Thanks to crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, entrepreneurs and startup owners can have a better alternative to bank loans or venture capital investors when raising money for their projects.
While there were only a handful of distribution channels available for crowdfunding campaigns back in 2008, the industry has grown exponentially in the last 8 years, reaching and even exceeding 2,000 unique options.
With over $1.04 billion raised in 2018 in the United States*, the crowdfunding opportunity is huge.
As the popularity of using crowdfunding platforms to validate ideas and the initial funding for a product or project, there remains the challenge of keeping the momentum going after your crowdfunding campaign has completed and transforming your crowdfunding success into a sustainable business for the long term.
To help, the team at Idea Plotting has identified thirteen post campaign opportunities where you can continue to sell your products and grow your business.
1. Kickstarter + Amazon Launchpad
You’re probably already using this one. If not, you’ve definitely heard of Kickstarter before.
Being launched from it’s home base of New York back in 2009, Kickstarter has managed to bring over 167,942 projects to life so far.
As the world’s largest funding platform, expect to find a community of over 12 million members eager to back up creative ideas and to help fund your project. So far, Kickstarter members have managed to raise a whopping USD $4.4+ billion.
Unlike other crowdfunding platforms that have started to enter in joint-ventures with other platforms, Kickstarter has taken it slowly.
Their first partnership came to life in July 2016. Amazon Launchpad (see below), another powerful crowdfunding distribution channel, has created its own dedicated page for unique Kickstarter projects.
Specialists predict that Kickstarter won’t stop here, now that they’ve got the taste of partnerships. This platform is definitely a great place to bring your ideas to life. You can use their app for maximum versatility and ease of control while on the go.
2. Indiegogo InDemand
Launched in 2008, Indiegogo is one of the oldest crowdfunding platforms, a pioneer in this industry.
Indiegogo runs on a unique reward-based system. Customer, investors or donors can receive a gift for their donation instead of equity in the company. (Aside: Indiegogo did attempt to enter the equity funding space but that didn’t last long.).
Indiegogo features a wide variety of cutting-edge tools that enable campaigners to promote their projects and to reach the most people possible.
Whether it’s a gadget, a movie, or any other product or service, use the platform and their extended ecosystem of partners to promote your project all across the web.
Once a crowdfunding campaign has completed, customers can still make orders for your product via the “in demand” feature.
Since this feature is not offered by Kickstarter, many successful Kickstarter campaigns will move to Indiegogo when their Kickstarter has finalized so they can still take
pre-orders from backers that didn’t have the opportunity to buy during the live campaign.
You can find out more about how InDemand works here: https://learn.indiegogo.com/indemand/
Brookstone + Indiegogo Procurement Partners No Longer
Update 2019 it seem the Brookstone + Indiegogo partnership is no longer. Below is kept for historical reference. When searching, as of August 2019, the only Indiegogo product we could find still available on Brookstone are these cat ears at a discount.
As one of the most famous American retail chains, Brookstone decided to make use of crowdfunding in order to sell their high-tech gadgets faster.
Brookstone had entered into a partnership with Indiegogo, which allowed campaigners to submit their projects directly on the Brookstone website or via the longer available Indiegogo + Brookstone partnership page.
Next, the retail chain chose those projects with an expected high outcome and helped with the design, manufacturing and distribution of the products.
You can take a look here at some of the crowdfunded products that were sold at Brookstone to consumers outside the crowdfunding space.
Brookstone Launch, the platform that helped campaigners to give shape to their innovative ideas, was perfect for every type of campaigner, including:
- regular people with a smart idea
The dream was that with this former opportunity crowdfunders’ could take advantage of the partnership between Brookstone and Indiegogo to transform their crowdfunding campaign from a launch event into a sustainable long term business.
To get some insight about the failed distribution channel, we recently caught of up with Richard McGirr a sourcing and procurement expert; he is the founder of Visichain — a Hong Kong digital transformation company that specializes in supply chain and e-procurement — and some of his clients are Top 10, in revenue, global retailers.
When Mr. McGirr was asked about the difficulties involved in mainstream retail sourcing from small producers, crowdfunded companies and other inventive types, he had this to say:
“Most mainstream large retailers have very stringent guidelines for getting products on their shelves.
From packaging, labeling, certifications and raw material sourcing, the hurdles are high and expensive for any startup or scraping company to get everything right and also keep to the timelines and volumes required by major distributors.
