The Road to Kickstarter and Board Games #12 – Shipping in the Pledge Level?

I have mentioned in previous posts the different ways to ship your product, as well as reward levels. However, should you include shipping in with your reward levels? Or should you keep it separate and get shipping paid after the campaign (usually done through a pledge manager)? There are pros and cons for both methods. I have seen both methods used in successful campaigns. So the important thing is to research what is the best method for you and your project, as well as make sure you mention in the campaign (and possible reward levels) how shipping is to be processed. 

Add Shipping to Pledge

Pros

  • Backers will only have to make one payment. If you add shipping to the pledge level, then when the campaign has ended, all shipping will have already been calculated and payed for.
  • You can add additional money to pledge amounts for individual countries. I have seen this a number of times (as I am from Australia). In the pledge level that includes shipping, they add +$10-$30 to the pledge amount to cover the shipping involved.
  • A good talking point for the campaign. No-one likes additional costs. If you let people know shipping has already been dealt with, it is a plus in a lot of backers eyes. 

Cons

  • Shipping is a fluctuating amount and you may lose money. This is especially true with box weight and size changing with additional components.

Adding shipping to pledges I have seen more in smaller campaigns. These games generally have less components or add-ons and are not that heavy for shipping. This subsidizes the amount of shipping and therefore reduces the risk of losing money. 

Shipping After Pledge

Pros

  • Shipping is paid correctly and you will not lose any (much) money. During the campaign, the game will change based on components. This adds weight (and potentially box size) which can effect the shipping. Knowing the weight and size for individual backers to specific countries and tiers will make it easier for you to calculate the shipping correctly.
  • Easy to work out with Pledge Manager. Shipping can easily be worked out with pledge manager that may also include add-ons or different pledge levels.

Cons

  • Some people may be surprised/angry that they have to pay more after the campaign. If you do shipping after the pledge, make sure that it is clear in the campaign page and FAQ.

I have seen shipping after the pledge found in a lot of larger games that can include minis. These games will be difficult to calculate shipping as the games will be heavy and have a wide range of add-ons or game versions. These are usually calculated after the campaign through a pledge manager that has a list of the pledge level and add-ons in a backers pledge.

Subsidized Amount in Pledge

Some campaigns subsidize the shipping cost in the actual pledge. They add an amount to every backer and then lesson the shipping costs with either of the above two methods. Sometimes they even promote free shipping. The benefit of subsidizing the cost of the shipping by increasing the pledge amount is to make it fairer to all backers. People in remote parts of the world will usually pay a lot more due to shipping. If you reduce the amount, they will be happier. 

You have to be careful however that this does not increase the amount too much that it feels like your backers are paying too much for your product. Know and research your price point. Look at similar products on the market and also kickstarter and the cost of pledges for the base game. Even if shipping is subsidized, if it looks too expensive, it will hinder sales.

Show Shipping Information on the Campaign page

Whichever way you go with shipping, it is important to add shipping information to backers. This is to let them know what additional costs they should expect. Place a table on the campaign page showing prices for different parts of the world. Depending on which price method you go, the prices may not be exact, but at least give a range in which backers should expect. People don’t want unexpected costs, so this is essential for a good campaign.

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