Insights from Fulfilling Scythe, Part 2

12 August 2016

Last week I wrote about the process and emotional toll of shipping Scythe. In this second and final post about that campaign, I’m going to discuss and rate each of the fulfillment companies we used to ship Scythe to backers within each region.

Before I get to the ratings, I’m going to share the e-mail I sent to each fulfillment center when I finalized the shipping spreadsheets. In case you’d like to use the same e-mail, I’ve italicized the words that need to be customized and bolded the instructions that several of our fulfillment centers didn’t follow. I’ve touched up the e-mail in a few places so it works as a template.

***

The Instructions

Hi! With Scythe approaching ports and hopefully moving smoothly through customs, I wanted to go ahead and send you the fulfillment spreadsheet so you can start ordering supplies and creating labels. Below are our instructions for you—please look over them today and let me know if you have any questions.

  1. Backers in your region are expecting to receive their games within the following range: June 26 to July 14. If this changes, please let me know in advance, as some backers may need to change their addresses.
  2. I’ve sent out multiple notices to backers asking them to update their addresses, but it’s possible I’ll still get a few more. I’ll collect them and will send you only the updated addresses—please contact me for updated addresses 1-2 days before you start shipping.
  3. Please prioritize slower orders (orders to distant regions or large freight orders). Other than that, there is no priority schemata.
  4. If you sort the spreadsheet, please make sure to sort entire rows, not just part of the data. Spot check the spreadsheet after a sort just to make sure everything is in the original alignment.
  5. Ship all packages so they do not require a signature for delivery.
  6. Please send customers their tracking numbers by e-mail as soon as their orders ship. Also, it’s crucial that backers see their FULL address on tracking notifications, not a partial address that will cause them to wonder if we forgot half of their information. If you need to identify the contents of each package for tracking, the label should read “Scythe rewards.” It would also be extremely helpful if your tracking notifications to backers included an e-mail address for someone at the fulfillment center to respond to urgent issues.
  7. I should receive a spreadsheet of tracking numbers and couriers within 2-3 days of an order shipping. Shipping everything will likely take longer than 2-3 days, so you may need to send me multiple spreadsheets. I can answer 90% of customer service questions if I have that data.
  8. If an order is sent in multiple packages, please make sure the customer knows that they’re receiving more than one package. That will prevent a lot of unnecessary customer service.
  9. Please pack Scythe with plenty of cushioning around the edges, corners, and between differently sized components. The cardboard boxes should be thick and sturdy. I would much rather spend extra money on packaging than replacing damaged games.
  10. There are 5 different versions of Scythe. They have different SKUs and slightly different names on the top of the box, but they’re still very similar. Please emphasize to your warehouse staff that the difference matters. It will be very costly if a customer receives, say, a Premium Edition instead of a Collector’s Edition—they want the box that says “Collector’s Edition,” so it will require both a return shipment and a reshipment to fix such a problem.

***

The Ratings

I’ve rated the following companies on a 10-point scale using a composite score for each of the categories. They’re listed in order between best to worst. Note that “price” is not a category. I’ve found that price matters much less to me than these other categories, and pretty much any fulfillment center on our list offers reasonable prices.

Funagain Games (United States)

  • 20160708_141522Quality (8): Funagain followed our instructions to put padding (packing peanuts) on all sides of the games. The only shortcoming was that the cardboard boxes weren’t as thick as they could have been.
  • Speed (10): Funagain shipped 9600 orders in 17 days, a rate of 565 orders a day.
  • Communication (10): Absolutely superb. Nick was in touch leading up to fulfillment, and David continued to communicate excellently after that.
  • Customer Service (10): I’m almost without words for this one, because David was so incredible in responding to hundreds of backers who wrote back to him. I saw the e-mails, but instead of me needing to go to David to act on them, he would just take care of it.
  • Problem Solving (10): There weren’t many problems to solve, but when they arose, Funagain was proactive, not just reactive. For example, I had a few customers reply to say that they were missing metal coin and realistic resource add-ons. I asked David to fix them. But David took it a step further and identified a pattern–there were actually about 20 backers with the exact same order who didn’t receive any add-ons by mistake. Because he figured that out, I was able to contact those backers in advance and let them know so they weren’t surprised when they opened their package (and we assured them that we were fixing the problem, which we soon did).
  • FINAL RATING: 9.6

IMG_0720Starlit Citadel (Canada)

  • Quality (10): I think Starlit had the best packaging of anyone, as I don’t remember any issues being reported (I’m sure there were some–no one’s perfect–but there were so few that it’s negligible).
  • Speed (7): Starlit shipped 1540 orders in 10 days, a rate of 154 orders a day. These stats are a little misleading because we discovered the macro issue in the middle of Starlit’s fulfillment, so they had to stop and fix the spreadsheet. Overall, even with a smaller team, they worked quite quickly.
  • Communication (10): Both Tao and Elise communicated with me at all key times, and that communication continues. They know the exact right mix of contacting me when I need to be contacted and just taking care of things when I’m not needed.
  • Customer Service (10): Starlit was available to answer questions from customers to the point that I was hardly ever needed.
  • Problem Solving (10): Midway through shipping, it became apparent that there might be a postal strike in Canada. Starlit identified the issue and sorted through all of the orders to figure out which ones they could ship in time to beat the strike and which orders just may not make it so we could contact those customers in advance. It was an incredible effort.
  • FINAL RATING: 9.4

Agility (China)

  • IMG_1455Quality (6): Agility’s packaging was subpar, yet it actually got the job done in many cases. Most games were wrapped in a single layer of bubble wrap and snuggly packed in the box.
  • Speed (1): Agility shipped 515 orders in 29 days, a rate of 18 orders a day. It was a real struggle to get them to start shipping Scythe (the “29 days” represents the time between when they received the games and when they shipped the last package), and I’m not sure what took so long.
  • Communication (8): Despite the language difference, Cici does a great job of communicating in English. She responds quickly to e-mails.
  • Customer Service (4): The big shortcoming with Agility is that they didn’t send out tracking numbers in a timely manner. I had to constantly push for them to send out the tracking numbers, and many customers received their tracking notifications after they received their order.
  • Problem Solving (9): Cici does a good job at contacting backers directly if there’s an issue with their addresses. She needed to do this with some Korean-language addresses, and she took care of it without me needing to do much (other than assure backers the e-mail from her was legit).
  • FINAL RATING: 5.6

Let’s Play Games/Good Games (Australia)