Not to mention the headache of going from small production to tens of thousands of units, for many without venture funding and support, to be successful for the long term at this level is nearly impossible. The margins are slim and the procurement pros are cut throat – they advance their careers by shaving away at your profits. That’s the reality of the game.”
In the end for this erstwhile distribution option seems to be over. As the saying goes, hardware is hard and it seems that this promising attempt at a new distribution channel for crowdfunders was too challenging to persist.
4. Amazon Launchpad
The giant online retailer is one of the most innovative companies in the whole world, trailing closely behind Facebook, Google and other IT behemoths. In order to help startups fund their new products or services, Amazon started their Launchpad program in 2015.
Amazon Launchpad is a platform specially dedicated to help young entrepreneurs showcase their ideas and gain appreciation and financial support for their products or services.
Amazon has made it easy to apply to their launchpad opportunity, you can fill out this form and then hope to hear back.
Amazon Launchpad partnered with Indiegogo to enable successful campaigners enjoy quick and reliable shipping of inventory. If you have a successful Indiegogo campaign or you are on the right path to raising the full amount needed for your project, consider Amazon’s Launchpad for your shipping needs.
All the details of how to join Amazon Launchpad are available here: https://learn.indiegogo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Amazon-Launchpad-Network-Materials-Join-Instructions-1._V282079858_.pdf
For a thorough walkthrough of the Amazon Launchpad opportunity, you can watch the replay of a webinar hosted by Amazon below:
Newegg is a well known online retailer of both computer software and hardware.
With an average revenue of $2.9 billion, Newegg was founded in 2001 is based in California and remains on a growing spree. The company, whose customers are all tech savvy, offer a highly targeted audience for Indiegogo startups that created gadgets or other tech-centric products.
With over 30 million registered customers, Newegg is the best place to promote your crowdfunding launched products.
To learn more about the partnership between Indiegogo and Newegg, follow this link: https://entrepreneur.indiegogo.com/directory/experts/newegg-marketplace/
Newegg’s commission rates vary depending on the category your product falls into, but it is safe to say that you can expect commission to fall anywhere in the range from 8% to 15%.
For product creators that did not raise their funds on Indiegogo, there are two other ways to apply to sell on Newegg:
- Go here to apply to start selling your products on Newegg for consumer focused products.
- If you are selling items that would likely fall in the business-to-business category, you can apply to sell on their marketplace for US business buyers here.
6. Vimeo + Indiegogo
In order to support filmmakers, Vimeo partnered with Indiegogo.
In 2015, these two companies joined forces to enable campaigners passionate about films and videos to quickly skyrocket their audience.
Films that were funded on Indiegogo that are currently available on Vimeo On Demand are eligible to be displayed on the Indiegogo Collection. To submit your project, click here.
Vimeo has an exclusive page for Indiegogo crowdfunders–you can explore films crowdfunded on Indiegogo at the following link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/discover/indiegogo
Founded in 2012, Outgrow.me provides a marketplace for crowdfunded projects, as their tagline states, it’s “the marketplace for successfully crowdfunded products.”
As a side note, the founder of Outgrow.me is a driven creator himself, having had the vision to create this marketplace but lacking the skill to build it, Sam Fellig, learned to code to build this sales portal and now all crowdfunders have another outlet to sell their goods after their Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign has completed.
Outgrow.me claims to offer constant support for creative, mind-blogging products.
Take it into consideration when submitting your project online, from the homepage, click help >> submit a project.
Grouphunt No Longer
This is yet another great platform that has since this article first appeared has folded. Kept for historical reasons. Seems like a hard slog to distribute novel consumer products.
The concept was a community driven group buy–where (1) the crowd gathers support for a product; (2) then a discounted price is reached for the group and (3) the product is released as a deal.
Grouphunt was a Singapore-based company that enabled people to actually “go hunting” for innovative, cutting-edge products and inventions.
Once several people gather and vote for a project, they can collectively negotiate a bargain.
When you were lucky enough to reach the “Live Hunts” category on the first page, you’ll would have earned access to a huge amount of traffic. Again, Grouphunt was a place you should not ignore when searching for crowdfunding distribution channels.
