Lessons Learned: Insights, Mistakes, and Solutions for Offering Worldwide Shipping on Kickstarter

15 January 2014

It’s been a wild ride over the last few months while shipping Euphoria to 4,765 Kickstarter backers worldwide. If you haven’t read anything else I’ve written about worldwide order fulfillment, I would recommend that you first read this entry.

Shipping Euphoria has been an amazing learning experience for me, and I want to share what I’ve learned with other Kickstarter creators. This will probably be a long post, but hopefully you find it helpful at the right time for your project.

Philosophy

I believe it’s a Kickstarter creator’s responsibility to find the best, most affordable way to ship their product to their backers. Period.

Ever since I posted the blog entry titled How to Provide “Free” Shipping Worldwide on Kickstarter: A Comprehensive Guide, I’ve heard grumbling from other project creators about backers who send that link to them and ask why they can’t offer better shipping rates.

I get it, I really do–if my backers didn’t like what I was doing, and they kept sending me link from some random dude’s blog to me, I might get a little annoyed too. The thing is, though, I like when my backers push me to be a better project creator, and I bet you do too. Change can be a little annoying, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

There are two points that those other project creators have said to me a number of times, so I want to address them here:

  1. “Shipping isn’t free, so why did you say it’s free?” Here’s the deal: Shipping is never free, not for any project–that’s why it’s in quotes in the title of my blog entry about shipping. Shipping is often included on Kickstarter. Look at my reward description on the Euphoria project page: “US, Canada, and European Union only (free shipping & customs included).” You may not believe it, but I condone charging backers for shipping. You shouldn’t subsidize shipping for certain regions and not others. Instead, level the playing field by using a variety of solutions so that backers spend as little as possible on shipping.
  2. “You can use Amazon fulfillment because you sold thousands of games, but most Kickstarter creators only sell a few hundred games. Your shipping solution is thus impossible for most projects.” Au contraire, my friends. Amazon fulfillment centers accept case-packed items, not just big pallets of games. So as long as you follow their very specific guidelines for packages, even if you only sell a handful of products to backers in Canada and in the EU, you can consolidate those products in a shipment to Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk and have them send out the products at a fraction of the cost. Note that this is more of a backup than anything else–hopefully you’ll be able to sell at least 100 products to backers in Europe. If you base your shipping prices on the Amazon fulfillment method from day one on your Kickstarter campaign, you have a much greater chance at attracting those 100 backers. Plus, you’ll be shipping from within the EU, which in itself is a great service to EU backers (and Canadian backers for Amazon.ca shipments).

My point is, the solutions are out there. I know it’s a little daunting. But these are the responsibilities that come with being a Kickstarter creator–from the minute you decide to launch a campaign until, well, forever, you are a business owner.

Last, let me be clear that my solution is not the only solution. There are lots of different ways to fulfill orders. Find the one that’s the best for your product and your backers and implement it.

Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment Tips

I discussed why we use Amazon multi-channel fulfillment in my previous post, so I won’t go into that here. But I did want to add a few tips I’ve learned from shipping Euphoria:

  • Make lots of extra Kickstarter games. I made about 150 extra Kickstarter copies of Euphoria to account for missing and damaged games. Guess how many I have left of those extras? 17 (no, they’re not for sale) [UPDATE 1/19: about 45 deluxe and supreme copies mysteriously showed up at Amazon. I’m not quite sure where they came from, but I’m glad we have a little more buffer room now!] The last thing you want is to not be able to fulfill your Kickstarter rewards because you didn’t make enough games. Also, Amazon is not good at telling you when a package is returned to their fulfillment center. So you might think you’ve fulfilled all backer rewards, and a month later you get an e-mail from a backer saying that they never received their product. You track it, and sure enough, it was returned to Amazon. So you better still have a Kickstarter version to send them.
  • Have replacement boxes. Amazon actually does a really good job of packaging products…for the most part. Out of the 5,300 games we shipped via Amazon fulfillment, I think I heard from about 20 backers that their games were damaged in transit. So what do you do? We didn’t have replacement boxes, so we asked backers not to ask for replacements if there was just a little ding or dent. But some boxes are completely mangled. So in the future, Panda will send us replacement game boxes packed to the brim with replacement parts (credit to Chris Matthew at Panda for thinking of that).
  • The fewer versions of the game, the better. I’ve written about this before, but I want to reiterate it from the shipping perspective because fulfillment centers can mess up and send backers the wrong version of the game even if they have different bar codes. If you have 2 versions of the game, it’s rarely a big deal–maybe someone gets slightly more than what they paid for, or they get slightly less and you send them replacement parts. But what if you have 5 versions of the game? Or 10? Every little mistake creates a ripple effect on your time and your funds. Reduce the probability for error by having as few version of the product as possible.
  • It’s a bit tricky to use Amazon’s bulk upload spreadsheet for orders containing multiple SKUs. If you upload a spreadsheet with two identical rows (i.e., the same address, name, order number, etc) except for different SKUs on each row, they will consolidate the two rows into one order. I’ve confirmed through a combined Tuscany/Treasure Chest shipment that this works.
  • Dated order IDs are really helpful. This is a neat little trick I learned when assigning order IDs. Put the date in the order. That way when the product is shipped, you can see from the notification e-mail you get from Amazon how long they took to ship the product after you entered it. Also, when a backer asks you when you shipped their reward, you can tell right from the order ID. The order IDs are by far the best way to locate rewards you’ve shipped through Amazon, so make sure you have a good system for them. The format I use for a shipment sent on December 17, 2013 is: 1217130000 (the second order I ship that day is 1217130001 and so on).
  • How to isolate and fix shipping errors. When you upload a bulk order to Amazon, there is a good chance that Amazon will report a few errors to you. You’ll download this ugly text file that doesn’t make any sense. Here’s the trick to figuring out what that file means: Select all, copy, and and paste it onto a spreadsheet. Suddenly it’ll make perfect sense. All you have to do then is fix and manually re-upload each of the orders that had errors (you don’t need to cancel them or re-enter any of the others).
  • Shoplocket. It’s more profitable for me when a backer orders a game from my website via ShopLocket than from my Amazon store (due to Amazon’s fees). I continue to really like what ShopLocket is doing, and I look forward to having them incorporate an Amazon API so that orders through ShopLocket will automatically place a multi-channel fulfillment order on Amazon (right now I have to manually enter them). Unlike other payment processing systems, ShopLocket specifically focuses on post-crowdfunding sales, so their platform is catered to Kickstarter creators. If you contact Rajen at ShopLocket (rajen@shoplocket.com) and ask for the Stonemaier discount, he’ll give you a nice discount. (Stonemaier doesn’t get any kickbacks from this–it’s just something we asked ShopLocket to offer so that we could save money for fellow project creators.)

