Last week, we talked about how to get a project set up on BackerKit, but getting set up is only half the battle. To get a project to completion, it’s important for a project creator to know about how and when they should wind everything down.
Lockdown is the phase in which a crowdfunded project is no longer taking new orders or allowing adjustments on old ones . You could think of it as being the light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of backer progression. It is the last phase before physical shipping is handled.
However, a lockdown is never just as simple as hitting one button. Instead, there’s a series of phases to think about in terms of getting everyone finalized:
- Notify (“I need to know what my backers want!”)
- Lockdown (“I need to get counts for manufacturing!”)
- Charge (“I need money!”)
- Ship (“I need to send things out!”)
A project creator needs to constantly think about how their backers are doing. At any given time, different backers will be actively working through the different stages of the flow. It is not uncommon to have one pool of backers finalize their orders as soon as BackerKit invites go out, while others might not log in until the day lockdown happens. BackerKit comes with a handy page for keeping track of everyone’s progress.
The first step is to notify your backers about when your lockdown date is happening. This helps backers know that they have until a specific set date to make orders. Be sure to engage them through email, blog posts, and social networks to maximize the reach your project has on keeping everyone updated. A good rule of thumb is to notify everyone a week or two in advance of an expected lockdown date.
For example: If a project is locking down on October 31st, let backers know about it the week of October 21st. Blog about it, Tweet about it, do everything you can to get the word out to as many of your backers as possible about when you need your orders finalized.
Secondly, it’s fundamentally important to remind backers about the states that they’re in every now and then. In the Backer Progress section, you can keep track of a backer’s state. Remember: your goal is to get these numbers down to 0, and get everyone to the Ready to Ship state.
BackerKit provides a comprehensive view of how different backers are progressing through the BackerKit flow. page gives a complete overview of several different order states: Open, Locked Down, Paid, Errored, Ready to Ship, and Shipped. Each of these different states covers where a backer is at in the BackerKit flow. This page also provides some useful stats for project creators, such as the total sum of money pledged for addons, how much of it has been collected, and the total amount of funds that remain to be collected.
The various panes of the Backer Progress page allows you to manage individual backers, all of which are organized by their different states. Additionally, the project creators can track how many backers have completed BackerKit, how many haven’t, and how many have yet to be invited.
Suppose you have everybody locked down, but due to some circumstance, a backer missed the opportunity to log in to BackerKit. How do you unlock that person so that they can fill out their survey and make some add-on purchases?
All a project creator has to do is go to a backer’s profile, and hit “Unlock”. Just let your backer know that they’re unlocked, and have them ping you once they’re ready to be charged for their purchases. Afterwards, you can move them back down to lockdown.
In order for all orders to be ready to ship, it’s essential to check that all of your backers have paid for outstanding charges if they owed any. Some backers don’t have any add-ons to buy, so locking them down doesn’t require any charge. For everyone else, a project creator can easily run the charges under the “Need to Charge” section.
Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that occasionally, a card transaction will error. This can happen for some backers trying to make International purchases; some banks have built-in fraud protection. The best way to deal with these errors is on a case-by-case basis: if a transaction has errored, try to have the backer put in their card details again, then re-run the transaction by hitting “charge” on their profile. If the problem persists, gently ask them to inquire about why the charge was declined with their banking institution.
Ready to Ship
Once an order is locked down, charged, and finalized, a project creator can consider it ready to ship. At this point, there’s little left to do other than mark orders as “Shipped” once they’re on the truck heading out for delivery.
Once all of your orders are marked as “Shipped”, you’re all done! Go take a break, you’ve earned it!