  • IMG_20160704_125156Quality (2): Let’s Play made a conscious choice to ignore my packing instructions. After damaged games started getting reported, Let’s play explained that they didn’t have issues before on other games, so they figured they didn’t need to follow my instructions for 5 kg, $170 game. Even after the issue was out in the open, they didn’t seem to improve.
  • Speed (2): Let’s Play shipped 810 orders in 25 days, a rate of 32 orders a day. Similar to Agility, Let’s Play took a long time to start shipping out games, despite having plenty of notice that they were inbound.
  • Communication (7): Let’s Play communicated well throughout the process, particularly Kim. No complaints here other than the previous note about them not communicating to me that they weren’t following specific instructions (even though I asked them in advance if there were any questions or concerns about my instructions).
  • Customer Service (7): It was solid. Kim replied to most requests promptly without me getting involved too often.
  • Problem Solving (5): It’s tough to rate this because most of the problems were ones created by Let’s Play (like how long it took them to start shipping and the poor packaging). I would say in general that they just weren’t proactive enough. Like, Kim told me that one of their box suppliers had a delay, and that was impacting Let’s Play. But those boxes could have been ordered weeks in advance using the fulfillment spreadsheet I sent, and when the delay arose, they could have ordered from someone else.
  • FINAL RATING: 4.6

Ideaspatcher (Europe)

This one requires a preface: I’ve shipped from Ideaspatcher several times before. I’ve lauded them on this blog. I had no reason to foresee the debacle that was going to happen over the last month.

But Ideaspatcher grew too quickly, and soon their warehouse wasn’t enough. So they started outsourcing to a much bigger warehouse with higher capacity. This warehouse has performed well for them in the past. I was aware that Ideaspatcher was using this warehouse, and I asked several times if they would offer the same quality that Ideaspatcher had offered in the past. I was assured they would.

Well, that’s not what happened. The ratings below reflect the service of Ideaspatcher’s outsourced warehouse. However, it’s important to remember that I hired Ideaspatcher to do a job, and regardless of which company they hired to do that job, they are accountable for that company.

  • bwv57KgQuality (1): A backer’s first impression of a game is the package they receive. When the package looks like the one on the right–as hundreds of packages did, maybe more–that’s not the impression you want to make. The sight inside the box isn’t much better, as almost all of the boxes were completely oversized with just a few air bags. It’s a stark contrast to Ideaspatcher’s past packing jobs, which were as good as Starlit’s and Funagain’s. Also, there were a large number of shipments where backers were missing items that were clearly on the packing slip.
  • Speed (1): Ideaspatcher shipped 5390 orders in 37 days, a rate of 146 orders a day. That may seem like a decent rate, but I was told at various times that they could ship between 600-1500 packages a day. Also, from the beginning, the games arrived…and just sat there for a while. They kept changing their dates throughout the process, often after the previous date had passed. Plus, I specifically asked them in the instructions to send slower orders first, but they waited until the last day to send out the big freight retail backer orders.
  • Communication (5): This was both good and bad. Whenever I had a question for Victor or Yanis, they usually answered it quickly. But I wish their proactive communication was better. Ideaspatcher’s major flaw–this is shared by their parent company, Morning Players–is that they usually only inform you of a problem they know about if you ask them if there’s a problem, and they only tell you they missed a deadline after the deadline has passed (or when it’s too late to address anything that could address the deadline).
  • IMG_20160729_113246Customer Service (4): Similar to Agility, Ideaspatcher struggled to send out tracking numbers in a timely manner. I heard from a number of backers who received their tracking numbers after they had already received the games (some customers never received tracking numbers). They didn’t always reply to customer requests, resulting in me repeatedly asking for them to give any information they had. To their credit, as they missed deadline after deadline, they did send me the e-mails of the backers who were delayed so I could contact them to know about the delay.
  • Problem Solving (2): This fulfillment seemed like an endless string of solving problems. I never felt like Ideaspatcher was acting in a way that would prevent or be proactive about issues. I just heard a lot of excuses (with the exception of a conversation I had with Tim and Yanis at Gen Con, where they basically said, “Yeah, it sucked–we’re just as shocked as you.” That moment of honesty meant a lot to me–that’s so much more powerful than excuses and half explanations). Like, when it became clear that the packaging was poor during the first week of shipping, they should have fixed it during the next 2 weeks. When it became clear that some packages weren’t going to be shipped as scheduled, they should have offered accurate dates. Instead, on multiple occasions, the warehouse waited until a due date to say, “There are issues with the addresses that we need to fix now, so there will be a delay.” One of those times I’m pretty sure the warehouse was outright lying just to buy more time. The one bright spot was that even though there were a number of packages missing items (they were mispacked or there were holes in the shipping box that the items fell out of), Victor was great at handling those issues.
  • FINAL RATING: 2.6

***

Conclusion

I have two overall conclusions from working with these companies:

  1. I will most definitely work with Starlit and Funagain in the future. I would buy them fancy dinners just to convince them to work with us again. The others, not so much. I’m not 100% against it, but for my next fulfillment, I’ll be testing out Aetherworks in Australia, VFI in China, and Spainbox in Europe.
  2. For all three of the low-rated companies above, I had successfully shipped through them in the past. I was fully confident that they would do the same with Scythe. I asked them many times if they could handle a fulfillment this size, and they assured me they could. But 3 out of these 5 vetted companies were worse than last time. If past performance isn’t an indicator of the future, what confidence can I have that any fulfillment company isn’t going to mess it up next time? This concern is a big part of the reason why I’m moving away from Kickstarters and pre-orders. You can do everything right with a project (or close to it), but if your fulfillment companies don’t finish the job well, you’re screwed.

Have you worked with any of these fulfillment companies? What were your impressions? Do you have any others you’d recommend?

107 Comments on “Insights from Fulfilling Scythe, Part 2

  1. I got an email from Ideaspatcher July 22, package left the country of origin (france i think) July 25. It is now August 13 And i haven’t received anything yet amd the tracking service foesnt have any new updates. I definitely would not choose them again!

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, Mohammed, though you’re always welcome to contact me about it! Based on what I’m seeing, they created the label, but it never actually left their warehouse (it’s not normal for a package not to move for 17 days). I’ll send you another as soon as the games arrive at Spainbox (I had them transferred away from Ideaspatcher this week).

  2. I think the thing that I will take most from this campaign us that throughout the whole thing, you were absolutely first rate. The updates and manner in which the campaign was run was excellent, and I think most backers seem to have felt the same. It’s a shame that the fulfilment agents let you down, but that clearly was beyond your control. I’ll certainly back a Stonemaier kickstarter again with confidence!