Amazon.co.uk

I didn’t write much about Amazon.co.uk in my previous shipping entry because I hadn’t used them. Now I have, so I can vouch for them.

I’ll say this: I don’t speak German, so using Amazon.de has been difficult. Google Chrome translates the site automatically, which is great, but I’m always a little worried that I’ll press the wrong button and tell Amazon.de to destroy all of my games. However, you should still use Amazon.de for games headed to Germany, because it’s really cheap to ship within Germany.

However, for all other products–Kickstarter or retail–you should send them to Amazon.co.uk. They’ve done a great job, although the did send a few supreme games to deluxe backers and vice versa (not many, but enough to make me wonder if they had a faulty bar code reader). However, they swiftly reimbursed me for any of those mistakes.

Important note: Make sure to mark your games as 14+ and include the CE symbol on them.

Here’s why you should use Amazon.co.uk instead of Amazon.de for all non-German EU shipments:

  1. English. You speak English, they invented English…it’s just easier this way.
  2. Speed. If your product is shipping directly from China, it’ll get there faster than Amazon.de (about 7 days faster).
  3. Retail Sales. If you intend to leave some of your product at Amazon for people in the EU to buy, Amazon.co.uk is better. I actually just learned that today from a helpful customer named Upkar who informed me that if he buys a product valued at $41 or more from them, they ship for free to most countries in the EU. Apparently Amazon.de doesn’t do that for non-German customers. [Update: Amazon.co.uk is starting to charge for some of these orders.]
  4. Competence. If you use the shipping company I used, Dimerco–and you should, because they’re an absolute joy to work with (contact Justin at Justin_Bergeron@dimerco.com and tell him I sent you)–for your products to get to Amazon.de, they have to go through a company called ITG in Germany that almost killed my soul in December. I’ve never experienced that level of incompetence. Dimerco was awesome throughout the entire process, but they were at the whim of ITG, and they will continue to be (they said it was an anomaly and that ITG is usually fine, but I can’t risk it. My backers come first, not ITG).
  5. Ireland: For some reason, copies of Euphoria shipped from Amazon.de to Ireland took nearly a month to arrive. That’s ridiculous. I shipped a package to Ireland from Amazon.co.uk the other day, and it took 4 days to arrive. Much better.
  6. Registration. As I discuss on the original shipping entry, registering a company in Germany is really tough, so instead you have to find an importer of record to sign for your games and pay for the taxes before you reimburse them. I’m very fortunate that a backer stepped up after the Viticulture campaign to serve in this role. In fact, another backer has stepped up to serve in this role in the UK too, which is awesome. But, there might be a better way for most other creators, at least for the UK: Register your company in the UK. It’s fast, cost-effective, and you can do it. Full credit to Phil at 5th Street Games for figuring this out, and I’ll let him explain how you can do it below:

1. Register for a VAT number

After following the link above, click on the ‘Register for VAT’ link in the right-hand column. Just follow the prompts and you’ll be registered in about 5 – 10 minutes.

2. Register with Amazon.co.uk

Once VAT number registration clears, you can register with Amazon.co.uk. You can then send shipments to them and utilize their Fulfilled By Amazon service for the UK and much of the EU. You need a US passport to fully activate the account.

 Thanks Phil!

4PX

UPDATE OCTOBER 2014: 4px has not followed my instructions for properly packaging the small shipment of Viticulture I had them handle recently, so for now I cannot recommend using this company. Agility is much better. If you have any suggestions, please contact Jamey at stonemaiergames@gmail.com. Read more about this here.

For the longest time I looked for a company that would ship games directly from China to Asia and Australia. Why ship the games all the way from China to St. Louis, only to ship them back to Hong Kong or Taiwan? It didn’t make sense.

Then I found 4PX (English site here).

4PX is a shipping and fulfillment company in Shenzhen, China. You know what else is in Shenzhen, China? Panda Game Manufacturing. Guess who picks up packages for free from manufacturers in Shenzhen? You guessed it: 4PX.

Before I outline the costs, I want to tell you the catch: 4PX did not meet all of my expectations. It was a pleasure to work with Cindy on Euphoria (update: It’s a big company with a lot of turnover, so Cindy is no longer there, and I’ve gone through two people since then, neither of whom speak English well. There are e-mail addresses on their websites you can try to get in touch with someone who can work with you) to ship games to backers in Asia and Australia, but 4px warehouse did not follow my instructions to put padding around the games. Instead they just put them in a box (originally they were going to uses a thin plastic bag! Good thing we caught that) and dropped them in the mail. Fortunately very few games were damaged, but it could have been disastrous.

Let’s talk about costs. I created a chart to compare costs of shipping from 4PX to places where you’re likely to get backers but cannot use Amazon fulfillment centers to the cost of freight + shipping from your home in the US using USPS. I also assumed that you would use USPS packaging for all orders except when you ship the 7-game bulk package, for which I added $2 for the packing materials.

Also, if you use a fulfillment company in China, it means that you’ll be delivering to some backers over a month before US, Canadian, and EU backers get their products. That also means that those backers in Asia will get their games well before you do. Which is fine, but if they’re missing a piece in their game, you can’t replace it for quite a while. So have your manufacturer send you some replacement parts so you don’t have to tell those backers to wait a month (more on that below).

Scheduling and Timing

The Kickstarter for Euphoria ended on June 12. Panda told us that we needed to have the final files to them by June 22 if we were going to deliver games to backers by Christmas (that’s about a 6-month allocation for production, freight shipping, and individual shipping).

Overall, we came pretty darn close to meeting that goal. There was an issue with a mislabeled pallet showing up at Amazon.co.uk, which delayed the delivery of 110 games for a month. The US games got stuck at customs for a week, the Irish games took longer than they should have to arrive, and a few backers in South America still need to get their games from customs. But we got really close.

