Are you looking for the best financing options to start or grow your eCommerce business? If yes, this guide is for you.
Do you know that the success rate of eCommerce businesses is less than 20%, i.e., 8 out of 10 eCommerce businesses shut down in 1-2 years of starting? And one of the reasons behind such a failure rate is the lack of financial support – you need a lot of cash at different stages of your business to handle inventory, marketing, and other day-to-day operations.
So, the harsh truth is that many people start or wish to start an eCommerce business. Still, few get to taste its success as many do not have the luxury of financial resources to support their venture.
Luckily, with the evolving fintech and initiatives from governments and the public, you have multiple opportunities to raise the necessary capital to start and grow your eCommerce business.
In this article, we will cover the nitty-gritty of various eCommerce financing options to help you determine the best one for your business.
Ready? Let’s get started.
What is Ecommerce Financing?
Ecommerce financing is a funding solution for online retailers that provides much-needed capital to start and grow their businesses. The capital is used to cover different operational expenses, which include marketing and inventory costs.
There are various financing models to secure capital for your eCommerce business. The needed capital can come from the government, banks, investors, family members, and the general public. You can also consider self-financing from your own money to start a business and manage it with profits earned.
However, you must know that not every financing model is right for your business. It depends on the stage of your business and your goals to achieve with the desired fund. So, keep reading this article to understand different eCommerce financing options to determine the right one.
13 Simple Financing Options for Ecommerce Businesses
Regardless of the eCommerce business model, you would like to pursue, financial capital is one of the essential requirements. It is also the reason why a lot of people fail to achieve the reality of their dreams.
These days, however, it is easier to secure the working capital for an eCommerce business, if you know where to look. Below are some of the best eCommerce financing options worth considering.
1. Borrow from Family and Friends
Self-financing is one of the best ways of financing your eCommerce business. Also known as bootstrapping, it involves starting a business not only with personal savings but also with borrowed money from family and friends.
Consider yourself lucky if you know someone who would readily extend financial assistance for your business. Do not hesitate to pitch your idea and compel them to provide the necessary finances.
- No complicated requirements, such as credit check
- Easy to approach
- Low or no interest rates
- Can put personal relationships at stake
- Limited availability
2. Use Your 401(k)
While using your retirement money can be a viable option for starting an eCommerce business, be careful. You would not want to drain your 401(k) over something with an uncertain future.
One of the best ways to use 401(k) is through Rollovers as Business Startups. This will allow you to use your retirement funds without incurring tax penalties or early withdrawal fees. It is specifically for people with more than $50,000 in their 401(k).
- No taxes or penalties on the withdrawn amount
- It does not require a collateral
- Payments are through automatic paycheck deductions.
- Some employers might not allow it
- Possible employer attachment
3. Apply for a Payday Loan
Payday loans are known not just for having a small amount but also for their high-interest rates. So, this may not be as good as other sources of funds but one worth considering if you are running out of options.
Consider applying for a trusted Payday lender in your region. It is recommended for supplemental financing that you can yield from the other methods mentioned in this post.
- Quick approval
- Fewer requirements compared to other loans
- It does not require a credit check
- Fees and interests can be high
- Potential to be caught in a debt trap
4. Optimize Your Credit Cards
Having the right credit cards can help in establishing an eCommerce business. You can gather the funds you need while delaying payments. It is also possible to defer payments and convert them into monthly installments, although such would mean paying interest.
If you are using a credit card, go for those that will earn perks, such as miles or rebates. This way, you are not just financing your business but also getting something in return for your expenses.
- You can earn miles, rebates, and other perks from expenses
- No need for collateral
- Revolving line of credit
- prone to abuse
- Can have a minimal credit limit
5. Apply for a Bank Loan
When starting an eCommerce business from scratch, a traditional bank loan is one of the best financing options. This type of debt financing allows access to cash in exchange for monthly repayments.
Your chances of being approved and qualified for a reasonable interest rate are influenced by many factors. For instance, your credit rating can be a deciding factor. Providing collateral or applying for a short repayment period can also help lower your interest rates.
- Possible to loan a large amount
- Long repayment period depending on the terms of the loan
- Helps in building business credit
- The application process can be lengthy
- Can have high interest depending on your risk
6. Find an Angel Investor
You can find the funding you need if you know where to look. Among others, you must be looking for angel investors. They are wealthy individuals who invest in businesses they believe in. In turn, they will receive equity.
One of the best things about an angel investor is that you do not need to pay the money. This is because the angel investor owns equity in your business.
- No loan repayments or interests
- Access the knowledge and skills of the angel investor
- Minimal paperwork
- You can end up having minimal control of the business
- The angel investor gets a share of your profits
7. Search for Venture Capitalists
A venture capitalist or VC refers to a private equity investor that provides financial assistance to companies with high growth potential. In exchange, the VC gets equity.