    1. Thanks Jonathon. I was just struggling to stay afloat and keep backers informed as best I could! Backers trusted me to pick good fulfillment centers, so I felt a lot of pressure (self-imposed).

    2. Agreed, ive mentioned this before but Jameys professionalism always astounds me. I will never have doubts backing hos projects. Hope that in the future shipments are smoother.

  3. Jamey,

    Thanks again for great information and for explaining with such detail. I would hope that the companies involved can fix their problems. I don’t see how they can continue to exist with service at that low of a level. It still amazes me how much damage can occur to a package from one location to another from carrier to carrier. A really good example of why packaging the product in an “armored box” for delivery is necessary. It reminds me of the American Tourister commercials.

    1971 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C-e96m4730
    1980 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=749iU2Zv1kw

    This is a great lesson and reminder for when it’s time to put things together for shipping in the future.

    Thanks again for the Super info!

  4. Been waiting for Ideaspatcher to pay the VAT on my import so customs will release it for 4 weeks. FOUR WEEKS. I’ve got them a 1.4 right now. I’ll never use them again, and plan on sharing similar stats with my backers. I’m looking into Spiral Galaxy and others in the future. Amazing how careless some companies can be. It’s a real shame for our backers who put faith in us, we do all we can (I even AIR freighted to get dice and games out faster) and then have to deal with import disasters like this. It’s humiliating.

    1. John: I’m sorry to hear that. I experienced a similar issue early on. Ideaspatcher basically said that if I couldn’t pay them for the VAT (something they’ve paid for in the past and I’ve reimbursed them later), the games would just sit there until they got the money. Even after that it took over a week for them to get the games.

      1. For new customers, I get it. But for returning customers like us, it’s just bad business. I’m so sorry you had to deal with this too. I don’t think they’ll be a company this time next year.

    2. I don’t know what they’re like from the publisher side, but Spiral Galaxy are awesome as the person on the receiving end. Best communication I’ve had from a fulfillment company and I’ve even arranged local pickups from them ^^.

      1. Thank you very much for your kind words Chris. We do miss emails sometimes, and currently a server change has caused us some problems sending dispatch emails, but we work hard to keep backers informed of what is going on with their order!

  5. It’s interesting that you’re thinking of moving away from Kickstarter! Do you think that you’ve outgrown it as a necessary part of the game-making/promotion process, or are you just finding it too stressful? (Or: other!)

    1. Peter: Well, it’s a combination of the two things I’ve talked about at the bottom of this blog entry and the other Scythe fulfillment entry, as well as a matter of time. I’d estimate that the planning, execution, logistics, and customer service relating solely to the Kickstarter and the fulfillment of Scythe have taken 4-5 months of my time in the last year. That’s a huge amount of time. And yes, I could delegate more…or I could just cut that out of the equation and focusing on (a) publishing great games, (b) serving the people who play those games, and (c) introducing those games to new people.

  6. Never use Good Game again in Australia my package arrived basically unprotected. Even though the game was undamaged. It could have been due to poor boxing up. But on another note thanks for the great game. Can’t wait to see what’s is store next either with the expansion or the next game.

  7. Hi Jamey,

    Thanks for sharing with us your conclusions. I agree with your Ideaspatcher review (very slow, box too big with few protection).

    I would like to know your feelings about game characters minis… because on my side I found them less detailed than other mini game. That’s the onl’y minor flaw I have noticed for your wonderful game.

    Best regards.
    Olivier

    1. Olivier: This was our first attempt at miniatures. We did our best! :) Like, we used the hardest plastic we had available to us at the time, and it’s better than most miniatures, but not at Cool Mini level. That level is needed to get really precise details, and we’re working on that. We also worked with sculptors who make great 3D models, but they’re used to working in the digital realm, which doesn’t always translate to plastic, where you need to exaggerate little details. So we’re learning from that and improving. I am pleased with the size of the miniatures, though. We could have made them smaller and saved money, but I wanted big, unique miniatures (but not so big they wouldn’t fit on the board).

  8. I’ve never shopped around with different shipment fulfilling centers before, so I’d love to know a bit more about the process. Are you given samples of their available packing methods, do they tailor the packing specifically for your product, or do they allow you to tell them how to ship your items?

    Also – a bit off topic – I received my “package” from Starlit in-person in Vancouver. A lot of people seemed to argue this was slowing them down, but if anything it seemed to free them up (and how does this factor in your calculation?). Would you consider trying to tell companies like this to not do this in the future, or would you leave it up to them as long as they get the job done?

    1. Kyle: I usually review the information on my Google Doc, ask them a bunch of questions, and ask for photos to show games that they’ve packed in the past. I also ask for testimonials from other companies.

      I haven’t heard from Starlit or Funagain that the random pickups slowed them down. I’m sure it interrupted the process a little bit for whoever is managing the data, but I don’t think it slows down the assembly line.

    2. I’ll answer that. It depends on when we are told / requested to get the order ready for local pickup. If it’s before we start shipping, it’s just a matter of finding the backer on the spreadsheet and moving him to a new sheet. Then we can just pull his order separately. Not a huge timesink, so long as the customer doesn’t want to chat too lon when they come by (it happens ;) ).

      If we are in the midst of shipping and get the message to pull it out, it’s like any other exception. If its a busy day and we have a few hundred packages sitting packed and ready for shipping, we have to physically find the package then.

  9. Since most of the comments here have been (rightly) negative, I’ll just chime in and say that I am very happy with my game shipped by Starlit Citadel. The packing was good, I got my tracking number right away and it arrived on time. Absolutely nothing to complain about.

    I feel like even after we found out about the spreadsheet issue (which didn’t affect me), it didn’t take very long and I still got my game a couple of days before the first potential strike date by Canada Post.

  10. I remember when I received Between Two Cities shipped via Ideaspatcher. It arrived nicely protected and I received shipping information (and tracking link) some 6 days before it arrived. I had no complaints at all.

    I think I got lucky with Scythe as I don’t recall the box being stupidly oversized (a little maybe), but it did have plenty of airbag packaging. The tracking number arrived about 6 hours after the box though (which given it was collected 3 days earlier is poor). I’ll add on that given I work for a distribution company, the state of some of the packages terrified me. There is no excuse at all for the state of them. Frankly it would have been better for them to be honest and say they were struggling. if they’d been upfront with the issue, you could have forewarned backers and if need by they could have taken a little longer, but done the job properly (which would probably have saved time in the end with having to fix issues post shipping).

    1. Paul: I’m glad you can attest to the difference between the two shipments. It really was like night and day between this and past fulfillments.