However, we really, really shouldn’t have tried to ship during the holidays. Terrible idea. Here’s why:

  • The volume of incoming and outgoing shipments is exponentially higher in December than the rest of the year. This shouldn’t affect freight–your packages are fine on the ocean. But once they hit port, it’s crowded. Once they hit customs, it’s backlogged. Once they try to schedule a delivery to Amazon for fulfillment, they’re delayed. And once they ship to backers, they’re just one of a million other packages being shipped from Amazon every day.
  • A lot of people travel over the holidays. That means they won’t be at their normal address to receive their package. It increases the chances the package will be stolen or not be delivered at all. Backers can update their addresses for the holidays, but then you’re constrained to a very tight window to get the game to the correct address. I suspect this might be an issue for EU backers in August as well, as that’s when many Europeans travel.
  • People are counting on the games as gifts. If you say you’re going to deliver by Christmas and you’re one day late, you just missed Christmas. That’s not just for gifts, but also for retailers who back your product and expect to have it by Christmas for their customers. So if you want to deliver by Christmas, you should really aim for late November delivery so there’s no chance you’ll miss that deadline.
  • You want your games in retail stores before Christmas. If you’re running a business, that’s just a fact. Thus you need to deliver games to backers well before Christmas so you can enter your games into distribution channels in mid-November–that way they’ll hit stores in early December and you can. Being a successful Kickstarter creator means having a retail plan, and Christmas should be part of it.
  • End-of-year best-of lists. This is unique to games, but it’s worth mentioning. Euphoria is a 2013 game, but it didn’t reach most reviewers until 2014. Thus they’re all just now reviewing it (it’s January 15 in case you’re reading this in the future). So it’s too late for best-of-2013 lists, but Euphoria isn’t eligible for best-of-2014 lists. So it’s kind of in this dead zone for reviews, which isn’t good, because many, many gamers look to reviewers for their purchasing decisions.

Conclusion: Don’t ship in December. Ship in October, or November at the latest. You can promise December shipping, but that’s really a buffer month just in case things go wrong.

Starlit Citadel: A Solution for Canadian Shipments

One other solution that I recently learned about for Canadian shipments is Starlit Citadel. You might know that name from their series of fantastic game overviews and reviews (Euphoria’s is here), but they’re primarily a retailer in Vancouver. They’re expanding their services to include Kickstarter fulfillment. Although I haven’t used their service, I thought it would be worth sharing with you if you’re interested in a more personal level of service than you’ll get from Amazon.ca. Here’s what Kaja from Starlit Citadel has to say:

If a pallet of goods is shipped to us in Vancouver, BC, we will break it down into individual orders and ship them directly to Kickstarter backers. As all of the stock would be shipping out almost immediately, there’s not storage cost. We would charge the following rates to ship 1 simple order per backer (1-2 individual games, or a pre-made bundle containing multiple items), totaling 2kg or less, anywhere in Canada:

  • Receiving cost: $20.00/hour, including unpacking all of your games, and inspecting them for damages. We can receive roughly $1000 worth of goods in 1 hour.
  • Handling cost: $3.00/order, including collecting items, packing them with appropriate padding, creating a shipping label, and sending tracking details to the recipient.
  • Shipping cost: $13.00/order if packed in a 13″x10″x4″ box (fits standard-sized Euro games like Pandemic, Puerto Rico), or $14.00/order if packed in a 12″x12″x4″ box (fits standard Fantasy Flight Games, and larger Euros like Dungeon Petz, Euphoria). This covers Canada Post Expedited Parcel service, which ships to Ontario/Quebec in 4-5 business days, and across the country in about 1 week. Shipping is fully insured, and we would be responsible for missing parcels, damaged goods, etc.

Other services that we can provide for an additional charge include handling cross-border shipping and brokerage for the initial shipment (we have the option of using a shipping address in Blaine, WA and bringing stock across ourselves), processing more complex orders (multiple tiers of custom backer rewards, etc), and handling backer support within Canada by sending out replacement parts for defective copies. The above is a basic estimate for our most simple service, and we’re happy to discuss every designer’s specific needs with them and providing a customized quote.

Thanks Kaja! If you’re interested in this service, you can contact Kaja at ksadowski@starlitcitadel.com. If you do use this service, I would recommend shipping your Canadian games directly from China to Vancouver (if applicable). You don’t want to pay customs twice by shipping the games to the US and then trucking them up to Canada.

UPDATE: James Mathe of Minion Games wrote a retrospective about the shipping process for several of his projects here. It’s definitely worth a read.

Also read: 5 Shipping Partners in the EU for Kickstarter Reward Fulfillment

142 Comments on “Lessons Learned: Insights, Mistakes, and Solutions for Offering Worldwide Shipping on Kickstarter

  1. I like People Not Pawns as the main title, but I like Kickstart your dream through the power of generosity as the subtitle.

    Great post! I’ll admit that I do feel guilty now for not being willing to do the work to offer cheaper international shipping for my next project. But I’m planning for a much smaller campaign, so here’s hoping it’s okay.

    1. Michael–For really small card games, you have a lot more options than a heavy game, even when sending internationally. So please don’t feel guilty. :)

  2. I know what you’re trying to get at with the wording of these titles, but the tone just doesn’t seem quite right. I’d prefer something like “Connecting with Your Backers: The Winning Strategy to Kickstart Your Dream”. That seems more genuinely your message rather than “Make it About Them,” which has a false flavor to it even though I know that’s not where you’re coming from. When you connect with someone, it brings the two of you together and is about both of you. The role of both sides is important for the experience.

    1. David: Thanks for your thoughts on the title. I like the word “connect” or “connecting.” I also like the word “engage” in that same way, although it might be misassociated with wedding engagement.

  3. For Canadian fulfillment, I know that IndieBoards & Cards used Snakes & Lattes, out of Toronto. I don’t know if that’s any better, but I figure I would mention it.

  4. Another great entry Jamey… thank you for all the advice :)

    Yea, it truly is an annoying period to be releasing on. It must be like make a super awesome movie 1 month before the Oscars, too late to be taken into consideration in any category, and too early for next year.

    As for the title: I’m super allergic to titles with words like “winning, power, perfect, mind blowing and so on”, it just comes across a bit TV shop’ish…. but it might also just be me, don’t worry ;)

    I like “People, not pawns”
    Maybe with an ending like “a complete strategy to crowdfunding”, or “a strategy for kickstarting your dream”, “how to kickstart your dream”, “from idea to Kickstarter”…

    Best regards Emil

    1. Emil: Thanks for your thoughts on the title! I feel weird about the word “winning” too–I was mostly looking for a game-related word. I like your subtitle suggestions!

  5. Wow.

    I feel like I owe you money for this post. I’m used to thoughtful and useful articles from you, but this raised the bar considerably.

    Unfortunately, it was a little too late for my current Kickstarter campaign but should help tremendously with the next.

    Your book can’t come soon enough. Thanks for always sharing your process and insight.

  6. I’m curious, did you use Dimerco for all your freight shipping from China? I just fired off an email to Justin and let him know you referred me — thanks for the lead!

