You have raised your capital funds through crowdfunding, worked long and hard to develop a great product, and appealed to your target audience on social media and various ad platforms. The next hurdle? Crowdfunding fulfillment. Now, it’s time to decide how to manage crowdfunding order fulfillment and ship those pledges to eager backers.
Many campaign owners opt for a third-party crowdfunding fulfillment service for their Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. With various rewards needing to be shipped out to a long list of backers, fulfilling these orders is often complicated and overwhelming. If you’re wondering about the ins and outs of crowdfunding shipping fulfillment, this guide has got you covered.
Table of content
- Part 1: What is Crowdfunding Fulfillment Service
- Part 2: Understanding the Crowdfunding Fulfillment Process
- Part 3: Challenges to ship & fulfill crowdfunding rewards
- Part 4: Should you consider outsourcing crowdfunding fulfillment?
- Part 5: Things to look at when evaluating crowdfunding fulfillment services
- Part 6: How can 3PL help you with crowdfunding shipping
- Part 7: How Does NextSmartship Crowdfunding Dulfillment Work
Part 1. What is Crowdfunding Fulfillment Service
Crowdfunding fulfillment is the process that follows a successful crowdfunding campaign. Once backers have pledged money to a project in exchange for a reward, product, or service, the creator of the campaign is responsible for delivering those items to each supporter. This process involves:
- Inventory Management: Keeping track of all the products or rewards that need to be shipped out, including any variations such as size, color, or model.
- Order Processing: Sorting out the individual orders, packing the right items, and ensuring they’re sent to the correct address.
- Shipping & Logistics: Determining the most cost-effective and reliable shipping method, whether domestically or internationally, and ensuring items are delivered in a timely fashion.
- Customer Communication: Providing backers with updates about the production process, shipping timelines, tracking numbers, and addressing any concerns or issues that arise.
- Returns & Exchanges: Handling any returns or exchanges in case backers aren’t satisfied with the product or if it arrives damaged.
In essence, crowdfunding order fulfillment is a crucial bridge between a campaign’s promise and its actual delivery. While it might seem straightforward, the complexity of handling hundreds or even thousands of orders simultaneously often necessitates specialized Crowdfunding fulfillment services to ensure a smooth process for both creators and backers.
Part 2. Understanding the Crowdfunding Fulfillment Process
Understanding the crowdfunding fulfillment process is essential for any creator planning a campaign. Breaking down this intricate operation into stages will help in ensuring a seamless delivery experience for backers:
- Post-Campaign Survey:
- Objective: Gather detailed information about backers’ product preferences, sizes, colors, shipping addresses, and any other specific needs.
- Methods: Using tools or platforms like BackerKit, creators can send out surveys to backers, consolidating crucial data for fulfillment.
- Inventory Assessment & Manufacturing:
- Objective: Ensure that all promised rewards or products are manufactured to meet the demand.
- Methods: Work closely with suppliers and manufacturers, providing them with final numbers from the post-campaign survey.
- Warehouse Receiving:
- Objective: Safely store and organize the products in preparation for shipping.
- Methods: Products are shipped from the manufacturer to a warehouse where they are cataloged, organized, and stored.
- Order Processing & Packing:
- Objective: Prepare individual packages for each backer based on their survey responses.
- Methods: Using a combination of manual labor and automated systems, each order is picked, packed with necessary protection, and labeled.
- Shipping & Logistics:
- Objective: Deliver each package to the right backer in a timely fashion.
- Methods: Partner with reliable shipping carriers and utilize tracking systems to monitor shipments and update backers.
- Customer Support & Communication:
- Objective: Address any concerns, queries, or issues backers might have regarding their shipment.
- Methods: Maintaining open channels of communication through email, social media, and the crowdfunding platform itself.
- Returns, Exchanges & Damage Control:
- Objective: Handle any post-delivery issues such as damaged products, incorrect items, or backers wishing to return/exchange.
- Methods: Establish a clear policy for returns and exchanges, and ensure efficient systems are in place to process them.
- Feedback & Improvement:
- Objective: Continuously improve the fulfillment process based on feedback and lessons learned.
- Methods: Send out post-delivery surveys, monitor backer feedback, and adjust strategies for future campaigns.
The crowdfunding fulfillment process is an amalgamation of meticulous planning, effective communication, and adaptive strategies. By understanding and mastering each stage, creators can provide backers with a satisfying end-to-end experience, ensuring the success of their current and future campaigns.