      Ideaspatcher was very aware of the state of the boxes (as were backers), but they seemed helpless to change it even though there were days when they had someone on site at the warehouse. It was very odd.

  11. Aetherworks have a good reputation at the moment and a number of KS have been delivered through them instead of Good Games without hassle and generally well packaged. Not sure how I’d rate them on speed though.

  12. An Australian backer here.

    If it helps, my package came with a lot of packing peanuts and there were no issues in that regard. Sure, the games came a few days later than originally predicted but that in the grand scheme of things wasn’t a bother at all.

  13. Jamey, thanks for posting this – I found it a fascinating and insightful read. As a small businessman in an entirely un-related industry, I’ve always sworn by the somewhat controversial maxim: “under promise and over-deliver”. It’s rarely cost me business and has certainly earned me goodwill, and I think it’s a business truth that translates reasonably well on Kickstarter (although having said that, I’m well aware that you’re not as satisfied as you might have expected from the feedback you received from some backers despite delivering early).

    I was a European backer and the dismal packaging from Ideaspatcher pictured above reflects the one that was delivered to my doorstep. But, thankfully – somehow – the Art Connoisseur Edition inside was in perfect condition, so no complaints from me. I was also one of the second-last batches to be dispatched, but I received an email from you to this fact and it was of no concern to me at that point. As a customer I’m happy as long as I receive communication. Good communication can prevent untold future customer service issues and ill-will, but to do that one is still reliant on information from the fulfilment house to be able to communicate anything. That worked fine in this instance for me as a customer personally. Another positive is that I did receive my tracking number from Ideaspatcher before delivery.

    I just love the photo of the Funagain crew. I saw that on another blog or post recently and immediately thought that this was the kind of company I would do business with. Clearly proud of their assignment which bodes well for how they would go about their business. It also helps humanise the whole process, which can build goodwill on all sides. I’m not surprised their’s was the most successful fulfilment.

    While I’m here, can I just say thanks for the great game. My family – me, my wife, my 10 year old daughter and my 8 year old son – have had a blast playing Scythe so far. We played it seven times in our first week of owning it, which is a record around here. It’s accessible enough that my youngest loves playing it and getting his mechs onto the board, yet it’s deep enough that I can’t wait to introduce it to my games group and start a long-term campaign. Looking forward to the expansion already. :-)

    1. Thanks for your detailed comment, Paul. I’m glad your copy of Scythe arrived unscathed and that you got a tracking number. :) And I’m happy your family has connected over it!

      Funagain was great. I’m still in awe that they shipped so many games in such a short amount of time. I bought them lunch during the final week to show my appreciation.

  14. As someone who had no issues and appreciated the early arrival, I want to apologize for not saying Thank You. My gaming group and I have both greatly enjoyed Scythe and the opportunity to play it early.

    Thank you for your hard work, and if I am ever in St. Louis, I will get you a beer.

  15. Hey Jamey. I’m one of the silent majority that was very happy with the early fulfillment. I appreciate your hard work and the hard work of all involved. I can’t begin to imagine the stress this large fulfillment created. Thank you!

  16. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    I’m a retailer and have to deal with distributors that have similiar issues with quality control but on a much lower level. Imagining you having to deal with hundreds or even thousands of angry or disappointed backers makes my head spin..
    No wonder your joyful disposition goes south, so kudos to you for writing about it.
    In my daily work i often found that happy customers go hand in hand with me being happy about what i do. So making sure that you’re happy with the workprocess is even more important as it reflects in various ways to every customer.

    I’m sure you learned a lot from it & find a better suiting solution for the future.

    all the best,
    Heiko

    1. Heiko: I’m glad (and sorry!) you can relate to this. Fortunately I think most customers were happy to get Scythe early and that it was as I advertised it to be (aesthetically, at least). There were some damaged games, and we replaced many of them. I like what you said about happy customers going hand in hand with your happiness. I feel the same way. :)

  17. As you noted, Funagain was top notch on the inside packing and my game arrived in perfect condition. Was extremely happy with them. Sorry you had trouble with some of the others.

    Thanks for all the effort you went to to get everything delivered and straightened out as needed! Sorry it was so stressful.

  18. I don’t know if you used them before but The Combat Company is Australia have fulfilled Kickstarters before and (from my experience as a recipient) been excellent, very fast indeed.

  19. …Not to mention that the comically oversized box Ideaspatcher sent was also wafer thin – I think the kilt I purchased for my wedding was in twice as thick a box as Scythe. 5.5kg games should not be in boxes half the thickness of boxes that articles of clothing are shipped in.

    It’s interesting that this is the first time I’ve had problems with Ideaspatcher as a backer of any project (aside from them seemingly defaulting to awful couriers for the UK – Two with fairly bad reputations here in the UK for the past two SM projects I’ve backed), when… Most projects I’ve backed have been fulfilled by Ideaspatcher.

    I think it’s a testament to how well you run your games, particularly on a project management side, that even with what sounds like the fulfillment from hell most of us have received our games either a month early or in the first week or so of the estimated delivery time.

    I do hope you’re able to conceive of ways of keeping the community aspect of your KS projects going with stuff not done via KS, since you’ve been gradually moving away from the platform over the past 18 months or so (and from the sounds of it, you intend to continue to do so)

  20. After waiting so long for my game, my heart sank when I saw the state of the packaging it arrived in. The packing box was huge and had clearly been crushed. My worst fears were realised when I opened up the box to find almost no protective packaging and a large hole punched through the game box.
    Despite knowing of Stonemaier’s excellent customer service reputatition, previous engagements with other game companies prepared me for a long and probably fruitless effort to resolve the issue. I sent my email and waited… Within minutes Jamey responded, apologised for the issue and asked me to determine the extent of the damage (which was thankfully limited to the box lid only). Over the course of a few hours and several emails, Jamey was able to assure me that a new lid would be sent and sure enough, within a week, it arrived.

    Absolutely first class service from you, Jamey. I look forward to you coming to the UK games expo one year so I can thank you personally and maybe buy you a drink!

  21. Jamey, having had some experience with global fulfillment, I can only imagine how stressful all this was for you even as you delivered Scythe early.

    This is both an apology that we didn’t live up to expectations, some clarifications about how and why, and what we will be doing in future to improve our service.

    I’m not going to beat around the bush, the process of fulfilling large volumes of a very big and heavy game in multiple different SKUs with many add ons was challenging. This was our biggest Kickstarter fulfillment job yet. Mistakes were made and lessons learned.

