BackerKit Postage: Origin Story
We noticed that a large percentage of our customers were handling shipping themselves, but they were overwhelmed by the shipping process because packing orders, buying postage, printing out labels, and filling out customs forms was (and still is) an incredibly tedious process.
We visited several customers like Jason Hui from Prometheus Lights and Peter Dering from Peak Design to help them pack and ship to learn about the challenges of shipping without the help of a fulfillment house. We used the pain points we observed during those on-site field trips as inspiration for many of the features we built into BackerKit Postage.
We designed the BackerKit Postage system to provide everything a creator needs to handle USPS fulfillment on their own. You can getting shipping cost estimates, batch purchase postage, print labels and customs forms like many shipping software tools, and we also added special automation features to transform creators into shipping wizards.
The BackerKit survey and order management system works perfectly with our shipping software because all of your backer information and pledge data is automatically organized into complete orders that are ready for shipping.
This saves you from having to go through your survey responses and creating your orders by hand.
Packing orders sounds like a straight-forward process. Just print the item pack list, grab a box, then go to the inventory and pull out all of items on the pack list, right? The problem with this approach is that it requires too much thinking. You need to read the pack list, figure out which box will work best for the order size, then walk around your inventory area to find each item and drop it into the box. Each step adds time to the packing process.
We built the package groups feature to turn the packing task into a lightning-quick “assembly line” process. Our package group feature sorts all of your orders into groups that all contain the same items. This allows you to quickly process orders that have identical item contents to remove all thinking from the process. You can then focus on packing one type of order at a time, making the entire process nice and meditative…you will be closer to becoming a zen master of packing!
Here’s the zen way of packing: select your package group, purchase postage and print out shipping labels, set out the single box type for that package group, and then line up the exact inventory item containers that you need. Now, the packing task is simplified to grabbing a box and dropping in one item from each container until you’re at the end of the line.
Printing pick lists, shipping labels, and filling out customs forms one-by-one is painful. Opening a new window and clicking print over and over again is ridiculous. We made it easy for creators to batch-print pack lists, shipping labels and customs forms for multiple packages with a single click.
Purchase the postage for a package group, then batch print all of the materials that you will need for the packing and labeling process, and you’re ready to put together your package assembly line.
Sending shipment tracking numbers out to backers is one of those tasks that creators tend to put off until later to figure out. The BackerKit Postage system automatically adds the tracking number to each backer’s profile and sends out a shipment notification email after you mark backers as “Shipped.”We have shipment notifications covered for customers using a fulfillment house too. You can connect to your fulfillment house through one of our API integrations or you can upload a list of backers with tracking numbers to automatically mark those backers as “Shipped” in BackerKit and send out notification emails.
Nearly all of the features we’ve built into BackerKit can be traced back to one simple question: “How can we make things easier for creators?” We followed that approach when we designed the BackerKit Postage software and we’re ecstatic now that hundreds of our 1,200+ project creators have used the system to ship packages to their backers.
For creators that have used the system already, be on the lookout for new feature updates and user interface tweaks. We’re constantly making improvements based on feedback from creators and our customer success team.