Hooray! You’ve reached your Kickstarter goal, time to break out the bubbly!
But wait, hold the phone. You just realized that now you have to actually fulfill all of those orders to your backers. Well, that’s a real buzz-kill.
As one of the leading order fulfillment companies for Kickstarter campaigns, we’ve heard a lot of stories from a lot of Kickstarters here at eFulfillment Service, and many of those stories centered around the same theme, which was that the seller wasn’t prepared to handle the huge volume of orders they received.
From utilizing the right packaging, to choosing the best ship method, there’s a lot that goes into optimizing order fulfillment and shipping. And what often makes it more challenging is trying to get orders out the door in a hurry in order to meet your expected delivery dates. Because if you don’t, you’ll probably be hearing about it from your backers.
Whether you’re preparing to launch your Kickstarter campaign, you’re in the midst of one, or you just wrapped it up, we wanted to share a few quick tips to help with your order fulfillment and shipping.
1. Have a Plan
This one’s a biggie. A lot of Kickstarters find themselves scrambling to find a fulfillment solution after they’ve reached their goal.
It’s not uncommon for Kickstarters to initially plan on doing the order fulfillment themselves, only to later find out that they vastly underestimated the sheer number of orders they’d receive, as well as the amount of time and intricacies that go into optimizing the picking, packing, and shipping process.
Your backers expect their orders in a reasonable amount of time, so before you’ve reached your goal, make sure that you have a well-thought-out plan on how you’re going to get orders out the door quickly to ensure that you meet your estimated delivery dates.
2. Factor in Shipping Costs & Times
Even though a lot of sellers advertise it, shipping isn’t free, which means it’s important to closely analyze your ship options and costs ahead of time.
Depending on your products, their value and weight, you may be somewhat limited in your ship options, both domestically and internationally. Those factors will influence your shipping costs, including any extra insurance you may want to add. Additionally, processing your Kickstarter orders typically happens all at once, which can be a good thing, as it means you may be able to take advantage of a bulk shipping option that could save you money.
It’s also important to consider that many Kickstarter campaigns involve international shipping, which brings about its own unique set of challenges and costs. For this reason, it may be a good idea to add a separate fee for shipping on top of your backers’ pledges, depending on the international ship method you plan to use. This fee may apply to everyone, or you may choose to only charge your international backers for shipping.
Aside from cost, time is a big factor. The estimated delivery dates that you give to your backers should not only coincide with your Kickstarter campaign, but also anticipated delivery speed, as well as your production schedule. You may experience production delays, which can be fairly common, as many Kickstarters haven’t actually mass produced their product prior to reaching their goal.
The more homework you can do before your campaign, the better. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of the shipping options/costs and realistic delivery times, and you’ll be in a better position to convey that to your backers ahead of time and keep everyone happy.
3. Communicate with Your Backers
Your backers have made a generous pledge to help you grow your business. And most of them will fully understand if you hit some snags along the way with order fulfillment. That is, as long as you let them know.
Many Kickstarter campaigns have quickly gone south due to a lack of communication. Whether the news is good or bad, it’s always a good idea to communicate with your backers throughout the campaign, and especially after you’ve reached your goal. Send them regular updates informing them of where things are at with production, when you expect to have your inventory, once orders are being processed, and again once they’ve actually shipped out. If you’re proactive with your communication, it’ll ultimately save you a lot of time and headaches.
4. Consider Outsourcing Your Fulfillment
Sure, as an outsourced order fulfillment provider, this one’s easy for us to recommend. But the truth is, many Kickstarters are extremely overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in getting their pre-orders out the door. Additionally, as mentioned above, there’s a lot to this whole shipping thing if you’re looking to maximize cost efficiencies and also hit delivery deadlines.
Order fulfillment is time consuming. And aside from the measureable tangible costs that Kickstarters pay when they do their own shipping, there are also the intangible opportunity costs to consider, which is the cost that your business pays as a result diverting your attention from creative and marketing to fulfillment and shipping.
eFulfillment Service specializes in fast, simple, transparent order fulfillment. Our technology keeps you and your backers up-to-date from anywhere in the world, and our service and flexibility are an ideal fit for a range of Kickstarter campaigns.
Give us a shout if you’d like to learn more. We’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to also check out our guide, 10 Tips for a Successful Kickstarter Project.