7 September 2014 | 30 Comments
UPDATE 10/29/14: It worked! Or maybe we had nothing to do with it. Regardless, Kickstarter updated their shipping options to make them WAY more customizable today!
About a month ago, a successful Kickstarter creator named Marjorie Skiba contacted me with a simple idea to make Kickstarter better. Both Marjorie and I agreed that Kickstarter is already an amazing platform, but there are a few small things that could be implemented on the site to make it exponentially better.
Today I’m going to talk about one of those things. My hope is that you will respond to the call to action at the bottom of the post if you agree with our suggestion for Kickstarter. Kickstarter has told Marjorie that if enough creators contact Kickstarter with this request, they will consider implementing the new feature.
The shortcoming Marjorie identified occurs when a creator selects the international shipping price for each reward level. You’ve seen it on plenty of projects: “Add $X to ship outside the US.” So there’s one option for ALL international backers, as if they’re all the same. If you’ve ever shipped a Kickstarted product, you know that shipping from the US to Canada is very different than shipping to the UK or the Czech Republic or Australia or Japan. They are most definitely not the same.
Of course, there’s a back door method that many of us use: We ask international backers to manually add shipping fees to their pledge. This is a decent solution, but it requires an additional step for international backers. Some will miss that step, and others may not pledge at all because of the confusion it causes. As a repeat creator, I can tell you that the question I get more often from any backer is: How can I add international shipping fees to my pledge?
Another method is to simply charge no shipping during the project, and wait until after the project to use a platform like BackerKit to do so. However, as we discovered in our poll last month, backers resoundingly don’t like that idea:
So what’s the answer?
At first it seemed like the solution was for Kickstarter to let backers choose different shipping fees for every country and for every reward level. Kickstarter knows backer addresses, so when a backer looks at a project page, they would automatically see the shipping price associated with their area.
The problem with that solution, however, is that part of the greatness of Kickstarter is that it’s not super difficult to set up a project page. Can you imagine how much more intimidating it would be if you had to set up different shipping amounts for 196 countries? Those amounts might even vary for each pledge level if rewards weigh different amounts.
Perhaps there’s a streamlined way Kickstarter could implement this in the future. But for now, Marjorie and I have a solution that we think is a good step in the right direction.
Instead of letting creators only have one international shipping tier, we’d like Kickstarter to expand their shipping option to include all areas where Kickstarter is available to creators. We feel like this solution is in line with Kickstarter’s slow and steady expansion–as they add more countries for creators, they could add more countries to the shipping list for backers. Based on that, the list of shipping options would be as follows [updated 9/15/2014]:
Keep in mind that this is just a baby step in the right direction. A lot of countries would still fall into that “other” category, and backers from those countries would still have to manually add the shipping fee to the pledge as they already do. But overall, the shipping levels would go from covering 58% of backers (US) to directly covering a total of 82% of backers. [Stats from my Treasure Chest campaign.]
If you agree that this is a step in the right direction (if you’re a creator or a backer–anyone who wants to make Kickstarter better), I encourage you to click this link to take you to Kickstarter’s contact form. You’ll first see something like this on your screen:
Click on “Starting a project,” and more text will appear on the screen below it:
Click “Building a project,” and more text will appear on the right:
Click “Rewards,” and you’ll finally see the place where you can click a button to send direct feedback:
After clicking the green button, copy and paste the following text into the form. You can edit and personalize it as you wish.
Subject: International Shipping Options
Details: Hi, I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter, and I would love to make it more international friendly. Kickstarter is currently available to creators in the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia/NZ, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden. It would be awesome if creators would be able to make shipping tiers for each of those areas (as well as a general “other” option), and the tiers could expand as Kickstarter continues to expand to new countries. I feel like this would better reflect the varied shipping costs to ship to different areas without overwhelming backers or creators with too many options. Thanks for your consideration!
Even if you don’t think this is the best solution for now, I think we have a better chance of getting Kickstarter to consider any change if we all request the same solution instead of a bunch of different solutions. Hopefully this would eventually evolve into something more regional–Asia, South America, Central EU, Western EU, etc. But for now, I think we have our best chance by showing that the solution is in line with the countries where Kickstarter is available to creators.
Thanks for your help!