Shipping is one of the most talked about, key pieces of advice, that project creators must carefully calculate when setting up their Kickstarter project. It has the power to break your project, take all your profits, and create a ton of stress. Ask anyone who’s done it before, including myself, shipping always costs more than you think.
So how can future project creators, who are often first time entrepreneurs, avoid these pitfalls? Well Kickstarter could do a much better job.
Here’s How The Current System Works
If you have never backed a Kickstarter project before, here’s how the flow works. You select the ‘Back this project’ button and then select the amount you would like to donate or the pledge tier you desire. Once you’ve done so, you move onto the next screen which asks you to continue to Amazon.
After you’ve selected this button, you are now completely re-routed to Amazon in which you confirm your payment or set up an account, and then confirm your payment. After a backer has completed this flow, Amazon and Kickstarter have the sufficient data to handle the payments and the shipping.
Just as you’re forced to use Amazon payments, why aren’t you forced to use Amazon shipments? Kickstarter should minimize the chances something going wrong, whether that be shipping issues or budget miscalculation, and the only way that can be done is to give the project creators less options. Amazon is one of the best shipping companies in the world, and most project creators already use their services.
But, What About Freight Shipping?
Now for those of you who are new to shipping on Kickstarter, it’s not as easy as picking a manufacturer and then choosing Amazon to ship your products. You have to figure out freight shipping as well. This entails the process of shipping your product from manufacturer to the Amazon fulfillment centers around the world. This is another step that most first time entrepreneurs under estimate.
Everything that makes up a pledge tier should include manufacture costs, the freight shipping, individual shipping form the Amazon fulfillment centers, and what your cost of time is. You can choose a number of different freight shipping companies just like your manufacturer but why isn’t Kickstarter assisting in the process?
Where Kickstarter Could Do Better
You should be free to choose your own manufacturer but Kickstarter should have agreements with Amazon fulfillment centers and a select few freight companies who can make the process much easier to understand. By limiting the options for a project creator, they not only have trusted resources, but they’ll be able to calculate the best shipping options based on product size and region.
How That Solves Problems
The first problem Kickstarter’s shipping services could solve is helping backers understand their shipping costs. As mentioned, One of the biggest pitfalls a project creator can fall into is the budget miscalculation. A lot of times a project creator will simply ‘add $15 to international shipping” without checking to see just how much it costs to ship. What happens when it costs more than $15?
Moving beyond saving the project creator time and money, this also has a trickle down effect to the backers. If Kickstarter set up a streamlined process for projects, it could like like the following:
Project creator chooses their own manufacturer.
Using Kickstarter’s streamlined process, you choose a freight shipping company.
The shipping company takes the products to Amazon Fulfillment centers.
The fulfillment centers can work with Amazon payments to send out products with correct shipping data.
Based on the data Kickstarter could receive from the freight companies and Amazon fulfillment centers, Kickstarter could even develop a shipping calculator based on referencing the data with the size and weight of your product.
With all this data and a streamlined process, Kickstarter could help creators to better budget their projects and ensure backers get their product quicker. Both of which are big problems in crowdfunding today.
Not to mention, the business opportunities Kickstarter would be able to leverage or negotiate could be an additional revenue stream and help them continue to expand into new countries.