So, you’ve just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign. High-fives all around! But wait, what’s that lurking around the corner? It’s the mountain of rewards waiting to be shipped to your backers. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t sweat it; we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ll cover kickstarter fulfillment and how to ship your kickstarter rewards using a fulfillment center (3PL)!
Jump right in: Shipping and Fulfilling Kickstarter Rewards
- Know Your Product: Dimensions and Packaging
- Choosing a Fulfillment Center for Kickstarter
- Shipping Costs: Transparency is Key
- Booking Freight: Getting Rewards to Your Fulfillment Center
- Integrating with your Fulfillment Center (3PL)
- Delivery and Support: The Home Stretch
- After Fulfillment: Post-Delivery Engagement
1. Know Your Product Inside and Out
Weigh & Measure:
Grab a tape measure and a scale, and get to know your Kickstarter product and it’s packaging. Size matters, especially when it comes to shipping costs. Additionally, you may want to consider how DIM weight may affect the cost of shipping your rewards.
DIM weight is a shipping term that considers both the size and weight of a package. It’s calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of the package and then dividing by a standard DIM factor determined by the carrier. Essentially, it’s a way for carriers to charge for the space a package takes up in their vehicle, not just its weight.
Think outside the box, or rather, about the box. Choose packaging that’s not just protective but also screams “you.”
- Protection First: Choose packaging that will keep your product safe during transit. Consider the fragility of the item and select materials that provide adequate cushioning. Bubble wrap, foam inserts, or custom-molded packaging might be necessary for delicate items.
- Brand Alignment: Your packaging should reflect your brand’s personality. Consider custom-printed boxes, branded tape, or personalized inserts that tell your story. It’s an opportunity to create a memorable unboxing experience.
- Eco-Friendly Options: Many consumers appreciate sustainable packaging. Explore options like recycled materials, reusable packaging, or minimalistic designs that reduce waste. It’s not just good for the planet; it can be a selling point for your brand.
- Compliance and Regulations: Depending on the product and destination countries, there may be specific packaging regulations to follow. Research these requirements to ensure your packaging is compliant. This might include labeling for hazardous materials, food-grade packaging for edible items, or specific markings for international shipments.
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2. Finding the Right 3PL for Kickstarter Fulfillment
Do Your Homework:
Look for 3PL providers like you’re searching for a lifelong business partner. Read reviews, compare services, and don’t settle for less.
What to look for in a 3PL for Kickstarter Fulfillment:
Experience with Kickstarter Campaigns: Not all 3PL providers are created equal, especially when it comes to crowdfunding fulfillment. Look for those with a proven track record in handling Kickstarter projects. They’ll understand the specific challenges and opportunities that come with crowdfunding.
Ability to Scale: Your campaign might start small, but what if it takes off? Ensure that the 3PL provider can scale their services to match your growth. Whether it’s a hundred orders or a thousand, they should be able to handle it without breaking a sweat.
Technology Integration: Check if the 3PL provider offers integration with popular pledge managers like Pledgebox or other platforms you use. Seamless integration can save you time and reduce the risk of errors.
Shipping Capabilities: Investigate their shipping options, carriers, and international reach. Can they ship to all the destinations where your backers are located? Do they offer various shipping speeds and cost-effective solutions?
Customer Service: Assess their responsiveness, communication skills, and willingness to work with your specific needs. A dedicated account manager or support team that understands your project can make a world of difference.
Warehousing and Inventory Management: Explore their warehousing facilities and inventory management systems. Are they secure, well-organized, and capable of handling your product type? Proper storage and tracking are vital for smooth fulfillment.
Custom Packaging Options: If you want to create a unique unboxing experience, see if the 3PL provider offers custom packaging or kitting services. This can enhance your brand image and delight your backers.
Transparent Pricing: Understand their pricing structure, including any hidden fees or additional charges. A clear and transparent pricing model helps you budget accurately and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Get Your Quotes:
Provide all the nitty-gritty details about your campaign, and let them woo you with their offers.
Communication is Key:
Make sure they get you and your unique needs. A good 3PL provider should be able to respond promptly and not leaving you looking for answers.
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3. Shipping Costs: Transparency is Key
Use the information gained from your 3PL of choice to offer shipping rates that won’t make your backers’ jaws drop. Transparency is key. Be clear, be honest, and let your backers know what they’re in for.
Some 3PLs even offer Cost calculators on their website to help assist you with these estimates so you can get an idea of your total shipping and fulfillment costs.
4. Book Freight – Navigating the Journey to the Fulfillment Warehouse
Once you’ve chosen a fulfillment partner for your Kickstarter rewards, the next crucial step is getting the products to their warehouse. This involves coordinating the transfer of bulk rewards from the manufacturer to the warehouse, a process known as freight shipping.
Here’s how to navigate this journey:
Freight Shipping Methods:
- Air (plane): Fast but often more expensive, suitable for time-sensitive deliveries.
- Sea (boat): Cost-effective for large quantities, but slower.
- Land (large truck): A versatile option, especially for domestic shipments.
- Multimodal: This involves using different transportation methods across multiple terrains, such as shipping products via sea to a dock and then transporting them via truck to the warehouse.
