Secret Base Blog
Good, cheap, fast global Kickstarter fulfillment Part 3 - Proof; the Grail Games Interview.
- Created: Monday, 23 February 2015
- Written by Kim
So what is it like to actually use Send From China to fulfill a Kickstarter game project to every country all at once?
Just how cheap is it? How does it work? How easy is it to use? How are their communication skills and reliability? How long does it all take?
Is it really as good as it sounds?
In good, cheap, fast global Kickstarter fulfillment - Part 1: Why, we looked at the frustrations of non-US Kickstarter backers and of the project creators trying to satisfy them.
In good, cheap, fast global Kickstarter fulfillment Part 2 - How, we looked at a great new way of doing global kickstarter fulfillment by airmail direct from China.
1. How do you rate SFCs communications in term of:
English language fluency
10/10! I would have expected nothing more from an Australian company. The English of my representative is impeccable. On occasion I also had contact with other employees who also had perfect English. Generic emails to all users are bilingual (Chinese/English). It's just great. I felt like I was understood at every step of the way. I didn't have to "dumb-down" what I was saying at any time.
All of my messages have always been responded to within 24 hours, often quicker. If I needed a response immediately I used the online chat option, which wasn't with my specific rep but good just the same. I am informed by SFC whenever my rep will be on leave or if there are any problems with my orders or service. I don't need to discover it for myself.
2. How easy or difficult is the SFC software to use?
Extremely simple. It's a very visual interface. I tried another company's service first and I could not make sense of it. SFC has a 100% English version of its site that is totally understandable, readable and usable.
One word of advice, though, don't use Internet Explorer. Occasionally (not always) pop-ups don't appear in that browser. This is a known issue to SFC.
Once I did have a problem uploading a batch order file. I couldn't get the site to accept it. I emailed my rep and she said "email it to me and I'll do it for you." Whatever was wrong for me worked fine for her! All good.
3. Do you have any recommendations for how to arrange or format recipient data for upload into the SFC software?
This was the hardest part. The backer info you get from the Kickstarter site is not easily transferrable to an excel spreadsheet in the format required by the SFC system. This took me many hours. I suggest downloading the SFC batch order template first and then enter each backer's details across one at a time. Do that early, maybe even as each survey comes in, not all at once. Trying to do it at the last minute will not happen!
4. What information did you include on the label and why. Are there things you wish you'd included that you didn't?
All I did was enter the information that the system required. I didn't add anything to it, saw no reason to, really.
We had a bit of back and forth about what labelling the boxes of games from the manufacturer required (mostly so the Chinese drivers would understand it) but the manufacturer and SFC worked together on this, I didn't have to do much other than approve it. It was simple.
5. What are the dimensions and weight of the item you posted to backers.
6. What packaging did you use and how much did it cost per item.
With my basic, cheap service I allowed them to decide on the package options. Single games were shipped in a simple, bubble pack envelope. Bulk orders were sent in boxes, etc., depending on size.
With my service I don't have costs itemised by shipping and packing costs, it's all lumped together.
7. Averaged across all locations – how much did each package cost (USD) to store, pick, pack and send:
US$3.50 / AUD$4.50 Yes, that is not a typo. Keep in mind I took a gamble with the cheapest shipping options (99% of the time) and my game is small. 95% of my almost 1000 backers were in North America, Europe and Australia and the difference in cost to these three continents was negligible. This cost does not include my small monthly fee for using the service (this you set up each month depending on your cubic metres in the warehouse and number of orders to ship.)
8. On average, how long did it take for items to be sent out once you had entered backer details into the system.
About three days. Once you enter an order it might get "processed" very quickly but "packing" takes at least a day and "shipped" won't be ticked for at least a couple of days. If you do hundreds of orders at once this lengthens more.
9. On average how long did each package take to arrive to backers from the time you entered the their details in the system.
This was the weird part. (I do not blame SFC for this but each country's mail service.) I did not pay for tracking or express service so I can't really complain, but games took anything from a few days to a month to arrive at homes. This happened seemingly randomly. Two backers living in the same house had their games sent on the same day but their games arrived a week apart!
10. What damage / loss % rate have you suffered for sent packages?
I have as of today sent 920 games to backers. One was returned undeliverable to SFC and that backer has since given me an updated address to try again. Two games (that I have heard of) received box denting. I have not been informed of any lost games or any deliveries where the game itself was damaged. WOO!
11. How do you / SFC deal with damaged or lost packages?
I will resend for damaged games. Lost packages haven't happened yet (WOO AGAIN!)
12. Did you encounter any other issues with the fulfillment process, and how would you handle those differently next time?
Nope! I cannot recommend this service enough. I will be using them to send out all my reviewer copies too. If anything, I wish I gave them double the stock. I have hundreds of games at my house that I wish were being stored at SFC (they charge you for that but still!) Next time I will treat them as my fulfilment service and warehouse and whenever a game needs to be sent anywhere in the future I will use them.
13. Do you need to include the cost of postage in the items listed value on the label, or did you just list the items value excluding fulfillment costs?
The item's value. Not the delivery cost. If using a higher service you also need to list an insurance cost (usually the same as the item cost.)
14. Would you use SFC again?
I have countless examples of how SFC went out of their way to help me. I am so impressed. A really big one was when their Shenzhen warehouse was declared full a couple of weeks before my games were due to show up there. I could no longer use it and that meant their free pick-up offer from my manufacturer in Shenzhen would be lost. Thankfully, they still gave me this deal even though my games had to be driven to a whole other province!
We talked about Kickstarter. I recommended looking at Send From China and a couple of others. I interviewed him and eventually got a copy of One Zero One.
That is all.