Turning a giant spreadsheet of order info into "Here's your order info!"
June 26, 2014 12:46 PM   Subscribe

I have a giant excel spreadsheet with ~2200 customers worth of order details for a Kickstarter. The details are complex; I have around 60 products I'm delivering, and I'd like to send everyone an email with their individual orders before I start shipping them out. How do I do this? I'm planning on outsourcing this job, but I'd like to know a bit more about who I'm trying to hire (An excel expert? A mailing list person? Some other platform I don't know about?)
posted by sdis to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
All you need is a Mail Merge to Outlook. You can do this!

It's so simple, you don't need to outsource.

I promise!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:49 PM on June 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yes, provided each product has its own column on your spreadsheet, mail merge is the way to go here. Very easy.
posted by anastasiav at 12:51 PM on June 26, 2014

It depends on how your data are structured, but you should be able to format the data to use mail merge (assuming you're using Outlook).
posted by dfriedman at 12:51 PM on June 26, 2014

Seconding, this is called a "mail merge". If you aren't using Outlook, I'm sure there is a way to do it with your email client. It may involve converting the Excel to a CSV file.
posted by intermod at 12:51 PM on June 26, 2014

You can do this on a service like Mail Chimp as well. I believe they have free plans available.
posted by xingcat at 12:52 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, don't try to do your giant mail-merge with a plain-vanilla gmail or similar account- it will get flagged for suspected spam(ask me how I know). Use something like mail chimp.
posted by rockindata at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2014

You could also check out BackerKit. Kickstarter is kind of notorious about just giving you the spreadsheet once you fund and good luck with that. BackerKit helps with the rest of the process. Disclaimer: never used them, don't know if there are alternatives, have never even done a kickstarter myself.

via Glenn Fleishman's excellent podcast The New Disruptors, which I recommend if you're interested in crowdfunding and other new ways of connecting creators with their audiences. BackerKit is featured in Episode 60
posted by troyer at 1:22 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another fulfillment group is Breadpig, who've done the work for a couple of other Kickstarter projects I've backed.

But as others have said, this is really a couple of different tasks
- figuring out who gets what
- sending a custom e-mail to each customer

And probably, a few more after that
- figuring out what to do with invalid emails
- tracking down people who've changed their order at the last minute

Glenn Fleishman's been threatening to write a book about the experience he had creating the book version of The Magazine. May be too late to help with this project, though.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:03 PM on June 26, 2014

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