Kickstarter Lessons: It pays to work with multiple fulfilment partners
Last week’s article was all about the costs associated with your Kickstarter project and how to be prepared for those things that will cost you more than expected. In today’s article, we’ll look at one way you can save some money, by working with the right fulfilment partners. Specifically, we’ll look at the pros and cons of working with one vs. multiple fulfilment partners for delivering games to your backers.
But first, what is fulfilment?
Essentially, fulfilment is delivering what you promised to your customers. So, in the case of your Kickstarter campaign, it’s all about getting your game into the hands of your backers.
There are plenty of fulfilment companies that will ship games worldwide, but the rates can vary drastically.
Here is just a partial list of fulfilment companies, including their primary region(s) of focus (I have bolded the fulfilment partners I am working with to deliver my game, Relics of Rajavihara):
- D6 (North America)
- Quartermaster Logistics (QML) (North America and worldwide)
- Easyship (North America and worldwide)
- Floship (Worldwide)
- Fulfillrite (North America and worldwide)
- ShipBob (North America and worldwide)
- Gamerati (Worldwide)
- Spiral Galaxy (UK – covers EU and rest of the world)
- Happy Shops (Germany – covers worldwide)
- VFI (Asia)
- Aetherworks (Australia and region)
You also have the option to freight ship your games to partners via ocean freighter, which takes much longer but is way less costly, or by air, which is fast but quite pricey. So, ocean freight is definitely recommended.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of partnering with one fulfilment partner for worldwide fulfilment vs. choosing different regional fulfilment partners.
Working with One Fulfilment Partner
If you choose to work with just one fulfilment partner to cover all deliveries worldwide, it could save you some time, as they will make all the arrangements for that shipment to arrive in their warehouse or multiple warehouses they own worldwide.
However, would it make sense to send all your games from China to the US, and then send those destined for Australia back across the Pacific? This would cause your backers in the Oceania region to have to wait a long time for their game, as well as cost them quite a bit in shipping charges. Depending on the company you work with, this might be exactly how they do things.
But at the same time, it is a lot less work to make arrangements with one company and provide them with an entire list of your backers rather than doing this multiple times for different regions.
- One point of contact
- One backer list to provide
- Rates may be very high in certain regions
- May not be as knowledgeable of shipping practices in all regions
Working with Multiple Fulfillment Partners
While it can be a bit more work coordinating with multiple fulfilment partners in different regions, it can still be worth your while. Backers from more regions could support your project since shipping rates to their country would become more digestible.
I was quoted a rate of $62-72 for “rest of the world” (everything outside of the US, Canada, EU, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Asia) from one company. This was WAY more than the cost of the game itself, so there was no way any backer from outside these regions would even consider backing my game at that price.
By using a different partner for “rest of the world”, I was able to bring this down to under $30, and I further reduced this for backers by subsidizing some of the shipping costs.
You could argue that the regions listed above would probably encompass around 95% of your sales though, so you’d only be leaving out a small number of people. Still, you want to give anyone who wants to back your game the opportunity to do so.
- Best shipping price for all backers
- Backers around the world can still get in on your project
- More points of contact
- Multiple backer lists must be created and submitted to your partners
While it may be more convenient to partner with just one fulfilment company for worldwide delivery of your games, the advantages of being able to provide the best shipping price for your backers and extend the reach of your game to more regions is enough of a reason to at least look into multiple fulfilment partners. Then, if you choose to do so, you can select the best ones to work with for each region.
It goes without saying that you also want to choose a partner or partners that are reliable and trustworthy. You’re going to be handing over thousands of dollars worth of your games to them, so you want to ensure anyone you work with is reputable.
Which method would you lean towards – one fulfilment partner or many?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.