How to Provide “Free” Shipping Worldwide on Kickstarter: A Comprehensive Guide

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Jun 24, 2013 Euphoria, Kickstarter 144 Comments

A complementary podcast to this post is live on Richard Bliss’ Funding the Dream. If you read the following post, you should also read the accompanying piece I wrote after shipping Euphoria.

By far the number one question I’ve been asked about my Euphoria Kickstarter campaign is, “How on earth did you provide free shipping worldwide?” Today I will answer that question in detail for those creators who are willing to put in the time and effort to provide their backers with the best possible shipping options available.

Let’s get something out of the way: No shipment is actually free. When we say “free shipping included” on Kickstarter, it means that shipping is included in the price of the reward level (freight + individual package). This is important to keep in mind no matter how you do shipping–if you’re including $10 of “free” shipping to backers in the US, you should include that same $10 in shipments anywhere in the world (and then add the difference on top of that).

Also, project creators, please keep in mind that shipping is a HUGE expense no matter how cost-effectively you do it, and you should price your reward levels accurately. Don’t assume that things will “even out” or that economies of scale will somehow kick in. They won’t. Not with shipping.

Last, this post is specifically for US-based board game creators who are manufacturing games in China (we use Panda Game Manufacturing). I know that’s a very specific niche in the Kickstarter economy, but a lot of what I’m going to talk about will apply to creators around the world who are making and shipping anything, regardless of where they’re manufacturing it.

Okay, let’s get to the details:

Philosophy

Why am I writing this? Isn’t this a competitive advantage for Stonemaier Games? Why wouldn’t we keep this a secret?

Well, nothing I’ll write below is a secret. All of this information is out there on the internet. I spend a LOT of time figuring all of this out, and despite this entry, setting up a worldwide shipping network will still take you a lot of time.

Really, I just want to help other project creators make better projects to give backers the best possible Kickstarter experience. There is no reason that backers in Canada and the EU need to pay $40 shipping and customs on top of that. Not only is that bad for the backers, but it’s bad for the creators, because they’re missing out on lots of potential backers.

Most of all, I’m sharing this because I wouldn’t be here if not for someone else who helped me. Back in the fall after the Viticulture Kickstarter campaign was over, I was struggling with the overall concept of international shipping (this is NOT something you want to figure out after a Kickstarter campaign). I had underestimated shipping by a lot, and I happened to mention the issue to a board member at my day job. I explained how I planned on using Amazon for fulfillment purposes in the US, but I couldn’t figure out a way to keep the cost per game down for international shipments from the US.

He thought about it for a second and said, “Why don’t you ship a few pallets of games to Amazon in Canada and the EU?”

In hindsight, it seems so obvious. But I really hadn’t thought of it at that point–maybe I was daunted by the idea of the logistics involved. But his idea had merit, and when I dug deeper, I discovered that it was a brilliant solution. I wouldn’t be here today without the sage advice of that board member.

I’m not here to tell you what you should do, and I can’t guarantee that the following will save you time or money. But my hope is that it will be a step in the right direction for you. Good luck!

Product Composition

When you’re composing  your Kickstarter rewards and the overall composition of your game, you need to keep shipping in mind. I highly recommend limiting add-ons to (a) things that your manufacturer can include in the game box and (b) very limited rewards that you ship by hand.

weigh-inA lot of what I’m going to talk about below has to do with using Amazon’s fulfillment services. Amazon will only accept products with bar codes, so unless you have a bar code for every add-on item, you’re going to be stuck shipping tons of add-ons by hand. You will regret that decision, not just in terms of time, but also in terms of cost. I shipped hundreds of add-ons for Viticulture by hand, and although the wine glasses, corkscrews, sleeving, and autographs were cool, they were not a good use of time or resources.

If you have a project that somehow hinges on tons of add-ons, contact Game Salute to help you or be prepared with lots of boxes from Uline.

If you stick with my advice and package everything at the manufacturing level in the game boxes, you’ll need several different UPC bar codes, one for each version of the game. You can buy them at a number of places–I use Buy a Bar Code because Hakeem Olajuwon endorses them (most random endorsement ever?)

You will also need an SMC code for your company, which you can get for $25 here:

pat.koziol@plsi.com
Patricia Koziol
Executive Director
Hobby Manufacturers Assn.
973-283-9088

SMC stands for “Standard Manufacturers Codes,” whereby the three letters by themselves are your SMC. SKU (stock keeping unit) is the code for each individual product. So, for Stonemaier Games, STM is our SMC and STM100 is the SKU for the retail version of Viticulture. You can learn more about this part of the product packaging by watching this video.

Last, when you’re deciding the size of your game box, if you choose a box that just barely fits into a standard USPS medium flat-rate box (there are two sizes), you can cut down on packaging costs by quite a bit. USPS boxes are free when ordered from their website. (Update 10/10/13: USPS just added a “board game box” that actually fits two board games [you could probably squeeze two 12x12 games into the box]. This definitely opens up the possibilities for box sizes.)

To dig deeper into product composition and the impact it has on shaping your Kickstarter campaign, Richard Bliss and I have a 20-minute podcast on the topic here.

Reward Pricing

Once you’ve determined what you’re putting in your game box, it’s time to determine how you will incorporate shipping into your reward pricing. The details of these logistics will be discussed later in this entry. I’ll break down this section by location.

rewardsUnited States, Canada, and the European Union: You’re going to be shipping pallets of games from your manufacturer to several different locations worldwide: Amazon.com in the US, Amazon.ca in Canada, Amazon.de in Germany, and maybe Amazon.co.uk in the United Kingdom. The freight shipping cost includes trucking the games from the factory to port, ocean freight, customs, fees, and taxes, and trucking to a fulfillment center based on the manufacturing cost per unit. The freight cost per unit will depend on a number of factors–size, weight, location, value, etc–so you’ll need to figure out those numbers for your project. If you’re making a board game similar to Viticulture (11×8.5×4 inches, ~5 pounds), each game will cost about $5 in freight shipping costs to get your game from the manufacturer to the front door of Amazon’s fulfillment center.

From there, your individual shipping cost from Amazon to each individual will be approximately as follows. You can click on the links to go to the fulfillment pricing guides for each location (you’re looking for “multi-channel fulfillment fees” for “standard size non-media items). These prices will vary based on current exchange rates.

DISCLAIMER: These are sample amounts based on shipping Viticulture, a 4-pound game, at a specific quantity (2500 games spread over the various areas) in early 2013. Please get exact quotes for your campaign from your manufacturer (trucking from the factory to port), freight shipping company (ocean freight, customs, import fees and taxes, and trucking from port to Amazon), and Amazon (multi-channel fulfillment, not “orders placed on Amazon”).

United States: $8
Canada: $9
European Union (Western Europe): $16
European Union (Central Europe): $34
Germany (if shipping from Amazon.de): $6
United Kingdom (if shipping from Amazon.co.uk): $8

Thus your overall shipping costs (freight plus individual shipping) are as follows:

United States: $13
Canada: $14
European Union (Western Europe): $21
European Union (Central Europe): $39
Germany (shipped from Amazon.de): $11
United Kingdom (shipped from Amazon.co.uk): $13

Now, you may be looking at those numbers and thinking, “They are not the same, so why did you include free shipping for all of those locations?” Well, for Central Europe, I probably should have excluded them from free shipping. That’s a big difference. But for Western Europe, it seemed cleaner to me to include it with the US and Canada, and it made for a great talking point. I think we attracted a lot of new backers to the project by doing that. But realistically we probably should have charged $8 extra for shipping to Western Europe and $27 extra for shipping to Central Europe–each of those backers got a good deal, and I took a small loss on the units sent to Central Europe.

There are other costs that go with these accounts. You’ll need seller accounts for all of them (you can’t use the same Amazon account for each one), which costs around $39/month. You will also have to pay storage fees really won’t add up to much if you’re shipping most of your inventory as soon as it arrives at Amazon. Also, Amazon sometimes moves inventory around from one facility to another, pretty much at their whim (this is in the name of “optimization”). They charge you $0.50 per unit that is transferred to another facility. It doesn’t happen often. The overall key is to ship everything to backers as soon as it arrives at Amazon.

Despite all that, the great thing about shipping from within those territories is that backers don’t have to pay customs fees. You pay customs fees, and you pay them in bulk based on the manufacturing cost per unit, and it’s built into the freight cost I mentioned above. This is a GREAT service you can provide for your backers.

reward intAsia, Australia/New Zealand, Central and South America, Non-EU Europe (Norway and Switzerland), Russia, and Africa:  There is a company I will be using to ship games within China called 4PX, but I can’t vouch for them yet, so the prices I discuss below are based on freight shipping games either directly to you or to Amazon.com and then to you via something called a “removal order,” which is a freight trucking bulk rate of $0.50/unit, and then sending the games individually by hand via USPS. The estimates below are based on Viticulture’s 5-pound weight and 11×8.5×4-inch size, with the $5 freight cost plus delivery fee to you added in.

Asia: $56
Australia/New Zealand: $59
Central/South America: $52
Non-EU Europe: $51
Russia: $66
Africa: $61

However, if you ship 2 games to one of those locations, the price doesn’t change much at all (about $10 extra). Consider that when structuring your rewards. On Euphoria, I focused on coordinating group buys so that the price per unit for each backer would be the same as any other shipment. Hence the “free” shipping worldwide.

