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Case Study: How Two Entrepreneurs Fulfilled Over 18,000 Orders In Just Three Months

We’ve teamed up with Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services to help entrepreneurs ship smarter. Access more resources and free shipping and fulfillment consultations here.

As much or more than product quality, a seamless post-campaign experience is one of the best ways to repay your backers’ confidence.

Eighty-seven percent of e-commerce customers say that delivery time is a key factor in future purchase decisions. In crowdfunding, backers understand that fulfillment will not happen immediately–but they still want their perk on-time, without surprising additional costs. Achieving this outcome helps you earn repeat customers and good word-of-mouth reviews as you move beyond your first campaign.

Of course, this efficiency can be tricky, even with a great manufacturer already lined up. You have to package your products properly, balancing shipping costs with proper protection. You need to keep track of multiple order types–and send them promptly to people throughout the country or the world, so no one has to wait too long.

Scale can add even further challenges. Shipping 100 orders might be relatively simple, assuming your product isn’t too large or fragile–but what about 1,000 orders? Or 10,000? How much inventory can fit in your garage?

That’s the situation UniLid creators Alia Lau and Seva Mouler faced in early 2018. Their product, a universal kitchen storage lid that fits all shapes and sizes of containers, had unexpectedly attained over 18,000 backers in 108 countries through blockbuster crowdfunding campaigns that raised almost $800,000.

The UniLid Team Tells Their Story:

What’s more, their chosen manufacturer was located in China, and manufacturing overseas had automatically added extra steps. With the amount of orders that awaited them, Lau and Mouler’s original plan of packing and mailing orders from home wouldn’t cut it–“unless you want your customers to wait a year to get the product,” Mouler said.

While raising funds on Indiegogo’s InDemand platform, Lau and Mouler learned about Indiegogo’s shipping and fulfillment partnership with Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services, which offers free fulfillment consultations, bulk shipping discounts, and other benefits to crowdfunding entrepreneurs. After understanding the scope of their fulfillment situation, the duo began collaborating with the Ingram Micro team to speed the process up.

Luckily, Ingram Micro had already prepared for the unique challenges of crowdfunding campaign fulfillment. “A lot of times, when you’re working with a fulfillment company, they’ll have processes set up for monthly orders, or orders coming day in and day out,” said Jonathan Tran, Head of Growth and Partnerships at Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services. “But no one was there to step up to the [campaigner’s] challenge of, ‘I have this hockey-stick growth of orders coming in by the tens of thousands…and I need to send to my backers yesterday.” Tran noted, “We were ready to step up to that challenge.”

The collaboration helped the UniLid team explore several fulfillment strategies to maximize savings of both time and money. One was using an Ingram Micro fulfillment center in Shenzen, China, very close to their manufacturer. Fulfillment is usually cheaper when done close to the point of manufacture, because the product can travel less distance overall. Ingram Micro also shared with Lau and Mouler three different international shipping options, eventually settling on direct cross-border shipping. (Watch the video below to learn more about this strategy.)

Additionally, Ingram Micro helped Lau and Mouler optimize their product packaging. Small changes in package size and weight can significantly impact shipping costs for crowdfunding entrepreneurs, due to the scale of large orders–and to varying pricing structures from different parcel carriers. After reviewing their options, the UniLid team and Ingram Micro decided to switch from shipping in solid boxes to lighter poly mailer bags. This weight reduction allowed UniLid to use a more cost-effective carrier, while still providing solid product protection.

Finally, Ingram Micro chose to award flash funding to UniLid to help their business grow. Indiegogo backers were invited to vote on which of several finalists would receive the largest prize, and UniLid came out on top, winning $50,000 in cash. “We were excited to give flash funding to UniLid because their product is very eco-friendly and innovative,” Tran said.

The results of this support and these strategies?

Quick fulfillment. With Ingram Micro’s help, Lau and Mouler were able to deliver more than 18,000 UniLid orders in just three months–an impressive timeframe for such a high-volume crowdfunding campaign.

They also saved money. Reducing their package size and weight ultimately lowered their average shipping cost by 35 percent.

“Working with Ingram Micro made our Indiegogo crowdfunding experience really great,” Lau said. “We were able to transition easily from the crowdfunding stage to the fulfillment stage seamlessly.”

 

Indiegogo has partnered with Ingram Micro to help entrepreneurs fulfill their orders with ease – whether you’ve just launched your campaign or are looking to scale your business – and can offer exclusive shipping benefits, flash funding opportunities, and cost-cutting technology to help you ship smarter, faster. Set yourself up for the same success as UniLid with a free shipping consultation with a member of Ingram Micro’s team.

Download Our Shipping & Fulfillment Guide

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