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Value in "Free Shipping?"

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chris_mancini
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With so many designers looking to Kickstarter to launch and selling direct through a personal website to extend the life of their game, I wanted to pose a question to the community. Let's assume for the purposes of this query that the game is solid, well-liked and there's little question as to whether or not a given person would enjoy playing this game...in other words, take opinion of the game out of it and judge solely on the merits of the offer in question...

How much value is there in offering "free shipping?"
If a game is sold for $20, and shipping runs another $5.95 (the cost of a USPS flat rate small box), is this less appealing to the point of potentially losing sales?

If a designer "can afford" to offer free shipping in their pricing and take less profit while still maintaining a decent margin, is the offer so attractive that it will push an indifferent person to click "buy?" Basically, will a game sell more with free shipping than one with a fee? Is it ultimately worth it for the designer/publisher?

Casamyr
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Depends if shipping is free

Depends if shipping is free worldwide. I would have no problem paying a slightly increased price point if I can get free shipping out here to New Zealand. In some cases, the cost of shipping can be almost as much as paying for the game itself.

radioactivemouse
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shipping

chris_mancini wrote:
With so many designers looking to Kickstarter to launch and selling direct through a personal website to extend the life of their game, I wanted to pose a question to the community. Let's assume for the purposes of this query that the game is solid, well-liked and there's little question as to whether or not a given person would enjoy playing this game...in other words, take opinion of the game out of it and judge solely on the merits of the offer in question...

How much value is there in offering "free shipping?"
If a game is sold for $20, and shipping runs another $5.95 (the cost of a USPS flat rate small box), is this less appealing to the point of potentially losing sales?

If a designer "can afford" to offer free shipping in their pricing and take less profit while still maintaining a decent margin, is the offer so attractive that it will push an indifferent person to click "buy?" Basically, will a game sell more with free shipping than one with a fee? Is it ultimately worth it for the designer/publisher?

If the game is truly good, then the cost of shipping doesn't matter.

However, in terms of International shipping, if the designer can somehow pad the cost (1/2 off or something), then it can be viable since international shipping can be quite costly.

But if it's made in the US and shipped in the US, the cost of shipping is negligible in my opinion.

Soulfinger
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In terms of running a KS, I

In terms of running a KS, I think it depends if you have options for upselling. Free shipping does work for creating perceived value. Very few consumers truly comprehend shipping costs, and so they feel ripped off paying $5 S&H for an item that cost $1 to package and $6 to ship. That's the big disadvantage with charging, customers don't perceive a sense of value no matter what sort of break they get. You see this on eBay. There is definitely a sense of entitlement thanks to the major retailers.

However, if you are upselling with a handful of upgrade options then charging a flat-rate generates a sense of customer captivity. The customer buys the $20 game + $5.95 flat rate shipping. They then have a sense of investment, so it is sensible to generate additional value by buying four more supplements at $10 each with no additional shipping. Amazon does this well with their Prime membership. You pay in $100 or so to get free shipping, so the consumer is inevitably going to maximize the value of their investment by ordering more goods.

So, it's really a matter of how you frame it.

Soulfinger
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Casamyr wrote:Depends if

Casamyr wrote:
Depends if shipping is free worldwide. I would have no problem paying a slightly increased price point if I can get free shipping out here to New Zealand. In some cases, the cost of shipping can be almost as much as paying for the game itself.

Unfortunately, the price for shipping from the United States to New Zealand jumped significantly back at the end of 2013. Sending a pound worth of product to you runs about $17.50 now, which is somewhere between two to three times what it cost back in the good ol' days, and that's first class delivery without any insurance. The hike really made doing business overseas difficult. It used to cost me less to ship to Canada than it did domestically, and now I pay at least twice as much as with domestic delivery.

Casamyr
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I know shipping here sucks

I know shipping here sucks because we are so far away from anything, but your comment earlier was exactly on the money. If the consumer is getting value for money then, shipping is not going to be an issue. I paid NZ$120 shipping for Zombicide Black Plague and considering the value, while expensive, I feel I'm getting a good deal.

Some kickstarters I've backed have made the price point higher and had shipping included with the product.

chris_mancini
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Casamyr that gets right to

Casamyr that gets right to the heart of the question...is there any perceived difference between "$20 game+$10 shipping" and "$30 game with free shipping?"

I suppose its hard to remove the dynamics of the game, as people will create a perceived value based on components, quality and how many plays they'll likely get out of it. Therefor if a person thinks "that game shouldn't cost more than $20," a $30+free shipping may not seem like such a deal as meeting their perceived value of $20 with an obligatory shipping charge on top of it.

