Kickstarter Improvements: FAQ and Shopify Integration

27 March 2017 | 21 Comments

Kickstarter recently revealed two notable improvements to their platform, one small and one big. I’ll discuss them in detail below.

FAQ

If you’ve ever run or participated in a Kickstarter campaign, you know that the same questions tend to get asked over and over in the comments, even after they’ve been answered many times.

Part of this is an issue with the way the comments are organized as one long thread. But the other part is that the FAQ section of a Kickstarter page is located way down at the bottom of the page. Some people simply don’t know it’s there.

So it was with delight that I recently noticed Kickstarter has moved the FAQ to its own tab at the top of the page:

It’s such a small, elegant adjustment, but in my opinion it makes a huge difference. Look how close it is to the comments tab! Surely this will make it much easier for backers to check to see if their question has already been answered.

However, the one downside is that Kickstarter still doesn’t let creators create the FAQ before the project. So if a creator has content that doesn’t belong on the project page (but some people still want to know it), they have to wait until the project launches to create the FAQ. Why not let creators do this in advance?

Shopify Integration

I’ve used Shopify for a few years, and it’s fantastic. At its most basic level, Shopify is an e-commerce platform. It’s very easy to use, even for someone like me who’s not particularly tech-savvy.

Last week, Kickstarter announced that Shopify now integrates seamlessly with Kickstarter in a number of ways. Really, many of these things can be done using other methods, apps, or platforms, but it’s clear that Shopify carefully studied what crowdfunders need, and they consolidated everything into one place for that purpose. Here are the highlights:

  • Create a landing page pre-launch to share news about the upcoming project and let people sign up to be notified.
  • A/B test different landing pages simultaneously to determine the most effective marketing materials before you spend money on advertising.
  • When the campaign begins, you can send e-newsletters to anyone who signed up through your Shopify landing page (MailChimp integrates with Shopify).
  • Accept pre-orders after the project ends.
  • Use it as a pledge manager after the project to collect pledge data and accept add-on payments.
  • Fulfill rewards by shipping through any fulfillment company that integrates with Shopify (Fulfillrite is great).
  • After fulfillment, accept orders directly through Shopify.

The step-by-step instructions are very helpful, and the use of Shopify as a one-stop shop for all of these crowdfunding needs is great. However, there is a pretty big difference between using an existing platform like Shopify that is now integrating with Kickstarter versus other pledge managers that were built from the ground up specifically for Kickstarter.

You can also consider Indiegogo, on which your project page can automatically convert to an e-commerce page for accepting pre-orders after the project ends.

My biggest takeaway from the Shopify announcement is that there are lots of great tools at your disposal at a reasonable price (I pay $29/month). There’s a good chance at least some of those tools could be useful for you.

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What do you think about these changes and announcements?

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21 Comments on “Kickstarter Improvements: FAQ and Shopify Integration

  1. P.D.: That’s a good question. I’m not sure of the answer, but I would guess that after the 45-day free trial, Shopify will charge their standard fee, which is a small percentage plus $0.30.

    1. Either way it’s appealing to potentially have everything in one place (and with any pledge manager, idea seems to be to offset cost of their service with the add-on sales they facilitate).

      For my very particular requirements regarding KS and an online shop, it *appears* Shopify could singlehandedly replace my current plan to use Backerkit + Squarespace + Ship Station + Square (POS) — so this potential streamlining alone would offer a good deal of value to someone like myself, and am grateful for your post on this.

      1. OK, just to follow-up on this question about Shopify pledge-manager methods, I received this answer over at the Kickstarter Campus:

        “Rockwell Razors has actually used that method before and I can confirm as long as there are no additional charges (the order total is $0.00 after the mailed-out discount code), then there is no Shopify Payments fee (the $0.30 fee you mentioned). “

  2. Re: Shopify as pledge-manager

    Using the method suggested in “Launch: Getting Backer Data From Kickstarter to Shopify” in their step-by-step instructions:
    would Shopify be charging their per-order fees of $0.30 per each reward if using it as a “pledge manager” as they describe?

    Assuming no add-ons (so not including any added credit-card processing fees) if I have 2,500 Backers, would Shopify’s proposed method cost $750 to collect backer order information?

  3. Stephanie from Kickstarter here. Thanks so much for sharing the news about Shopify’s excellent work to make Kickstarter more accessible for their merchants (and vice versa).

