Creating a retailer-friendly Kickstarter project is not an easy task, but it’s far from impossible.
Gary Ray of Black Diamond Games talks on his blog about what a retailer would look for in a Kickstarter project. In short, a retailer would be looking for a 40%-50% discount on a product (plus free shipping); and under those conditions might purchase 3-4 copies. In addition, a retailer is naturally uninterested in the very reward types upon which Kickstarter is based. The retailer wants Kickstarter to work like the hobby games retail channels, and the project creator is not using the hobby games retail channels for a reason.
The difficulty here is that the goals of the hobby retail channel (the retailers) and Kickstarter are not aligned. From the retailer’s point-of-view, he’s “purchasing” a product; from the project creator’s point-of-view, he’s not “selling” a product, he’s raising funds for one.
So, how can it work for both? Let’s look at the projects Black Diamond Games chose to back:
- Journeys to the West offered the book to fans for $50, and five copies to retailers for $75. In addition, five autographed copies were available for $85 total.
- Random Dungeon Generator as a Map offered the poster to fans for $17 and ten posters for $50.
- Gaming Dice in Chocolate and Sugar offered a set of dice to fans for $15 and eight sets to retailers for $100 (not much of a discount on that one).
Whether this can work for you depends on your production costs. If you’re producing a print-on-demand book (which costs, say, $15 to make) you probably aren’t in a position to offer a discount - unless you’re able to persuade the fans that $50 is a good price so that you can give five copies to retailers for $25 each. That can happen, of course, so don’t discount it; it’s just a bit harder to do.
If your largest cost is your own time (i.e. you make your product yourself), then you’re in a much stronger position. You can offer substantial discounts if you don’t have a high locked-in per-unit production cost.
So the general template for a retailer-friendly Kickstarter project look like this (make sure you do your math first - you don’t want to actually lose money!):
- One of your rewards is one copy of the physical product. It may have other rewards attached (credit rights, input, what-have-you) but retailers won’t care about that. View this as a basic “pre-order” price; this is the retail price of your product, and is designed for FANS (not retailers) to grab a single copy of your product.
- Partway up the reward structure offer a RETAILER reward. This will be 4-5 units of the physical product, have no “vanity” rewards (no credits, NPCs named after you, creative input, access to private forums, etc.); however it should be set at about 60% of the value of (the basic product x 5).
- You can offer autographed copies to retailers; that’s something they may be interested in. Don’t add more than a few bucks for those, though, unless you’re really super-famous.
- This is obvious, of course, but ensure that the price you’re selling to the retailers (60% of the price you’re selling to fans) doesn’t lose you money. Because you’re charging the fans much more, you’ll be making up the value to them with the rewards that the retailer isn’t interested in; for that extra 40% or so, the fan is getting the intangible perks.
So, in summary: offer fans intangible perks, offer retailers discounts instead, don’t lose money. Hopefully this page is of some help.