Part 3. Challenges to Ship and Fulfill Crowdfunding Rewards
Crowdfunding order fulfillment is not the same as traditional order fulfillment. It’s a critical step in the execution process and an often overlooked part of crowdfunding campaign logistics, but it can make or break your campaign’s success. The most common challenges faced by campaign owners include:
1. Large Volume of Product
After a successful crowdfunding project, campaign creators need to send rewards to all the backers. It can involve many items of different batches, colors, sizes, or faulty product checks. This process can be hectic and complicated for sending rewards to a long list of backers at once in a short period. It requires many workforces since the packing and shipping of these goods have to be efficient and secured.
2. Cost of International Logistics
Most crowdfunding campaigns take place online and are open to supporters from different countries. Sending orders to backers from other countries with various national taxes and custom compliance can incur extra charges. Another factor is the distance and shipping coverage. Couriers have the strict capacity and expensive costs on large and heavy goods traveling to distant destinations. Some backers might live far away from the campaign organizer’s location. All these factors increase the cost of shipping reward items.
3. Large and Fragile Items
Some crowdfunding rewards are fragile high technology products ranging from 3d printers, electric bikes, Solar panel machines, or VR gaming sets. These unique products need different shipping requirements, shipping modes (sea or air shipping), and methods when packing and shipping to avoid any damage. The size, weight, and shipping requirements need to be taken into account.
4. Freight Transport Insurance
Due to the large numbers of crowdfunding rewards items, some third-party crowdfunding packing services hurry to pack and ship items to meet the given delivery time. Sometimes there might be aggressive handling of goods resulting in damaged or lost goods. It’s often difficult for crowdfunding campaign endeavors to sort out claims if products get damaged or lost.
Part 4. Should You Consider Outsourcing Crowdfunding Fulfillment?
Crowdfunding fulfillment is not easy, especially if you are just starting in eCommerce, but with the right partner and plan, you can still get the creative products into the hands of international consumers – and make shipping an asset instead of a liability.
There are many factors involved with crowdfunding fulfillment; prepping and packing all the orders, getting the correct address, and ensuring that your backers receive their rewards on time can be very stressful. By outsourcing, you won’t even have to worry about these things, and to top that off, here is why you should consider outsourcing:
1. Help You Focus on Crowdfunding Itself
Outsourcing crowdfunding fulfillment allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as marketing your campaign or product development while ensuring that your customers receive their products on time.
This is where 3PL (third-party logistics) partner comes into play and takes over. All you need to do is pack your products and send them to their fulfillment center, where they will handle all of the other tasks for you.
The idea behind the crowdfunding order fulfillment process is to make things as easy as possible for you by providing a wide range of services.
2. Reach a Larger Audience
Instead of limiting yourself to those within driving distance, you can send your packages across the country or worldwide. It also saves expenses as you won’t have to pay for shipping costs or rent out warehouse space.
3. Get Professional Shipping Advice
Choosing a fulfillment service for your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns will let you have access to experts and high-tech shipping software. This saves you time and costs while ensuring everything goes smoothly. Plus, it helps drive down costs of investing in shipping tech and labor costs, which is crucial, especially at the early stages of your business.
Part 5. Things to Look at When Evaluating Crowdfunding Fulfillment Services
Crowdfunding fulfillment can be a minefield for starters, who often have little to no experience in logistics and warehousing. There are many different options for fulfilling your campaign and shipping the rewards to your backers; which one is best for you will depend on several factors:
1. Location Proximity of Warehouses
To minimize shipping costs and reach backers quickly, you’ll want a fulfillment company that has warehouses close to where your supporters and consumers are located.
For example, if you sell products only in the United States and your company is located on the West Coast, it may take a week or more to reach an East Coast consumer. A Kickstarter fulfillment warehouse located in New York, for example, would significantly reduce delivery time.
So, before signing any agreements or contracts, ensure your fulfillment service company offers international or global shipping, as reaching your target audience is key to staying in the market for the long run.
2. Delivery Speeds
Some crowdfunding fulfillment services only provide ground shipping options, which could take weeks before arrival. Make sure your fulfillment partner can provide fast delivery times for your backers.
A good crowdfunding fulfillment company should be able to deliver your products within 10 days of order, no matter where they’re going. The ideal scenario is that you can get your product shipped within 5 days; however, this may not always be possible if your products are made overseas and need to arrive at the fulfillment center before shipping out.
3. Shipping Costs
Of course, the cost is an essential factor in any business decision. You’ll want to find a shipping partner that provides value for money. You’ll want to spend as little as possible without sacrificing quality and speed.
