July 19, 2024
Kickstarter launches pre-orders for completed campaigns | TechCrunch

Once a Kickstarter campaign is complete, you need to turn to a creator’s own page to pre-order the products — that is, until now. Today, Kickstarter announces that it is (finally!) including pre-order functionality once the campaign is over as part of its core platform. It calls the feature “Late pledges,” and the platform says it’s planning to make it available to all creators ‘soon.’ Those following the industry will probably meet the announcement with an eyeroll and a ‘welcome to the club,’ as Indiegogo launched its equivalent – InDemand – almost a decade ago.

Late to the party-ness aside, since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter has been a trailblazer in the crowdfunding space. The introduction of Late Pledges is a welcome addition to its support of creative individuals. The feature only opens up new avenues for backers who missed the initial campaign but also simplifies the process of post-campaign contributions, making it a win-win for all parties involved – not least Kickstarter, who until this point has seen post-campaign pre-sales go off-site, which means the platform wasn’t able to skim its usual 5% platform fee off the top. Which, of course, it will do for Late Pledges as well.

Bit of a no-brainer, really. 

How it works

Once a project is successfully funded, creators can activate Late Pledges from their dashboard. This adds a dedicated ‘Late Pledges’ section to their project page, where new backers can choose rewards and pledge their support at their convenience, just like in the initial campaign phase. A spokesperson for Kickstarter assures us that Late Pledges is seamlessly integrated within the Kickstarter platform, ensuring a smooth and efficient experience for all users.

For founders, Late Pledges makes a lot of sense. A product’s Kickstarter page often has an enormous amount of Google clout, and will frequently show up in the top search results. Driving people towards spending money is an obvious next step. That makes Late Pledges an excellent way to leverage the momentum from successful campaigns. Potential backers discovering the project later can still participate and secure their desired rewards without waiting for a separate pre-order campaign. Creators can also offer exclusive rewards or limited-time incentives to attract additional support, maintaining excitement and visibility of their projects.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, however: Crowdfunding campaigns can be excruciatingly hard to deliver in some cases, and there’s often a post-campaign period where the real gets really real, and manufacturing and design challenges start showing up. Continuing to take pre-orders at that stage could represent a risk: managing an increased volume of backers, fulfilling rewards, and potentially affecting the initial urgency that drives many crowdfunding campaigns. Additionally, creators may need to carefully consider the timing and duration of the Late Pledges period to avoid diluting the impact of their initial campaign.

Despite potential challenges, Late Pledges offers substantial benefits to Kickstarter creators. Backers gain more flexibility and the opportunity to support projects they might have missed initially. It’s also easy to imagine a world where the feature could contribute to a more sustainable crowdfunding environment by allowing projects to generate ongoing support.

It’ll be interesting to see where Kickstarter takes the feature going forward – it’s easy to imagine the platform introducing enhancements like time-limited pledge windows or integration with other platform features to boost project visibility and success. The evolution of this feature could lead to broader changes in Kickstarter’s strategy, emphasizing long-term creator-backer relationships and expanding support tools for creators.

If you want to see what it looks like, Kickstarter has enabled the functionality on the recently-completed Master of Realms campaign.

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