A successful Kickstarter campaign does not end when your idea met its goal and is fully backed. As a matter of fact, that is only the beginning. Most creators have already lined up the production of their products. They have done a cost analysis and factored in turnaround times. As a result, they have set a monetary goal and provided an estimated delivery date to their backers. But have these creators factored in just how long Kickstarter order fulfillment may take?
Typically consumers who back a Kickstarter campaign are somewhat more lenient when it comes to production delays. Other eCommerce consumers expect their products to be shipped out the very same day they placed their orders. But backers are more patient in that regard. They know that waiting is part of the deal when funding a product that is not on the market yet. That patience begins to wear thin when delays are announced. Rightfully so, after all, news that the products they backed are not ready on time, perhaps is a sign the quality won’t be as advertised either, or worse, will not ever be delivered at all. This has happened in the past with countless Kickstarter campaigns, unfortunately.
As too many seasoned Kickstarter creators know, the order fulfillment aspect of delivering a product can be even more challenging than the production aspect. Many creators consider shipping products to their backers is an afterthought. They believe once they receive their inventory, they will easily be able to process it, and ship each package quickly. The harsh reality then sets in, that order fulfillment can be extremely time-consuming and very difficult to do accurately without proper protocols.
Just imagine all the work associated with arranging production and marketing a new product to Kickstarter backers only to be topped off with days of sorting, picking and packing, and labeling parcels along with coordinating timely pickups or drop-offs with carriers. This is a ton of work. Once you finally dig in and begin, you may quickly realize you are in over your head. Worse yet, you may have updated your backers that your products have arrived. Updates of this nature will only make your backers more eager. The fact of the matter is, the longer backers wait for your products the less likely they are to receive them positively. All this can mean that your first Kickstarter campaign will be your last. Cultivating backers that are eager to back your next project is the name of the game and the path to creating a real sustainable eCommerce business in the future. Quite frankly, your reputation is at stake.
If you can do anything in your power to ensure your products get produced on time while staying on budget, it is worthwhile. The same thing goes for order fulfillment. When doing a cost-analysis of your project, shipping products to your backers in a timely fashion once you received them should definitely be factored in. This is exactly where a reliable 3PL order fulfillment company comes into play. Preferably one with experience dealing with fulfillment for Kickstarter campaigns.
First off, determine the shipping dimensions of each of your offerings. Establish how many parcels you anticipate you will need to ship and when. Naturally, there may be production or shipping delays from your production channels, if that is the case, note that information as well. Decide what countries you will be shipping products to. Once you have gathered all that information, reach out to a 3PL order fulfillment company for a quote.
With all those details, you should be able to get a fully transparent 3PL cost-analysis on what order fulfillment for your campaign will really cost, top to bottom with no surprises. This will allow you to maintain your profit margins. Establish clearly with your projections, how long orders will take to process and ship out, once received if they are delivered on the date you are projecting, and what would happen if you have production delayed. Discuss what the best carriers would be to use for each location you are shipping to and how long the turnaround time should be. An established order fulfillment company will help you outline everything. Be forthright and transparent with your order fulfillment provider. Get all your answers in advance and note them. Finally, when signing your order fulfillment agreement, share all this information with your backers. Keep them in the loop so they know exactly what to expect.
This is a crucial step in a successful campaign that seems like common sense but is often overlooked. When your products arrive from factories, you want to know they will be processed and shipped quickly. That tracking number will be in the hands of your backers as soon as possible, so they will be doing nothing but signing your praises. This will enable you to begin planning your next campaign, rather than dealing with logistics and unhappy customers. Case in point here, leave the shipping and order fulfillment to the professionals. Trusted companies like InterFulfillment have the experience and know-how to get the job done right and on time. The last thing you want to do is be stuck working overtime doing something that isn’t in your wheelhouse and disappointing consumers that believe in you. Be smart, plan your order fulfillment carefully, and share all your information transparently both with potential fulfillment partners and your backers. These are the keys to successfully delivering your creation to the masses.