Start by getting a few quotes from different providers. Make sure they’re all quoting on the same volume, making it easy to compare apples to apples. Some providers charge a flat monthly fee, while others may have minimum orders or charges based on volume or weight. You should also ask about any additional costs, such as setup fees, pick & pack fees, and warehouse storage fees.
4. Packaging Options
Does the 3PL company have many packaging options, including boxes, tubes, shrink-wrapping, and custom packaging?
Remember, different products require different types of packaging, and you don’t want to compromise on the product experience because you are limited by your fulfillment partner’s packaging options.
5. WMS Features & Functionality
You must do your due diligence on what your business priorities are and what features you need the most.
To start, it is recommendable to look for a service that offers basic CRM capabilities so that you can keep track of your backers’ addresses and their reward selections (if applicable).
Then check if the fulfillment company has the WMS (warehouse management system) and OMS (order management system), which play a vital role in tracking order status and saving efforts. After all, easily integrated software is the best way to go.
Part 6. How can NextSmartShip 3PL Help you with Crowdfunding Fulfillment
Now that you’re all set with a solid business idea and have solid financial support, it begs the following question: Which company has all the boxes ticked to get me started on my business journey? Well, this is where NextSmartShip comes in.
At NextSmartShip, you can sit back and work on your innovation and let us sort your crowdfunding logistics. With over 99% shipping coverage, 24/7 customers support, and speedy delivery times in just 2 days for domestic shipping, it’s a viable choice to get your business up and running.
1. World-class Fulfillment Service
We have a team of professionals who will pick and pack all your reward items securely for shipment. We help select the best logistics option for your backers. We have experience calculating the exact pricing structure of your fulfillment, tax and customs clearance, insurance, and competitive pricing for couriers. We do the heavy lifting for you to save time, money, and effort. We are also a technology-driven third-party logistics company. Our fulfillment software enables you to import backer’s data and track the shipping status. Our fulfillment software is simple and user-friendly. Our customer service is always available to solve any issues with your fulfillment.
2. Budget Friendly Costs
We are a reputable fulfillment company. We have the solid bargaining power to get you discounts on your courier prices. We have different shipping carriers with different prices you can choose from depending on your shipping cost and requirements. We have a system that intelligently recommends many shipping methods based on the destination and shipping requirements to reduce shipping costs.
The cost of warehousing can take a big chunk of your fulfillment cost. At NextSmartShip, we make our fulfillment and warehousing fees affordable for our customers. Our technology leverages data and automation to drive down shipping costs and transit times so that you can save even more.
To ease your fulfillment service with us, we offer a free 30 days of warehouse storage with no account setup fee or goods receiving cost.
3. Speedy International Shipping:
We have an extensive network of over 75 shipping companies and fulfillment warehouses globally in China, the USA, the UK, Australia, and Europe. We can get discounted rates to help you lower your shipping costs and reduce tax duties. With our fast delivery services, you can leave a great impression on your backers and make them become your loyal customers. Once your goods are dispatched from our fulfillment centers, we have a real-time tracking system till the goods get to your backers.
4. Personal 1 to 1 Account Manager:
Whether you are new or familiar with crowdfunding order fulfillment, we have a dedicated account manager for each customer. Our account managers are experienced with shipping reward items for campaign creators on popular platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. They will help you with budgeting and planning to ensure a smooth fulfillment experience. They will advise you on the best packaging methods and the shipping routes that work for you. They will always be available and solve any issues with your fulfillment account.
Part 7. How Does NextSmartship Crowdfunding Dulfillment Work
Let’s walk through the general steps to cooperate with NextSmartShip.
Step 1. Contact Sales consultant
Tell the Sales consultant more about the number of rewards items that need to be shipped and the production cycle, if they are finished products or still in the production stage, and the shipping cost budget so we can provide a shipping strategy for you.
Step 2. Set up an account
After you agree to the quotation provided by the Sales consultant, you can set up an account on NextSmartShip platform so you can import backer’s data into our system for fulfillment in a few clicks.
Step 3. Send your crowdfunding products
Ship your reward items to any of NextSmartShip global warehouses to be stored safely and ready to be fulfilled.
Step 4. Pick, pack, and ship
When you place a request on NextSmartShip fulfillment software to ship an item to your backers, we will assign it to the closest fulfillment center. We will pack and send it based on your request.
Step 5. Fulfill successfully
Once dispatched, the system will send a tracking number to your backers. You can track the shipping status through our software dashboard.
Try NextSmartShip crowdfunding fulfillment today! Get 60 days of free warehousing with access to top-notch technology and professionals to enjoy a stress-free crowdfunding fulfillment experience!