Freight Shipment Preparation

As soon as you send the final files to your manufacturer, you need to start making freight shipment preparations as follows:

Amazon: Sign up for all necessary Amazon seller accounts and input the information for each different version of your product (use Google Chrome to auto-translate Amazon.de). If you make a mistake, you can change any listing by clicking on it and choosing “relist” (a term that seems counterintuitive, but really it just means “edit”). All products you enter on Amazon will be available for sale on Amazon unless you choose release dates well in the future (at which point you’ll have already delivered the items to Kickstarter backers). Amazon may decide to review your listings for approval, so don’t wait until the last minute to enter the items there.

Once your products are approved, you need to create shipments for each of them. This will take some collaboration with your manufacturer, as you will need to know the exact weight per game, the exact number of games per carton, and the exact number of games per pallet. Once you have that information, you can tell Amazon what you expect each shipment to be, and Amazon will provide you with the delivery address. That is the only way you can get the delivery address. From my experience, even that address will be inadequate for shipping purposes (it’ll be the name of the warehouse and the city, but not the street address), so you’ll need to follow up with customer service to find the true address.

Amazon will also give you PDF labels for each carton of games and each pallet of games. Send those PDFs to your manufacturer along with detailed instructions about the pallets themselves, which must be 1200 x 800mm wooden pallets.

For questions about Amazon.de, I would recommend contacting Kathrin Freundl at kduschin AT amazon.de. She can help guide you through the process, and she can provide you with the booking form your shipping company will need to fill out well before your shipment is set to arrive in Germany.

box 3DVAT: You will need to find an importer of record in the EU to handle your value-added tax (VAT) accounting. I thought that I needed to find someone in Germany since we sent Viticulture to Amazon.de, but that may not actually be the case–you might just need someone in the EU.

Basically, the importer of record lets you use their VAT number so that you don’t need to register as a business in the EU. I looked into registering a business in Germany via a very helpful accountant by the name of Erwin Herzing (erwin.herzing AT kleeberg.de), and it not only costs about $1,000 up front, but you also have to pay for an accountant to process your VAT fees every quarter for about $250/quarter. That adds up fast and isn’t cost-effective at all if you’re dealing with the vast majority of shipments all at once.

So how do you find an importer of record? I messaged all of my German backers and asked if any of them owned a business and would be willing to be my importer of record (I recommend you find your importer of record the same way). They handle the accounting along with their quarterly accounting, and I pay the VAT plus a small fee to them for the service. I also sent them extra games as a token of appreciation.

Canadian Registration: You’ll need to register as a business in Canada if you’re shipping to Amazon.ca. This is a very easy and free process (thanks Canada, for being awesome!). Here’s the form you need.

Manufacturer: You’re sending pallets of games to a number of different locations around the world, so you’ll need to tell your manufacturer exactly how many of each version of the game to include on each pallet. Your manufacturer will prefer for each pallet to remain uniform, but your numbers may require some mixing and matching. Make sure to send extra copies of each version of the game to all Amazon destinations, as you will likely need extras at some point for damaged/missing/review copies of the game.

Panda Game Manufacturing offers the very generous option of shipping to up to 10 destinations directly from Panda. Your freight company is one of those “destinations,” but the others can be group buys in Asia or Australia/New Zealand.

Shipping Company: Your manufacturer may recommend a few shipping companies. I used RIM Logistics (Saba at sabasolomon AT rimlogistics.com) to ship a few pallets to Amazon.de and Dimerco (Justin at Justin_Bergeron AT dimerco.com) to ship the majority of the games to the US. Both companies are very helpful for startups that may need some extra guidance with the forms. I don’t get a referral fee or anything like that, but if you contact them, I would appreciate if you tell them I sent you.

Two small tidbit to keep in mind about ports: When your game arrives at port in China, it will not ship right away. These companies keep costs down by consolidating shipments within the same containers (see The Wire, Season 2). So don’t be surprised if your pallets sit on the boat for a few weeks. Also, when they arrive at port in the US, allow for about a week for the games to pass customs. Sometimes it’ll happen much faster than that, but prepare for the worst.

Individual Shipment Preparation

So all of the games have arrived at Amazon and have been processed–what’s next?

You can enter each address one by one, but that will take forever if you have hundreds of backers. Rather, what you want to do is upload bulk shipment spreadsheets. I’ve uploaded the templates here for your convenience. Follow the instructions on each one, and when you’re done, save the document as a tab-delineated text file for upload.

A few tips about filling in these spreadsheets:

  1. Only include the information you need. If something is optional, don’t include it, because you might enter it incorrectly and mess up the whole order.
  2. If there is any delay between creating the spreadsheet and uploading it, make sure you update the date.
  3. On the inventory page on Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk, make sure you’ve enabled exports so that you can ship to the rest of the EU.
  4. You’ll need to use country codes for European shipments. Here’s a list of all codes here. Note that the United Kingdom’s official abbreviation for shipping is GB (Great Britain).
  5. Zip codes must be properly formatted. Be specific about what you want on your backer survey. Here’s what I put there: “If your US postal code starts with a 0, please enter the full 10-digit postal code (correct format: 01234-5678). If your international postal code has letters in it, please capitalized them. Canadian backers, please use a single space in your postal code and capital letters—no hyphen (correct format: T5T 5G7).” Despite those instructions, you’ll still need to review every zip code.
  6. Cross-check addresses to make sure you’re not off by one line on all cities, for example.
  7. Search the spreadsheet for “,com” “.con”, and “. com” to find e-mail addresses where people accidentally used a comma instead of a period. Every one of these will show up as an error on Amazon. (Bonus: If you run your e-mail list through Mailchimp, they’ll send you all of your e-mail address errors in a handy list.)
  8. To mitigate errors, upload spreadsheets in small chunks. Don’t do 500 at once–do 5 uploads of 100 addresses each. This will help you narrow down addresses in error.

It is with these bulk shipments that you will encounter Amazon’s greatest fault: It’s really hard to search for specific packages on Amazon, and even harder to find addresses on the bulk shipment that are marked “error” (any shipment marked “error” does not go through and will need to be re-entered correctly). Amazon doesn’t tell you the order number for addresses in error for some reason (I’ve asked them to fix this). Instead, you have to cross reference ever address that went through with the original spreadsheet until you find the missing addresses to resubmit. That’s why getting the bulk spreadsheet correct the first time can make a huge difference.

You might be wondering about the quality of Amazon as a shipping company. Overall I’ve been very pleased with their speed, and fairly pleased with their packaging. There have been a handful of games that weren’t packed very well, resulting in dents to the box, but I send replacement parts out and everyone is happy. Whenever you hear from a backer who has a damaged box, make sure you get them to send you a photo of the game in the box with the original packaging so you have something to share with Amazon for reimbursement.

Amazon customer service has been fairly good. It’s a massive company, and most of their customer service is built around e-mail communication. Usually it takes a day to hear from them. The only segment of Amazon whose customer service seems lacking is Amazon.co.uk. I’ve messaged them several times and have never gotten a response.

For all the individual shipments to non-US, non-Canada, non-EU locations, I’d recommend using USPS. FedEx and UPS cause trouble for some backers, particularly in South America. Backers will ask you to write that the game is a gift on the customs forms, but legally you cannot do that. You can, however, select “other” and write that it’s a Kickstarter reward. It’s somewhere in between a gift and an order.

Shipping to Retailers/Distributors

We’ve covered all of the ways you’ll get your products to Kickstarter backers, but what about retailers and distributors?

There are lots of options here, but I’ll mention what we’ve done at Stonemaier Games. We work with Aldo Ghiozzi at Impressions ADV, which is a distribution broker. Aldo sells games to retailers and distributors so you don’t have to contact each of them individually (if you’re a small indie publisher, you may not hear anything back from them, but Aldo will).

Regardless of whether you go through Aldo or directly to a distributor, the distributor will receive a 60% discount off MSRP. Of your remaining 40%, if you work with Impressions, they will get 18% of that 40% as their fee. So if the MSRP on your game is $100, Impressions will receive $7.20 and you will receive $32.80.

How many retail copies of your game should you order? That’s up to you. If you listen to Aldo’s interview on the Funding the Dream podcast, you’ll hear him recommend that new publishers with new games order no more than 500 retail copies of the game. I think that’s a safe recommendation. With Viticulture, we allocated 650 copies to traditional distribution, and within a few days, distributors had placed 1,000 orders for the game. So we underestimated demand. It’s really hard to predict how well your game will do, so err on the side of caution.

What Else?

Obviously there’s a lot going on here. Although this is a comprehensive guide, it’s still going to take some research on your part to get everything set up properly for your product. You’ll have to figure that out on your own. If there are any overarching questions that can benefit everyone, please ask them in the comments and I’ll add the answers to this post.

Update: You can see final shipping costs and stats for Euphoria here. You should also read the accompanying piece I wrote after shipping Euphoria.

A complementary podcast to this post is live on Richard Bliss’ Funding the Dream.


Comments

  • jenff
    Jun 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm Reply

    Thanks for the useful advice, hopefully other Kickstarters will take the advice and we Europeans can buy more games as a result.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm Reply

      I hope so too, jenff!

