We recently announced that we were eliminating the option for international shipping in our crowdfunding campaigns. We've tried several things over the years, but nothing has worked well in balancing costs, times, and frustration.
Our last Kickstarter campaign to offer international shipping -- Steve Jackson's Munchkin Presents Batman -- set the shipping costs higher than we would have liked. Backers in the EU, for example, were charged $32 for shipping their $50 reward. Worse still, that $32 did not include local taxes or fees; that was the raw cost of prepping and sending the game to the EU.
Not surprisingly, many were disgusted by the cost of shipping relative to the cost of the game, but that was a reality we had to face. Little did we know, though, that even that price wasn't enough to truly cover the cost of shipping the game to another nation.
As the warehouse in Georgia packs and ships the international Kickstarter rewards, we're left with a fulfillment bill that exceeds what we charged for shipping the game to international backers.
Our average cost per package for the games sent to Canada, the EU, and the UK, is roughly $40. And this is working through the best rates our primary warehouse -- a fulfillment service that ships tens of thousands of games every month -- could secure.
Making matters even more terrible for everyone involved, that $40/package does not include any local fees. So when our project supporters in other countries receive their rewards, they'll have to pay a percentage of the overall cost (the game plus shipping) to receive their game.
Combine this with the downturn in orders from international distributors, and we have a recipe for a very unfun frustrating experience for those outside of the United States who would like to play our games.
We hope to see things change for the better soon, but all signs point to harsher, rougher times ahead when it comes to selling our titles to gamers outside of the United States.
-- Phil Reed