    Also wanted to add that if you are a new Shopify customer you can take advantage of a special 45 day free trial for Kickstarter creators. Just follow this link: https://www.shopify.com/kickstarter

  4. Jamey,
    +1 applause for the appropriately prominent FAQ tab. You remark that “Surely this will make it much easier for backers to check to see if their question has already been answered.”

    The analytical cynic in me asks, “Will backers actually check?” The cynical analyst has the same question.

    I wonder if KS or anyone else is collecting data on this…

    1. Hey Andrew!

      Courtney from the product team here at Kickstarter. I wanted to follow up on some of your questions and give you some additional insights into future plans regarding FAQ’s. We are definitely tracking backer engagement with FAQ’s and we have seen this number significantly increase since pulling it up into it’s own tab. We are also currently designing ways to drive more backers to the FAQ and we are also building the functionality to add FAQ’s before the project launches. We have seen correlation between project success and adding FAQ’s so we want to make it as easy as possible for creators to add them and for backers to find them. I hope this answers your questions. We love reading any and all feedback from people using Kickstarter so thank you so much for participating in this conversation :)

      1. Courtney: Thanks for sharing this! I’m glad to hear that backers are having an easier time finding the FAQ now, and I appreciate you adding the functionality of letting creators populate the FAQ pre-launch.

  5. I wish the comment section was searchable and allow for blocking specific donors, and like the campaign owners text is highlighted I would like my name to highlight when I’m logged on and browsing the posts. Simple things that I think would help many users.
    The last thing would be some way to make the @”insertname” to actually do something.
    I’m not saying it should be changed to a Facebook feed sort of thing, but the way it is now on a busy campaign is tedious at best.

    The FAQ tab was nice in the last two items I pledge on and campaign managers can save a little of the repetition by staying current on it.

  6. Jamey,

    Great stuff! We’re in the throes of preparing for our next KS…this time, a deck-builder with a space theme and probably the best art I’ve ever seen…period. Anyway, these new enhancements will go a long way in making things run even smoother than last time. I do have to say that I’m still rather stunned that we, as project creators, cannot create an FAQ for our own projects…we often have a very good idea of the kinds of things we’re going to place in a FAQ long before we push the “Launch” button.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  7. As a UX Designer, I was always wondering why the FAQ wasn’t in the main campaign menu. Now I know some other UX Designer did their job ;D

  8. As a superbacker, I have to say that I really like BackerKit. I find it well organized and convenient, especially with as many projects that go through it, it’s great to see all those projects from a single page.

    Inxile has also put together a great portal for their games, especially with their linking rewards (although they’ve moved to fig.co, instead of kickstarter)

    I’d really like it if kickstarter would have a better pledge manager/add on structure, but for now, I’m happy with backerkit.

    I’ve had issues with shopify, especially with znaps kickstarter. They couldn’t process payments properly, and their page kept throwing up errors, and when the znaps creators disappeared, they kept processing orders, and refused to even try verifying that they were still a going concern for months.

  9. I used to read FAQ first, for some reason when checking projects. This update should make it easier, one would think. However when I open a KS Campaign page, I still automatically scroll down to the end of the page to see FAQ, then I realize and change the tab. Regardless, it’s a nice touch.

  10. Wow! This is huge, I’ve been so busy planning for my campaign that I totally missed this.

    I’m a huge fan of Shopify and was planning to use it for after sales in some form, but if it can handle pledgemanager tasks then this is going to have a major impact on my project. I’m going to go and study it now and see how it works – There’s still 16 hours until my campaign launches, loads of time! ;)

    The FAQ update is nice as well, really glad to see this as I already have a few questions I’ll be adding as soon as my campaign goes live. But I agree, why can’t I add them now…

    Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Frank: I’m sure you have a lot on your plate putting the finishing touches on The City of Kings, but fortunately I don’t think you need to worry about using Shopify as a pledge manager until after the project. If you end up using it in that way, please let me know–I’m curious to see if it works as they claim it does.

      1. I read through the documentation this morning and it certainly sounds interesting, I have a lot of unanswered questions though which will need exploring. Either way, I’ll be sure to look into it in a few weeks when things have eased up and let you know what I find out.

        I’ll keep you updated.

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