Kickstarter has been a gift to many business owners over the last decade. The crowdfunding giant allows people to introduce a product or service to the market while mitigating financial risks. The main way it does this is through the “raise your goal amount, or no one’s card is charged” model.
The early funding stage is vital to your business, and Kickstarter lets you do this publicly. This gives you an excellent way to receive feedback and make last-minute adjustments to ensure your audience is happy with what they are backing. With close to 200,000 projects successfully funded and billions of dollars raised, it is safe to say that you can very well turn your dreams into a reality with a successful campaign.
As great as some of these campaigns are, one piece of information often gets overlooked…
Don’t get me wrong, some of this is entirely out of the control of the seller. Supply chains around the world have had it tough thanks to COVID-19. This doesn’t help the fact that the fulfillment process can already be complex by nature.
We know that you want to start out on the right foot with your backers, that is why understanding the fulfillment process, and ways to improve it are so crucial. There are multiple phases of Kickstarter fulfillment – meaning how goods get from point A to point B. Some of these phases include:
- Freight Shipping
- Customs Clearance & Fees
- Order Fulfillment
This week, we will be going over the steps in the fulfillment process, as well as providing you with four websites that will help make fulfilling your Kickstarter as easy as it possibly can be.
What Goes Into Fulfillment?
Before we dive into the depths of order fulfillment, I want to provide you with a little reminder about what Kickstarter highlights as “creator obligations”. Check out this passage:
When a project is successfully funded, the creator is responsible for completing the project and fulfilling each reward to the best of their abilities. Their fundamental obligation to backers is to finish all the work that was promised, honestly address backers’ concerns, and deliver rewards…
At the same time, backers must understand that Kickstarter is not a store. When you back a project on Kickstarter, you’re helping create something new — not pre-ordering something that already exists. As Kickstarter does not offer refunds, we encourage backers to investigate the project idea first, to vet the creator thoroughly, and to assess the inherent risk of the project for themselves before making a pledge.
– What is a creator obligated to do once their project is funded? By Kickstarter
Kickstarter later goes on to highlight how they acknowledge that events can come up out of the creator’s control that could hinder the shipping process. All of this is worth going over upfront, as it lays out the expectations for both parties in the Kickstarter process.
The message from Kickstarter is clear: backers, remember to try and be patient with the creators. Creators, don’t abuse the leeway that you are given.
Back to the heart of the matter: Kickstarter fulfillment. This multistep process is how you get goods from point A to B, and ideally, as fast as you can get them there. To refresh your memory, the steps in this process are:
- Freight Shipping
- Postage & Fulfillment
Stages of Fulfillment
This is the stage of the fulfillment process where your goods are getting made. This could take place anywhere in the world, depending on who you have producing your product. Remember that different places have different labor costs, so do your research on where you want your product to be made to make sure you are saving as much money as you would like to!
Freight shipping is how your product is shipped in bulk from the manufacturer to the fulfillment warehouse! Be aware: shipping has been all messed up thanks to COVID-19. We have been experiencing major logjams in this stage of the process due to delays from manufacturers, as well as literal traffic jams with freight ships. Try and remember that this step is the one you have probably the least control over, however, there are ways you can ensure this process goes smoothly.
The next step of this process entails your product going through customs when it reaches its country of destination. This can get tricky, as you must properly declare what you are sending, and make sure that all appropriate taxes have been paid. Let’s look at more on what this entails:
There are basically six methods to determine valuation: transactional value, value of identical goods, value of similar goods, a deductive method, a computer method and a fall-back one. The best advice is to keep it as simple as possible, but base the declared value on the reward’s cost, regardless of how much a backer gave (i.e., if the backer gave $500 for a $10 reward, state $10 as the value).
– Tips for International Shipping for Kickstarter and Indiegogo Projects By Art of the Kickstart
Once you have the green light from customs, your goods can be shipped to your fulfillment warehouse, where they can then be packed and sent individually to backers! This is the home stretch of the process, and it’s what we do at Fulfillrite. We take bulk shipments of goods, package them individually, print and apply postage, and send them to your backers.
