesh, they are very interactive. They aim to create as close an experience as possible to in-person events. In these times, events are not only virtual by choice and variety, but because law regulations dictate. 

Why Go Virtual?

Now why host a virtual event? Events are held to deliver your company’s message, generate revenue and build loyalty. This is the same for virtual events. Whilst there are obviously disadvantages to every shift, here are some massive pros. 


For one, accessibility. Obviously attendees can log-on from anywhere in the world and benefit from the content, reaching potentially hundreds of locations. So this would be ideal for company-wide events, department gatherings, training. As much cheaper and faster than flying them all to one country, for example. Want to dominate the world? It’s one way to go about it. 


Next, quite readily, a massive reason to cyberise is that you save massively on your company’s budget! Cutting costs in small places allow you to focus money on the largest event of the calendar, which in turn brings in more. You also save your attendees travel money — they love that! 

Save the Planet!

Saves the planet. Cutting travel really does reduce one’s carbon footprint, giving mother nature a little pat on the back. Good job ol’ girl. 


If that’s not enough for you, one massive reason to go remote is the pandemic. Law around the world does not permit large gatherings for safety, but this does not have to stop you entirely from hosting an event on the interwebs. 

virtual reality experience

What Content Should a Virtual Event Contain?

There are a few fundamental things virtual events need. Engaging content will take precedent in every way as this is not just the core of your event, it IS the event. You will benefit from sessions custom-fit to guests and robust keynotes. But nothing is more memorable than giveaway shirt merch ideas!

The Perks to Giveaway Branded Shirt Merch

Let me hit you with some truth. Branded merch is not only really fun, functional and trendy, but essential in any decent marketing armory. A tangible way to value and appreciate clients and staff, without having to physically pat them on the back, or give them a hug. (Not in these times), send them some merch instead. 

This is not just me saying this either, PPAI ranked promotional merchandise, with the company’s logo on, to be THE MOST effective advertising avenue, for all generational demographics. As well as, 82% said that they now had a more favourable impression of the brand! The largest part of the sales pie went, unsurprisingly, to “wearables”, that is, garments and accessories! (See below for the pie.)

PPAI promotional products research pie
highlights from the PPAI 2019 consumer study

Custom Shirt Merch Ideas for Virtual Events During COVID

Are you a small business facing potential bankruptcy because of the covid? Or even just missing the buzz of events as a way for networking and promotion! One proactive way of pulling yourself out of financial ruin or just further promote your brand, is through holding a virtual event, where as part of the virtual ticket you also offer mail-delivered printed garments! 

Usually companies fork out a large amount of dinero just to market, advertise and organise their events. Now that a lot of events are going virtual, they see those costs decrease exponentially. It can be used to create an impression on the customer by receiving a printed T-shirt in the mail. 

1. Use Promo Codes With Giveaway Merch 

One idea to dish out promo shirt merch is to showcase that with codes entered onto your Shopify the recipient will receive 100% discounted free items. To get those promo codes they must attend your virtual event and hear them. 

Russell Brand T-shirt
Russell Revolution T-shirt
Russell brand T-shirt

Russell is a political activist whose journey is symbolic of addict recovery and spirituality. You may know Russell as the type of public thought leader that repels the very idea of branding, and that’s true in his latest podcast Under The Skin. Which holds new installments every Saturday searching for the answers of what lies beneath concepts that define our time and the history we were taught. 

However, by using promo codes in his youtube channel and podcasts, listeners were able to use that code online to get discounted merch. I guess we´re all slaves to survival in COVID times, and using evolved ways to market your brand with cool merch ideas is just that. Russell will continue to hold virtual live-streaming events over Youtube and Luminery with promo codes in the description. Be part of the brand revolution. 

The shirt merch ideas and products that are useful or wearable are kept and reused, reiterating the company message multiple times without added cost to the advertiser. Don´t just print T-shirts as promotional merch while you hold online podcasts — change the world! Remembering that holding virtual events lowers carbon emissions! 

2. Online Shops 

At Printsome we highly recommend the use of online shops for when you sell the merch. Not only does this allow us to use our On-Demand drop-shipping service, of which you can pay as you go, no stress, and have us do all the logistics and inventory headaches for you *wink*, but it also creates a professional online shopfront of which to present your merch to the world. 