    The process of fulfillment isn’t as simple as boxes in, boxes out. There is a sequence of dependent things required to complete the whole process:
    1. Taking in the Scythe stock at the warehouse and sorting a container load of loose cartons of multiple games SKUs (5 versions of the game) into paletized order,
    2. Storing them in a warehouse until they are ready for fulfillment,
    3. Sorting and converting backer data across multiple countries, SKUs and add on combos into a sequence that would work with the country and pick and pack orders required, eg we had to process New Zealand orders first, then arrange the pick and packs across SKU batches so we could get the largest number of items out the door both correctly and fast.
    4. Arrangement of the shipping boxes and void fill
    5. The pick and pack
    6. Backer data import into the e-parcel system
    7. Label generation, printing and correct application to over 800 packages
    8. Pickup and loading into Australia Post vehicles
    9. Ongoing support for damaged and yet to arrive boxes

    So the issues:

    We had some key staff turnover prior to this project. I joined the team to help where I could.

    It seems we were previously able to handle fulfillment data import manually due to the limited sizes of Australian fulfillment jobs. Due to the huge size of this job we began using CSV import rather than manual entry into Australia Post’s e-parcel system, which, while the best available in Australia, is certainly not without its challenges. Challenges we have now overcome. We needed to convert a large number of Kickstarter sourced backer records to its import ready CSV file format process and arrange 800+ packages into and order we could do efficiently in a busy warehouse, with as few errors as possible while handling New Zealand shipments first.

    Despite our best efforts there were a few teething problems with this that slowed us down a few days.

    Your macro issue that resulted in incorrect backer data for all fulfillment services occurred just prior to our slightly late pick and pack and label generation. We helped solve that core issue within hours of hearing about it. That timing saved us having to redo many labels or deal with additional packages that might otherwise have been sent to old addresses.

    Once we were prepared to start the pick and pack, I believe we completed sends of over 800 packages within an 8 day window, with around 600 of the easier single game Australian items going out within a 1 or 2 day window. Some backers who ordered a more complex mix of items had to wait a few more days even though they had received the same “your package is coming soon” notification triggered by our initial label printing. That caused a little stress all round but I believe 80%+ of Australian backers received their items within the delivery window you promised, with some being a few days over.

    But we didn’t follow packaging instructions clearly enough and have learned a lesson from that. A small number of expensive games were damaged enough (mainly by being dropped onto their corners somewhere in transport or delivery) to require replacement as a result. If I recall under 10 from over 800 ie around 1%. More serious and minor damage would have been avoided with better packaging and we are taking steps to significantly improve our packaging standards ahead of time so delivery date pressures don’t compromise packaging quality.

    Lets Play Games is taking a series of steps to improve its fulfillment services ongoing.

    Data import processes have been smoothed out. Backers won’t receive shipping notices until their packages have been added to the daily manifest now – so delivery windows will more closely follow these notifications.

    More concentrated pick and pack completion – It’s more efficient all round for us to complete all the pick and packing of games in a short burst. That’s not always easy in a busy warehouse but we will plan ahead more, bring in additional casual staff to handle big jobs like this and concentrate this work to wrap it up sooner.

    Packaging – we will have some thicker double-ply cardboard shipping boxes made in standard boardgame sizes. We will use additional internal cardboard corner protectors to separate the game box surfaces from the shipping box to further reduce the chance of damaged corners and edges. We will custom print these as required too. These is the most robust and efficient way of packing we know of. But of course the risk of damage cannot be completely eliminated because post services do drop boxes onto their corners, sometimes apparently with great force.

    One suggestion around packaging. We also make boardgames in China and fulfill globally. We now intend to have our manufacturer make custom shipping boxes with internal corner protectors for global Kickstarter fulfillment. Pick and packing will generally occur at the point of manufacture. I’ve also discussed this approach with your manufacturer Panda GM, and while they cannot do this currently they sound very keen to find a way to do this for their customers in the future. I’m optimistic this will allow cheaper, faster and more consistent quality fulfillment for Kickstarter backers in many countries once it becomes more commonplace.

    Hope that helps. I’m just about to launch a new Kickstarter so wont be able to respond much in the next week I guess.

  22. I also experienced the lack of communication from Ideaspatcher on a concurrent delivery of Millennium Blades. Besides the delay, my main problem with the fulfillment was that the package was delivered with FedEx. In my country, Denmark, FedEx is, by far, the worst distribution company. Their communication is worse than Ideaspatchers, they are slow and they require you to stay home from work from 8 am to 6 pm and then they might not even show up. My experience was not too bad but the impression I have from fellow Scythe backers and their general rating would lead to avoid this company in the future.
    I´m keeping my fingers crossed that Spainbox do note use FedEx in Denmark.
    Finally, thank you for a great game! I look forward to playing it again tomorrow :)

    1. Fed Ex is no better in the UK [Mislabelling parts of the shipping process to give the impression they’re going to deliver it the day they’re transporting it from their sorting office to the local dispatch center, not delivering it the day they actually were meant to, not logging it back into the warehouse giving the impression they’ve lost it, etc]

      Though the fulfillment company Ideaspatcher used for Three New Treasure Chests (Yodel) is… At least as bad. And notorious for being so. Yes, thankyou for letting me know it’s going to be delivered today an hour after you deliver it. Good job I was delayed on my way out of the house, otherwise I wouldn’t have been in when it came. And that’s fairly good service by Yodel’s standards.

      …This is the first time I’ve had packing issues from them, but dear lord they cannot pick a courier…

      1. It was my choice to pick FedEx, as we had the best experience with them in the past as compared to other couriers. However, it seems like FedEx is somehow perceived differently in different countries, even within Europe. I wish there was one courier in Europe who is good for all countries there.

        1. Jamey,

          We used Parcelforce in the UK, who tend to Partner with GLS in Europe. For European orders, the vast majority are delivered by DHL. While no service is perfect I have had no complaints about these two, and would recommend them as an alternative.

          1. Well, we use DPD as a courier (and fulfilled several CMON KS in Europe) and I think the rate of complaints was very low. I would need to dig into that since our sister company does the fulfilment so I don’t have the info handy, but I could get it. If that is of interest, contact me via my email address provided here.
            But what I can say is that I had some good comments on Spiral Galaxy myself from gamers and KS creators alike, so if you must choose a competitor of ours, at least use a good one like Spiral Galaxy ;-)
            Cheers
            Frank.

  23. Jamey, I ordered from Funagain the day they started selling them to the public (the shameful shameful public who didn’t back it on Kickstarter) and received my copy much quicker than I anticipated in wonderful condition. I was super impressed with how speedy the delivery was for this especially considering the volume. Thank you for an epic game and using a stellar company!

