Following some good advice in a recent article by Chris Henderson and using a Carcassonne box as a reference, we’re planning to use Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment for handling reward delivery to US backers.
Countdown: 71 days. We had Relic Expedition manufactured in China, and we are planning to do the same for Lanterns. After the games are produced, we have to pay to ship them in one bulk shipment from the manufacturer to a warehouse/location where we could take possession/store them. Because we live in the United States and most of our Relic Expedition backers were in the United States, we chose for that warehouse to be in the United States. Games to backers in the United States could be mailed from there using the US Postal Service or UPS/FedEx.
After that, we have to pay to ship the games in many small individual shipments to backers. This is often called “fulfillment,” that term coming from a sales/pre-order system where orders are being fulfilled. (I prefer to call this phase “reward delivery” in the context of a Kickstarter project.) We used a single company to deliver our Relic Expedition rewards, store our remaining inventory, and then to put the game into distribution. (I’m sure I’ll talk about distribution in another post.) We were happy with the reward delivery work they did for us, but we don’t plan to use them for distribution on Lanterns: that means we’ll need to use a different reward delivery option, as well. Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment is one of the more popular options among board game Kickstarter project creators right now. Chris Henderson (a Relic Expedition backer!) is writing a fantastic series about working with them, and we’re following his advice: http://gameswithoutstrings.wordpress.com/…. We’re evaluating both his DIY approach and his Amazon approach.
The first step is to estimate the dimensions and the weight. I signed up for a Stamps.com account to mail out copies of Relic Expedition, and they gave me a very discounted electronic scale to measure weight for postage. I ordered a new copy of Carcassonne last week, which has one of the box sizes I’m imagining for Lanterns and some similar components (punchboards of tiles). I took out the wood components and the score track, kept in the insert and the rulebook and six punchboards, and added in mini cards from Ticket to Ride to get an estimated weight of 1 pound, 7.1 ounces for just the game and 1 pound, 14 ounces with a packing box.
For Amazon Fulfillment, Lanterns would be considered “Standard Size” and “Non-Media”. That size uses this chart, for a cost of $6.40:
($4.75 per order) + ($0.75 per item) + ($0.45 per pound x 2 pounds)
I don’t know if Amazon includes the weight of the box, but I think we’ll be safely under 2 pounds. I know the USPS weight will include the box weight, so I used 2 pounds for estimates on the USPS website. I’ll also have to pay for a box, but let’s start with postage:
- To ship this from Dallas to my business partner in Portland, OR would cost $8.76 (via standard mail).
- To ship this from Dallas to a family member in Tulsa, OK would cost $6.15 (via priority mail).
- To ship this from Dallas to a nearby Dallas suburb would cost $5.80 (via priority mail).
After I pay for a box, which (based on Chris Henderson’s experience) could be at least 35¢ each, it looks like Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment is cheaper for all but the closest backers.
Next step: Sign up for Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment.
Box Size Update: Now that I hold Carcassonne in my hands, I think this box size actually feels too big for Lanterns. It might just be that 2.5″ inches is too deep, but it might also be too long and wide.