How to Take Care of Your International Backers on Kickstarter

International backers are important participants on Kickstarter. When Kickstarter hit their billionth pledge, the platform shared just how active international backers are:

https://www.kickstarter.com/1billion

It’s critical for creators to not forget about their international backers and make sure Kickstarter products are easily available to them. When setting up rewards in Kickstarter however, there are a few ways to handle shipping to international backers.

Option 1:

Select the “Ship Everywhere” option where you can set one shipping price for all international backers. Seems like a great option, right? The problem with this option is shipping to Singapore versus shipping to Canada are vastly different in costs (especially when shipping heavier rewards like books). You may end up losing money on some countries or charging too much for others. Either way, it is not fair for backers nor for you as a creator.

Option 2:

Collect shipping after the Kickstarter campaign is over. This may seem like a good option because then the creator can charge the proper shipping amount once the campaign is over. The problem with this is backers are now charged another fee which they probably weren’t expecting and this can feel like a hidden cost. If they had know the shipping costs upfront, they might not have backed the campaign. This can lead to a negative user experience.

Option 3:

Create unique shipping rates for every country. The problem with this option is you need to add every country one by one as there is no bulk import on Kickstarter. Plus there are hundreds of countries to choose from (including Antartica!) so this could take a long time. However, despite this initial hurdle, this is the best option out of the 3. It may take extra time to determine all the shipping costs beforehand, but it is worth the time to ensure backers are charged the correct shipping amount and they are made aware of the expense before making their pledge. That way when the Kickstarter campaign ends, there are no surprises.

DDP VS DDU

The most important thing to consider for international backers is DDP vs DDU. Some of you might be wondering, what the heck does that stand for? DDP stands for Duties Delivered Paid and DDU is Duties Delivered Unpaid.

Duties Delivered Unpaid: The delivery duty for the buyer’s country is unpaid and the buyer needs to pay for it including delivery charges, all duties, taxes and importing burden. Source

Aka — the buyer needs to contact their local customs office and declare the purchase and pay all the taxes and duties for it.

Duties Delivered Paid: The delivery duty for the buyer’s country is paid already by the seller including all duties, taxes and delivery charges, thus the seller only has to pay for the actual price of the item. Source

Aka — the seller paid all these fees for you, so there is nothing to worry about for the buyer except paying for the cost of the item and shipping!

You can imagine the problems when items are shipped DDU. If the buyer is unaware of the fact that they are responsible for declaring the item, and it goes unpaid, they will most likely never receive their product. It will get shipped back to you the seller. You will also have to pay the return shipping costs and will have one angry/sad backer with no reward on your hands.

International backers are super important and deserve to receive their rewards via a stress-free process. That’s why for our current Kickstarter campaign, the Hackpack, we added the customs/duties for every country we ship to. This is already included in the shipping cost (Option 3). So no, not every country is listed, but we are happy to add any country who wants to back us and sends us a message! Our reward shipping costs might appear “costly” to some, but we hope anyone who has had a negative experience in receiving international purchases will rejoice to see DDP!

You can check out my campaign here.

Shout out to all our international backers! ❤
<Kim>