    This post, your previous one about international shipping, and the Euphoria Stats post are together wildly useful. With your tips, I’ve gathered fulfillment cost info from Amazon.com (which are going up in February), Amazon.ca, and Amazon.uk to build into the financial model for my KS. The 4PX numbers cover the rest of the world. Amazingly, I now have a detailed cost model for fulfilling rewards to various backer locations.

    Then I used your numbers from the stats post to make educated guesses about how my EU backers might break down geographically, allowing me to project my overall fulfillment costs.

    That’s all a hell of a lot of value to me, and I thank you sir!

    1. David: Yep, Dimerco handles all freight for us from port to China all the way to Amazon’s front door in the US, Canada, and the EU. They’re fantastic.

      I’m so glad the various posts have helped you create a model to predict numbers and costs for your backers. Please just make sure you use the weight of your game to make sure those numbers are accurate–our games are all right around 2 kg, so the numbers and optimal strategies might be very different for a much lighter/much heavier game.

  7. Fantastic to have an update on this Jamey. Looks like it’ll be a lot more economical to ship down here to us in Australia with 4PX, but I’m pretty surprised that none of the local distributors have stepped up to take care of this. I’m planning a Kickstarter myself and am lucky enough to work at an importer, so will have a lot less hassle receiving shipments and getting through customs than most folks. I was wondering do you think yourself / other board game creators would be looking for a distribution partner in Australia? It wouldn’t be massively cheaper (for your sizes, $5 for 1kg, $10 for 2kg), but I know that international shipping prices always turn me right off.

    1. Jason: You bring up a great point, and I’m working on a solution for that with Good Games in Australia. However, I haven’t actually used it yet, and I try to only write about methods I’ve used and can vouch for. I’ll definitely write about it in the future if it works out! It still won’t be quite as cheap as you mentioned, though.

  8. Clever titles, but do you think it might be better to use the word “kickstarter” in the title. That might give you a bit more traction from an SEO perspective (and possibly search results in general on book sites).

    1. Tony: We’re contemplating that, but we’re wary of copyright concerns. That’s why we’re trying variations on “Kickstarter” instead of the official name.

    2. Jeff: Thanks for posting publicly so others can benefit from the answer.

      So you’re looking at the bottom of this page on the standard non-media tab: http://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/pricing.htm?ld=AS Multi-channel fulfillment is on the right column.

      The two things you have correct are:

      Order Handling – $4.75 (as far as I can tell by shipping individual packages, there are only slight variations depending on distance. I would add $0.50 to be safe)
      Pick and Pack – $0.75

      The three things you’re missing (one of which isn’t even on that page are):

      Weight Handling – $0.45 per pound (not total)
      Storage fee – $0.45 or $0.60, depending on the time of year. I’ve found this really hard to calculate. If you ship the majority of the units the first month, you’ll only be charged this fee one time)
      Transfer fee – $0.50 Sometimes Amazon will transfer some of your products to another facility. I’ve only seen it happen a few times and only with a few games, but you don’t have control over it, and you have to pay the fee. They claim to do this to optimize delivery costs and time.

  9. Jamey, I was going to send you an email but I thought I would post here so everyone could benefit from your answers.

    I am currently trying to set up a multi-channel, worldwide fulfillment structure for Stones of Fate. I need to estimate the costs and so have gone over everything on the fulfillment by Amazon site. I saw their prices as

    Order Handling – $4.75 (Standard, non-media)
    Weight Handling – $0.45 (1-15 lb)
    Pick and Pack – $0.75

    Are these the only prices to account for? Or is there another additional fee for distance that I am not finding. This is only for Amazon US (I have not gotten to the others yet) and I am wondering if this is a flat fee to anywhere in the US. I can’t seem to find anywhere where it mentions a shipping fee for distance.

    Can you help clear this up?

    Thanks

      1. David: It won’t affect multi-channel fulfillment, which is what I discuss above. See on that link: “Fees for order handling, Zero-Fee Fulfillment, Long-Term Storage, and Multi-Channel Fulfillment are not affected by this change.”

  10. Hey Jamey… thanks for another great post. It seems like in every post I learn something new. Here is my suggestion for a title: One pledge at a time…

  11. Jamey, another question for you. Is there a specific reason you didn’t use amazon.co.jp or amazon.cn to do order fulfillment in Asia just like you did for Europe and Canada?

    I’m just curious why you used 4PX when you could have used the same method you were already using

    1. Jeff: Most Amazon fulfillment centers around the world don’t offer multi-channel fulfillment…yet. When they do, I’ll be there. :) (And if I’m missing some that offer that, please let me know!) For example, Amazon.co.jp offers Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which lets Amazon sell your products and fulfill those orders, but they don’t appear to offer multi-channel fulfillment, which is when they simply serve as a fulfillment house for orders you receive on your own website (or Kickstarter).

      1. ok, thanks. That makes sense. I just thought multichannel fulfillment was something all Amazon fulfillment centers did. Guess I have more research to do :)

  12. Had a chat with you on BGG about international fulfilment and you gave me some good advice on why screwing over international orders is bad. This post is a great compendium on various different options on cutting costs of international shipping. I hope more creators see these options that you have pointed out because it not only increases their profits, but cuts the cost for backers. Thanks for the article.

  13. Jamey, this last post pushed aside all my doubts about pursuing cheaper fulfillment and shipping options for international backers. It made me understand not only that it is doable, but also why it is so important as a project creator to do this for backers. I want to make the best game possible, why not make the shipping the best possible as well. It is all part and parcel of being a creator. I really appreciate how clearly and concisely you laid it out and what an awesome atmosphere of sharing and support that you foster. I voted for People, not pawns as the title but I prefer the kickstart your dream through the power of generosity subtitle.

    1. Tim: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad this post was the tipping point for you! :) I’m hoping to continue to evolve the shipping process to make it easier for creators and international backers, so I’ll share that information when I have it and test it.

      Thanks for you vote and feedback too!

  14. These posts about shipping are my favorite posts on this website. So much information! I love it. I’m not planning any Kickstarters but I saved them to Pocket for future reference.

    As for the titles: I like the first one better. the other two have the tagline “Kickstart Your Dream Through the Power of Generosity” which I don’t think is appealing. I feel like it’s a bit condescending, like saying “I’ll teach you to be generous”, implying that potential readers of the book aren’t.

    The other two titles would be good too with the first title’s tagline “The Winning Strategy to Kickstart Your Dream”. I feel they all express the philosophy you shared on this blog an in your Kickstarter campaigns.

    My personal favorite would be the mix-match “Stand out from the Crowd: The Winning Strategy to Kickstart Your Dream”. I think it’s catchy and appealing to the casual customer while still representing your line of thought.

