We have been getting some great press about the Kickstarter Fulfillment service that we offer out of the warehouse. Overall, it’s been quite fun to handle and we are glad to see some great games get out to Kickstarter backers. However, I do want to reassure our regular customers that it’s not something that is ever going to become a major part of the business (at least not in the sense of it taking over the retail side).
For one thing, most of our fulfillment happens during the warehouse ‘down-time’. As we hire part-time warehouse workers, for most fulfillment options we just increase the number of hours that our warehouse personnel work to full-time each day. Even working on our regular orders, we generally can complete about 200 additional games a day which is more than sufficient for most Kickstarter’s.
That’s another point worth mentioning or highlighting. For the vast majority of Kickstarter’s, we are told that Canada makes up 10% of all backers. In our experience, that generally works out to be between 100 – 200 backers at best for a very successful Kickstarter, around 40 – 50 for those that do well. Now, our rates are posted publicly (CAD$3.50 per order fulfilled) but those rates include boxes & packing materials which on average works out to be about CAD$1 in cost. That works out to be about CAD$2.50 before we have to pay staff for their time and of course, any mistakes we make comes out of the total as we pay for reshipments & returns. On top of that, for every Kickstarter quote that we do get, there are at least another 5 that we don’t get and end-up wasting time on. All that time has to be paid for somewhere.
As you can guess, the profitability of doing Kickstarter fulfillment really isn’t high. So why bother doing it?
Industry relations – doing the Kickstarter fulfillment, we’ve been in touch with a wide range of publishers and backers, many of whom we’d never have talked to if we weren’t doing this. As such, it’s a good way of extending our network.
Marginal profit – every little bit helps. If the warehouse isn’t being used at that time, it’s additional marginal use that we can make of it, so the marginal profitability is still worthwhile. Of course, there’s a certain level before this marginal business start’s being a main business, but in Canada, it would have to be a significant increase.
There are still some problems with the site. Certain images are missing for our products are missing. Certain functions on the backend are not working properly any longer. In addition, some customers who placed an order between Tuesday and Wednesday might find their orders missing in the backend and account as these orders were not imported properly. However, all products can be purchased and the site is working fine right now.
For those on our newsletter, we recommend checking it as we’ll be sending out a quick flash sale for those inconvenienced by the site going down.
As many of you know, we used to run open houses. During the open houses, we allowed people to borrow games from our game library (mostly consisting of games from our reviews and some demo games) for play. Since we had to stop the open houses, the game library has grown unused. We’ve trimmed the library down somewhat, putting a few games up on the used game section since they weren’t getting much use anyway.
A recent thought has been to rent out the games from the library. This probably only works for local customers since they would not have to deal with shipping costs of returning the games (which, let’s be truthful, can be significant), but it is certainly a service we could offer.
The main questions we’d have would be:
Is there a demand for this service?
What would you be willing to pay? The current options include a fixed amount (for a day (including weekends) or a week) or 10% of the price of the game. The advantage of the above would be that the rental cost could be The other option is to charge users an on-going monthly fee.
Is the preference for classic games or newer / hot games (with the note that if we did go after ‘hot’ games, the pricing for the program would likely be higher to cover the cost of bringing in new hot games constantly)
What would you consider a ‘good’ library size? 50 games? 100?
Let us know about your thoughts of us launching a program like this. We’d love to hear from you guys, either in comments here or on Facebook