Interesting feedback all, thanks! I hope this helps others who are mulling over the KS idea...

Casamyr
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That's the crux of it. Though

That's the crux of it. Though coming from a marketing strategy, when people see free shipping they have this perception that it's a better deal without realising that shipping is built into the price point. it's a bit like that psychological trick that shops use when pricing something at $9.99 rather than $10.00. we see that as being under $10 and think it's not too bad.

I Will Never Gr...
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My personal belief is ..

I personally believe that Kickstarter backers are, more and more, coming to expect shipping costs to be either included in the pledge amount or a minimal amount on top of the pledge, based on location

For example, many campaigns include "free" US Shipping, $5 extra to Canada/UK, $10 extra for "ROW/Rest of the World".

Obviously it costs more than that to actually ship, and everyone knows this (even those who don't appreciate the intricacies and costs of shipping products), and everyone knows that some of the cost of shipping is included in the pledge price, however there are ways to mitigate your shipping costs.

Using a fulfillment center is almost a must. Not only do you not have the burden of a bazillion games in your garage/basement/spare room/living room and your significant others ire at that situation, you also don't have the burden of packing and shipping countless boxes to each and every individual backer (which alone could take you weeks to do) but it also provides you with a single, flat cost per package based on final destination and most of the better fulfillment companies will tell you what that cost is and what the best solution would be for your situation right up front (Ship from the US, ship from China, ship from multiple locations?).

Plus, those fulfillment centers can ship a lot cheaper than you as an individual can because they have bulk deals with the various carriers.
Take UPS for example. I have a bulk discount with them. To ship a 1 pound shipment (they calculate based on volume, not actual weight) would cost the typical person about $25 (Canadian .. not sure in the US or elsewhere). The exact same shipment costs me $10.

TL;DR

Free Shipping adds a perceived value, yes. Is it realistic? That depends on your product and your campaign.

Evil ColSanders
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Add the cost of shipping to

Add the cost of shipping to the final cost and say free shipping. It would seem like a deal and I'd buy into that. I wouldn't fault you for it. I would do it too. I have a friend that is, staying PG, a real SCROOGE; Always looking for a deal. If you're the only one selling it, though, who else can they get it from?

Bottom line, you need to look out for you. Don't eat 5-10 dollars on every sale just to appease some percentage. Buyers will buy your game if you sell them on the video and gameplay. Cheapskates will complain the game isn't cheaper even with free shipping and wouldn't have bought your game anyway.

Soulfinger
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Evil ColSanders wrote:Bottom

Evil ColSanders wrote:
Bottom line, you need to look out for you. Don't eat 5-10 dollars on every sale just to appease some percentage. Buyers will buy your game if you sell them on the video and gameplay. Cheapskates will complain the game isn't cheaper even with free shipping and wouldn't have bought your game anyway.

What you are describing is more of a socio-economic divide in the demographics that we are marketing to. Yes, you can be like Games Workshop and produce the Harley Davidson of games, a "premium" luxury item marketed toward people with disposable incomes. But, do you really want to dismiss less affluent customers as being mere "cheapskates" and complainers? This is an important demographic, particularly for start-ups.

Evil ColSanders
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I AM dismissing them here.

I AM dismissing them here. Kickstarter is not a place for "deals". You are paying out of pocket for a product you may not get for MONTHS (if at all). This IS the place for people with disposable income. If you REALLY want it, you'll save a few bucks, eat out less, spend less, like in the good ol' days. If you're main complaint is "if it were a few bucks cheaper", you probably weren't going to buy it in the first place.

If your game is a bunch of cards and no components, I'm sure you could wiggle a little, but it usually isn't. People fund ABSURDLY expensive games like Kaos Ball, Super Dungeon Explore, and Kingdom Death: Monster. The games WILL hit their goal (assuming hype and selling you on the video) with or without the cheapskates. The cheapskates will just wait til it hits cool stuff for 5-10 dollars more than the kickstarter price and buy it then, believing they got a deal. VIDEO games used to be 50 bucks. They uped it to 60 10 years ago. People complained and you know what? They still bought them and are still buying them. I worked in a board game shop and people always reeled in pain when I told them the price. I always compare it to video games and also how much you play the game pays for itself. People don't see that. We're ignorant and only see dollar signs.

For me, if you charge me shipping, I don't mind because I know it's the cost of doing business. I don't LIKE it, but I understand. I used to complain up a storm about shipping, but that's because I was either making jack sh!t or unemployed. I wish I could slap my younger self and say "Priorities, stupid! Why are you buying this? You have RENT!"

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