    Just my two cents! :)

  15. Wow. This is a great post. I really hope more Kickstarter Creators will share your views on providing the best shipping rates possible to backers. I always wondered why publishers would have their games made in China, send them to the US and then back out to us backers here in Asia… it really doesn’t make any sense!

  16. Thanks Kaz! For a long time I don’t think anyone knew about a shipping option like 4px–I asked around to a lot of people when I shipped Viticulture, and no one knew about it. I think I just got lucky when I was searching for better solutions for shipping Euphoria, and hopefully that luck will help some other project creators and backers!

  17. Jamey – Another incredibly valuable post! I have been personally looking at 4PX for a while, it’s good to hear your review of them!

    For the book name – (just a small note, the polldaddy poll didn’t even show up in Chrome browser) – I like the People, not Pawns. Very clever, looking forward to reading it! :)

    Thanks again!

  18. Jamie you are amazing.

    You do all this for us, The incredible blogs, sourcing, arranging discounts for fellow publishers without even arranging kickbacks, simply making a very difficult thing so much plainer and the only reason I can see is that you want to help others trying do what you’ve achieved spectacularly.

    I wish there was an award we could all give to you.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks David–that’s very kind of you to say. I’m happy that I can contribute in a small way to make Kickstarter a better place for creators and backers. Your comment is reward enough for me. :) (And it’s always nice when readers back my projects on Kickstarter!)

  19. Jamie,
    In this post you recommend using Amazon.uk for all non German EU shipping. Is it possible to ship from Amazon.uk to Germany as well? As I don’t have an amazon.de account set up and don’t speak German I was thinking sticking with Amazon.uk for all of Europe might be the best option. Thanks so much for all you do!
    Tim

    1. Tim: It is possible to ship from Amazon.co.uk to Germany, but it’s more expensive than shipping to German backers from Amazon.de. However, it’s a lot better than shipping from the US, so it’s worth starting with Amazon.co.uk and perhaps adding Amazon.de later. My Google Chrome browser translates Amazon.de for me.

  20. Thanks for all this Jamey. Still, the shipping is giving me a massive headache, and my Kickstarter didn’t even start yet. So complicated. I have a U.S. supplier. I live in the EU. What about I have them ship my game individually to U.S./ Canadian backers, in bulk to me in the Netherlands with me then individually shipping in the EU, and figuring something out for the rest of the world? Do you think that would be feasable? US shipping would be $13 per game. NL->any EU country would be $14 per game, and US-> bulk-> NL is yet to be determined. Love to hear your thoughts. Amazon fulfillment sounds so complicated.

  21. If I can find a cheap way to bulk-ship the EU bound games from the US to the EU it might work, but I haven’t found a cheap solution yet…do you have any suggestions, even though you usually use amazon fulfillments?

    1. So you’re manufacturing the games in the US? I think any number of freight shipping companies can help you get your games to the EU cost-effectively. Have you tried the company I recommend in this blog post, Dimerco?

  22. Yes, my supplier is US based. I have tried companies such as DHL, USPS etc, but they just seemed really expensive. I didn’t realize Dimerco did Transatlantic shipping too, I just figured they did your distribution in Germany. I will certainly send them an e-mail. Once again, thank you so much for your fast reply. I have no idea how you do that, knowing that you are very busy with Tuscany.

  23. Hi Jamey,

    I am a fan of your posts – you are my Kickstarter god!

    You mention stuff about Amazon.de and the difficulty in bridging over the language gaps.

    I am willing to help you with that – if you ever need help regarding the German language. Just email me. It will be my honor!

    Thank you for your endlessly helpful insights,
    Roy

      1. Sure. I guess you have my email address because it is getting stored in your system.

        One thing I don’t get: how do you find all the time to write such a detailed blog? Tell us the truth – you have a device that can stop time so you use it to stop time, write your blog for few hours and then let time run again. Am I correct and you are actually 543 years old? ;-)

  24. Hello people! I´m in awe at the sight of this blog: It’s like a beacon for our little start-up company. The prospect of getting international shipment right is daunting, but well worth the trouble IMHO. We will contact Dimerco, and tell them that you sent us there, Jamey. Hopefully they’ll make you a special price :)

    A little question for the community: we just called Amazon US to tell them that we will be shipping our game from China. We wanted to know which warehouse is the best for full US delivery, but they told us that it depends on the product, and that there is no way of knowing which warehouse is the one until we make the actual order.

    In your experience, which warehouse will they refer us to? It is important for us to get east coast/ west coast right, as we asume freight expenses will change.

    1. Jon: That’s a good question. Amazon is always very mysterious about the destination until you actually create the order. So regardless of my answer, you’ll have no say in the matter with Amazon–they’ll simply assign you a warehouse, and you’ll have to ship to that warehouse. Freight expenses will change slightly, but not all that much. No matter what, you’ll have to truck your product somewhere.

      So from my experience, Amazon has given me two different warehouses:

      Amazon.com.dedc, LLC
      7200 Discovery Dr
      Chattanooga, TN 37416-1757

      (that order was shipped from China to Atlanta (Atlanta is where customs was processed)

      Amazon.com
      705 Boulder Drive
      Breinigsville, PA 18031

      (that order was shipped from China to New York)

      1. Thanks for the quick response, Jamey. It is true that Amazon are an obscure bunch… I am glad that forums like this (and people like you) exist to shed a lot of light :)

        Back on subject: should we wait for the warehouse to be settled before initiating the export process? Should we ask the freight company for two quotes, Atlanta and New York for instance, and then tell them the final one right before shipping? I recon trucking from east coast to west coast will be a hassle…

        Thanks a million and I hope to be able to help people in this arduous but exciting world!

        1. Jon: Dimerco will help you through the process. They know that they won’t have an address to work with, and they’ll give you some estimates to help with your budgeting. A lot of it depends on where their ships are going–Justin does a great job to get your games to you as fast as possible at the best price.

          1. Hi Jamey,

            Could you write a bit about shipping time from China to:
            1. US East Coast
            2. US West Coast
            3. UK
            4. Germany

            Just from your experience, how much time does such (sea) transportation take?

          2. Roy: It takes about a month for all of them. The difference is usually when each boat actually leaves port, as well as how smooth customs and ground freight goes within each of those countries. (I would put Canada on that list too.)

  25. Hi Jamey

    I am planning to ship Manifest to the UK, and fulfil all the EU orders from there, rather than shipping to Amazon Germany as well.

    Do you think using an ‘Importer of record’ is recommended, rather than trying to do this remotely myself?

    Also, I am unsure whether I need to do this in addition to, or instead of, registering as a business and getting a UK VAT number?