Build a shop site with a range of different domain options out there. Choose a template you love for customer ease. Showcase your products with great photos and provide product descriptions and options for size and colour. Connect your shop to PalPal, or the like, to get paid and maybe offer coupons or promo codes to increase interest. 

From the moment you connect your online shop with our Shopify T-shirt fulfillment platform, anyone can buy one of your merch! It’s wise to change your shopify´s format to meet the needs of your customers. The amount of print on demand products and shirt merch ideas in your catalog will be dictated by the type of shopify merch store you choose to build. 

The critical slide society shop
The critical slide society

One example of an online shop that rocks is this Aussie company off the New South Wales Coast: The Critical Slide Society was launched by surfer-artists Sam Coombes and Jim Mitchell to honour surf culture. Their brand has won awards and their surfer apparel and custom boardies can be bought on their shopify online now from anywhere!  

3. Contests

Merch awarded at a contest event gives the winner a sense of pride and fosters brand adoption. Contests, competitions, raffles, treasure hunts, turned into virtual versions. Each different type would have different online applications best suited to help create them. 

Maybe try a virtual group run? Inspired by the Frenchman who ran a 26.2 mile marathon during lockdown, from his 7 meter long Toulousian balcony. That’s 42.2km back and forth overlooking his neighbours, saying he was supporting medical workers across the nation. See him below. 

Running marathon in the balcony during lockdown

He did not make record timing, bless him. The Guardian says it took him 6 hours, 48 mins, and was recorded every step of the way online. He did it to lighten the lockdown mood and challenge himself. Before him a Chinese marathon runner ran 31 miles around a course he fashioned from two tables in his home lounge in the city of Hangzhou! 

You could hold a fun run virtual event for company employees and offer On-Demand sporty vests as prizes. An obvious opportunity for a sports related business to benefit. Dropshipping in the UK takes anywhere between 3 to 5 days, while Europe has a turnover of 6 to 9 days.

With reports coming in that COVID may have been caused by climate change and environmental destruction, it is a perfect time to make use of our 100% Cotton and 100% Organic fabrics too, to let the world know you’re helping and not part of the problem. Our On-Demand system works solely with DTG printing, because of the speed and ability to print smaller batches, but also that DTG print adheres best to Cotton garments. 

Decide the length of the marathon. Create a sign-up sheet and collect registration info from all who wants to get involved. Use social media and create a unique hashtag they can use to submit updates and results — this provides your company with added social media content when they tag you. 

4. Virtual Karaoke Party

You’d probably think this idea is quite simple, and it can easily be conducted over Zoom or Google Hangouts, which are free face to face applications (saving money here — always appreciated), but it’s actually a smidge complex. 

Maybe add some props for extra entertainment and the benefits of this type of event is that guests won’t feel too awkward because participants will be on hand to provide immediate feedback. 

Virtual Karaoke events

Create a list of songs to choose from or ask all who sign-up to jot down one, two, maybe three song preferences. Compile a list of songs and participants into a sort of itinerary. One recommendation would be to use Voicebox to sync lyrics to your presentation. 

Create a voting system and have a tertiary hierarchy of merch prizes for first, second, third place — for the people, decided by the people. Maybe as a team-building exercise for employee onboarding or a sort of staff party to build morale during covid lockdown times. 

You could hold different singing events of this nature, across your company for respective departments, using the Printsome On-Demand feature and only print what you would need for each separate event as they happened, with independant size, model and address as part of the order. 

There’s also room for unique customisation on the garm, like the individuals name or work department. Your Shopify or online shop would send us the order and our dropshipping depot would print and send off as a prize for one of these virtual Karaoke events.  

5. Virtual Stands 

Virtual expo

Virtual stands are cutting-edge and save precious time and money. You have room for everyone in the world and on top of that no long waiting queues or entrance costs and 24/7 access. Customers can browse stalls at their leisure and ask questions about products or services, by sellers and sponsors alike, in real time. 

All the info is bitesizable, downloadable, translatable into all languages and transferable into PC, console, smartphone or even VR goggles! 