  • ambiej123
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm Reply

    Wow, that is EXPENSIVE to ship to western and central Europe. I know you have a relationship with Amazon.de- will you have one for Amazon.uk, too? Considering how many of your backers are from there? Did you lose money from backers who pledged from Western and Eastern Europe? Free international shipping was a HUGE selling point for this game, and a MAJOR talking point. That being said, you stated you prob. should have included a $10 charge. Do you think you will have the $10 charge in the future? Or would you just factor a portion of that charge into all games, and hope that US games would balance out some of that loss? (I know that you already stated that shipping doesn’t balance out but… still…)

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm Reply

      @Ams I’m glad you said something–I had “Western” and “Central” switched. Western Europe really isn’t all that expensive–it’s only $8 more than the US. I’d like to avoid distributing costs among all backers–rather, I’d like each backer to pay for exactly what they’re receiving–so in the future, yes, I might charge the $8. But I’m not set on doing that. I did not lose money from the Western European backers. I probably did take a loss from the Central European backers, but there aren’t many of them.

      1. andvaranaut
        Jun 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm Reply

        I’m glad that Spanish backers did not end up costing you an arm and a leg :o) As an EU national, I found Amazon’s definition of ‘Western’ and ‘Central’ Europe a bit confusing, specially because I was under the impression that the highest rates were to ‘Western’ Europe. (Germany, for instance, would be classified as Central European by any measure – except the one from Amazon, it seems).

        What I wrote in the KS thread was mostly under the —wrong— assumption that shipping costs to Spain, Portugal and perhaps France were much higher than to Germany or other countries in the vicinity, so most of it does not apply. Setting up a local distribution chain in the countries Amazon classifies as ‘central’ would probably be _way_ more work than it’s worth (my knowledge of the subject is limited, but most of the countries are smallish and mountainous, which probably drives the costs up).

        I’m curious, however, on what drives up the freight cost for the ‘central’ countries. Distance is not the defining factor – Spain, Italy and Portugal are more distant from Germany than from most of these countries. I imagine it’s a combination of the relatively underdeveloped main road routes and, for some of the countries, the role of the Alps as a natural barrier. (There’s a backbone of major road routes spanning across the EU, the E-routes, which is much denser in the ‘western’ countries; besides, almost no roads in the E-route network go through the Alps).

        Great resource – I really hope that all KS project take very good note! Thanks for taking all the time to figure this out, and specially for sharing it with the larger KS community.

        1. Jamey Stegmaier
          Jun 24, 2013 at 10:33 pm Reply

          andvaranaut – That’s a good question about central European countries. I’m not exactly sure what drives up the price for those countries. It’s a big jump, though–.80 Euro per 100 grams versus .20 Euro. That adds up fast!

      2. andvaranaut
        Jun 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm Reply

        Also, I found it very interesting that the main factor driving up the ‘expensive’ shipping costs is not the base rate (it’s just 2€ more) – it’s the surcharge for weight reasons (if what you ship weights over 2kg / ~ 4 pounds, it’s about 12 € more – over $15).

      3. Filip Mrkvicka
        Jul 4, 2013 at 2:52 am Reply

        Many thanks from the central Europe (Czech republic, in my case) for the free shipment. Actually it is a MAJOR decision-making factor with any US-based board games. When you should pay 30$ for a game and in small letter is “please add 35$ for shipment to EU”, you really think twice. Luckily i did not have to think twice with Euphoria ;)
        and thanks for the Guide in general, i am also a game designer, and I was thinking about starting a kickstarter campaign, so such a shipping guide is a gold.

        1. Jamey Stegmaier
          Jul 4, 2013 at 11:51 am Reply

          Thanks Filip, I’m glad it was helpful. I’m curious–obviously free shipping is the best, but would $8-$10 added shipping been a deterrent from backing Euphoria? I ask because of the price difference between some of the countries as you can see in the above post.

  • Felix
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:39 pm Reply

    Fantastic post, great service to the community.

  • Emil Larsen
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply

    Great article Jamey!
    You really put quite an effort in explaining these aspects of the process… and I must say I’m still puzzling with this. *phew*

    Hahaha, NBA backetball players are all about the barcodes! :D

  • Luke Turpeinen
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Woah. I am in the midst of designing a board game that I hope to Kickstart. Your articles have really given me a reality check on exactly how huge this entire process is and how much work will go into the production even after files are sent to the printers. For some reason in my head I imagined sending files off to China to be made and not really worrying about it. Thank you so much for all of your articles and the amazing insights you’ve given to the community. These articles are invaluable.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm Reply

      Luke–I’m very glad you got a reality check on logistics now, then! :)

  • Michael Iachini
    Jun 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm Reply

    Jamey – This is one of the most useful, detailed, practical posts for game design startups that I’ve ever seen. People talk about content being king on the Internet; this is king-level content. Transparency, contact information, details of all types… Thank you so much for sharing this with the world!

    Michael Iachini
    Clay Crucible Games

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm Reply

      Thanks Michael! My hope is that this will help a lot of other project creators and their backers. :)

  • Jay
    Jun 24, 2013 at 5:02 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing Jamey. It would be really hard to find someone who did this whole process as good as you. It sounds extremely complicated especially with establishing reputable contacts like an importer for VAT. Now I’m beginning to understand some of the depth and why you needed to hire an accountant. Quite extensive research; how do you have time to design, work your non-profit, manage contacts, network, blog, take care of your cats, eat, and sleep? I’m guessing your cats have to take care of you!

    I’m passionate about designing quality boardgaming products to share with people around the world but as a fellow introvert (yes I follow your blogs), this feels overwhelming. I’m sure this is much more involved than this ‘cliff notes version’. I’m curious how many people are on your team to assist with all this logistical management.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm Reply

      Jay–If the cats carried their weight, I’d have more time for the “sleep” item you listed! :)

      The introvert in me actually kind of enjoys the puzzle of logistics–so much of it is done at my desk behind a computer. I wish I had a whole team of people! It’s just me (my business partner Alan is more focused on playtesting, brainstorming, and helping out with shipping individual packages when needed).

  • Portos
    Jun 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm Reply

    It’s amazing how you managed to disseminate a product all over the world, from the comfort of your home in St. Louis!
    Shipping is so important in the age of the internet, yet I feel it’s hard to trust shipping companies of which you know only the website.
    Thank you for sharing these crucial informations!

  • ambiej123
    Jun 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey! Next time you do an update, you should totally use those pictures of survey’s sent in to encourage slow pokes! (Although, believe it or not, I have one friend who still hasn’t sent his mailing address to receive a CD he backed over a year ago. esh)

  • Chris Dickinson
    Jun 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm Reply

    Fantastic post Jamey.

  • Kim
    Jun 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm Reply

    This is a fantastic version 2 of your first shipping article Jamey. Thanks so much.

    In that last article you gave a regional breakdown of backers:

    22 backers in Asia who are receiving at least one copy of the game (2.4%), 23 backers in Oceania (2.5%), 682 in the US (75.7%), 51 in Canada (5.6%), 114 in Europe (12.6%), and 8 in Brazil (1%).

    How have those percentages for Euphoria changed since you leveled the costs for international backers? stats that show a reduced % of US backers would support the idea that the international audience is a great source of backer / sales growth.

    Also – I know Aldo recommends only 500 copies for sale via normal distribution but I think that comment was made with a very particular type of project in mind. Its also drawn i believe from his perception that 80% of games he manages sell only 500 copies via normal distribution. Those games do not have the massive buzz engine you have going. I’m wondering given your experience with viticulture and the tremendous success of the Euphoria KS whether you are reconsidering your plan to go with low numbers to distribution? it just seems counter intuitive to me that you aren’t using this success to launch a game which sells well through normal distribution ongoing. Unless your strategy is to primary sell via KS when you earn the greatest profit…

    The way i see it – you should be able to surf the KS buzz wave for a while, but not for long.

    But then what do i know?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 25, 2013 at 12:21 am Reply

      Kim–That’s a great question about the new percentages. I’m not quite sure yet, but given that there are 200 backers in Germany alone for Euphoria (and 300 in the UK), I think we’re going to see those percentages change.

      I see what you’re saying about the “buzz engine,” and in hindsight, we should have ordered more retail copies of Viticulture. We don’t want to make that mistake with Euphoria, so we’re probably going to order about 3000 retail copies on top of the 6000 Kickstarter copies.

      I agree that the KS buzz wave cannot be ridden forever, but one way to reinvigorate it is with expansions.

      1. Kim
        Jun 25, 2013 at 1:05 am Reply

        Thats great Jamey – if you can’t back your self through normal distribution then who can? 3000 sounds good and I wish you luck through it. In my view there are too few indy game developers using Kickstarter to effectively establish themselves in the normal publishing, distribution and brick and mortar store sales space. The more of that there is, the less people will be able to criticise KS games as being of inherently lower quality than old school publisher vetted ones.

        Martin Wallace has also agreed to provide me a regional breakdown of backers from A Study in Emerald which also had one global price for the game inc shipping. I’ll share that data here when they have finished compiling it.

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  • iharvster
    Jun 25, 2013 at 10:42 am Reply

    Hi Jamey,

    Have you ever investigated the non-existing shipping charges by The Book Depository (www.bookdepository.co.uk or http://www.bookdepository.com)? They have a long list of countries (including Australia where I live) that they do not charge to ship to. I’ve managed to buy books brand new books for under AUD$5 and not been charged anything extra. I’ve no idea how they do it and I don’t know know whether their process is even applicable to your situation. I know that a number of online bookshops (eg http://www.abebooks.com) incorporate the book’s weight into the book price so that it appears that there is no charge for shipping, but The Book Depository seems to be in a league of their own. Even compared to Amazon who state it’s cheaper to bundle all your items together to make it cheaper, while TBD sends each book individually. Thought there maybe something there to investigate if you haven’t already.