    By the way, I don’t know if Amazon US has changed this recently, but I’ve managed to setup on seller central and create shipments etc without having a US based bank account. It allowed me to input my master card, and my normal NZ based bank account, and asked me to agree to using Amazon’s exchange rate conversion. UK Amazon is not as friendly, they insist on having a UK (or EU) bank acount.

    Again, many thanks for all the really useful advice in your blogs.

    Amanda Milne
    SchilMil Games, New Zealand

    1. Amanda: Thanks for your question. I would highly recommend getting an importer of record. The alternative is to register your business in the UK, which isn’t that hard to do, but I think an importer of record should be your first choice.

      That’s interesting about UK Amazon. I haven’t had that issue, though my bank (ING) is based in Belgium, so that might be why.

      Thanks!

  26. Cheers Jamey,
    That is useful, I will look for an Importer of record.

    I am talking to a bank about overseas account opening. Do you remember if Amazon Canada require a Canadian bank account?

    Thank you
    Amanda

  27. Hi Jamey,
    Can you tell us a bit more about this?
    >You can’t use Amazon’s bulk shipment form for more than 1 product per destination.
    You mention a workaround and I’m curious if this worked for you. I guess it will happen a lot that games are shipped together with their expansion in two seperate boxes. Doing this by hand will be crazy!

    Thank you very much.

    Vincent

    1. Vincent: The workaround Amazon tells me will work on the bulk upload spreadsheet is that if there are two identical rows on the spreadsheet (same address, order number, etc) EXCEPT for the SKU, then it will automatically combine the two rows into one order and only charge me once for it. I’m somewhat dubious until I get the chance to test it out. :)

  28. Oh wise Jamey….

    Just curious about your math on allowing backers to pay for additional shipping just one time and add multiple games to their order without paying for additional shipping, like you did on the Tuscany campaign.

    Will just throw out a hypothetical here. An Australian backer pays for a game, and pays the one additional shipping payment of 36 dollars. If they added another 6 games, according to your 4PX chart, that would be 7 games total costing 23 dollars each in shipping, or about 161 dollars. Any hints on how you can afford to only charge that backer a total of 36 additional dollars in that scenario for shipping?? I was thinking you were budgeting 14 per game toward shipping, so about 98 dollars in this scenario, so with the additional 36 you’ve got 134. Obviously that’s not too far from 161. Is the gist of it that you’re ok in this scenario taking a bigger hit on shipping since they’ve ordered more units?

    Thanks for any insight you can provide!

    1. Jason: Thanks for this question. You’ve touched upon part of the answer, that $14 for shipping is included in each game. Beyond that, the key is that the shipping price doesn’t double if I double the size or weight of the package. The price per pound actually goes down. We’re not using USPS for those Australia packages, but you could look to USPS for an example. Sending one 4-pound package to Australia costs around $50. But if you add another 4 pounds to that package, the price only goes up incrementally–it doesn’t double. Make sense?

  29. Jamey,
    Yes absolutely. I think the thing that was throwing me off was the 4PX pricing chart’s rates and it seeming like you could have not had enough money allocated to cover the entire shipping cost in some situations. Have you looked into Amazon Global Export at all, and if so do you have any assessment of it yet?
    Thanks!!!

    1. I’ve looked into one Amazon service that ships internationally, but it’s currently only for media items like books (board games don’t fit into that category). I’m not sure if that’s the same as Amazon Global Export.

  30. Hey Jamey, I’ve got a customs question. You’re comparing shipping to international backers using 4PX and by hand through USPS. If you go through USPS (and don’t lie on the customs form about the value of the product), then you’re going to hit your backers with extra customs charges. Do your backers run into these same charges when you use 4PX or someone like Impressions? Obviously 4PX shipping to Chinese backers would be fine, but what about, like, 4PX to Australia or Malaysia?

      1. Okay, follow-up question. So those customs charges are bundled together cheaply and factored into your freight charge estimation of $5 when you do bulk shipping from China to Amazon fulfillment centers. And when you use an EU Amazon fulfillment center, shipping from there to any backer in the EU Customs Union won’t have extra customs charges, but if you use an EU Amazon fulfillment center to ship to non-EU European backers, those will get extra customs charges. Is that all correct? I assume it varies a lot my country, but do you have any estimation on average of what those customs charges are for a $50 product?

  31. Wooow! @Jamey @Isaac – a bit off topic, sorry. I had been reading Jamey’s posts a while, trying my best that the mistakes that I make be new, original, inventive :-) I am KS launching tomorrow. Somehow my eyes went to the date in your conversation, and it was /this week/! *this stuff is fresh off the oven*! Amazed by it all, Jamey, and oh so thankful!!!

    I believe in being generous, but you beat me soundly – at least I do have a good role model to follow

    Yama

    1. Yama: Ha ha, absolutely, I see every comment on this blog, and I try to reply to all of them, especially if you ask great questions like Isaac. Good luck with the launch of your campaign tomorrow!

  32. Hi Jamey!
    Just wondering what you did with your retail copies while international backers were having their pledges fulfilled. You mention that as soon as they landed in the distributor’s warehouse they were fare game to be sold, so what did you do? Did those games sit in a warehouse somewhere, or did you just assume that the boat to the distributor would be slower than the packages to backers.
    Thanks!

    1. Hi David, thanks for your question. My answer is a combination of a few things. First, many international backers got their games before US backers due to the US games getting caught up at customs. Second, when the games reach the warehouse, it’s still a few weeks before they’ll reach game stores, so I noted that delay. But I wish I had a little more control over when they were released to distributors, honestly.

  33. Hi Jamey. Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all the amazing info you’ve shared in these shipping articles, your blog, your kickstarters, etc. I’m comfortable with digital game distribution (relatively super easy!), but am looking into self-publishing our first board game, likely starting with a Kickstarter. There are a few things that are new to me in this, but the shipping/fulfillment aspect is definitely the part that has seemed most daunting! Your writing here really helps point the way, answers a lot of questions I’ve had, and brings my trepidation down several notches. I’ll probably return with a detailed question or three down the line, but in the meantime I just wanted to say THANKS!

  34. Hello Jamey, I have run into a big snag registering my business in the UK with Companies House. After sending my form back and forth several times for errors, I finally hit a road block. Companies House told me that I could not register without a physical UK address? Can you or anyone else help me out here? Has anyone else on this post been successful at registering with Companies House from the US? I was able to register for VAT taxes no problem. I could really use some advice! Thank you so much!