How to Sell on Grouphunt
- Submit a URL with the product you want hunted
- Gather Interest, collect votes from friends, family and the GroupHunt community
- Once the product has enough support GroupHunt negotiates a deal for the collective buyers
- Deal Goes Live
- GroupHunt Crowdfunding Selection
9. Target Open House + Indiegogo
In late 2015, Target Open House partnered with Indiegogo in order to enable tech innovators to showcase their successful Indiegogo products in Targets experimental space in San Francisco, “part retail store, part lab, part meeting venue for the connected home tech community.” (source)
This concept shop focuses on the ever growing Internet of Things (IoT) and other so called connected devices.
You can see some of the Indiegogo products that have been included in the program here.
Tech innovators who have been successfully funded on Indiegogo can apply to have their products be included in the experimental space via this Target Product Submission Form.
Shopify is one of the easiest ways to launch an ecommerce storefront.
Once you’ve proven a market and shipped all your crowdfunding perks to your backers, setting up a Shopify storefront may be the next step on your quest for sustainability.
“The great part about Kickstarter projects who come on Shopify is they not only have initial funding to get their business off the ground, but they come to Shopify with a community that is already endorsed…They have social proof that they’re dealing with a viable business.” – Wired
Shopify actively attempts to attract crowdfunders and they have a useful resource for those at the beginning of their crowdfunding journey, if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth taking a look at–The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding.
“If you operate stores like software and sell them like #SaaS, you can change how #retail is done as a business.” ~Beta
Retail distribution at bigger stores, like Brookstone, may still be a major challenge for new creators; for a less daunting challenge, you may have better luck with a newer concept retail experience, b8ta, currently at 17 location scattered around the USA.
Seeking to merge the uniqueness of items often found only online with the convenience and experience to try out novel products before purchase, the stores tagline “Discover here first” gets to the bottom of what this retailer is all about — a place to discover novel products in the real world. Imagine that!
“Vendors who want to show their gadgets must pay to rent space. After a customer has tried out a product at a B8ta location, he or she can buy from the store or go online and buy directly from the vendor.” ~LA Times
Even better, the process to get your products into one of B8ta’s retail locations is easy, and in their words, “b8ta is the fastest way to get into premium retail—and the smartest way to stay in control”, to submit your product for distribution with b8ta, go here and start selling.
12.Fulfillment By Amazon
Unless you’e been off the grid and digital free for the past few years, you have surely heard about Fulfillment by Amazon, widely known by its acronym–FBA.
Their are many advantages to using Amazon as one of your online sales platforms post crowdfunding because they are highly trusted, you can benefit from Amazon’s one click checkout, customers that have Amazon Prime can get fee shipping, and you don’t have to package and ship everything.
To get started:
- Create an Amazon Sellers Account
- Set up your product listing page (Images, Sales Copy, etc)
- Ship your item to Amazon
- Reach out to your community and get some sales
Now just because you are on Amazon does not guarantee sales you will still need to have great images, persuasive page copy and–to really get your sales moving–reviews.
The popularity of Amazon as a sales platform for white label sellers has exploded in the past few years and there are hundreds of Facebook groups, podcasts and other services to help you get going as an FBA seller.
Some of the better ones in no particular order are:
- Scott Voelker’s Podcast The Amazing Seller
- The GDW Ecommerce Group (and their Amazon Podcast, Ecom Shift)
- Jungle Scout
- Seller Labs
The above resources are enough to get you going in the right direction so you can be successful selling your crowd funded products on Amazon after your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign.
13. Jet Partner Program
Like Amazon Jet.com provides a marketplace platform to get your goods in front of millions of customers.
Being a relatively new company with its sites set on rivaling Amazon, Jet is a sales channel you will want to consider after your crowdfunding launch is over.
The company was acquired by Walmart (Fortune) and tends toward a deal oriented audience but, depending on your product, it could be a great fit.
Like Amazon FBA, there are many sources to help you sell on Jet as a Jet Partner.
A few places to check out include:
Because Jet is a fast growing young company, it’s a promising marketplace to keep your eye on and list your product so you can get a foothold in while it’s still maturing.
The Path to a Sustainable Business After Your Crowdfunding
The above 13 options just scratch the surface of potential post-campaign growth opportunities that can set you on the path to a sustainable business that launched on a crowdfunding site.
Indiegogo seems to be the leader in proactively seeking partnership to help their creators go from crowdfunding dreamers to full on businesses.
To keep up with Indiegogo’s latest partnerships–and new opportunities for crowdfunders like you–keep an eye on their entreprenuers services page here, which tends to list opportunities and support beyond crowdfunding.