    Something else that may be useful, orders from England and parts of Europe (about a fortnight or sooner) take much less time to arrive in Australia than from the USA (occasionally three weeks but usually much longer – sometimes so bad you’d think it was coming by surface mail!). This may indicate a better, and possibly proportionally cheaper, means of shipping.

    Please note that these are my observations as a fairly regular purchaser of overseas goods. I hope that may prove to useful in someway and possibly encourage more of “The introvert in me actually kind of enjoys the puzzle of logistics–so much of it is done at my desk behind a computer.”!! :-)

    Anyway, thanks for your time,

    Ian.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 25, 2013 at 10:47 am Reply

      Ian,

      Very interesting. I think that books are in a category of their own, though. Like, with USPS, you can ship books and CDs via “media mail” really cheap compared to pretty much any other item. I’m not sure why, but that’s the pricing model I’ve seen.

      I think Amazon fulfillment centers are starting to be open to the idea of shipping internationally–previously that wasn’t possible. That’s a good tip about shipping from the UK to Australia.

      Thanks!
      Jamey

  • Martin Maly
    Jun 25, 2013 at 11:10 am Reply

    Hi Jamey,
    great work. You write you calculate 5$ per game for shipping from China to Amazon. Can you break down these shipping costs. My experience in germany is that the costs port to port are equal to the costs port to city . Is that the same with amazon ?
    thank you
    martin

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 25, 2013 at 11:13 am Reply

      Martin–That $5 includes transportation from the manufacturer to the port in China, freight shipping fees, the bill of lading, customs, freight trucking to Amazon, and a few other smaller fees. Those numbers vary based on the number of games and their size and weight, but $5 is the average of what I saw for Viticulture.

  • Benji Michalek
    Jun 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm Reply

    Thanks for the great advice! So awesome!

  • Ed Kiernan
    Jun 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm Reply

    Hi Jamey,

    That was an interesting and useful article, especially as I’m setting-up an on-line board game retailer, and looking at going into distribution/publishing in the future. Have you considered working with a local distributors other than Amazon in other countries? Maybe somebody who pays tax in the country they operate in ;)

    I was directed here by Michael Mindes of TMG, let’s hope City Hall gets back on track soon.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jun 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm Reply

      Ed–I’ve considered it in countries that I currently don’t have good access to–namely, Australia/New Zealand.

      1. Ed Kiernan
        Jul 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm Reply

        Or you could try co-publishing, where somebody in a different territory puts money up front for a few hundred copies at a very good price, and agrees to distribute your kickstarter funded copies as part of the deal.

  • Angela Hickman Newnham
    Jul 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm Reply

    This is awesome, I’m so excited and thankful to see you creating this guide and sharing this information with folks. Having gone with Game salute as our publisher thankfully *I* don’t have to worry about these things, but I think this will be really really helpful to other Kickstarter project creators and I just love the idea of being able to offer fair pledge levels to international backers (GS did the best they could for us but still had to charge a little for ours- $10-20 extra, much to my dismay). Thanks for all the transparency and another great blog entry!

    1. Loren Cunningham
      Mar 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm Reply

      Angela – I am investigating using Game Salute now. Can Game Salute solve the VAT problem for Kickstarter backers? I emailed GS over a week ago and I am still waiting to hear from them.

  • Claudius
    Jul 3, 2013 at 2:25 am Reply

    Thanks again for this amazong service you provide! I backed Euphoria in no small part, because of this. I am from Germany by the way.

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  • Andy Kitkowski (@diamondsutra)
    Jul 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Wow, this is really, really useful info Jamey! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I wish I thought ahead to multiple freight shipments to various Amazon-s when I was fulfilling Tenra Bansho Zero a few months ago, that could have saved me a lot of money… but man, dealing with all the freight is a huge headache. The mental/organizational overhead is such that for me (with a 4.x-lb book, so pretty much in the same shipping price category), with an intense 10+ hour-a-day day job, it’s not a viable option for most locales.

    Except Canada perhaps. Shipping is ridiculous to Canada ($35 or so via Pri Mail) for a country so close, that your method re Canadian Amazon is absolutely going to be tested by me next time; just one country to worry about isn’t such a huge deal, and that savings is just worth it…

    For others, I’m hoping that my fans will be able to volunteer the names of reputable reshippers that they’ve worked with in the past for their own countries: Frex, most of my New Zeland friends use a NZ-specific reshipper (they basically repackage for sea-mail), and thus end up saving a lot there…

    Anyway, thanks a lot. This is a lot of mind-blowing info to chew on!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jul 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm Reply

      Hi Andy, I’m happy to help. Sure, if you test the waters with Canada, it’s certainly worth a try. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

  • Luca
    Jul 21, 2013 at 2:08 am Reply

    This is awesome! Thanks so much. I’m the producer of Board to Death TV and we are doing a video review of viticulture soon! Also we will use this article for our game on Kickstarter right now: CarmaRace. Thanks so much !!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jul 21, 2013 at 11:27 am Reply

      Thanks Luca! I’m glad it was helpful.

  • Jeanne
    Jul 22, 2013 at 5:43 am Reply

    Hi Jamey,
    Your article is great and helpful, really.
    Do you know what it takes to do a business registration in Australia when you are not a resident there ( you are based in USA for example)? is it worth it? How much money?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jul 22, 2013 at 11:21 am Reply

      Jeanne–I must admit that I haven’t tried to register as a business in Australia at this point. If an Amazon fulfillment center ever opens there, you can be sure that I’ll be the first person in line to figure it out. :)

      1. Ed Kiernan
        Jul 23, 2013 at 5:04 am Reply

        My suggestion would be to contact an accountant out there. Go to your favourite search engine and look for “Chartered Accountants Australia”. If it’s like a Brit setting up a business (or owning property) in the US, you will have to set up a trust to actually own the business.

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  • espher
    Aug 2, 2013 at 9:07 pm Reply

    Stumbled upon this article and I have to say I’m quite impressed. Here’s to hoping more Kickstarters take advantage of this advice — the spike in USPS shipping costs since I started backing projects has caused my backing of Kickstarters for physical goods to take a nose-dive, as I seem to face nearly as much in shipping costs (to Canada, nevermind elsewhere) as I do for the project itself. Much respect for doing a solid for both creators and backers with this write-up.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Aug 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm Reply

      Hey, thanks for your comment. I’m happy to help. Canada is actually the easy one–the EU is a bit harder. I shipped a partial pallet of Viticulture to Canada and it worked out just fine. I’ll be back there in a few months with a lot more copies of Euphoria. :)

  • barry morgan
    Aug 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm Reply

    as an avid boardgame kickstarter based in the UK thanks for putting this article and all your thought into this as anything that means I can get games for sensible shipping costs is golden. I just hope you get the rewards due to you for working this out and hoppefuly it becomes the norm.

    I’m more that happy to pay $10 to ship a game to the uk – but a lot of project runners are just plain lazy in their attitude to the rest of the world and understanding how to hepl us to help them by backing their projects :)

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Aug 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply

      Thanks Barry, I hope other people work this out too. I think in the future I may need to charge about $8 for shipping to most of the EU, but because of Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, shipping will remain “free” (or built into the cost of the item) for the UK and Germany.

  • Free shipping
    Aug 13, 2013 at 6:34 am Reply

    Didn’t know they actually charge that much for shipping nowadays… We urgently need some more competition in that sector it seems! You didn’t find any provider with a worldwide flat rate?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Aug 13, 2013 at 8:45 am Reply

      So far USPS has the only competitive worldwide flat rate that I could find…that’s why I use Amazon fulfillment.

  • Tim Eisner
    Aug 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Jamey thanks so much for this article and all of the others in your kickstarter series. As I am preparing to launch my game your site has become an invaluable resource.
    I am wondering if you think that setting up Amazon Fulfillment in UK and EU would be worthwhile with a smaller project than Euphoria? Did you find that shipping to multiple destinations from China was more expensive/complicated? I hope my game has enough backers to merit building similar distribution channels but wondering if I should just go with US and Canada unless my campaign really takes off.
    Once again thanks for all the insight.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Aug 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm Reply

      Thanks Tim, glad to hear it’s been helpful. To answer your question, I think it would be worthwhile IF you are able to get a VAT connection for Europe like I discussed above. You need to make sure you have that before you go into the project, because if you don’t, you can’t send a pallet to Europe.

      But let’s say you get that connection. The big unknown is how many backer you’ll get in the EU, right? What if you only get 12 backers in Europe? That’s not enough for the hassle–it’s not even enough for a partial pallet to Amazon.de. If that’s the case, then you would just ship them from the US. You’d probably break even or lose a little bit of money on those games. But it’s only 12 games, no big deal.

      Conversely, you’re making your project much more accessible for European backers. If you have an attractive, appealing game with reasonable EU shipping, the chances you’re only going to get 12 backers are next to nothing. So say you get 100 EU backers–then you’re absolutely set to send a pallet to Amazon.de.

      I think the key part of your comment is, “…unless my campaign really takes off.” Instead of waiting for your campaign to take off, set yourself up for success from day one by arranging a better shipping solution for European backers. Instead of waiting for success, be proactive and MAKE it a success. Shipping is a big part of that.

