In the third quarter of 2022 alone, eCommerce retail companies received a staggering $4.6 billion dollars in funding, underscoring the vital role funding plays in the industry.
You need money to expand your inventory, launch marketing campaigns, and hire new employees, and thankfully, various funding options are available.
From stocking up inventory and expanding product ranges to investing in sophisticated technologies for seamless online experiences, a robust financial backbone can pave the way for success. Keep reading as we discuss the different types of eCommerce funding and their pros and cons to help you pick the right source for your business.
Understanding your funding needs
Before you dive into eCommerce business loans and funding, you must explicitly pinpoint your funding needs. You may require capital for one or multiple aspects of your business, such as business expansion, inventory management, or marketing campaigns.
A well-structured financial plan will guide you to make sound budgeting decisions, help you allocate resources efficiently, and, ultimately, increase your business’s profitability.
When analyzing your funding needs, consider the following factors:
- The amount of money you need: This will depend on factors such as your current inventory levels, marketing budget, and growth goals.
- What you’ll use the money for: Will you expand your inventory, launch a marketing campaign, hire new employees, etc.?
- How long you’ll need the money: This will depend on your business goals and your repayment capabilities.
Once you’ve identified where and for how long you need funds, you can start to narrow down your options.
Inventory management is an integral part of proper financial management. Check out MyFBAPrep’s guide on How to Track eCommerce Inventory Across Multiple Channels.
Several traditional funding options are available to online retailers, including:
- Bank loans: When acquiring funding for an eCommerce business, bank loans are the typical go-to. They’re often beneficial due to their relatively lower interest rates and predictable repayment schedules. However, the lengthy approval process and stringent eligibility criteria can be major drawbacks.
- Angel investors: Angel investors are individuals or groups willing to fund your business in exchange for equity. This can provide a significant boost to your eCommerce venture. However, you’ll need a solid business plan to attract these backers, and it often involves giving up some control over your business.
- Venture capital: Venture capital is a form of private equity financing obtained from venture capital firms or funds given to start-ups and early-stage and emerging companies. Venture capitalists generally require a robust business model and high growth potential. They also often demand substantial equity in your business, which may not be suitable for all entrepreneurs.
In addition to traditional avenues, many eCommerce-specific funding options are available. These can be a good choice for businesses looking for quick and easy access to capital.
Walmart Marketplace Capital is a lending program for businesses that sell on Walmart.com. The program offers short-term loans with competitive interest rates.
To qualify for the Walmart Marketplace Capital program, you have to meet specific criteria: First, you must have an established presence on the Walmart Marketplace (at least six months of selling experience). Your sales volume on the marketplace is also a pivotal factor in your eligibility.
Walmart will assess your business’s risk profile in the decision-making process, as well as your adherence to their Marketplace Seller Performance Standards.
Be aware, this program is only accessible to businesses based in the U.S.
- Fast and efficient: The application and approval process is much quicker than traditional bank loans.
- Tailored to your sales: The funding amount is based on your marketplace sales, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.
- Exclusivity: It’s only available to sellers on the Walmart Marketplace located in the U.S. If you sell on other platforms or are based outside of America, you’re ineligible.
- Limited control over repayment: Repayments are automatically deducted from your marketplace sales, which could cause cash-flow issues during slow sales periods.
Payability is a financing company that offers short-term loans and invoice financing to businesses that sell on Amazon, Walmart, and Newegg.
Payability also provides a service called Instant Access to speed up payments. To be eligible for this program, you must demonstrate at least three months of selling history and maintain a monthly sales volume of $10,000 or more.
- Quick access to cash: You can receive daily cash advances based on your sales, which helps you maintain a healthy cash flow.
- No credit checks: Payability approves funding based on your eCommerce sales history, not your credit score, making it an excellent option for those with less-than-perfect credit.
- Higher fees: Payability’s fees can be higher than traditional bank loans, so it’s important to calculate the cost before proceeding.
- Limited to certain platforms: The program only works with specific eCommerce platforms; if your store isn’t on one of these platforms, you won’t be able to use Payability.
Clearco’s primary offering resembles a merchant cash advance but provides invoice financing options for select businesses. Regardless of the type of financing selected, Clearco will deduct a percentage of future sales to cover the borrowed amount.