  24. Jamey,

    I just wanted to give a few brief words of praise to you and your team for your commitment and involvement with your projects on your customer’s behalf. Your level of communication and transparency should be held up as a standard to try to achieve by others.

    My copy arrived well taken care of by Funagain and I was both thrilled and amazed that your team managed to get such a large project completed not just on time but early! I don’t think anyone is giving you quite the appreciation that is deserved for such a task even with having to address the many issues you described here.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is please don’t get discouraged by the minority that will never be satisfied no matter how fast or how professionally you manage to fulfill their expectations and know that there are many of us that not only support the wonderful work that you’ve done but also appreciate the logistics and work that go into the process.

    Your integrity and personal investment constantly shine through and as a backer of many other Kickstarter projects that don’t show anywhere near the concern for their customers or their own reputations, I have full faith in your product and your standards. That’s a rarity for me to be able to say about any company. You have earned and will continue to have my support.

    Please keep producing kick ass quality games and don’t sweat those that can never be satisfied no matter the effort.

    1. Aarin: Thanks for your comment, and I appreciate the support. My sense is in line with yours–most backers were very happy to get what they pledged to receive (and more) before the original estimated delivery date. I think the tough thing with Scythe is that the vocal minority–who weren’t necessarily complaining, but rather showed a disappointing side of human nature in the way they expressed their excitement for the game while they waited–was a lot of people (my estimation is that somewhere between 500 and 1000 people were vocal about their impatience in some way, even though we were delivering the game early). Emotionally, I can handle a few such comments, but the wave just kept coming and coming for a solid month. It’s slowed to a trickle now with a few anomalies (packing mistakes and distant deliveries), so it’s much more manageable.

      1. My apologies if I contributed towards that due to the issues I was having with Fed Ex. I had absolutely no problem with receiving the game at the start of the month you said you’d be delivering it (and I doubt I’d have had an issue actually receiving it late considering how well you keep us informed of what’s going on)

  25. Hi Jamey,

    I’m rather concerned at the thought of you moving on from Kickstarter.

    I’ve really enjoyed going through the process that makes for one of your projects (I do have all of your original release games plus several of the treasure chests).

    There’s something rather special in experiencing the entirety of a Kickstarter process; including perusing the opportunities of backer levels, anticipating the growth of the support amount, the discernment of new reviews, the interchange of our and your comments, the sense of community, the achievement of stretch goals, the informative updates of progress, the wonder of your personal standards and commitments, our delight with your sharing of the process, the length of time to experience all this happening…

    I can appreciate your reasoning for minimising the frustrations and angst of project management while maximising your creativity; I’d just like to not miss out on all the good stuff from a backer’s perspective.

    Ultimately though we backers do appreciate the value of all that you give us (which encourages our reengagement), not just our enjoyment of the end product.

    Ian.

    1. Ian: Thanks for the food for thought. I appreciate the sentiment, and I’d like to offer an alternative: I think we can do almost all of those things (in fact, I’d say that we’re already doing all of those things) without Kickstarter:

      perusing the opportunities of backer levels: If and when we’re able to offer multiple versions of a product, they’re detailed on our website

      anticipating the growth of the support amount: In the recent pre-order campaign for the Token Trilogy, we included a funding tracking bar on our website

      the discernment of new reviews: We have review pages for each of our games on the website, and we also share them on Twitter and on Facebook

      the interchange of our and your comments: I’m very active with the communities formed around our games via Facebook groups, BoardGameGeek, and this website

      the sense of community: Community is incredibly important to me, and I seek to foster it on all forms of social media.

      the achievement of stretch goals: This is probably the one that just isn’t going to work with the new format we’re working towards. However, if our e-newsletter subscribers help us to figure out how many games we should make in the first print run, with a large enough print run, the games should be able to include all of the stretch goals that normally would have been set aside for a minimum print run.

      the informative updates of progress: I do this through targeted mailing lists for each of our projects, as well as including status updates on each of our monthly e-newsletters.

      the wonder of your personal standards and commitments: I try to give our customers an inside look into the process of making our games–I think this is where those standards are apparent.

      our delight with your sharing of the process: I love hearing that delight is part of the occasion. :) Similar to above, I think you’ll find opportunities to feel this delight as I unfurl information about new products on social media and our e-newsletter.

      the length of time to experience all this happening: This is the one other thing that I’m trying to figure out. It seems that some people have come to associate a long and steady stream of information as “hype.” I’ve heard that word all too often in reference to Scythe, and it stings a bit every time that someone would reduce the labor of love from 2 years of my life to “hype” (often without even playing it). More and more that has made me want to keep things a bit more close-knit until the game is very close to release.

      Thanks for your comment! This has been great food for thought. In many ways it’s affirmed my decision to move away from the negatives and downsides of doing a pre-order and just focus on doing the things as described here, as this is where I find (and can provide) the most joy.

  26. Really interesting read. I only didn’t back scythe as 5 people in my gaming group had, but every other thing I have preorded or kick started has been v good.

    I have worked in the print industry before for a number of years so I know the pain of finding and managing suppliers. As bad as it sounds you often have to have someone there in person to baby sit them to make sure they follow your orders and not what they think it should be.

    All on all the 5 people I know (In UK) got their games, and only 1/had scufffed corners

  27. Interesting article. Shipping is a very delicate process indeed, and when this many actors with this many games are involved, i guess it is inevitable that something bad will happen at some point.

    I fully understand Jamey’s sentiment to move away from Kickstarter (and therefore all these problems); a company doing a really bad job can disrupt a perfectly good campaign, some people will simply not understand that these things happen and would be mad at him no matter the amount of communication he puts in.

    But, moving away from Kickstarter, i guess, also means getting closer to the “Tuscany Essential” way of doing things. And that brings other problems, specifically in terms of coverage.

    I mean, i’m from Italy, and i preordered Tuscany Essential because i always wanted Viticulture “complete” and i could never get hold of Tuscany (sadly). But i had no retailer in Italy offering the preorder.
    I checked all the preorder websites in Europe and the only one (emphasis on the *only*) offering half decent shipping prices (10€, ~11$) to me was Philibert (France).

    I mean, i got Scythe Collectors Edition on Kickstarter for
    108$ (~96€) with shipping, which now goes for 150$ (~134€) without shipping.
    Meanwhile i got Tuscany Essential for
    ~38$ (34€) with shipping, while it has an MSRP of 30$ (~27€) without shipping.

