Think about the most alluring and exciting moments of your crowdfunding campaign. Launching the campaign. Uploading an interesting, potentially viral video. Your first backer. Your first update. That moment when you reach your goal and exceed it.
But add one more hallmark moment to that list: the moment you partner with a fulfilment company.
Nobody will confuse the fulfilment and logistics component of crowdfunding as being exciting on the surface. However, by the end of this article, you’ll have learned three ways to differentiate your campaign by partnering with a fulfilment company.
The unboxing experience
As exciting as your crowdfunding campaign is going to be to you, remember that your backers share your enthusiasm for your project. Assuming your rewards are product based, one of the most exciting moments for your backer will be when they first open the box and discover your product.
This moment actually has a name: it is the unboxing moment. It’s a big deal not only for crowdfunding backers but for eCommerce enthusiasts in general. Indeed, a lucrative business has sprung up around this very concept. Surprisingly, many crowdfunders have missed the wave of unboxing and treat this indelible experience in the minds of the backers as nothing more than an afterthought. Unsurprisingly, most campaign founders do not have a background in logistics and thus miss out on various opportunities to maximize the unboxing experience opportunity.
Consider the packaging. Not only will you ideally want to deliver your product in branded packaging, but you’ll want your product to arrive safely within that packaging. This is where a fulfilment company can help – there are so many different ways to secure products within containers, and to help secure the containers themselves. A fulfilment company will have the inherent resource of materials: packaging that you may not have considered or even known existed can be used to bolster your backers’ unboxing experience – and by extension your brand.
Free timely shipping
The secret is out in eCommerce: people hate to pay for shipping. The same is true for crowdfunding campaigns. Having facilitated a number of campaigns, I can speak from experience that backers find themselves suddenly reluctant to pledge at a certain reward level if they notice that they will have to pay an additional fee to receive their reward. It should come as no surprise that you’ll incur far less backer friction if you eliminate shipping costs entirely.
The good news is that many campaigns do this… at the expense of speed. The reason for this tradeoff is twofold: speed and options.
If your campaign has twenty backers, you will likely be able to receive your products from the manufacture and ship them out relatively quickly. However, if you are running a popular campaign with hundreds or even thousands of backers, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed in terms of fulfilling these rewards and shipping them.
A fulfilment centre negates this problem entirely: once you distribute your reward list to the fulfilment centre, what would have easily been a month-long job for one or two people turns into a one or two-day fulfilment turnaround time.
This major increase in efficiency affords you greater freedom with add-ons for your campaign and shipping options. Because working with a fulfilment centre enables such quick turnaround, and because the fulfilment centre’s volume based discount will likely help save you money on your methods of delivery, it isn’t unreasonable to expect 3-5 day domestic shipping at rates comparable to what you would have paid for a 10-day delivery range.
Coupled with an improved unboxing experience, this means that your backer will receive their reward within one week of the product being distributable, versus six to eight weeks otherwise.
International shipping and customs
If you are creating your product exclusively in your native country, inviting only backers in that country to pledge for your campaign, and shipping only within this country, you may not have to worry about dealing with international shipping and customs. If so, count your blessings… but also realize that you may be limiting your opportunities unnecessarily.
Procuring your product from overseas is challenging enough, but you’ll have to worry about duties and value-added tax (VAT) for international shipping in many (most) cases. The bad news is that there isn’t a legal way to get around this obligation. The good news is that some fulfilment companies can actually help handle this for you and guide you through the process of finding the proper HS Code, declared value, and everything else that may be required to enable you to open up your campaign from a nationally focused endeavour to a globally focused event.
With seamless international shipping, your backers will know and appreciate the difference. Entrepreneurs – be they crowdfunders or eCommerce entrepreneurs – unfamiliar with logistics will often use cut-rate shipping solutions for international backers, ultimately leaving everybody unhappy. With a fulfilment company, you’ll never have to worry about this sort of nightmare scenario.
Not every campaign requires partnership with a fulfilment company. Successful campaigns with a small backer list and campaigns with no material rewards may not find such a partnership impactful to their brand or cost-effective. However, virtually every product-based campaign with a backer count of greater than fifty will stand to reap some rewards from partnering with the right fulfilment company.
And the best part? Your crowdfunding company will ideally last long after the campaign ends and your backers have their rewards. And a fulfilment company like ShipMonk will be able to grow with you as you transition into the next phase of your business.