Kickstarter – Shipping Challenges

We just completed the second of our Kickstarter fulfilment contracts from SchilMil Games for their game Manifest. I’m not going to comment on the game itself – readers can look it up; since what I wanted to discuss was the actual fulfilment aspect.

As many of you know, we do this as a sideline and help for Kickstarter publishers. It’s not as if we do a lot of them (this is number 2 in nearly a year of offering this service) and we don’t make a lot at all. The goal for us is to help publishers get their games to Canadian backers at a cheaper rate, not really make oodles of money. Since we already have the facility and experience shipping, it’s not really a big thing to add this on. On the other hand, as many publishers know; Amazon Fulfilment can be extremely cheap and is often the better option to go to.

Anyway, for Manifest, what we found is that we probably have to adjust our quoting method. See when we quote an estimated shipping cost we use both the game weight provided to us and an estimate of where games will ship to. This is based off our own shipping patterns in Canada, so a weighting towards BC / AB is added in. In this case, the estimated pricing we provided was $10.50.

What we found was the actual average was $13.25. This came from shipments mostly being sent to Eastern Canada (Ontario / Quebec) and only 1 to Alberta. That caused the weighting and cost to go up substantially. In addition, game weight was a factor. The game itself weighed in at 1.8kg but due to volumetric adjustments, it came to 2.56kg in what was charged.

Overall, we saw a minor loss in the shipping of this Kickstarter; mostly in the processing / salary cost. Overall, it’s a good learning experience as we continue to offer this service. It’s in particular worth noting that we are now able to help with US shipping of Kickstarter games too.

Kickstarter / 3rd Party Fulfilment

Please note, we now have a full website dedicated to our 3rd Party Fulfillment Services.

One of the newest things we’ve started exploring in the last few months is being a 3rd party fulfillment centre.  The reason we’ve started looking into is more of a coincidence.  We worked with Common Man Games to help with their Heat Kickstarter and the upcoming Police Precint reprint and are potentially talking to another party to act as a fulfilment centre.

Then, we had a discussion with the Euphoria designer, Stonemaier Games with regard to their game itself and mentioned we might be willing to do fulfilment.  He had a post coming up on Kickstarter fulfilment, and so we threw together a rough costing outline.  Taken directly from the post:

If a pallet of goods is shipped to us in Vancouver, BC, we will break it down into individual orders and ship them directly to Kickstarter backers. As all of the stock would be shipping out almost immediately, there’s not storage cost. We would charge the following rates to ship 1 simple order per backer (1-2 individual games, or a pre-made bundle containing multiple items), totaling 2kg or less, anywhere in Canada:

  • Receiving cost: $20.00/hour, including unpacking all of your games, and inspecting them for damages. We can receive roughly $1000 worth of goods in 1 hour.
  • Handling cost: $3.00/order, including collecting items, packing them with appropriate padding, creating a shipping label, and sending tracking details to the recipient.
  • Shipping cost: $13.00/order if packed in a 13″x10″x4″ box (fits standard-sized Euro games like Pandemic, Puerto Rico), or $14.00/order if packed in a 12″x12″x4″ box (fits standard Fantasy Flight Games, and larger Euros like Dungeon Petz, Euphoria). This covers Canada Post Expedited Parcel service, which ships to Ontario/Quebec in 4-5 business days, and across the country in about 1 week. Shipping is fully insured, and we would be responsible for missing parcels, damaged goods, etc.

Other services that we can provide for an additional charge include handling cross-border shipping and brokerage for the initial shipment (we have the option of using a shipping address in Blaine, WA and bringing stock across ourselves), processing more complex orders (multiple tiers of custom backer rewards, etc), and handling backer support within Canada by sending out replacement parts for defective copies. The above is a basic estimate for our most simple service, and we’re happy to discuss every designer’s specific needs with them and providing a customized quote.

 This is a rough costing and is subject to change.  Shipping cost might be significantly higher or lower, depending on what size the game / product is.  For example, for the Heat we just shipped it via Lettermail.  The order handling cost is for a few easy to pack items – I’ve seen Kickstarters (e.g. Bones) where there a million variations on the product type.  Those are much more complicated than a few variants.

The one thing I’d love to lower is our shipping cost, but until we get to the size of Amazon, it really isn’t possible.  Anyway, if you have questions or are interested in taking part in this program, you can always e-mail us direct at ksadowski@starlitcitadel.com and we can discuss the program in more detail.