      Just please make sure you understand what goes into the shipping process. To execute what I’ve written above is daunting. It’s absolutely worth it for you and your backers, but it’s no small task. If you’re not up for it, bring on a friend who is great with organization and logistics.

      Good luck!

      1. Kim
        Aug 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm Reply

        Not just Europe! As Kickstarter gains international uptake don’t forget Australia and NZ – people down here get disproportionately annoyed at being left out.

        I agree with Jamey completely – if the game fits the market at all, why on earth would you want to add roadblocks to the market paying you at your highest possible profit margin for it? Add incentives (comparatively low cost shipping compared to other kickstarters) and the whole thing spins around the other way. I think Viticulture (with higher international postage charges) had about 25% international backers whereas I think Euphoria (with flattened out international postage costs) had closer to 40% international backers, correct me if I’m wrong Jamey.

        The limited evidence suggests that if you make it more affordable for international backers to get your game you will increase your total backer numbers by a decent percentage. Why would you not want to do that as long as you are not losing money?

        There are other spin offs to this. Ie it may open up future distribution opportunities in those distant markets because you are more effectively demonstrating demand for your game in those markets.

        And as Jamey can probably attest, international recognition and glory is far better than North American recognition and International hostility.

        1. Jamey Stegmaier
          Aug 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm Reply

          Kim–Absolutely, not just Europe. The tough part about Australia/NZ and Asia is that Amazon fulfillment can’t be used in those areas. There are ways to reduce the cost per unit to the backer by using group rates, but I would not recommend that project creators lose money to send the games anywhere. So they have to be careful with those regions. Careful and respectful to their wallets.

          You’re correct that the international market grew from about 25% for Viticulture to about 40% for Euphoria. I think it’s safe to say that Euphoria would have been considerably less successful if I had required $25 shipping additions for every international backer.

          You can see the final shipping cost breakdown for Euphoria here: http://stonemaiergames.com/euphoria-stats-edition/

          1. Kim
            Aug 14, 2013 at 12:04 am

            Yeah of course re no cheap Amazon to AU / NZ. I’ve said it elsewhere but i think its pretty likely there will be a way to handle AU / NZ (and other too small for amazon postage jobs) direct from a chinese postal service (eg in Shezhen Port where PandaGM at least are) at an affordable rate compared to USPS. Its a matter of someone testing some of them to proof costs and quality control. Different game compositions for different backer levels is a complication, but for simple games where there are just 1 – 3 versions of the game which can be boxed at the printer I imagine this is workable? How deep did you look into that for Euphoria Jamey?

          2. Loren Cunningham
            Mar 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm

            Jamey – Your blog post here is literally worth its weight in gold. Thank you so much for the post and forum. Two questions. 1, if you want your project to be EU friendly and cannot find an importer of record in the EU, would you wait to launch your campaign until you find such a person or can this be done mid-campaign? 2, I have been struggling with this for awhile. Extra costs for international shipping over US shipping increase your total Kickstarter funding towards your funding goal (and the amount that Kickstarter/Amazon charges their fee to you on) but does not give you dollars that go to your bottom line. Do you have any advice for this issue?

  • Jamey Stegmaier
    Aug 14, 2013 at 12:20 am Reply

    Kim–I’m actually using a company in Shenzhen called 4px to fulfill orders to Australia and Asia. I can’t vouch for them yet, but I’ll write about it after they deliver. It’s not a significant improvement on costs for Australia/NZ, though. Just more of a matter of time savings. What I really need is for Amazon to open a fulfillment center in Australia.

    1. Kim
      Aug 14, 2013 at 12:54 am Reply

      That’s great Jamey, looking forward to the results. So just to be clear, you are still looking at US$5O+ per game to pack and post post single games direct from Shenzhen, China to AU / NZ / Asia using 4px? Disappointed if so…

      I wonder if at 5lbs you are in an awkward weight bracket? Or perhaps size was an issue? My game will be a smaller box and under 2lbs so I’ll need to get quotes on that. Do total number of sends affect per unit prices with such companies too?

      I would certainly prefer to avoid direct mailing separate (non boxed) rewards to backers. If I may beg a little more intel;

      1. How many different printer packed versions of Euphoria did you end up with?
      2. How does the number of boxed versions impact on manufacturing costs assuming all elements are from the same factory?
      3. What are the logistical issues with pushing those different boxed versions through Amazon or someone like 4px? Is differentiation by barcode enough?

      1. Jamey Stegmaier
        Aug 14, 2013 at 1:08 am Reply

        Kim–Yep, the single game to Australia/NZ is still by far the most expensive shipping cost per unit. Even directly from China it’s $40. That’s better than $50, so we’ll see if it works.

        Weight is a big issue. The lighter the game, the lower the cost. Euphoria is a 6 pound game. However, there is a flat fee for the first 500 grams (1.1 lbs). After that you pay per additional 500 gram. Thus a 2 lbs game would cost about $20 to send directly from 4px to Australia.

        1. Three. I wouldn’t recommend doing more than three if you can avoid it, especially because of the potential for errors and the setup on Amazon.

        2. It doesn’t affect manufacturing costs much at all. At least not with Panda.

        3. Differentiation by barcode is enough. Amazon has been 100% accurate with those barcodes. The logistical issues are making sure that the right versions go to all the right places. Also, you have to set up each SKU separately on each Amazon website. That’s not a huge deal, but for each additional game you add, the more room there is for human error.

    2. Kim
      Aug 14, 2013 at 1:55 am Reply

      Good stuff! even $40 per game for a 6 pound (2.7kg) is much better than the $59 it takes via shipping and USPS and is pretty much the same as your central europe costs.

      $20 postage for a smaller / lighter game seems pretty good given that probably $10 – 12ish of that is likely to be already incorporated in the core costs as averaged shipping + amazon fulfillment costs anyway. Its possibly bearable as a break even cost or you could just charge $10 extra for remote shipping compared to the offputing $25 – $35 you often see.

      So for places outside the affordable Amazon zones you have paved the way with, I think its still looking more positive with direct post from China. Hoo freaking ray

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  • Adam P.
    Aug 23, 2013 at 11:19 am Reply

    Hey all, this is a heck-uv-a conversation – lots of useful info, both in the post (thanks Jamey!) and in the comments by others (thanks all!).

    Wondering if anyone out there or Jamey himself has any experience with Shipwire for shipping or knows anyone who’s used it? Curious about its benefits versus Amazon’s, though Amazon seems to be a really good play.

    Thanks again Jamey for the always helpful posts!

    1. andvaranaut
      Aug 23, 2013 at 11:34 am Reply

      Interesting. The big problem Amazon has (for EU delivery at least) is that it still needs the creator to find a way to fulfill VAT/customs obligations, which is a big inconvenience. If Shipwire is able to do the paperwork on your behalf and charge you for it directly (their website seems to imply so), it would be a huge advantage, since you would not need anything beyond their fulfillment service.

      1. Jason Kotzur-Yang (@kotzuryang)
        Jan 4, 2014 at 2:24 am Reply

        I’d hoped so too, but not as simple as you think http://www.shipwire.com/w/support/uk-import/ I’m still in working stuff out stage, but it’s been pretty easy to set up a Shipwire account just to get shipping quotes. About $7.50 for shipping from UK Warehouse to the UK for by 5 inch square fairly light game, and almost $20 from UK to Germany. (Shipwire in the US used logical square boxes but it gets all messed up in Europe, don’t know if that adds to the cost)

  • Tim Eisner
    Aug 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm Reply

    Jamey,
    I agree 100%. Planning for success makes it a whole lot likelier that I will succeed. Thanks for the reply and the positive outlook. This is quickly becoming my favorite blog!

  • Rapsodi
    Sep 14, 2013 at 2:17 am Reply

    One thing that struck me when I read your article, was the problem with getting a Vat registration in EU. Try Denmark it’s free to get VAT registered here, and the tax rules becomes very simple, you basically just have to report the VAT online.
    The big drawback is that most of the help you can find online is in Danish ;o)
    But here is a link in english http://www.foreignersindenmark.dk/display.cfm?article=1000402

    Good luck

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Sep 14, 2013 at 9:58 am Reply

      Rapsodi–That is really good to know. Getting the VAT registration is probably the biggest roadblock, so that could be a big help for other creators. The other big part of it is doing the quarterly accounting for the VAT, which can be tricky.

      1. Rapsodi
        Sep 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm Reply

        Well at least it’s only every 6 month here.

        And I’m pretty sure if you are a small business(less than 1.000.000 DKK ~160,000$ or else it’s 50.000 DKK ~8,000$, I think it’s the first) you don’t have to deliver a Vat accounting, unless they ask for it, you just have to report the total, but save all the papers, just in case.

        But this is where i get unsure since I don’t run a business and all my knowledge is second hand.

        1. Ed Kiernan
          Sep 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm Reply

          I recently registered for VAT in the UK. There was no charge for that, and I can put in basic quarterly accounts.
          And if anybody is selling rulebooks only, books are zero-rated for VAT in the UK.

          1. Jamey Stegmaier
            Sep 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

            Ed–Can you post the link to the site where you registered fro VAT in the UK? Hopefully it works for international creators (it looks like your e-mail address is in the UK).

          2. Ed Kiernan
            Sep 27, 2013 at 10:36 am

            Where’s the time gone? The website in question is http://www.gateway.gov.uk . You need to register, and I suspect you need to either be resident, or have a UK registered company. As with so many things, it’s probably worth getting professional advice – this might be cheaper in the UK than Germany. Once registered you can file your own tax returns online.

