Why I Built My Own Crowdfunding Website with Woocommerce Instead of Using Kickstarter

While planning the crowdfunding for my latest project Not A Factory I was faced with a dilemma when I went looking for a good crowdfunding platform. I wanted to I focussed mostly on the European market (I am from the Netherlands myself) so it needed to be in English, but also support multiple payment options. Because what most people don't know is that paying with creditcard isn't very popular at all in the Netherlands and Germany. Most people don't even have a creditcard, me included. What do people use then? The debitcard, which comes with it's own internet payment systems like iDeal and Sofort Banking.

I wanted to use Kickstarter because of it's beauty, credibility, and functionality. It just seems like the ideal platform with just one downside, they only support creditcards… What to do?

I did a poll among my Facebook friends to see if they would support a crowdfunding if you could only pay with a creditcard and this was the result:

That was pretty clear, I would lose 50% of my closest audience if they would only be able to pay with a creditcard. And especially in a crowdfunder you need your closest friends the most in order to reach that first 30% quickly. So that was not an option.

I started to research different platforms besides Kickstarter, among them Indigogo, GoFundMe, Kisskissbankbank, Goteo, 1% Club, and many more. I was a little disappointed to find out that even though there are tons of crowdfunding platforms. They all had their specific target audiences or limitations making them unsuitable for my goal. Some of them didn't calculate shipping, were geared towards big investors, had confusing websites, flawed mobile websites, etc…

I just wanted Kickstarter with more payment options!

Since I used to work as a web developer I figured: maybe I just build it myself. It can't be too difficult no?

The benefits

  • I could provide all possible payment options
  • Customise it exactly as I need it
  • Pay no platform fees (often 5%)
  • Continue using it as a store after the crowdfunding phase

The downsides

  • No existing network, no kickstarter frontpage where people can discover you if the campaign becomes popular
  • It would take more time to build and it could possibly break
  • People might experience it as less trustworthy

Building

After those two hours of trying to figure out how difficult it would be and what the challenges could be I knew for sure: No problem!

How? Well… Basically I used Woocommerce, created a child theme of their storefront theme, and moved some stuff around! It was surprising how quick it looked like a proper crowdfunding website. Most people will probably not notice that Woocommerce is powering it all.

Design

Even thought it is not part of a platform I wanted to make sure the website felt familiar and trustworthy, so I used the same layout as most crowdfunding platforms. And I let myself get inspired by the minimalism and functionality of Kickstarter, which I then gave my own little twist. Making it feel familiar, but also unique.

Check it out

Happiest I am about the ‘checkout' page, where people can select which payment option they want to use. All these different payment gateways are handled by Mollie, which has been surprisingly easy to set up and handle. I've been enjoying their service a lot till now. And having all these different payment gateways has proven to be instrumental in the success of this crowdfunding.

 

Because people have payed with a lot of different gateways, while there are some clear winners which shows where most of my supporters come from.

45.3% iDeal (Dutch payment gateway)
29.2% creditcard
19.4% Paypal
2.7% Sofort Banking (German payment gateway)
2.4% Bancontact (Belgium payment gateway)
0.8% Bank Transfer
0.2% Bitcoin (only added after two weeks)

Conclusion

If you are starting a pre sale and you want to reach the entire European market, then building your own crowdfunding page might be a good idea. Of course it does require a bit more work then using a platform. If you are not a web developer you can check out this WordPress plugin which enables you to do something similar to my custom build, but with less work.

Last but not least

I believe we can change difficult situations into something beautiful. Do you want to help with that? And change the lives of refugees in Greece for the better? It's gonna be a fun journey! Learn more at www.notafactory.com

Try-Shopify