    1. Io Loren,

      I’ve since learned you don’t need a physical address in the UK to sell / ship via Amazon.co.uk. You can just ship directly to their warehouse much like you can in the United States.

      Not having a physical address in the UK does carry some potential added costs, though; returns to you will be more expensive (as they’re shipped all the way back to the US), and reclaiming inventory from Amazon.co.uk if you accidentally send too much will be expensive to ship back to yourself in the US.

      My apologies to you (and Jamey’s other readers) on not properly updating him on that development when I discovered it in my researches.

      Best,
      Phil

      1. Phil: Thank you so much for your response! I was able to register my business for VAT taxes and I have a valid VAT tax number. I just want to make sure that my project is EU friendly and that I will pay the customs and VAT taxes so that my backers will not have to do this. With my VAT tax number I am all set in your opinion?

  35. Jamey – I have a friend of mine who lives in Germany and owns a business. I am asking him if he will be my importer of record and having a little trouble explaining to him exactly what I need and exactly what he needs to do for me. Could you give me the best explanation to provide to him? For other Kickstarter creators, I am also looking into creating a UK limited company. I think that I have found a good source. I will let you know how that works out if I go down that road! Thank you so much for helping all of us figure all this stuff out!

        1. Loren: I’m 99% sure your importer of record must be localized by country (despite VAT being an EU thing). You don’t need a UK business number unless you want to try to get your own VAT number.

  36. Hey Jamey,

    I’m using 4PX for my Asian and South American shipments – they recently contacted me asking which warehouse I would like to use:

    “We have contacted by your supplier to pickup from their factory, and the supplier said the goods are going to HK. Please advise which warehouse that you are going to use, and which countries are these goods going?”

    I was under the impression that 4PX used a warehouse in Shenzhen – but perhaps it’s actually in HK?

    Do you remember which warehouse you used? Thanks! -Cody

    1. Cody: Hmm, good question. I don’t recall having an option (I assumed the warehouse was in Shenzhen too). I think they have warehouses all over, so you might try asking for the Shenzhen one, and if that doesn’t work, go for Hong Kong.

  37. Hi Jamey, how’s it going?

    I’m starting to gather quotes for my first Kickstarter project. It’s pretty exciting/terrifying! I have a few questions that I was hoping you could help with.

    * Let’s say I’m using Amazon Multichannel Fulfillment. If a printer were to ask me what ZIP code to ship the product to, what’s the best answer (assuming it arrives at a NY/NJ port)? I’d imagine that the game will go to an Amazon Fullfillment Center (FC), but which one? I know they charge to spread the product around multiple FCs once it arrives at the first FC. Is there a way to minimize this charge by shipping to a more centrally-located FC?

    * Let’s say my project funds, the product gets printed and shipped, and Amazon has it at all the appropriate FCs. Let’s say I have 400 backers to ship to (just to use a nice round fictitious number). I upload all the relevant info and spreadsheets and click go. How long will Amazon take to ship to the 400 backers? Will I need to account for shipping time, or is it just a drop in the bucket for the Amazon shipping behemoth?

    1. Hi, thanks for your questions! I’m happy to help.

      1. If you’re using Amazon fulfillment, you’ll need to inform Amazon of the shipment well before it ships. There’s a whole process to go through through Amazon’s Seller Central involving printing out labels, establishing weights and sizes, etc. (There’s lots of info about this on my other entry about shipping.) At the end of that process, Amazon will tell you the destination address for your shipment. Everything will go to one warehouse of their choosing.

      2. After Amazon has your games and the backer addresses, it’ll take around 1-3 days for those packages to ship. Then there’s another few days for the packages to arrive. So I’d estimate for about a week between address uploads and when backers can expect to receive the games. Sometimes I’ve seen it happen as fast as a day; other times (as was the case shipping from Amazon.de to Ireland), it took nearly a month.

  38. Hi
    It would have saved me quite a bundle if Amazon had allowed me to ship my 240 US units to just one FC. In reality they decided to split it across three (NV, PA, and TN) which cost me a lot more in shipping & freight.

    1. Amanda: Amazon gave you three different addresses? That seems very odd. I’ve seen Amazon send games to various warehouses after they’ve received them, but they’ve always given me one address up front for the original shipment.

  39. yes, that’s right. it may have been my newbieness in dealing with the Amazon interface – in that I just took what it dished out without questioning it – but that’s what they told me so I followed it thinking it was the norm!

  40. Hi Jamey, Another Amazon related question: I see that they do not claim to support deliveries from Amazon UK to Norway or Switzerland. Is that your experience? Should I give it a try when the stock is inventoried or just not bother and send those parcels from New Zealand? Thanks, Amanda

  41. Jamey,
    I have a couple of quick questions about using 4PX. They seem like an excellent option and I have gotten some quotes from them. In your first mention of using them you stated that the packaging on the games was not quite up to snuff (no bubble wrap, etc.) I am wondering how you resolved this and what I need to specify to them to get the packaging I want?

    Also, 4PX offers shipping through many different carriers FedEx, DHL or EMS. I am wondering if you can tell me which carrier you have used?

    Thanks as always for so much great information and creating a great community of information sharing. (Thanks David for info on Inventory Placement, that is very timely.)

    1. Tim: I wouldn’t say there was a great resolution for 4PX on Euphoria–we just got lucky that most games arrived just fine. In the future, I will emphasize multiple times that the games need to be bubble wrapped in boxes.

      As for the carriers, there are so many options that I ask 4PX to tell me which option is best for each destination. They’ll take care of that for you.

          1. Hello Jamey, do you have any other blog posts that discuss Amazon shipping other than these 2 posts:
            https://stonemaiergames.com/how-to-provide-free-shipping-worldwide-on-kickstarter-a-comprehensive-guide/#comment-6613
            https://stonemaiergames.com/lessons-learned-insights-mistakes-and-solutions-for-offering-worldwide-shipping-on-kickstarter/
            I want to make sure that I have read every word you have written on Amazon Shipping!
            Thank you so much for all that you do for everyone who participates here!

  42. Just a quick note. If you date your Amazon order IDs with YR MT DY instead of DY MT YR you can track all of your orders chronologically forever instead of orders mixing up each year since they’re first level or sorting is the month instead of the year. So this would be 1317120000 from your example above instead of the 1217130000 you have. Sorry, didn’t mean for that to sound like a correction, but thought it would help if you have orders over many years that you wanted to simply order all order chronologically.

  43. “1. Register for a VAT number
    After following the link above, click on the ‘Register for VAT’ link in the right-hand column. Just follow the prompts and you’ll be registered in about 5 – 10 minutes.”