            I understand that at low-levels of turnover you can put in simple VAT returns containing just the total of VAT that you’ve paid, and the total of VAT that you’ve charged, and the difference is paid one way or the other. If you’ve paid more than you’ve charged (e.g. you’ve had poor sales, or you’ve paid import VAT on books, but not had to charge it on book sales) you get money back.

            As my turnover will be low this year (and possibly next) I don’t need to register for VAT, but as I’m importing a lot of stock from outside the EU, and some of what I sell is “zero-rated” for VAT, it works in my advantage.

  • Jamey Stegmaier
    Sep 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm Reply

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Ed. That’s very helpful.

  • Cody Miller (Far Off Games)
    Oct 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    About this part: “You will also need a SKU code for your company, which you can get for free from Richard at GGICproduction…”

    I contacted GGI, but apparently they no longer issue SKU codes, and they referred to them as SMC codes? I’m a little confused what this code is for. Any help would be appreciated!

    Cheers, -Cody

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Oct 2, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

      Cody–Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I contacted my distribution broker (Aldo at Impressions), and sadly, Richard passed away in March. The contact now is:

      pat.koziol@plsi.com
      Patricia Koziol
      Executive Director
      Hobby Manufacturers Assn.
      973-283-9088

      SMC stands for “Standard Manufacturers Codes,” whereby the three letters by themselves are your SMC. SKU (stock keeping unit) is the code for each individual product. So, for Stonemaier Games, STM is our SMC and STM100 is the SKU for the retail version of Viticulture.

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  • Eric
    Oct 22, 2013 at 12:52 am Reply

    Jamey,

    You mention different versions of your game going to different locations around the world. Did Panda manufacture your game and include a rule book in multiple languages? If so did they translate the English copy for you? Or are you referring to the base game vs. say a premium order that contained stretch goals, expansions etc.?

    You also mention different codes that need to be on the box including the SMC. What other codes or information did you realize you needed on the game box to ensure there were no hangups during delivery, through customs and or compliance? Is there a website or link you can share explaining what really needs to be on the box aside from the title of the game and artwork.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge,

    Eric

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Oct 22, 2013 at 12:56 am Reply

      Eric–Oh, I was referring to the retail and Kickstarter versions of the game.

      The only codes that have to be on the side of the box for Amazon and retailers are the ISBN # with the barcode and the SMC. You’ll want to put other information like recommended age, time to play, # of players, etc, but none of that is legally binding or required.

      That’s it!

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  • Cody Miller (Far Off Games)
    Oct 28, 2013 at 10:21 am Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    Another minor question for you: When you did your SKU numbers, did you create one for each version of your games? For example STM200 for retail Euphoria – did you do STM201 for the Kickstarter exclusive version? Or simply keep them all uniform?

    Thanks! -Cody

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Oct 28, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

      Cody–Yep, you’ll need a different SKU for each version of the game.

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  • Cody Miller (Far Off Games)
    Oct 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    I have a couple more questions for you, sorry! :)

    For ocean freight, why do you use RIM Logistics and Dimerco? Why not just one? They both seem capable of handling the entire shipping process. Is it a eggs / baskets scenario?

    When using Amazon.com – can you use Removal Orders to ship games to yourself for conventions and such in the USA? For example, if you were going to BGG con, could you send 100 games to yourself at the con? Is it really only $0.50 a game?

    Sorry to bother you with so many questions, and thanks for your patience! :)

    Cheers, -Cody

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Oct 29, 2013 at 12:36 pm Reply

      Cody,

      Good questions. For ocean freight for Euphoria, we consolidated and now are only using Dimerco. There’s no reason to use two companies.

      Yes, you can use removal orders for conventions…however, the timing is an inexact science. It’s not the same as normal shipping. Amazon seems to complete removal orders at their leisure–their website says it can take up to 30 days during peak periods. And yes, it’s $0.50. You can read more about it here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200280670) and here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200685110).

  • Jascha Frei (Gigaloth Games)
    Oct 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    I don’t know if this idea has been suggested, but what would happen if all of the games were shipped from the manufacturer to an Amazon facility in the US? Then, since Amazon won’t ship boardgames from the US internationally through multi-channel fulfillment, the creator would instead go onto the Amazon website for the US and order the games for their backers. That way you wouldn’t be using multi-channel fulfillment and could have your game shipped internationally. I know that this would save on shipping cost from the manufacturer to Amazon portion, but I’m not sure if it pays off in the long run for shipping to international backers.

    I bring this up for the instance where there are very few international backers supporting a project. In this case, the savings from not shipping from the manufacturer to Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk would be substantial enough to warrant only shipping to a US-based Amazon facility.

    Perhaps I’m asking the wrong question though, and should focus on ways make my project more “international backer” friendly. However, in this unique case, would it make sense to approach shipping this way? Or are there some glaring reasons why this practice hasn’t been tried/used?

    Thanks,

    Jascha

    P.S. Thanks for creating such an amazing blog and offering your advice to novices like myself.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Oct 31, 2013 at 10:42 pm Reply

      Jascha–It’s an intriguing idea, but the catch (at least the one I’m aware of–there might be more) is that Amazon charges you a decent fee when you sell a product on Amazon FBA. So if you were buying a game from yourself to send internationally, you’d lose a fair amount from that fee alone. Also, because you’re not shipping to EU backers from within the EU, they’re going to incur high customs and VAT fees, so you’re not doing what’s best for them. You can read more about this on this lesson: http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-47-this-project-is-eu-friendly/

      However, I like that you’re thinking outside the box! That’s how innovation happens. :)

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  • Cody Miller (Far Off Games)
    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    We’re currently setting up Asia / Australia / NZ shipping. I’ve noticed that many of your Asia backers have been getting their copies of Euphoria! Excellent work!

    Do you have any feedback on using 4PX for shipping at this point?

    Thanks again for this wealth of information!

    -Cody

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm Reply

      Cody–Unfortunately I can’t vouch for 4px yet. I’ve been partially pleased with their service, but they didn’t do one very specific thing I asked them to do (pack games in bubble wrap), so I can’t recommend them yet. I will try to use them again, and if they improve that aspect of their service, I’ll write an entry about them.

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  • Tom Razo
    Nov 12, 2013 at 2:19 am Reply

    Hi Jamey,

    It was great to hear you and Richard discuss international fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards on the recent “Funding The Dream on Kickstarter” podcast. You make a great co-host. I look forward to listening to future episodes.

    During the episode you mentioned the process of shipping from the manufacturer to Amazon in what sounded like a direct transaction. After listening to the show, I wanted to read this blog again to see if I was mistaken about my understanding that a third party would need to act as an importer/consignee and to process the VAT transaction.

    After reading though this post again and the comments, it appears as though a trusted third party is typically (Denmark VAT registration is a wildcard) required to enable the transfer to an Amazon facility.

    Are you able to provide any more details about the transfer process and what activities a third party may need to manage at any point in the transfer process?

    Are the activities typically done remotely or do they require a physical presence for any reason?

    Would the quarterly accounting of VAT only be required for ongoing Amazon sales from within the EU on a post-Kickstarter basis?

    Do you recommend using the Kickstarter reward amount as the declared value on individual shipments to non-US, non-Canada, non-EU locations?

    Thanks for doing what you do…

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm Reply

      Hi Tom, thanks for your question (and I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast!).

      So, a few things: The shipping company should handle the shipment from the manufacturer (or from port in China) all the way to Amazon’s front door. However, when the shipment reaches port in, say, Germany (before it gets to Amazon.de), the shipping company needs to make sure the shipment passes customs. At that point they will need to provide the name and VAT of the consignee. The consignee doesn’t need to be present. Probably in some cases customs will call the consignee, but I think that’s pretty rare.

      Indeed, after the first tax report for the Kickstarter fulfillment, the quarterly accounting is only needed for ongoing Amazon FBA sales.

      The declared value should be the cost to manufacture the game. I’ve confirmed that with an accountant in Germany.

      1. andvaranaut
        Nov 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm Reply

        Just out of curiosity – does the shipping company pay VAT on your behalf (or, technically, on behalf of the consignee), or does the consignee need to make the payment? From your first explanation, I thought that it was the latter case, but perhaps it’s the former – which would simplify things a lot, since the consignee would just need a VAT certificate for accounting.

        Also, the thing about VAT is that it can be compensated. When you do your VAT taxes in your accounting, you figure out the difference between what you have paid and what you have collected, and that’s the amount you have to pay. So, in general, receiving a shipment would work to your advantage as a business, just like buying a lot of stuff – since you’d have technically just paid a bunch of VAT because of the incoming shipment, you can compensate (= not pay) part of the VAT that you are collecting from customers.

        Eg. if you sell product (or give services) for 10.000 € here in Spain, you’d have to collect 21 % = 2.100 € as VAT from your customers and pay that amount in your quarterly taxes. If, in the same period, you had just paid, say 500 € for VAT in an incoming shipment, you’d be able to deduct those 500 € from the 2.100 € in VAT owed.

        1. Jamey Stegmaier
          Nov 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm Reply

          andvaranaut–Well, from my experience shipping Viticulture, the consignee was sent a VAT bill a month or so after the shipment arrived. He paid the bill and I reimbursed him.

          Very interesting about the VAT deduction…thank you for sharing that!

