Why pay Kickstarter or Indiegogo 5% when most crowdfunding traffic comes from project creators and their own promotion? And why publicize a crowdfunding page that will only live for a month instead of a business’ own website that can take orders forever?
That’s the idea behind Celery Launch, which lets people accept crowdfunding, pre-orders, and traditional purchases from their own sites for just 2% of revenue. Plus, rather than be stuck in the cookie-cutter crowdfunding page design, Celery Launch stores are completely customizable.
Celery lets entrepreneurs take control of their commerce destiny. It give creators a way to seamlessly transition between selling styles throughout their product’s entire life cycle. Today it’s debuting its Launch platform by powering campaigns for the Olio luxury smartwatch and Lockitron Bolt smart lock.
Here’s Celery Launch’s video lampooning the rigid pitches found on cookie-cutter crowdfunding platforms
Chris Tsai co-founded Celery back in early 2013 after watching Kickstarter sellers hit a rut when their campaigns ended. It might be a year before their product started shipping and they could accept standard purchases, but they wanted to take pre-orders that would charge customers when the goods were ready.
It turns out that payment platforms like Stripe and Shopify aren’t built for these kinds of pre-orders. Tsai tells me “non-inventory commerce is extremely hard to get right.” Sellers need ways to let customers update their payment or shipping info, change their order, and get notifications about when to expect delivery. Yet without reliable off-the-shelf commerce tools, creators would have to divert themselves from building their products to devise their own sales systems.
For example, smart lock maker Lockitron tried to develop its own pre-order method with open source framework Selfstarter, but quit because it was too distracting.
So Celery stepped in with an API that let makers take pre-orders from their own sites. But that was just one of the three commerce styles. Today with the release of Celery Launch, its taking care of crowdfunding and old-school sales as well.
Celery Launch offers a conversion-optimized single-step shopping cart, referral program tools, analytics for A/B testing, order management, customization, and integrations with top marketing tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp, WordPress, and Salesforce. In exchange, it takes 2% on sales that it powers. You can see how Lockitron and Olio ditched the traditional crowdfunding page design with Celery here and above.
If someone’s just trying to crowdfund a quick project, doesn’t have much promotion power themselves, and doesn’t want to build out a full website or company, Kickstarter or Indiegogo might make sense. Getting featured or made a Staff Pick can give them some free eyeballs.
But for more serious makers, the traffic those platforms organically deliver might not be worth dividing attention between short-lived crowdfunding pages and their own websites. “There’s a misconception that Kickstarter drives traffic but in fact a project creator has to do all the work” says Desi Danganan, a crowdfunding consultant with Plinth Agency.
Projects that get prominently featured can receive up to 25% of their traffic from the platforms, and 11% to 13% can be typical. But Celery says its more established venture-backed customers average just 3% to 7% organic traffic. Danganan told me campaigns often see just 5%, and game developers can see only 3%. These low percentages are supported by other sources too.
Tsai says, “You could launch a product with Kickstarter, but if you want to launch a business, you should use Celery.” With crowdfunding propelling a massive boom in hardware startups, as the new Y Combinator class showed, Celery Launch should have plenty of makers to help. And it bodes well that its closest competitor ShopLocket was acquired by hardware accelerator PCH.
Crowdfunding is no fad. It’s become a fundamental way products are sold, and it shouldn’t be confined to specialty websites.