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Throughout your crowdfunding journey, you will address many aspects of shipping and fulfillment, but packaging is one of the most important. In fact, perk packaging can determine whether your venture is ultimately profitable.
First-time entrepreneurs tend to approach packaging through a branding lens, but , it’s also a logistical and financial question. During each stage of their crowdfunding campaigns, entrepreneurs must consider material prices, packaging uses, and protection limits in addition to aesthetics.
To simplify the prospect of packaging, we rounded up critical factors to consider throughout your campaign. Read on and learn how to impress your backers with an on-budget, on-brand, and on-time post-campaign experience.
Considering Packaging During Product Design
It is never too early to think about packaging. The sooner you understand your needs, the easier it becomes to make helpful product design decisions–and to incorporate packaging costs into your perk pricing.
Design a collapsible product. If your product can be folded or disassembled without sacrificing its quality, it will fit in a smaller package, lowering shipping costs. Even if a large package doesn’t weigh much, shipping companies often charge based on dimensional weight, which incorporates package size.
Avoid designing an oddly shaped product. While a clever packaging shape may distinguish your brand, it will cost you. Products with unusual shapes may require expensive custom boxes instead of low-priced standard-sized boxes or bags.
Reconsider delicate product materials. Would a sturdier material cost much more or interfere with product design? With added fees for extra padding and larger boxes, fragile products can cost more to ship. Plus, a more durable product is rarely a bad thing in the long run.
Planning Packaging Before Manufacturing
With a solidified product design in hand, you can start to consider fulfillment particulars that factor into perk pricing.
Create a packaging logistics plan. Consider choosing a manufacturer that can place individual products into the base packages that will take them to your end customers. Your manufacturer should be able to load each base package into a large master case for easy and safe delivery to your fulfillment center or personal workshop. It may initially seem cheaper for the manufacturer to ship products in bulk to you without individual packaging, but extra material costs and packaging labor at your fulfillment center add up.
Determine how much branding will appear on the outermost packaging. If you follow the above strategy, remember that some products will need both external and internal packaging, while others need a single box or bag. Blatant branding on external packaging (or a bespoke feature like a plastic window for a peek inside) can attract thieves; many carriers won’t even insure packages with extravagant external branding. Keep external boxes or mailers plain, ideally featuring only an SKU (stock keeping unit) and a hazardous materials sticker if the product contains batteries. (Additional labeling requirements are best discussed with an expert.)
Preparing Packages For Shipping
Once your products are manufactured, you’ll be able to prepare them for the final leg of their journey to backers.
Decide whether you need fulfillment help. Once your crowdfunding campaign is complete, you’ll be able to determine whether you can handle the fulfillment process on your own. Storing and packing fifty products won’t warrant help unless each product is the size of a fridge. But if you’re looking at thousands of orders, you will likely require a third-party logistics company to help with packaging and shipping. For example, UniLid creators Alia Lau and Seva Mouler had to secure professional assistance when they realized that they needed to fulfill 18,000 orders from 108 countries. They were overwhelmed with shipping challenges until they discovered Indiegogo’s shipping and fulfillment partnership with Ingram Micro. Because of the program, they received expert fulfillment consultations, a crowdfunding-specific fulfillment solution, and packaging advice that drastically lowered overall costs.
Source inexpensive shipping materials. Search for light packaging that provides sufficient protection. (It should pass the four-foot drop test.) This may take some research or assistance from experts. For example, the UniLid team faced high shipping costs for heavy packaging until Ingram Micro introduced them to a light poly mailer bag, enabling them to use a cheaper shipping carrier with more restrictive weight limits.
Adjust your timeline. If you need to package more perks than you were expecting, create a new timeline that incorporates additional manufacturing, packaging, and shipping times. Make this a generous estimate; backers are more impressed with early or on-time deliveries than false promises of fast shipping or poorly packaged products. Be sure to regularly share shipping updates to your backers if you make any adjustments.
Packaging is a complex part of the fulfillment process, but by carefully evaluating each factor of packaging ahead of time, you’ll be able to deliver perks to backers in perfect condition—without taking on unexpected fees.
Have specific questions about packaging your product? Contact our partners at Ingram Micro to learn more.