  • Jascha Frei (Gigaloth Games)
    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm Reply

    Hey Jamey,

    Here’s a potentially dumb question, but hopefully the answer will clear things up in my mind and maybe help someone else too…

    Would I be correct in saying that the following is the process for getting a game from the manufacturer into the hands of a EU-backer?

    Manufacturer in China – Shipping Company – European Port/Customs – Amazon.de – EU backer

    Is this a complete list of everyone that needs to handle the game from manufacturer to EU backer, or have I left someone out?

    How is the importer of record involved in this process?

    Do they need to have physical contact with the shipment?

    Can the IOR be bi-passed completely and have the shipping company forward the necessary VAT information to them instead?

    Wow, that ended up being a barrage of questions there. Hopefully they’re easy ones though. :)

    Thanks for being awesome Jamey!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm Reply

      Jascha–That’s close, but there are two small missing links. In between the manufacturer and port in China, there is a freight delivery company (your manufacturer will handle this…at least, Panda does). Then there’s another freight delivery company between destination port and Amazon. However, the primary shipping company handles that–I mention it here just because it is a cost that needs to be accounted for.

      The importer of record in Europe is simply billed the VAT, and you need to reimburse them. They don’t need physical contact with the shipment. The shipping company cannot play the role of the importer of record.

      1. Jascha Frei (Gigaloth Games)
        Nov 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply

        Hi Jamey,

        Thanks for providing the clarification. It’s the little details that seem to come back to bite new Kickstarter project creators later. It’s so helpful to at least know the right questions to ask when dealing with shipping companies and manufacturers.

        Regards!

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  • Kim
    Nov 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm Reply

    Nice to hear you recapping this in a podcast – you are gonna have to muscle in on Richard to get a more words in though :P . Not as much actual analysis as I was hoping for but that’s all here above I guess.

    Richard pointed out in your podcast on this topic that some (many?) projects decide to just not aim at the international market.

    Is his proposition of the risk of getting too many international backers give you a false total (based mostly on USPS charges) really the issue though? Not something I’ve heard before.

    Based on the fact that 5 months after you posted this I’m still not seeing many KS projects using the Amazon fulfillment method, I presume there is a threshold at which for many KS producers, it just seems like just too much effort to seriously consider international backers by going with Amazon distribution. I think Game Salute might be in this camp among many others. E.g. ‘if we ignore international backers and just go with adding $25 for international onto the $10 internal postage and more double or more the cost of the game I may not get quite as many backers but I save myself a whole lot of hassle by just prioritising the US (core) market’.

    While some may not even know of the Amazon method, I fear many are simply opting out of it for ROI reasons.

    How much of a factor do you think this is and what can change it?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 16, 2013 at 4:46 pm Reply

      Hi Kim,

      These are great questions. As for Richard’s thoughts on international backers giving you a false total (he was just repeating someone else’s point of view), I rarely think it’s a concern if you budget correctly. Although it’s impossible to know exactly how many international backers you’ll get, you can use percentages like the ones I mention on the blog here. For example, Viticulture had a breakdown of 70% US and 30% international. If you budget for that when creating your project goal, then it’s not a matter of international backers overininflating your funds raised, because those are exactly the funds you anticipated raising.

      As for Amazon fulfillment worldwide, I don’t know exactly why more projects aren’t doing it, but I know that I’ve seen about a dozen who are, so that’s a step in the right direction. I’ve heard the criticism that smaller projects can’t use Amazon fulfillment, but I don’t understand that. There’s no barrier to entry for Amazon fulfillment. Everything is based on percentages (like, for example, VAT in Europe, so if you only end up sending 20 games to Amazon.de, you’ll pay the same percentage as if you had sent over 2000 games. The only set cost is Amazon’s monthly fee for their professional services (which you need for fulfillment). But you don’t have to pay that fee every month. Just pay it for the month or so you need to actually fulfill Kickstarter orders (if you’re going to continue selling retail games through Amazon, you’ll have to continue paying the fee, but you’ll also continue to earn revenue).

      But I think what you gain is significantly better than what you lose. Let’s say, hypothetically, you don’t want to use Amazon fulfillment for Europe. Your game costs $40 on Kickstarter with $10 shipping built in, and based on the size and weight of your game, you determine that it will cost you $35 to ship a game to Germany via USPS. So that’s $65 to a German backer.

      Now consider another scenario: With the same game, you set up Amazon fulfillment. You calculate that with VAT and the Amazon monthly fee (even for a very small batch of games), it’s going to cost you a little more than the US games, so you charge $5 extra for shipping. $45 total to German backers.

      The price elasticity between $45 and $65 is HUGE. So while you might sell, say, 20 games if you charge $65, you might sell 50 or more games at $45. The profit per game is the same either way, so that’s 30 extra games you’re selling.

      Really the only major barrier to entry is finding an ally in Germany to serve as your VAT consignee. Perhaps that’s what’s holding people back.

      1. Loren Cunningham
        Mar 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm Reply

        Hope this is not a stupid question, so do you need a VAT consignee in Germany and the UK or can you get by with just one of these countries?

  • Kim
    Nov 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm Reply

    Hey in another KS comments area I also came across the following info about VAT thresholds, which I couldn’t find in a skim through this epic thread.

    From Bernard Kerckenaere (on KS):

    “Please try, when shipping these to Europe, to attach an invoice at $25 (leave off the shipping charge.) This is the magical amount which keeps it from getting tagged by customs, which would more than double (!) the total amount we’d end up paying. (We’d get charged 10 euro for the paperwork, and 5 euro for the taxes.)

    But it depends on the country.

    Basically the EU dictates an amount between 10 and 22 euro as the threshold.

    Belgium, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the UK I know to hold the 22 euro threshold. Romania and Denmark at least are at the 10 euro threshold. (I’m going to guess and say most countries will have either picked the minimum (10 euro) or the maximum (22 euro)…)

    This site is pretty invaluable when looking up this kind of information: http://www.dutycalculator.com

    Hope that is useful for smaller games considering EU fulfilment. Not sure I understand it clearly yet. I wonder is it acceptable practice to put the value of the game at its price excluding all shipping and postage as the invoiced $ amount?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm Reply

      Kim–As for Bernard’s comments on customs, unfortunately, it’s illegal to manipulate the value of the package. I understand the sentiment, but you can’t just name any price you want. However, two things: One, it is legal to list the commercial invoice for the game, which is the cost to manufacture one until. Two, if you use Amazon fulfillment to ship from within the EU, you avoid the hassle altogether, which backers tend to appreciate. :)

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  • Tom Razo
    Nov 18, 2013 at 12:14 am Reply

    Jamey said “Really the only major barrier to entry is finding an ally in Germany to serve as your VAT consignee. Perhaps that’s what’s holding people back.” in response to why more projects aren’t offering Amazon fulfillment worldwide.

    I would agree with your comment and wonder why no one has really openly stepped forward to offer these services when it is clearly of interest to a vocal group of international Kickstarter supporters on BGG and many other forum threads.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Nov 18, 2013 at 12:18 am Reply

      I completely agree, Tom–I wish someone would do that. I’ve discovered that you really need someone in the UK and someone in Germany, but an EU company could register in both of those countries to consolidate the service.

      1. Ed Kiernan
        Nov 18, 2013 at 9:52 am Reply

        Hello everybody. I’m UK VAT registered for my online store, and have backed many KS gaming projects. I am more than happy to to act as importer of record for any projects that are bulk shipping games to UK/EU.
        I am also looking at acting as a distributor for smaller KS projects from some time next year (I’ve got to get my website sorted first).

        1. Jascha Frei (Gigaloth Games)
          Nov 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm Reply

          Hello Ed,

          I would be interested in talking with you about being an importer of record for my KS project. How can we get in contact?

        2. Jamey Stegmaier
          Nov 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm Reply

          Ed–That’s awesome! Thanks for offering that service. After someone uses you for the first time for this service, can you send me their testimonial and I’ll add your contact information to the main text of this post? Thanks!

        3. Stephen Smith
          Dec 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm Reply

          Hello Ed,

          I would also like to talk with you about being an IOR for a Kickstarter project. Please drop me a line when you are able.

        4. Jason Kotzur-Yang (@kotzuryang)
          Jan 4, 2014 at 2:30 am Reply

          Hi Ed, me too! Email me at kotzur at kotzuryangcreative.com

        5. Loren Cunningham
          Mar 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm Reply

          Hello Ed! I would also love your contact information. I am launching a Kickstarter in May 2014. You can message me at wibaigames at gmail.com Thanks! Loren

  • Chris N
    Dec 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm Reply

    You said you use pandagm.com to make your games, but what other companies did you look at before deciding on them? What made you pick them was it just a matter of price?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Dec 30, 2013 at 12:44 am Reply

      Chris–It was more of a matter of reputation, and Panda has lived up to that reputation. If you’d like to look at other companies, you could consider QP International as well.

      1. Chris N
        Dec 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm Reply

        ha, QP is the site I just found moments before reading your post. Thanks for the info! Your blog has been an amazing resource!!!

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  • Matthew Austin
    Jan 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm Reply

    Jamey, your blog posts have been an incredible aid to us as we’ve been developing our own Kickstarter. Thank you so much for doing these!

    A couple of our backers, in Taiwan and Hong Kong, have been asking if they could be included in the China shipping rate. I’m in the process of researching this, but I was wondering if you had encountered this issue already while shipping for Euphoria, and if you did, what the result was.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jan 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm Reply

      Thanks Matthew! I’m actually going to write a retrospective on Euphoria shipping this Wednesday, so I’ll address that in the blog post. The short answer is that shipping is different for China vs. Taiwan/Hong Kong, and the rates should not be the same.

