Kickstarter Fulfillment: GamesQuest vs. Fulfillrite
One of the most challenging parts of any crowdfunding campaign, if what you’re trying to fund includes physical items, is getting them in the hands of your backers, no matter where they are based. There are fundamentally two ways to do it:
1) You take care of it yourself, packing and shipping items with an established provider such as DHL, UPS or FedEx or
2) Use a fulfillment partner that will combine the various items available according to the rewards of your campaign, and then ship them all over the world through them.
Doing it yourself vs. Using a Fulfillment Service
For crowdfunding projects, the first option is economically feasible only when you’re shipping packages within your own country. You’ll soon find out that the rates you’ll get for worldwide shipping, with parcels sent independently from each other, are wildly higher than sending full pallets of rewards to a central hub and get the sorting done by a professional company. For a simple reason: they enjoy rates you, as a small creator, could never even dream of.
Should you use a crowdfunding fulfillment service then, and what are the downsides of doing it?
In this article, we’ll examine the rates, pros, and cons of two popular companies providing such services: GamesQuest and Fullfillrite.
Before we proceed, though, enjoy this free lesson covering the basics of fulfillment for Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Specifically, the video covers:
- Why might you want to use a fulfillment service
- What are the downsides
- The highlights from all the data we could gather
- Plenty of suggestions on where to find more information on what the market offers
If you enjoyed this video lesson, sign up for the FREE introductory course Game Crowdfunding: Learn the Basics in Less than One Hour. Or, if you need something more advanced, and full notes from this lesson and 40+ more, check out Game Crowdfunding: From Start to Funded
Solving the fulfillment problem
This year I’m working on a personal project, the translation of a tabletop RPG already published on another market. This will be a Kickstarter project, expected to launch in a few months. What we plan to send to backers consist of:
- A book
- Various game accessories
Packages will range from 1 to 2 kilos on average. As some of the details are still up in the air, I really can’t be more precise than this (but if you’re interested in following, sign-up for updates from the link above).
Shipping Kickstarter Rewards with GamesQuest
I contacted GamesQuest via mail and arranged a call a few days later. I was already familiar with GamesQuest, as many of my orders from Kickstarter come from them – their packages are well put together, and I never experienced any damage. While I heard that in the past there had been some delays in shipments, I place goods integrity well above them being “on time.” As we all know, virtually zero campaigns are delivering “on time.” What matters to me is that I get what promised, without damages. Here’s what I learned talking with them:
- GamesQuest is UK-based, but if Brexit were to happen, they would move their hub to Germany. On paper, this should limit any disservice related to Brexit
- GamesQuest can organize pick up of your games and accessories via truck anywhere in Europe, and get them to their closest hub. You can also send them the pallets if that works better. The person I spoke to couldn’t quote the cost of that transport, mostly because I’m unable to provide size and weight or the pellets at this point.
- Each item needs a separate bar code, meaning that each item needs its box (think dice: that why they usually come in a plastic/carton box). Manufacturers typically provide those bar codes.
- Passing the US customs is going to cost about $800 for the kind of shipment we would need. This seems to be a per-shipment fee rather than per-pallet, but it remained a bit unclear what the cost would be for bigger shipments. Books are usually custom-friendly, game accessories not so much.
- Shipping to Asia (China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore) was strongly suggested. South America, Russia, and a few more seem to have problems with shipped items. Australia and New Zealand, if a backer is willing to pay for a higher delivery cost, are also ok.
- The countries that usually deliver more backers on Kickstarter are often the US, Germany, Uk, Canada, and Australia. Focusing on these countries can provide pretty much 90% of the funding.
- All included the fee per package range from 13€ to 16€. There’s not much difference between Europe and the US, but a more significant differentiator seems to be the weight of the package. I didn’t get a breakdown of how the cost is composed, but these are numbers I can work with.
Worth mentioning that GamesQuest also offers additional services, such as TradeQuest, which will help your game reach retailers in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Shipping Kickstarter rewards with Fulfillrite
Fulfillrite is based in the state of New Jersey. I was unsure about contacting them because the goods will be manufactured mostly in Europe, and them being based in the US means I would still need a solution for Europe. That said, a call costs me next to nothing, so I set one up. Here’s what I found:
- Fullfilrite doesn’t help with customs, getting the shipment through would be my responsibility. This would be fine if I had any knowledge of how the US customs work, but I don’t, so it counts as a potential problem down the line. They can, however, suggest freight companies that would help with that.
- Their 2020 breakdown of costs is more or less as follows:
- $1.75 per package +
- $0.55 per extra item (the core product is included) +
- $1.29 in packaging costs +
- something in between $8.30 and $13.05, depending on where the package needs to be delivered
- All in all, we’re talking $12-$20 shipping costs within the US, after the customs have been paid
- There’s no storage cost for your items in the first month, and every month after that it’s $25 per pallet
- There’s a $30 account set-up fee
WHICH ONE IS BEST? GAMESQUEST OR FULFILLRITE?
A word of warning here: I haven’t tried any of them yet, so what I’m about to say is based on numbers alone.
My impression is that the shipping price itself is quite comparable, but GamesQuest comes out a winner because it would solve customs problems on my behalf, and would easily cover Europe as well.
If you’re based in the US, though, Fulfillrite would be more convenient, especially if you expect most of the demand to come from within the US.
If you find this article useful, feel free to share it with other fellow game makers!
Also, you can sign up for the FREE introductory course Game Crowdfunding: Learn the Basics in Less than One Hour.
…or, if you need something more advanced, and full notes from this lesson and 40+ more, check out Game Crowdfunding: From Start to Funded.