    So, obviously the Kickstarter solution gave way more leg room to Jamey, so he could give us great value for our money.
    With the “widely available shop preorder solution” not only shipping is often kinda bad for those that sadly do not live in a country where a retailer picked up on Jamey’s offer, but we have also prices much more closer to the actual MSRP.

    That being said, the greatness of the products that Jamey puts out will be worth the extra money and all, I’m sure. But wanted to share my experience here.

    1. Danilo: Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree, the whole model breaks down if retailers don’t carry our games. 99% of the time, the answer to that is if a consumer tells a retailer they want to buy a game from them, the retailer will obtain the game. But on rare occasions, a retailer simply refuses to carry a specific product–in that case there’s not much we can do, and I’m sorry about that.

  28. Thank you very much for your insights! I’m preparing the list of companies which I am going to use when my time will come.

    If a company managed to deliver game like Scythe without any serious mistakes, I can assume they should be OK in the future (if they don’t grow, and they change)

    I will hardly trust companies which failed to deliver your game to the high standards.

    Good luck Jamey!

  29. Hey Jamey,

    When you have experiences like these that are just so disappointing and disheartening, how do you find the emotional energy to go and be creative again? On a larger scale, I know you’ve said you want to move away from reward fulfillment work specifically for that reason, but on a micro level, how do you find the emotional stamina to throw yourself back into it when you’ve been so worn out and burned?

    Alex

    1. Alex: That’s a great question. I’ve kind of experienced the opposite of that. Because so much of my time over the last 30-40 days has been spent on Scythe fulfillment instead of being creative (as a game designer), I’m really itching to get back into it. It’s been a draining time emotionally, and part of that drain is because I’ve had so little time to work on game design. So I’m really eager to get back into it soon. Charterstone has been waiting. :)

      1. So does that mean we get to thank Ideaspatcher when Charterstone come in earlier than expected ? :)

        I can’t say I noticed the packing issue in the UK…but it’s possible I was just pleased I was able to rip the box apart to get in in newgamefrenzy! In any case, no damage done to my CE.

      2. I feel the same way right now with my fulfillment been reading your posts all night trying to figure this out. 18 pound product .

  30. I consider myself lucky to have gotten my package from Ideaspatcher in good condition. The box was too big and a few of the air bags had popped but the game did not suffer apart from a slight bent of some of the miniatures because of the foam. Nothing tragic though :)

    Thank you for a very well run KS, the best I backed.

  31. I kind of feel like Starlit deserves better than a 7 for speed. I mean, they’re a small company, and had the spreadsheet debacle to contend with, as you noted. The 10 days is quite good in my opinion. But that’s just my 2 cents :)

    Confession: I’m Canadian and so I’m very biased ;)

  32. I’m not sure you’ll read this, but I hope you’ll take some time and not make the decision to skip kickstarter for charterstone. The fullfillment for Scythe has been a nightmare for you, but wasn’t this partially due to how man sku’s and add-ons you did for this, and at the scale you sold it at. I for one, and I know I wouldn’t be alone will greatly miss the opportunity to interact with you and other backers on KS. I don’t think you can replicate that else where, and your time would be spent with dealing with vendors/distributors rather than backers, which maybe more efficient initially, but there is something to be said with how crowd funding works, positives and negatives. I hope you’d like the emotions subside after things, and limit SKU’s to 1-2 for charterstone, and give backers a chance to fund another game of yours. I understand where you are coming from though. Maybe you can do a project with 1-2 SKU’s base game and collectors edition. I know you didn’t care for AWS, but it seemed to possibly limit the number of issues you had with fulfillment, build a high damage % into your funds, and let it go.

    I just believe there would be a hidden cost you’re not accounting for, and your making this decision to not use crowdfunding based upon emotion to some degree. You’re projects will be greatly missed.

    1. I read all comments. :)

      I agree that having lots of SKUs complicated things a little bit, but that’s a very small factor in comparison to some of the bigger issues addressed above.

      If you see my comment to Ian above, I explain how I think I can replicate the intimacy of a Kickstarter project elsewhere.

      Also, check out part 1 of my fulfillment entry about Scythe to see how backer responses to fulfillment made me not want to encourage that side of human nature again.

      Last, a Kickstarter project takes an immense amount of time. I understand and appreciate that you enjoy it, but planning, executing, finalizing, maintaining, coordinating logistics, and fulfilling Scythe took about 4-5 solid months of my time. I adore my backers, and I’m glad for the experience, but if I can replicate close to that same experience with a significant decrease in time, that’s better for me and better for everyone (I can spend that time designing and developing games). So I understand where you’re coming from, but I hope you understand the immense amount of work involved.

      1. surly, I understand the amount of effort, I guess you need to conclude if that’s worth it or not. Obviously mitigating the issues you had with this one, would be wise. I’d just love to see a deluxe version of Charterstone.

  33. So have the orders actually moved in Europe, from Ideaspatcher to Spainbox? I haven’t gotten a single email after that shopify one.

  34. UK customer with no issues on getting my game – no damage, etc. Wouldn’t have been aware of the issues without reading about them here. Tracking number turned up after the game was delivered, but it didn’t matter as I didn’t need to be in to sign for it anyway.

    I agree it’ll be a shame if you move away from Kickstarter / direct fulfillment. I completely understand why you would, but honestly then you’re just another game in the crowd. Part of the excitement about a KS game is that you’re already invested in it (money-back guarantee not withstanding) – it’s paid for in advance so it’s always exciting when it arrives as it’s like a little gift in the mail from past-you! And all the project updates are exciting as you know for sure you’re getting the thing at the end of it.

    I could pre-order from a retailer to get something similar. But I won’t. Pre-ordering is daft. I use Kickstarter loads as I want to support the actual thing getting made. But outside of that, I have no interest in paying someone in advance for something they’ll send me on release day. I can wait and see the reviews, see who has the best price and order on release day instead. There’s very little customer benefit to a “pre-order”.

    I appreciate the desire to move away from direct fulfillment, but if I’m honest, to me, it’s just another game on the shelves at that point. Sure, it’s a Jamey Stegmaier design, which makes it exciting in the same way a new Uwe Rosenberg game is to me. I will definitely check it out, watch some reviews and consider buying it. But I won’t definitely buy it.

    With Scythe, I backed it on Kickstarter, I’m really happy with it, I like it a fair bit. I’m not sure I’d have bought it in a shop. It’s not my usual sort of thing, and it’s quite expensive. It would have probably ended up on the big list “games to maybe buy at some point”. But the cheaper price (both actually and in the resources/coins/board) and the fun of experiencing the entire campaign sold me on the Kickstarter.