    Lies! Haha. 2 hours later I estimate that less than 1/3rd of the way through the process (and currently on hold waiting for an email response to a question the website doesn’t answer). So we’re looking at a couple day adventure to self register. …For the record.

    I’ll keep ya posted how it turns out.

  44. Hi Jamey, there’s a lot of great information in this post, and your previous one on the topic of international shipping. You probably touched on all of the points I’m about to mention below somewhere in your articles, but there’s a lot of content and it’s easy to miss some of the finer details. Here are some things that I feel are important before a project creator decides to follow this advice. I may have got some of my numbers and other facts wrong, so people should do their own research and calculations before following my suggestions, either:

    1) The more destinations your printing company needs to ship to, the higher the freight charges will be. If they ship all of your games to a single location in the US for distribution, it will probably be $1000-$2000+ cheaper than if you were to freight your games to the US, Canada, and multiple destinations in the EU.

    2) Last I checked, Amazon charges a long-term storage fee twice per year of $22.50 per cubic foot for any items that have been in their facility for more than a year. This is in addition to the more modest monthly storage fees. As a real-world example, let’s say that you’ve funded an average Kickstarter campaign with 500 backers, and your packaging is 12″ x 12″ x 3″ (0.25 cubic feet). To get the best pricing from your printing company, you’ll probably have 1000 unsold units left over after taking care of your backers. If you don’t sell these within a year, then in addition to the $150ish per month (~$1800 per year) in monthly storage fees, you’ll also pay another $5600 every 6 months ($11,000 per year) to store those 1000 games until they’re sold off. This isn’t nearly as bad for a smaller box, but it can easily add up to thousands of dollars in storage fees if you’re not careful.

    3) Keep points #1 & #2 in mind when considering how many distribution centers to ship to, and how many units to send to each location. Originally I was planning to split inventory more evenly between the US & the EU but after crunching numbers I’ll probably keep most of it in the US, with just a few extra units abroad, so that I can more easily pull them out of storage if need be. I’ll also probably have a good chunk of inventory shipped to my office for storage, where originally I had planned to have it all in Amazon’s network.

    4) Amazon does not really give you the option of which facility to ship your items to. Keep this in mind when estimating your freight, because there may be a significant difference between shipping to California and shipping to Pennsylvania, or to one of several FBA centers in the UK. That said, from what I’m told, most stuff coming from China to the US ends up in their main Pennsylvania facility.

    Some helpful links:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201101150
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200627230
    http://blog.taxjar.com/amazon-warehouse-locations/

    Again, all of the above was probably already covered in your posts to some degree. I’m just pointing out these details so that people put more thought into planning their reward tiers around a best-case-scenario, and before they decide to ship all of their inventory to Amazon rather than storing a roomful of games in their homes.

    For the next game project I get funded, I’ll still probably use Amazon fulfillment, but on a much more conservative scale, and I don’t plan to offer free shipping to the EU. The added freight charges and Amazon storage fees don’t justify it for my small projects. I’ll still offer discounted shipping compared to what it would cost if everything came from the US via USPS, but not free. Like I said, there’s a lot of great advice in these articles and across your blog as a whole, but it’s easy to overlook some details that could be financially devastating for some people. I hope this summary is helpful.

    1. Thanks Dennis! You’re right that I’ve highlighted these points in my existing shipping lessons, but it’s always helpful for people to read about other creators’ insights and experiences in the comments. The one point I didn’t discuss in these entries (because these entries are about Kickstarter order fulfillment, not selling products after rewards have been fulfilled) is your point about the Amazon FBA long-term storage fees. However, I think that’s a relevant point to mention for creators looking to sell directly post-Kickstarter instead of going through a distributor, so I’ve added it to my first shipping post and credited you. Thanks!

  45. Hi Jamey. After I reviewed your international shipping partners spreadsheet (which is AWESOME, by the way) and compared those estimated prices with what I’ve calculated for Amazon shipping within the US, it appears that our US backers could be paying more than backers in non-US locations. That doesn’t seem right. Our product is considered “oversize” by Amazon’s measurements (not in weight–it will be about 9 lbs. with packaging). Were the estimates you provided in your spreadsheet for “standard” or “oversize”? Thanks for any insight you can give!

      1. Thanks Jamey. I’m assuming that’s what you used for the estimates on your international shipping partners spreadsheet, but please tell me if I’m wrong. Thanks again!

  46. Hi Jamey. You’ve provided a lot of very useful information on your website, which I’m sure has been of great help to many people running Kickstarter projects, and for businesses looking for the best ways to get products out to customers around the world.

    I’m based in the UK and my question concerns Amazon fulfilment in the United States. Assuming that my project attracts backers in the US, will I need to find an importer of record to import my shipment into the Amazon US warehouse for US distribution, or will I first need to register a company in the US to be able to do this? Is it possible to use a UK limited company to get Amazon fulfilment done in the US? I would very much appreciate any help or advice you can give! Thanks in advance!

    1. Guy: Thanks for your question. I have a few answers, neither of which may be quite adequate because I live in the US.

      The first answer is that I do think you need to register a company in the US to use Amazon multi-channel fulfillment (I looked at my account, and Amazon makes you give an address and a tax ID). However, that may just be for Amazon FBA (when you sell on Amazon), so you could just try to create an Amazon multi-channel fulfillment account and see what happens.

      The second answer is that I would not recommend using Amazon for fulfillment (see my various posts about shipping to see why). Instead, I’ve really enjoyed working with Funagain, and I’ve heard many good things about Fulfillrite. Both are much easier to use than Amazon. You can see the contact information for both of them (among other options) here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bx2h-oZ-ZcNdKw-yyAUfl-BbWOjmqP6tYu9jTKPxfnI/edit#gid=1844848505

      Good luck!

  47. You got a great resource here. Can you elaborate more on “Important note: To avoid testing in the EU, make sure to mark your games as 14+ and do not include the CE symbol on them.” please?

    I was under the impression you had to have the CE mark to sell in Europe. What am I missing?

    Thanks again for all the info!

    1. Alex: For me it would depend on the number of games per carton, the break-even point between sending them from your home base to the other countries vs. shipping in bunk to a central location and then shipping from there to those countries, how I told backers I’d send those games (i.e., EU friendly shipping), and the confidence I have in a company to successfully send the games in bulk to another country.

      Just to use a hypothetical example, if I can fit 6 games in a carton, and it costs me $50 to ship each of them from the US to Denmark, and it’ll cost a customer in Denmark $10 in VAT/fees to receive the shipment, I’d probably be better off shipping the entire carton to 1 location in Denmark and having someone at that location ship the 6 games to the various customers.

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