Virtual stands

Imagine this: your virtual guests peruse around your 3D cyber event world as cool avatars, soaking up all the info and then they learn that whilst strolling on by different sponsors stands that if they click on the sponsors logo they receive freebies and goodies! What ‘s not to love?

An example, Effie Virtual Congress is a company that organises virtual trade fairs in an online 3D environment created specifically for the energy industry which gives you options of stand. 

Effie virtual events

6. Encourage a Click to a Video 

The site takes them to another window where the customer needs to watch the entirety of a video dedicated to your brand and message, they then hand over their precious email and data in exchange for receiving a free giveaway garment. Hook this page up to our print on demand depot for stress-free, clickity-click-click income! 

Another PPAI study into Buyer behaviour stated that the top ten things that promo merch did for one´s brand was increase brand recognition, product awareness, promote corporate identity, better public relations, enhancing customer retention and appreciation, whilst generating sales & referrals. 

7. Navigate a Microsite 

A microsite is a brand-specific, single web page that companies use to promote an individual event, product or campaign! Microsites generally have a different URL to their company website or are hosted by the companies subdomain or even oftentimes hosted by their own domain. 

They are used because usually they attain better event branding than other types of site with more targeted messaging and an easier setup. They take your attention by the scruff of its neck, where a larger website a viewer would simply scan the main page and leave, this site is its own main page. But a biggie would be enhanced SEO. A URL unique to your main site, using relevant keywords will perform outstandingly in search engines across the net. 

After the guest has clicked and navigated the site, entered their name and email, they are rewarded as promised, with a free garment or piece of merch! 

8. Be Taken to a Website to Fill Out a Questionnaire 

This one’s pretty much explained in the title. Questionnaires are a great way to engage guests. Normally the psychology behind this, a customer would be too lazy to fill out a survey for info you need. BUT, offer free things at the end as a reward and not only will they give you the effort of answering questions, but they will give you their email of which you can abuse with spam forever! 

Form and surveys help you get the right information from the right people, whether you want feedback or gather data on your customers. Usually with slick interfaces and offering easy multiple-choice questions or strongly-agree/strongly-disagree options. 

HubSpot Form Builder is great for creating pop-up forms as overlays or drop-boxes that appear after a few seconds on websites. Alternatively, with Google Forms you can create polls, surveys, quizzes, use linear scales to grasp feeling, or let people opt from a grid of images. Both these apps are free. 

9. Covid Concerts

The planet on lockdown has seen a skyrocketing rise in online festivals, concerts, theatre, stand up comedies, live dance performance and film premiers and each has a shop attached to the event. 

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe> youtube video: “Lady Gaga, Rolling Stones, top stars come ‘together at home’ for Covid-19 benefit concert” 

Red Bull Virtual Fest

Think about it. Red Bull is all about organising or sponsoring events as a marketing motive. What are they doing now with all that money now? Let me tell you. 

They held the Red Bull Records Virtual Festival, which livestreamed a multi-genre music festival of at-home cutting-edge-talent performances for the benefit of fans scaling across the globe from their respective lockdown base. 

Red Bull Records Virtual Festival

When the world really missed and craved music festivals, but were banned to their homes, Red Bull really saved the day, on the first of May. However, they didn’t stop there. They have an extensive collection of great merch ideas that foster adoption to their brand. 

From brand printed merch T-shirts to printed caps, laptop cases, vinyl clocks, socks and a cheeky phone case! They left no stone unturned, and so can you! Racking up quite a sum total when you add up all the prices and times them by the many millions making up the go-faster fanbase of Red Bull.

Red Bull T-shirt merch
Red Bull cap merch
Red Bull laptop case merch
Red Bull case merch
Red Bull socks merch
Red Bull clock merch

Now, a virtual concert, similar to in-the-flesh concerts and conferences, maps around a full and live itinerary of sessions. Online conferences go on to include content that includes guest engagement tools similar to the webinar but on a grander scale. 

One of the most integral facets of an event is sponsorship. Hence why Red Bull would sponsor events so much, pre-COVID. But also Google, Amazon Web Services, Coca-cola, even bloody Mcdonalds! However, in the COVID Age, paying for venues becomes obsolete, costs on equipment redundant, and so on. So just look at all that spare budget. 