4 Websites That Will Help Make Shipping Easy
Freightos is here to help you with all of your freight shipping needs. Trust me, I mean that. Freightos is essentially the Expedia of finding freight brokers.
Freightos is an online freight marketplace designed to help logistics providers streamline the entire shipping lifecycle, from booking freight carriers to receiving live updates on various delivery specifics. Enterprise importers can utilize the application to compare quotes from air, ocean, and trucking companies and book shipment providers based on rate benchmarks, previous contract rates, and live market comparisons.
With a freight rate database and Freightos Baltic Index, Freightos allow enterprises to gain insight into carriers, routes, and real-time market rates from shippers, forwarders, and freight carriers as commercially displayed on WebCargo, a rate management platform. Other features include enterprise permission management, localization, workflow management, filtering, and automatic price calculations.
– Freightos Overview By Getapp.com
The wealth of information that Freightos provides to you during this process is extremely handy. You want to be keeping your backers as in the loop as you can. With this information, you have all of the tools necessary to keep your backers up to date as to where and what is going on with their product. The more information you can provide, the better!
Want to get started booking freight on Freightos? We’ve got a guide on how you can do that here.
Looking for some assistance with customs clearanace? Search no further than SimplyDuty. This site allows you to calculate import duty and taxes so you know exactly how much it will cost you to get your product to your customer. Here is what their site has to say:
Globalisation has provided importers and exporters with access to markets which span many countries and many borders, and with that comes multiple challenges.
Despite simplified customs unions and trade agreements the requirement to provide accurate product classification has never been more important. Similarly, the birth of eCommerce has led to overseas purchases growing at exponential and consumers often want (need) to calculate their expected total landed costs before purchase.
– Calculate Import Duty and Tax Easily By SimplyDuty
Curious as to what your postage is going to cost you? Say hello to Easyship. Designed to provide you with more insight as to how much your postage will cost you – ahead of time. Check out what Easyship has to say:
Easyship removes the last barrier in the ecommerce process that all ecommerce businesses face: Shipping. They make it possible for ecommerce businesses to ship their packages as quickly and inexpensively as they can, and they do this by partnering with over 100 shipping carriers so every package can be shipped at the best and fastest shipping rate possible. Before Easyship, ecommerce merchants had to contact each shipping company individually, negotiate shipping rates, sign a contract, pay a deposit, and reconcile invoices for each courier. With Easyship, you can use more than 100 different shipping options to ship your packages from one dashboard, in one click, without having to negotiate rates, pay upfront deposits, reconcile invoices, or be bound to a contract.
– Easyship Spotlight: The Easiest Way to Ship Worldwide by Richard Lazazzera
If you haven’t caught on to the trend of these sites, the common factor is they provide you with more insight and information on the shipping process, to take the guessing out of a task that should have no guessing in it. The more information the better, and that is what Easyship is here to provide.
Fulfillrite, huh? Who ever heard of them? Yes, we’re plugging our own services here, but for a reason!
We’re here to make sure the last step of your Kickstarter’s journey goes as smoothly as the campaign itself. Specializing in getting your packages to your consumers faster and safer than just about anyone else out there. Fulfillrite describes their services as follows:
Our specialty is fulfillment for eCommerce stores, crowdfunding projects, and promotional distribution of small, lightweight products. Most of our clients are entrepreneurs and creators with unique products and limited SKU counts. Some examples are board games, nutraceuticals, supplements, books, electronics, toys, home goods, accessories, and apparel.
Save yourself the time, hassle, and heartache of dealing with shipping. Let us take care of it for you, and keep your backers smiling.
We want to keep everyone involved in the crowdfunding process – backers and sellers alike – happy and smiling. Yes, you might be faced with challenges that you can not help or control. #COVID, right?
But remember, though you can’t control everything that happens, there are tools out there that can help make the shipping process much smoother. Fulfilling orders quickly and efficiently leads to happy backers!
You’ve done everything by the book. Your Kickstarter campaign is almost ready to launch.
You made a great product. Built an audience. Set up a campaign page.
But how do you ship it?
We put this checklist together to help you get started. It's free.