Fulfillrite Guest Blog Post: How to Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter Part 2
Fulfillment – what is it, and how do you make sure you’ve got the right type? Brandon Rollins from Fulfillrite wrote a guest blog post for us to help explain it. Fulfillrite works with all types of Kickstarter campaigns, including a lot of board games, to help make sure that the products arrive safely at the backers, while making things easier for the people running the campaigns. In this 2 part series, he will take us through the various steps involved when fulfilling a Kickstarter campaign. And explaining the common mistakes, pitfalls and what to watch out for when you are fulfilling your Kickstarter projects. You can find part 1 of this fulfillment guide here.
How to Fulfill Your Board Game Kickstarter – A Step by Step Guide
Step 3: Customs clearance
Whenever you are shipping goods across the globe, you are likely to incur customs charges, as well as other taxes. These are levied when your games cross into another country’s borders, and you have to pay the fees in order for the games to go any further.
The first and most important thing about customs clearance is to account for two things:
- Figure out how much you are going to be taxed to import goods into a country.
- Comply with safety laws. Make sure your manufacturer does this and make sure your packaging has the required labeling too.
It often takes a few weeks to clear customs, and they will sometimes test your products in the process. You can be charged extra for product testing done by customs authorities. (It’s unfortunate, but you can’t do anything about it nor can you reliably predict when it is going to happen.)
Having said all this, the specific experience you will have will be based on how you choose to handle freight.
If your manufacturer does everything for you, you probably won’t even notice when your games are at customs. They might have to pass some extra fees along to you if there are surprises.
If you use a freight marketplace, you’ll receive frequent updates on the status of your products as they clear customs. Additional fees will be applied to the same credit card or payment method you used to book freight. Relatively easy.
If you use a freight broker, they will handle everything for you. They might have to pass some extra fees along to you if there are surprises.
Step 4: Order fulfillment
Once your games have cleared customs in all the countries they are going to, your order fulfillment warehouses will receive them. From there, the order fulfillment companies will take care of a number of tasks for you, including:
- Receiving shipments of games
- Picking and packing games into packages
- Applying postage and sending games to your backers
- Storing the excess inventory
Depending on the nature of your campaign, most order fulfillment companies also provide additional services that might be relevant. That includes inserting marketing materials into packages, auditing inventory, and more.
While order fulfillment is relatively easy to describe, the truth is that it’s very hard to do right. You are capable of shipping up to a few hundred orders from your own home, it’s true. But the amount of stress and time that good order fulfillment can save cannot be overstated.
My tip to you in regards to order fulfillment is simple. Call them and make sure you feel like the company supports you and your goals. Read online reviews about their quality service. Make sure they’re reliable and that they’ve been around for a while.
Step 5: Returns and customer service
After you ship out your games, you won’t exactly get to rest immediately. Inevitably, 2 or 3 percent will be lost in the mail. Another 2 to 3 percent will be defective in some way. On top of that, some people will just fall on hard times and want a return. Some people may just simply not enjoy the game!
In all these cases, you will want a way for people to be able to return their games. Make sure that your order fulfillment warehouses are capable of handling returns and have a good process for doing so. That will help you manage the logistics part of it.
The other aspect to this is customer service. It’s harder to acquire new customers than it is to retain existing ones, meaning that sometimes, eating the cost of a returned game can be worth it since you keep a lifetime customer.
In general, if you see a chance to be generous, then be generous. That and timely responses go a long way!
Step 6: Set up long-term distribution
Surprised to see a sixth step? Well, this is no mistake!
Technically, setting up long-term distribution is not part of Kickstarter fulfillment. But it isn’t something you want to overlook!
A long-term sales and distribution plan gives your game a much better chance of becoming an evergreen product. That means you increase your chances of getting mailbox money for years to come.
If you want to start small, consider setting up an account on Amazon so you can sell your games there. You might also want to consider setting up your own Shopify store as well.
And why stop at eCommerce? The manufacturing and freight shipping processes should leave you with plenty of downtime. Why not use that time to build connections with purchasing managers at board game stores both offline and online? That can help your game succeed much more in the long run!
This is part 2 in a 2 part series guest post by Brandon Rollins, the marketing director for Fulfillrite. Check out their website for more information!