Now that your crowdfunding campaigns is successful, after your product is manufactured, it will be time to package and ship out your rewards. You will need to take time to plan this stage carefully, or you may end up draining your funds and aggravating your backers.
Unless you expect to have fewer than a hundred backers, you will most likely benefit from using a third-party fulfillment service to ship your rewards. These providers will already have the technology to import backer data, manage inventory and keep track of shipping and returns, plus they have the staff and systems in place to get your rewards out fast.
If you want to handle shipping on your own, be prepared to invest significant time and resources into getting your products out on time. A report found that the complexities of shipping were a major reason for crowdfunding campaigns missing their target dates, and one company interviewed had to close its sales and marketing office for several days so all its employees could go to the warehouse and help package rewards.
Whether you want to enlist the help of a crowdfunding fulfillment service or go it on your own, here are some tips to help you navigate this important final stage of your campaign:
Build Fulfillment into Your Plan from the Beginning
Planning the total cost and time involved in crowdfunding fulfillment begins with knowing the weight, dimensions, and special handling needs of your rewards. Think about changes you can make to the design of your product so it is easier to stack, package and ship.
You can also consider simplifying your rewards. If your reward comes in two sizes, two shapes, and four colors, you will have 16 different items to produce and ship. With fewer variables, you will increase your odds of completing your campaign on time.
Budget Enough for Fulfillment
Some experts recommend that 15%-20% of your total production costs should be set aside for fulfillment. If you give your fulfillment partner the size, weight and estimated number of recipients of your product, they can help you fine-tune the final number.
Add a Safety Margin to Your Schedule
Most successful crowdfunding campaigns miss their deadline. Whether the reason has to do with manufacturing challenges or unexpected issues that arise when scaling up, adding at least two months to your most conservative delivery estimate will help you get your rewards out on time.
Choose Your Packaging
Make sure the packaging you choose is durable enough to protect your product and large enough to allow one to two inches of space all around so there is room for cushioning materials. If you use a third-party service, ask them about custom packaging options, especially if your product has an unusual shape.
Estimate how much it will cost to package and ship your rewards. Don’t forget to consider the extra cost of shipping items overseas. As one blogger on Indiegogo warned, “Rewards that you thought would cost $7 to ship internationally, [may] actually end up costing $30.”
If your item is very large or heavy, or if you have a high percentage of overseas orders, seek out a fulfillment provider who has experience shipping items similar to yours. They have usually already worked out the most economical ways to handle such deliveries.
Allot Time to Calculate the Import Duty and VAT Tax
When your campaign begins, it is a courtesy to remind overseas customers that they may have to pay these fees. Use online resources, such as this import and export duty calculator, to help you know how much they will need to pay.
Anticipate Staff and Warehousing Costs
If you are taking on crowdfunding fulfillment on your own, consider how much warehouse space you will need to rent. Also, have enough staff on hand to package and ship rewards, handle returned packages and help customers if items are lost or arrive damaged.
If your campaign has grown to the point where you need a fulfillment partner experienced in all aspects of packaging, shipping, and customer support, or if you want to save time and money by partnering with a provider right from the beginning, EWorld Fulfillment can take care of fulfillment for you. We support a wide range of e-commerce platforms with seamless integrations, fast warehouse processes, and comprehensive returns management. To learn how we can save you money while exceeding customer expectations, contact us here.