    I don’t know if I’m representative of other people at all, but I certainly could be. Certainly something to think about for the next thing.

    (And I think weirdly, it matters more for the big games – I’m more likely to put £70 down as an ‘investment’ on Kickstarter for a premium product, than I am to spend that money in a shop to get a game right away, as counter-intuitive as that sounds).

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Dean. I certainly agree that there’s something magical about being a part of a project as a backer (compared to pre-ordering a game or ordering an existing game). The challenge as I see it is: Is there a way to capture that magic without using Kickstarter?

      1. Without using Kickstarter, I think so. Without fulfilling orders yourself, I’m less sure? Maybe that’s what saps the magic – that regardless of anything else, at the end you’re just buying another game from a shop you buy your games from.

        There’s still a secondary challenge too, of capturing an audience who are used to engaging with the process via Kickstarter in a different medium.

        To give another example, there’s a UK comic called Richard Herring who successfully funded a new comedy series via Kickstarter. I backed it, happy it’s getting made, but there’s not been a project update since it funded in April. Now Richard blogs every day (hasn’t missed a day in seven years or something crazy) and is very active on Twitter, so I’m sure there’s plenty of information about those projects out there. But I don’t see it because they’re not channels I regularly engage with. I’m not overly bothered by this particular one, but maybe it demonstrates how easy it is to lose that engagement.

  35. I did not have any complaints. My game arrived safe and sound, the box was a little oversized bu tit was packed well. Okay, I am not the average backer waiting daily for my game, I am content that it comes when it comes, but I can’t say anything negative about the fulfiment to Germany. I also got the tracking number timely before the game arrived. All good.
    Cheers
    Frank.

  36. I really hope you don’t leave Kickstarter entirely. I guess I’m like Dean, I pledge for a lot of things on Kickstarter because that has become where I buy most of my gaming now. Sure I still buy a few things at retail, but I almost never pre-order from retail. And there is a lot more scrutiny and lot less of my budget reserved for it. If your next project is on Kickstarter, it’s a no-brainer — you get my money. You’ve earned it with an amazing track record. I’ve pledged for every one of your games. But, if you put a project elsewhere, it just won’t be an automatic buy for me.
    I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I have a dedicated monthly Kickstarter “budget” to play with. And I like star-ing projects on KS for the month and figuring out which ones I’m going to back and how I will divide up my pledge-money. This is entirely different than buying something at retail, which I only do once in a while as something really grabs my attention. There is so little friction involved once you are setup as a backer on KS, you just star some projects, read about them pick the ones you like. It takes almost no effort to click that pledge button and then pick one of your saved credit cards. And then you get to sit back and and read updates as they come in.

    1. Jeff: Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I understand that we might lose some customers by going a more traditional route, but in the end, our hope is that the people who want our games will buy our games.

  37. First, I don’t post often online, but wanted you to know that whenever I get into a conversation about crowdfunding (which happens more than you think), I point to Scythe as a exemplary campaign. It was my first ever crowdfunded reward that I received, not just on time, BUT EARLY! Just wanted to overtly say, “Thank you!”

    Second, I know a huge part of crowdfunding is online, but couldn’t a hybrid be online and Local Game Shops? I liked what you did with Moor Visitors. Maybe when starting a new campaign free of traditionally crowdfunding platforms, if you had event outlines and exclusive items, that stores could utilize to plan events around to create local awareness and excitement it would entice more local game shops. I know you only had a few local shops for Moor Visitors, but maybe that could expand with a comprehensive plan to provide support to the shops. In other words, add to your online campaign by expanding to brick and mortars. I actually like the idea of you moving away from Kickstarter, etc. to something new (and maybe innovative). Just a late night thought.

      1. Wow! I didn’t realize the retailer list had grown so much! Congrats! Honestly, I own Tuscany, so I didn’t follow this campaign as closely. I followed the Moor Visitors campaign and thought is was so exciting.

        I just think there is a great opportunity here for you to do something really interesting that is outside of “normal” crowdfunding avenues. I’m really excited to see how you move forward. You have a great base and reputation to help your own idea of a platform/crowdfunding situation. Once again, just super excited to see it. *Fan Boy Ramble Over*

  38. Hi Jamey! It looks like with Spainbox your company has to be registered in Europe or you need a VAT representative. Do you already have that set up? If you’re using a VAT representative, do you mind sharing who that is?

    1. I don’t have that set up, though I think it worked out for me because the games I transferred there were already in the EU. It was Ideaspatcher who facilitated the games’ import into the EU in the first place.

  39. I assume that most backers for most kickstarter campaigns are from UK and Germany. Shipping is fairly cheap within those countries. However, shipping from Germany to UK and vice versa is not that cheap. Thus, I am tempted to simply have one fulfillment partner in the UK and one in Germany.

    Does this approach make sense? Why haven’t you (Jamie) done it this way? Thank you!

    1. I’ve tried it that way, and it works fine. It’ll cost you more in freight to divide up the shipment (and it can be a logistical hassle), but if you run the numbers, it’s possible it could save you a little bit. Many backers are in those countries, but I would say an equal number of backers are found in all other European countries too.

      1. …Depending on how Brexit goes down, it may be a necessity to offer shipping from a continental EU country and from the UK in order to offer both UK and EU friendly shipping in a few years time…

    2. Hi Juma. I run a company where our main product weighs just over 1.5kg, so it’s pretty chunky. We fulfill throughout Europe from the UK. We can get a package to Germany within the week for about $13, and the price is the same for a single unit or multiple. Pricing to France is similar and countries like Spain and Italy are more expensive but still under $20. Within the UK shipping is about $6 per package.

      By the time we fulfilled our Kickstarter orders, we shipped around 4,000 packages initially.

      I’m wondering what the demand is to help Kickstarter projects fulfill their initial orders. We could take care of VAT and EORI so you’d simply ship us a container and we’d get orders shipped straight out across Europe.

      We could probably also lower sea and air freight charges as we have incredible agents so we could arrange collection from wherever the products are being manufactured, as a turnkey solution.

      Interested to understand if there would be significant demand and if this isn’t being adequately met. It would be pretty straightforward for us to offer the service.

  40. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m stunned. I accidentally stumbled upon this page, and it shows that you continue your excellent customer service record into the realm of the general hobby, helping fellow publishers, and helping fulfillment centers with valuable feedback. Thank you very much for this detailed article!

  41. Thank you for putting this post together. It is very informative regarding what happens behind the scenes. I think this helps not only consumers but other companies with their kickstarter planning. Thanks!

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