Tips for Kickstarter Fulfillment Success

If you’re familiar with Kickstarter campaigns, then you probably know how much time and effort is required for them to succeed. With so much to handle, all at the same time, it’s not surprising that shipping and Kickstarter order fulfillment comes as an afterthought.  

Unfortunately, this approach has proven costly for creators. After all, it’s no small task to deliver all your rewards, especially when you probably have thousands of backers scattered across the world. The advice shared in this article will help your fundraising success, and keep your project running smoothly even after your crowdfunding campaign has ended.

Your Shipping methods and costs should determine what the pledges and rewards will be

When it comes to the products that merchants decide to sell or the gifts crowd funders choose to offer, it’s rare to find shipping rates considered. But they should be.

Consider this scenario as an example.

Let’s assume you start a Kickstarter project to finance an exciting piece new of furniture. It has some interesting built-in features like integrated lighting and is generally impressive. The box your product ships in measures 75x50x30. Its actual weight is just over 4.5kg, and dunnage and shipping-box weight push that total to about 6kg.

So, as part of your Kickstarter rewards strategy, you had planned for this shipping weight and identified FedEx as your best option. The pledge amounts you’ve fixed account for the average cost of shipping a 6kg package to your backers in the United States, and you have requested more from those who want to ship internationally.

It may look like you’ve done an excellent job. You’ve accounted for the cost of shipping, and checked to ensure your pledge amounts cover the expenses. Here’s the problem. Your pallets are actually going to ship at more than three times that cost.

Nowadays, most shipping agents use dimensional weight rules to determine delivery costs. FedEx will multiply the dimensions of your package (75cm x 50cm x 30cm) to get 112500 cubic cm, and then divide that by 5000 to get 22.5kg, and use this to compute the shipping fee. Since this dimensional weight is greater than the actual weight, FedEx will charge you more than your budget. Also, for shipping calculations, you need to know which days are considered business days, and the times used for cutoff.

Such issues may seem minor, but they will have a substantial impact on your campaign because they cut into your net margin. You’ll want to consult with your partners to identify the best ways to ship your rewards and to keep in mind the various other factors that affect your shipping costs such as SKU mix, competition, and package value and size.

Keep your rewards simple

Try not to let your Kickstarter rewards spiral out of control. Sometimes crowd funders offer too many reward options. Besides the product your campaign was meant to help create, Kickstarter allows rewards like bumper stickers, t-shirts coffee mugs, and so on. It’s not so hard to tell why. Creators want to offer low pledge options, but their product is too valuable to give away at $5 or $1, yet they feel they should give their backers something.

You may feel it’s the right thing to do, but before you go all in, consider this; when you offer t-shirts, you’ll also have to handle sizes, and they are not all of them will fit the right way. Ceramics will break. Thank you cards must be handwritten. In all honesty, it’s an honorable gesture, but probably not worth the time you’ll invest in doing it right. More importantly, it’s a contribution the backer was likely happy to give without receiving anything in return.

Offering low pledge amounts is an excellent strategy, but you shouldn’t give in to the urge to send your customers something they probably won’t want. Instead, you could do something new, like add a contributor’s name to your website as a thank you, or even offer them some form of digital content that doesn’t need to be shipped. Or for a contribution of $1, you could loop them in on the progress of your campaign and its product.

Adding several rewards to your Kickstarter fulfillment strategy will complicate your campaign and almost always add to the total cost and time required for its completion.

Expect delays

Kickstarter projects are often plagued by unexpected setbacks. Anything could go wrong; your launch may not happen on the set date, there may be manufacturing or shipping problems, and so on. Make advance arrangements to leave yourself room for such events. If your production team says your Kickstarter video will be ready in 3 days, plan for 5. When manufacturing asks for two weeks, prepare for four. If your fulfillment center offers you a 2-day guarantee, remember it could take longer.

To have your project successfully funded, you’ll need the harmonious collaboration of several departments. Giving yourself some extra time makes it easier for everyone involved, even your backers. Nobody will like it if you make bold promises but fail to deliver as expected. So plan ahead, make everyone proud.

Plan for preorders

With most crowdfunding campaigns, there is a brief pause between campaign completion and reward shipment – it shouldn’t hold you back. There’s probably a large number of people who want to preorder your product and wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity. It would be wise to accept preorders the moment your campaign is concluded.  

You may do this by launching a website that allows you to receive orders and credit card details but doesn’t charge until the product is shipped by your order fulfillment company. Furthermore, there are several third-party platforms designed to help sellers receive preorders after their campaigns have ended. Even if your Kickstarter campaign doesn’t reach its goals, you can use these platforms to generate sales from the people that back your fundraising drive.

Let your audience know that you’ll be accepting preorders before the end of your fundraising campaign. Once the campaign ends, you could add a large banner with a link to send late arrivals to your website.

The order fulfillment process can be challenging, but it’s crucial for the success of any crowdfunding campaign that must ship products to its backers. The right strategy will help you avoid unnecessary challenges, ensure your backers get their rewards on time, and help you avoid the unnecessary expenditures that come from poor preparation.

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