With the right VC firm, you are not only getting money, but you can also take advantage of valuable and expert insights to help propel your success.
- Receive substantial working capital
- No need to pledge personal assets
- Potential for increased publicity
- Reduced stake for the business founders
- Difficult to obtain
8. Look for Small Business Grants
The best thing about grants is that they are not loans, so you can have the necessary financial resources without needing repayment.
Government programs are often available to help small businesses, so consider tapping such. Some private organizations might also have their respective grants for people who can prove their business idea is worth it.
- Free money to start your eCommerce business
- Can help your business gain credibility
- It can have a waterfall effect
- The application can be time-consuming
- It can be challenging to get approved
9. Start Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is a clever way of finance your eCommerce business. As the name implies, it is a strategy that requires using money raised from a large number of people, usually over the internet.
To succeed, you need to convince the crowd that you have a compelling business idea. Make the eCommerce business interesting and offer something in return to those who will contribute to your endeavor.
- Increases business exposure and publicity
- It helps in building your market
- Validates your business
- Can be time-consuming
- Potential to damage reputation when the project fails
10. Try Peer-to-Peer Lending
Also known as social lending or P2P lending is a method of pooling money from multiple lenders and making it available to the borrower.
You can complete the application online, which makes it convenient. Risk ratings are calculated, including your credit score, so your chances of approval are not absolute.
- Faster application than conventional loans
- Competitive interest rates
- Simple process
- Does not cultivate relationships with the lenders
- Credit risk
11. Consider Invoice Financing
Invoice financing can be a viable choice if you need capital for an already operating eCommerce business. In a nutshell, it is all about generating cash by borrowing against your accounts receivable.
To qualify for invoice financing, you need to use your invoice as collateral. It serves as a guarantee that you will soon be receiving money, and hence, such can be used to pay for your obligations.
- Immediate cash access
- It makes cash flow more predictable
- Allows early payment of your receivables
- Can have exorbitant charges
- Approval can depend on the record of your customers
13. Secure Loans from Financing Companies
Finally, if you are looking for large working capital, you can consider financing platforms like 8fig, Shopify Capital and others to secure required funds without personal credit check. These platforms will need to analyze your business health in terms of revenue, profit and other parameters and if you meet their eligibility terms, you can get the money within few hours of approval.
Unlike traditional bank loans or VC funds, these platforms offer a plethora of benefits, including flexible repayment options, an fixed fee. Best of all, you don’t need to give up a piece of your company to secure required capital from them. In fact, some of them also offer marketing and consulting services to ensure that you achieve your goals for which you raised the capital.
You can check out our list of the best eCommerce loans and funding platforms to know more.
- Quick approval and immediate funding
- It does not require a credit check or a personal guarantee
- Higher chance of being approved than traditional lenders
- Requires 60 to 90 days sales history to qualify
- Business health should be good
- It can be pretty expensive
Which is the best eCommerce financing option for you?
With the booming eCommerce industry and online purchasing behavior of customers, financing your eCommerce business is not as difficult as it used to be. You can consider many options to raise funds for your business, and we covered most of them in the article.
However, you must understand that you shouldn’t pick any financing option just because it is easily available. Instead, you need to find answers to the following questions and then decide on the right financing option –
- How much money do you need?
- What do you want to achieve with the raised money?
- Is your business doing well to take debt and repay it in time?
- Would you like to have investors question your business decisions?
Finally, if you want to raise money for your growing business, you must ensure that your accounting is appropriately managed. Investors and lenders may want to check your account statement to see how your business is performing regarding capital expenses, profit, losses, etc.
To address this concern, you should invest in good accounting software compatible with your eCommerce platform. Here are a few guides you may want to read next –
Now, let’s look at some of the common questions people ask about financing an eCommerce business –
Can you start an eCommerce business with no money?
Many ecommerce business models like dropshipping, print-on-demand and self-publishing books don’t need much money to start. These models don’t require you to invest in inventory and order fulfillment by yourself. You can partner with other companies and pay only after a customer purchases from your store.
However, you will need some money to invest in website building, hosting, and other services to set up your online store.
How do I qualify for a business loan?
Business loan eligibility mainly depends on your business performance and how you plan to use the raised loan. For instance, if your business is doing well and wants to raise a business loan to set up a warehouse for your eCommerce business, banks would probably be open to lending you money.
How much loan can I get to start an eCommerce business?
Yes, you can get a business loan to start an eCommerce business. However, your idea and government policies in your region depend on how easily you can get it. On the other hand, if you have a good credit history, you can get a personal loan to start your business, and once it starts growing, you can approach banks and other lenders for loans based on your performance.
Can you get a small business loan for an eCommerce business?
Yes, you can get small business loans for your eCommerce business if it fits into the small business category defined by banks and governments.
I hope this guide gave you an overview of different financing options for eCommerce businesses and helped you choose the right one to finance and grow your business further.