There are various ways to book freight, but platforms like Freightos make the process as simple as booking a hotel on Expedia. They’ll collect information about the origin, destination, weight, size, and contents of the shipment, then provide options to ship by air, sea, or land. You can choose an option that fits your timetable and budget.
Selecting a Fulfillment Center First:
By choosing a fulfillment center first, you can provide complete information to a company like Freightos (or any other broker) and get an accurate quote on shipping costs. This ensures that there are no surprises later on.
Duties, Taxes, and Customs:
Depending on where you’re shipping from and the nature of your products, you may need to pay for duties, taxes, or customs exams. These are levies that countries impose on imported goods, and they can vary widely based on your industry and the countries involved.
Communication and Coordination:
Once you book a shipment, the freight company will handle the logistics. However, you’ll need to notify both your manufacturer and fulfillment center about the shipment details. Clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and that the products arrive at the fulfillment center as planned.
5. Send Kickstarter Shipping Info to the Fulfillment Center: A Step-by-Step Guide
Getting your Kickstarter rewards to backers requires precise coordination with your chosen fulfillment center. This involves sending all necessary backer information to ensure a smooth delivery process.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this crucial stage:
Step 1: Collect Backer Information
Addresses: You’ll need to gather the shipping addresses of all your backers. This includes not only the street address but also any specific delivery instructions that might be necessary.
Phone Numbers: For international shipments, collecting phone numbers can be essential for customs clearance or delivery coordination.
Tools: Platforms like Kickstarter or pledge managers such as Pledgebox can facilitate this information collection, providing user-friendly interfaces for backers to input their details.
Step 2: Prepare the Information
Format Requirements: Fulfillment centers may have specific formats they prefer for receiving shipping information. This could be a CSV file, an Excel spreadsheet, or direct integration with a pledge manager.
Integration with Pledge Managers: Many fulfillment centers can integrate directly with popular pledge managers, automating the information transfer and minimizing manual work.
Manual Entry: If direct integration is not available, you may need to create a file with all the necessary details. This typically includes backer addresses, items ordered, and quantities.
Step 3: Communicate with the Fulfillment Center
Ask for a Template: If you need to create a file manually, ask your fulfillment center for a template or specific guidelines to ensure you provide the information in the correct format.
Confirm Receipt: Once you’ve sent the information, confirm with the fulfillment center that they’ve received it and that everything is in order.
Step 4: Monitor the Process
Stay in Touch: Maintain communication with the fulfillment center as they process the orders. They may have questions or need additional information.
Provide Support: Be ready to assist with any issues that might arise, such as incorrect addresses or changes in order quantities.
6. Delivery & Support: The Home Stretch
If you’re working with a reputable kickstarter fulfillment company, this step should be easy. Here’s how to navigate the home stretch of delivering your rewards to backers using your chosen 3PL.
1. Coordination with the Fulfillment Center
Packaging and Postage: If you’re working with a fulfillment center, they’ll handle the packaging, labeling, and postage. They’ll take the items out of storage, pack them securely, and apply the necessary postage.
Special Instructions: You may need to provide the fulfillment center with specific packing instructions or additional information for certain backers. Timely communication is key here.
2. Consider Parcel Insurance (Optional):
Valuable or Fragile Items: If you’re shipping items that are particularly valuable or fragile, you might consider using parcel insurance. This provides a safety net in case packages are lost or damaged in transit.
Filing Claims: Should something go wrong, parcel insurance allows you to file a claim with the postal carrier and receive reimbursement.
3. Monitor and Support the Delivery Process:
Track Shipments: Many fulfillment centers offer tracking options, allowing you to monitor the progress of deliveries and provide updates to backers if needed.
Handle Inquiries: Be prepared to respond to backers’ questions or concerns about their shipments. Prompt and empathetic customer service can turn a potential issue into a positive experience.
Collect Feedback: Encourage backers to share their unboxing experiences, photos, and feedback online. This not only fosters community but also provides valuable insights for future campaigns.
7. After Fulfillment: Post-Delivery Engagement
The jobs not over after all your kickstarter rewards have been shipped out to your backers. Make sure to take the time to go through reviews, reflect on your fulfillment processes, and find new ways to improve your backer experience.
Appreciate Your Backers: Take a moment to appreciate the backers who supported your campaign. Their excitement and satisfaction as they receive their rewards are the ultimate validation of your hard work.
Feedback is Your Friend: Encourage backers to spread the word on their fulfillment experience.
Learn and Grow: Reflect on the entire fulfillment process, noting what went well and where there might be room for improvement. This reflection will be invaluable as you plan your next Kickstarter campaign or decide to use your chosen 3PL as your full time fulfillment center.
Finding the right 3PL provider isn’t just a one-time fling; it’s a long-term relationship. Look for someone who gets your vision, offers solutions that grow with you, and treats you like a business partner.
Remember, your backers are your biggest fans. Delivering a smooth, professional experience is like an encore performance. Make it memorable, and they’ll be back for more.
Need a 3PL partner who understands your groove? Contact us for a personalized quote.