The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly taken a toll on industries like hospitality, food service, and entertainment. What you may not know is that the pandemic has also had an impact on the retail industry: a shortage of shipping containers has led to long wait times from exporting countries and rising prices for consumers, and backups at ports aren’t helping. This means many creators who are using Kickstarter to fund their projects are experiencing the frustration of delayed shipments, and the unenjoyable task of communicating that delay to their backers. Even without the delays caused by the pandemic, slow downs can happen: customs, port strikes, ocean currents, and other rare occurrences can extend your shipping time. Here are our top tips for how to manage shipping delays gracefully.
When it comes to giving your backers an estimated arrival time for your project, don’t be too optimistic: of course, it would be great if every step of the shipping process was on time, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Be sure to work in some buffer time into your calculation so that when delays happen, you’re prepared.
PrintNinja always recommends padding your timeline and ordering as early as you are able. While we will do all we can to meet a requested timeline, we cannot offer guarantees, and we never want to sacrifice the quality of your project. Our estimates are just that, estimates, and while the majority of our projects fall within those listed turnaround times, delays are possible when custom manufacturing your unique book or game.
When you get the news that your shipment is delayed, don’t try to hide it from your backers — in fact, you’ll want to communicate to them the situation as soon as possible. Backers understand that stuff happens, but you’ll want to let them know about the delays right away so that they have realistic expectations. They’ll be patient with unexpected delays as long as you’re transparent about the cause of the delay, how you’re addressing it, and when they can expect to receive their rewards. Honesty is the best policy!
If your actual project is delayed by months, you may want to offer an extra perk to tide your backers over. A small product that can be printed domestically is a great idea since you won’t be dealing with international shipping logistics, like a sticker of some art from your project. Alternatively, you could offer your backers a discount on any previous projects you’ve printed or are planning to print. If you want to factor in extras before you fund your project in the form of stretch goals, check out our tips and tricks here.
Shipping delays can be rough, but with clear communication and creative ideas, you can satisfy your backers even with timeline delays. Want to print your Kickstarter project with PrintNinja? Check out our Kickstarter promotion for exclusive perks!