Self-publishing a board game is all about logistics and moving stuff around. Fulfillment is the last part of the Kickstarter portion of this process, and it's where project managers fall down the most often. So, I was nervous about how it was going to play out.
When I was planning the project, I was tempted to fulfill the whole thing myself. There's something kind of "DIY romantic" when I think of inviting all my friends over, providing pizza and going about the merry work of packing boxes and slapping address labels on them. In the end, that seemed like WAY too much work, and I suspected it wasn't nearly as fun as I dreamed it to be. I ended up trying to find a partner that specializes in this. So, after getting a handful of quotes from companies I had heard of (and a little soul searching), I ended up going with Fulfillrite. Why?
These guys don't mess around. When you email with a question, they respond very quickly and often follow up with a phone call, if it's a complex issue.
Fulfillrite has competitive rates including specific Kickstater fulfillment reduced rates. They're also always looking for opportunities to reduce costs for their customers. They are able to ship at lower rates with the USPS than I am able to (as a low volume shipper). So, many times, it was cheaper to have them mail packages for me than for me to do it myself. Also, in the time I've been using them, their payment fees have actually gone down. Does that happen?
The team at Fulfillrite got the shipment of Bullfrogs from the port on a Monday. By the end of Tuesday, all 800+ packages were out the door off to my backers. It was amazing. I had games on their way to me in Wisconsin on a separate truck to hand deliver to local backers. I had backers as far away as the UK and Australia getting their games before I was able to hand a copy to the guy in the neighboring office at my work!
I used Backerkit to manage my backers and pledges. Backerkit integrates directly into the order/shipping system at Fulfillrite. It was amazing simple to use. Group a bunch of backers in backerkit, press the "Send to Fulfillrite" button, and the orders just populate in the Fulfillrite system and the folks at Fulfillrite get to work sending them out the door. This saved me an AMAZING amount of time.
Ease of Use
Fulfillrite has an reaally great web portal that I log into. I can see my inventory, and I can alert them of incoming shipments, add money for shipping, etc.. Most importantly, add orders on the fly, even after the Kickstarter has been fulfilled. As I get orders for copies on Amazon.com or ebay, or on my website, I can just add the order on their web portal, and I don't have to worry about it anymore. My partners over at Fulfillrite take care of it.
This is especially nice for international orders. I REALLY dislike filling out international shipping forms. Bullfrogs had a lot of international backers (especially in France). I'm so happy I didn't have to fill out all those forms!
If you're running a Kickstarter, figure out who you're going to use for fulfillment early. Get lots of quotes from different companies with sample quotes going to a lot of different countries. Shipping is tricky and expensive. Don't dig yourself into a hole. The easiest way to avoid falling down is finding good partners.
I'd love to hear about other KS projects completed their fulfillment. Who did you use (if anyone)? What was your experience?
Till Next Time