      1. Matthew Austin
        Jan 11, 2014 at 3:33 pm Reply

        Wow, thank you for the quick response, Jamey! I’ll stay tuned for your post on Wednesday. I saw some people playing Euphoria for the first time last night at Friday Night Dice in LA, and it looks just gorgeous!

        Here’s our Kickstarter link if you want to take a look: http://bit.ly/chaosmos

        1. Jamey Stegmaier
          Jan 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm Reply

          Matthew–I didn’t realize you were one of the Chaosmos guys. Very cool. I watched your play-through video the other day and though you did a great job. Good luck with the rest of your campaign!

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  • Alex
    Jan 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm Reply

    These links provide a lot of information about VAT payments relating to the importing of goods to the UK. Areas of interest include “distance selling” from other EU countries, “Goods supplied onward” to another EU country, reclaiming VAT as Input Tax, and lots of other things:

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/managing/international/imports/index.htm

    http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/managing/international/imports/importing.htm

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jan 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm Reply

      Thanks Alex!

  • Anomander
    Jan 24, 2014 at 12:32 am Reply

    Thank you so much for this amazingly informative article Jamey.

    Being based in Australia, we always seem to face the highest shipping fees on most games, which tends to deter you from backing many Kickstarter projects. Such a shame because I like feeling part of the process that supports development of new games.

    This post has given me a much greater appreciation of the costs and effort involved in producing and shipping those games and an improved understanding of why those costs are so high.

    Good luck with the business, I hope you keep producing great games and growing form strength to strength.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Jan 24, 2014 at 2:58 am Reply

      Thanks for your comment! I actually have found a shipping solution that I think will significantly lower the shipping costs to Australia. I’m going to test it out on our next game, and I’ll let you all know the results!

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  • Juraj Bilic
    Feb 6, 2014 at 11:00 am Reply

    First, Jamey thank you for being at the front of setting the trends when it comes to KS. All the effort and know-how you put out there is invaluable.

    My company is from Croatia (inside EU), and EU distribution will go through UK (Shipwire).
    From my thorough research I learned that it’s not only necessary to have a VAT number; when it comes to importing goods – you need a company in that country.

    I would really like if someone could refute my claims, but in the mean time I am actively searching for the importer of goods from UK. There are already a few offers in the comments section, how can I get in contact with them?

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  • Marcel
    Feb 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm Reply

    Jamey,

    Just wanted to say thank you for the wealth of information you have provided for those interested in launching their own campaigns on KS. This post in particular, will be of great value as we are currently looking into the feasibility of doing a Kickstarter for our game. While it looks daunting, it’s nice to see that you have left a nice trail that we can follow and explore further to see how we can make sure more backers worldwide have access to our product, thereby ensuring greater success.

    I’m looking forward to delving further into your posts on KS campaigns and look forward to your next project so I can back it. Thanks again!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Feb 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Thanks Marcel! I’m so glad this entry (and the follow-up) can provide a trail for you to follow as you find a good shipping solution for your future backers.

  • Loren Cunningham
    Mar 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm Reply

    Jamey – I have found a company that looks like a very good resource to do Kickstarter fulfillment based in the US called Ascendia. Have you or anyone else heard of a fulfillment company that would do Kickstarter fulfillment based in the EU that could help everyone with the importer of record issue? For a first timer, having a fulfillment company handle everything would be a big bonus. Thank you again so much for all of your support to everyone here!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Mar 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm Reply

      Loren: You have a few questions on this post; I’ll try to address them in this comment.

      Ascendia: I don’t know much about Ascendia. Other option are Shipwire, Ship Naked, and Game Salute. Do any other readers have experience with those companies?

      VAT: You’ll need a consignee (or register your business) in every European country where you use Amazon fulfillment. So if you use a combination of Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de, you’ll need to either register or find a consignee in both countries.

      EU Friendly Timing: If you don’t yet have a consignee, given that it’s relatively easy to register your business in the UK (see above comments), I think you could proceed as planned with fulfillment promised from within the EU. But you’ll want to first look into what that registration involves.

      Bottom Line/International Shipping: You asked, “Extra costs for international shipping over US shipping increase your total Kickstarter funding towards your funding goal (and the amount that Kickstarter/Amazon charges their fee to you on) but does not give you dollars that go to your bottom line. Do you have any advice for this issue?” If you level everything using the same shipping subsidy for all backers and then charge backers the appropriate amount for shipping on top of that, then I would argue that all pledges do correctly go to your bottom line. Your bottom line calculation involves accounting for shipping, even within areas where shipping is “free” (that’s the subsidy you have to account for). You just need to make sure to build shipping into your budget and select your project goal accordingly. You can use the stats I posted about Euphoria and Viticulture to get a rough idea of what percentage of backers will come from different areas.

  • Loren Cunningham
    Mar 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm Reply

    Jamey: Thank you so much for your very nice and detailed response. I have one final question and then I think I understand all of this pretty well. VAT taxes are charged specifically on what and paid when? Are they charged on the total invoice of games that show up to the UK warehouse? Is it the game invoice total + freight costs? Are the shipping costs to backers included in the total invoice for VAT tax? I think you said that VAT was included in the freight total? I have a quote from Dimerco that does not include VAT. Forest . . Trees . . . help . . Thank you!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Mar 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm Reply

      VAT taxes are charged specifically on what and paid when?

      –They’re charge on the value of the game as listed on the incoming shipment, which is typically the cost to manufacture and ship the product.

      Are they charged on the total invoice of games that show up to the UK warehouse?

      –Yep, plus shipping.

      Are the shipping costs to backers included in the total invoice for VAT tax?

      –No, the individual shipping costs to backers are completely separate.

      I think you said that VAT was included in the freight total?

      –I said that MY calculation for getting a game from the factory to port, ocean freight, VAT/customs, and freight trucking to Amazon is about $5-$6 per game.

  • Loren Cunningham
    Mar 20, 2014 at 12:39 am Reply

    Jamey: Thank you so much for clearing that up! I think I get it now! I am investigating working with Ship Naked who now has a UK Warehouse. I am interested in making my project EU friendly. Do you have any experience with Ship Naked? If I ship through their UK warehouse would my project be EU friendly?

  • Loren Cunningham
    Mar 20, 2014 at 2:11 am Reply

    So for the blunt (like me!) if you ship 100 games to the UK at $10 per game manufacturing cost (=$1,000) and freight shipping costs $500, your VAT Taxes due will be 100 x $10 = $1000 + $500 = $1500 x20% = $300 of VAT Taxes to account for?

    If I have not said it enough, your posts are worth their weight in gold and anyone running a Kickstarter without reading this is flying in dark. Thank you just doesn’t seem sufficient.

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Mar 20, 2014 at 8:56 am Reply

      Yep, that calculation is correct. I believe Michael Coe (Tiny Epic Kingdoms) uses Ship Naked, so you can check with him about that.

  • lukemanalive
    Apr 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm Reply

    Thanks for the detailed article Jamey, I look forward to reading the rest of your blog entries in the future. Do you see the possibility of being successful relying solely on American backers in order to avoid the complication of international shipping?
    Luke

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Apr 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm Reply

      Luke: I’ve found that when you put restrictions on backers, they don’t respond well. I think international backers would rather have the option to pay a lot to get a product than not be able to get it at all. People don’t like feeling excluded, you know?

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  • Bassam Jalgha
    Apr 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm Reply

    respect for the awesome article Jamey. super useful.
    Jamey we need to ship our Kickstarter orders and we are considering using 4PX in shenzhen, how was your experience with them so far?

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Apr 15, 2014 at 10:05 pm Reply

      Bassam: My experience was mostly very good. I go into detail about it on this post: http://stonemaiergames.com/lessons-learned-insights-mistakes-and-solutions-for-offering-worldwide-shipping-on-kickstarter/

  • alespais
    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:16 am Reply

    Hi Jamey, your report is excellent, and I have some doubts that you could help me:

    1) What is the maximum volume of a pallet?. If a pallet has average height, the price is fractionated or always full pallet is charged?

    2) In Kickstarter, if a community forum place an order for 15 copies in the “reward of $ 1″, where aggregate the total amount of 15 copies + shipping to UK. Kickstarter or Amazon UK recognize it among Backer to send copies using its Fulfillment by Amazon service?

    3) If the Kickstarter rewards are credited in amazon.US for being our campaign and registered company in Miami. Our question is whether, after fulfilling the requirements who ask, amazon.UK distribute the bounty made ​​in USA? or bounty on Kickstarter to appear initially made ​​in our Amazon.UK account?

    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Jamey Stegmaier
      Apr 19, 2014 at 12:49 am Reply

      alespais: Hi, thanks for your questions. I’ll do my best to answer them below:

      1. That is a really good question, but I must admit I don’t know the answer. I think there are a few different pallet sizes. I typically just ask Panda how many games can fit on a pallet (because each game is a different size) and how much it’ll weigh, and I send that info to Dimerco for the estimate.

      2. Kickstarter’s platform is completely different from Amazon’s seller services. Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments, but beyond that there’s no connection at all. You’ll get your backer info from Kickstarter, and then you’ll send that information to the fulfillment service you choose to use (one option being Amazon multi-channel fulfillment).

      3. Same as #2.

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