Live-Blogging Lesson #5: The Power of the Bundle

15 April 2015 | 15 Comments

2015-04-15_1027My new treasure chest Kickstarter project has been live for just over a day, and so far there has been one huge trend that has surprised me (in a good way).

The project is for three new treasure chests of realistic resource tokens. I could have run separate campaigns for each of them, but I figured I could save backers considerable shipping expenses by consolidating the chests into one project.

The biggest assumption I made going into the project was that most people would have one chest they really wanted out of the three: either the Food Crate, Resource Vault, or Energy Box. I wanted to encourage people to get the other chests too, so the reward structure nudges people toward getting 2 or 3 chests:

  • $35 for 1 chest
  • $67 for 2 chests
  • $89 for 3 chests

This is similar to any bundled price reward structure.

Despite that reward structure, I assumed that many people would still just pick 1 chest despite the lower price and consolidated shipping. After all, $89 is a lot of money to spend all at once.

So it was much to my surprise that the vast majority of backers so far have selected the $89 reward:

  • $1 reward: 47 backers (4%)
  • $35 reward: 53 backers (5%)
  • $67 reward: 54 backers (5%)
  • $89 reward: 854 backers (86%)

I think I may have underestimated backers’ desire to have everything. If this was a normal bundled pricing system where it’s 1 copy of an item, 2 copies of an item, or 3 copies of an item, I think we’d see nearly opposite results.

But for this project, the three chests are different. Sure, there are backers who may be getting 2 copies of one chest and 1 copy of another at the $89 level, but I think the vast majority are getting all three chests. They want all the things while they have the chance to get them.

What do you think? Is that why the $89 pledge level has been so popular? Have you ever been compelled to upgrade a crowdfunding pledge just so you could have everything?

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15 Comments on “Live-Blogging Lesson #5: The Power of the Bundle

  1. I have to pass this time due to low budget in this period (and weak euro…), but I would definitely backed for all three chests, because they are all amazing :D

  2. The only downside to doing it as one big kickstarter: If you’d done them separately, I would have been more likely to buy 2 of each as long as there was some time between each one. But all at once, 6 boxes feels expensive

    1. Mike: Yeah, I’m sensitive to that, especially for backers in areas where shipping is free or very low (though we try to keep shipping low for all areas). Are you in an area where you have a shipping fee?

  3. The flexibility make me more comfortable backing at a higher level early on. That serves everyone’s needs, including my desire to see those stretch goals hit.

  4. I’m probably going to want all the boxes at some point as they are all so darn purty so why would I wait and pay more for the stuff and be hit again with extra shipping. I also have massive brand loyalty after you shipped tuscany early to those that wanted it for christmas and all the steps you go through for quality control and I trust that what I receive down the line will be awesome. so all those things lead me to go full monty, and I will deffo see if gaming buddies of mine want to add a box or three at the marginal $29 per box shipped.

  5. I think when it comes to Kickstarter projects people tend to lean more towards the “completionist” side of things more times than not. Many campaigns that I have seen, or been involved with, that have different levels of pledges for more “stuff” tend to see more backers go for what makes it best for them to get right now, especially of there is an option that has “all stretch goals included” if there is in fact stretch goals. If a project has a reward tier for some more money, but the benefits are a small upgrade, more times than not, most backers will go with the lesser tier becuase the higher doesnt seem worth it. At a quick glance that makes more sense due to the fact that people want to be as close to a guarantee as possible, that when they back something their getting a deal for doing so, or that it’s at least worth it to them, especially if there isnt any plans for the project item to go to retail. Making it harder to get something typically increases the idea of getting it now and “with everything” more times than not. Otherwise, why back them now when you know their product will show up later for a possible lower price point? People as a whole don’t do cost benefit analysis or risk analysis when backing usually, but in actuality they do it subconsciously at a quick glance. In most regards, if it seems like their money will go farther with the higher pledge for more items, they’ll do it.

    Good references of this aren’t just multi-tier pledge campaigns, but campaign projects that have a lot of add ons. Take a look at Conan, xenoshyft, rum & bones, ghostbusters and others. All had tons of add ons past that main base game, and for a lot of extra money too, and yet, many backers went all in, or close to it. For Conan, the “all in” option was something close to $400-$500 easy.

    I hope some of this helps, at least from my viewpoint of things. You always have great insight into many aspects of gaming and I applaud you for your work and insight. It’s been a pleasure to read your updates.

    1. Justin: That’s true, this touches upon exclusives and “fear of missing out.” For me, even though I don’t like or use exclusives, I do make limited print runs of some items (especially for niche items like the treasure chest), so I can see that being a reason for backers to get all the things now instead of wait.

  6. Some of us are completionists (I tend to be), but I really liked the flexibility of not having to decide exactly what chests I wanted right when I pledged. Sure, I’ll very likely go with one of each, but I like knowing that I could change my mind if I wanted, taking into consideration the games I own or may acquire (indeed, I own more than one of the original chests). It took some of the pressure off a “big” pledge for 3 chests. It also allows me to take into account how many of each resource will be included in the chests (though I have faith it will be 30). I really appreciate how thoughtful and backer-friendly the campaign is.

  7. Hi Jamey,

    I think the lack of single box backers has more to do with the single items being available later. Unlike the first chest, these don’t seem to have a particular game in mind. For me at least, i’m thinking of sitting this one out and just getting the 1-2 items I really want.

    To sum: I think your distribution of backers results from the 1 box people staying home because you presented a compelling alternative rather than them upgrading to become bundle backers.

    And you should track through the campaign too. Maybe bundle people are more likely to back early.

  8. With this one I want some things in all of the chests (Plus they’re much prettier prototype components than generic cubes and you never know what you’ll need to represent for that). I don’t tend towards being a completionist, but I’ll often go in for a nicer set. And I found myself adding the RPG addon to the Thunderbirds project because… Thunderbirds.

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