Then, when a sponsor funds an event, how would you show and advertise your sponsor´s brands in a world absent of posters and billboards? Other than the internet of course. But what if we told you there was a more memorable option? 

Printed branded T-shirts and garments are an innovative way to raise money for your sponsors that everyone will love! Completely corona-proof. And what’s more, your sponsors cover the costs with all that aforementioned spare budget lying around. 

10. Break the Law 

Infamous YouTubers hosted a gigantic university party in Illinois – mask-free! The Nelk Boys are a mad group of Canadian Youtubers who do a prankster channel, who received even more to the nearly 5.7 followers to their channel, after their illegal gathering that amassed over 200 partiers. 

The party brazenly disobeyed safety law in place to cap COVID on campus. Following their “Brotest” gym-reopening the month previous. Sending more people to their prank channel, merch site and events.

Full send shop

They run the Shopify merch shop, where they turn the success of millions of views into gold. Their site is just as crazy as they are and their merch follows suit. It is an imaginative and hilarious party shirt with Corona bottles on it, dubbed the “Rona Tuxedo”, and you can buy it online in their shop!

The site offers club memberships to their brand, which includes monthly giveaways, exclusive content, a LIVE hangout weekly, invites to private events and access to secret pranks + episodes. And it all generates a pull like some blackhole towards their merch shop. 

I´m not actually condoning that you break the law to garner a following, but shock factor will always draw attention, I can guarantee that! There’s so much more you could do! The net is infinite. 

Actual Merch Items

If these virtual event ideas get you inspired, here’s a list of promotional items you could stick your logo on and offer at your own version of those events:

  • Keyrings 
  • Mug warmers, mugs 
  • Drink bottles 
  • Pens, notebooks
  • Branded straws 
  • USB drives 
  • Reusable eco-eups 
  • Phone products: 

What does everyone have? A phone. Which is never more than five meters far from its customer. Hand in hand with that, the outcry for promo phone products has skyrocketed. This can range from phone holder to wallet to customisable case. An excellent giveaway item as they’re very cheap. 

Check out this fabric phone holder! Using all-over-print I’m sure this little number can be arranged. 

Merch Shirt Ideas + Other Garms

Yeah, but what does absolutely everyone have? A body. Bodies require clothing. Making anyone who attends your virtual event already part of the target demographic for printed garments. Everyone with a body that is. And in this sense, at Printsome we have options of different printing technique on: 

  • cool caps and hats
  • handy hoodies 
  • jumpers, (for the cold months coming)
  • polos (think uniforms and such)
  • vests 
  • sportswear 
  • shopping tote bags (things to put all the other things in *wink*)
  • drawstring sports bag 
  • and even tea-towels! (incredibly British, but with unlimited usefulness) 

Important Takeaway About Shirt Merch Ideas

The important takeaway is that the pandemic is causing the events industry to reinvent itself and going virtual is a solution! It is generating a new generation of events. 

In this blog we discovered some cool merch ideas for virtual events and read about some examples in the real world. We came up with some great new events concepts using the wonders of new online technology. A lot of it free, we might reiterate once more. *wink* 

We learnt that virtual events were here long before COVID and already had their benefits then, but now they’re all-the-more important. Not to mention, their sheer accessibility and lessening of carbon emissions is priceless. 

Similarly, as we looked into before, wearable promo merch is where it’s at! Over 35% and the biggest part of the pie! Broadcasting your company’s slogan or message as a sort of walking billboard. As a result, you get continuous advertising at no further cost. Bargain! It looks like COVID may be here to stay, and it’s time to stop dreaming of times gone by, and evolve into the new world.  


Elle is a Junior Content Marketing Writer for the Printsome-Insights Blog. Working alongside Team Manager: Rafa, Elle has proven herself in blogging from scratch, proofreading others work and working in SEO and optimizing meta-descriptions. A breath of fresh air to the agency for her creative edge. Although her marketing experience is lacking, she is making up for it by learning the industry alongside Rafa and the team. Whilst having a degree in Creative Writing, she has also written blogs for a startup site called AzureDark. When she isn't dedicated to writing for the agency, she is a hostel receptionist for a bed in Barcelona, dreaming of backpacking + paddleboarding + working online.

Write A Comment