- Data-driven: Clearco uses data from your eCommerce platform to make funding decisions, which can be more accurate than traditional credit checks.
- Flexible repayments: Repayments are based on your revenue, which means you pay less during slow periods.
- Fees: In addition to repaying the loan, you must pay a 6%–12% fee, which can eat into your funding.
- Partial control: You have to give up a small percentage of your revenue until the loan is repaid.
Payoneer’s Capital Advance service offers capital funding solutions that you can customize to meet your business’s specific needs. Select from various amounts and repayment periods. The longer the repayment period, the larger the loan you can obtain, providing more potential to maximize your funding.
Once you agree to a Capital Advance offer, Payoneer provides an advancement based on your forthcoming marketplace earnings.
- Quick access to funds: The funds are directly deposited into your Payoneer account so you can spend capital quickly.
- Straightforward repayment: Repayments are deducted from your Payoneer account balance, eliminating the need for a separate repayment process.
- Ecosystem limitation: The funds can only be used within the Payoneer ecosystem. If you want to spend them elsewhere, you’ll need to transfer them out, which may incur fees.
- Dependence on sales: Like most eCommerce funding options, the amount you can borrow depends on your sales. You also may have trouble repaying the loan if your sales fluctuate or decrease.
If you can’t obtain traditional or eCommerce-specific funding, there are other avenues open to you.
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to present your idea to the public. If they believe in your vision, they can pledge funds to support it.
This popular funding method involves raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Crowdfunding can be a highly effective way to finance your eCommerce company, but it requires a compelling business idea and an appealing pitch.
- Accessibility: Crowdfunding platforms are available to anyone with an Internet connection, allowing businesses of all sizes to reach out to potential investors globally.
- Marketing and exposure: A successful crowdfunding campaign can raise awareness of your brand and attract new customers. It can also serve as a platform to test and gather feedback on your product.
- No repayment needed (in most cases): In reward-based crowdfunding, backers receive a product or service in return for their donations. As a result, you neither take on debt nor give up equity.
- All or nothing: Some crowdfunding platforms operate on an all-or-nothing basis, meaning you only receive funding once you reach your goal. If you fail to hit your target, you get nothing.
- No guarantee of success: Crowdfunding is highly competitive. Not every campaign will be successful, and it largely depends on the appeal of your idea and your ability to market it well.
- Potential for negative feedback: If your product or service falls short of backers’ expectations, you could incur negative publicity, which will harm your brand image.
When venturing into crowdfunding, leave the logistical aspects of your brainchild to MyFBAPrep. We efficiently manage everything from storage and quality assurance to packaging and fulfillment, allowing you to focus on your campaign and product development. Learn more about MyFBAPrep’s Crowdfunding Fulfillment.
Bootstrapping entails funding your company using your personal savings or business revenue. The appeal of this method is it gives you full control. However, it limits the capital you can raise and places personal assets at risk.
- Full control: As previously stated, you retain complete control of your business without the need to repay a loan or share your equity.
- No interest: Unlike loans, using personal savings doesn’t incur interest.
- Limited funds: Your personal savings will likely be limited, which might restrict business growth.
- Risk: If your business fails to take off, you risk losing your personal savings.
Business credit cards
Like personal ones, business credit cards provide a revolving line of credit with a set limit. They can cover expenses such as inventory purchases, advertising, or website development.
- Rewards and benefits: Many business credit cards offer rewards and benefits such as cash back or travel points.
- Build business credit: Using and repaying your credit card responsibly can build your business credit score.
- High interest rates: If managed improperly, you risk high interest rates.
- Personal liability: In some cases, you might be personally liable for the debt on your business credit card.
Wrapping up — Choose the right eCommerce funding option to kick-start your business growth
Securing financial backing for your eCommerce business is a crucial step on your entrepreneurial journey. The best funding source for you will depend on various factors, including your business’s stage, the amount needed, and your repayment capabilities.
Take time to assess the options covered in this article thoroughly, considering their pros and cons in regards to your specific situation; what works for one eCommerce business might not necessarily work for another. With the right type (and amount) of funding, your brand can achieve its growth goals and push past its current limitations.