Jul 6, 2018

Kickstarter Fulfillment - What can go Wrong?

As we move into the fulfillment portion of the Debtzilla Kickstarter campaign, people are asking us why aren't we making a formal announcement that shipping has started. Backers often expect to receive their game in a matter of a week or two once we announce is that the shipping process has started. However, we have learnt much from our previous kickstarter campaign how things can go wrong, from the simple process of moving goods from factory to the fulfillment center, which may delay the whole process up to a month or two. Therefore,  we are holding back any formal announcement until the game is safely loaded onto the planes and ships. Let me share with you what are some of the things that can go wrong during this process.

Insufficient Preparation for Packing

One of the challenges faced is the packing of Kickstarter exclusive and non Kickstarter exclusive sets. Most of the time, the packaging will be the same though the contents can be different. In this case, how do logistic partners differentiate between these two? As part of the preparation, publishers must assign a unique barcode or unit code to each of these products and provide the factory a detailed packing list on which sets are to be packed into which cartons and which cartons to be shipped to which fulfillment center. KS creators may use more than 1 fulfillment options to move the goods to their backers, which may include air or freight shipping in different parts of China and a slight human error in the process will have huge repercussion.

Transporting to Fulfillment Centers

For our previous Kickstarter, we selected a factory in Ningbo and its nearest port is located at Shanghai. On the other hand, one of the top Kickstart fulfillment center, SFC is located at Shenzhen, which is 1400km away to the south. We had to send the goods by truck to Shenzhen and many things can go wrong during this journey.

Hold-ups at Fulfillment Centers

When the goods reach the fulfillment centers, workers will start to unpack the carton and slot the games into protective covers. Before that can even happen, is there a long queue of KS projects ahead of you which requires processing? If that's the case, it may take a while before the games are ready to be sent. Other problems will prevail here, such as a mix up of the add-ons, KS exclusive contents and the core game. There may also be a shortfall of game sets and due to paperwork error and more shipment has to be called in from the factory. 

Aim to Exceed Expectations

Shipping is a complex process especially when you are dealing with multiple countries with different custom duties and laws using different mode of transports. A simple movement of goods from factory to a plane may result in complications that may delay the shipping process by weeks. One of the key job as a community manager is to work with the operation team closely and not jump the gun in declaring the good news that the backers will receive the goods in a week or two. Backers will definitely not be pleased if an unexpected incident happened along the way and they did not receive the game base on the date announced by the company. It is always better to exceed expectation for your customers and proper communication is the key.

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