For many merchants, Black Friday/Cyber Monday is where you make a majority of your annual revenue. Often pulling in what is typically 3 months or more of revenue in just a couple of weeks.
This is why it is so important to have every aspect of your Black Friday campaign buttoned up.
We’ve covered Black Friday/Cyber Monday Best Practices before, at our “The Future of Ecommerce” events. Feel free to watch the sessions here.
After doing the event, I realized we didn’t really talk about cash flow and inventory management that much. We were more focused on customer experience and conversion rate optimization. So I thought I’d take a minute to map out some options for improving cash flow, ensuring you don’t run out of inventory, and maximizing operational and financial value of your busy season.
Predicting Demand for the Holidays
Let’s start with trying to predict demand. For me, this comes down to two tools:
- Inventory Prediction - Tools like Inventory Planner. This will help use previous years and months data to predict sales volume for this year, as well as prep out and send purchase orders.
- Price Testing and Sales Volume Prediction - Tools like Pricestack. This will help you understand how volume will be affected based on your discounting strategy, as well as give you insight into what your discounting strategy should be.
Between these two types of tools, which are both really only for medium to large volume merchants (1,000+ orders/month), you should have a good understanding of the cash flow demands you’re going to need in order to buy enough product to cover the season.
Next up, you need to understand the financial products available to Ecommerce merchants that help you extend cash flow. These are primarily credit card and loan providers, and mostly you’re looking for a great rate, and you want to understand their underwriting process and find one that is best for you.
The Best Financing Options for Ecommerce Brands for Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Holiday Campaigns
Rho is a zero fee financial management platform designed for Ecommerce merchants.
- Commercial-Grade Banking
- Corporate Cards
- Accounts Payable
- Capital Markets
- Global Payments
- And more.
You can use their platform to gain access to capital markets and improve cash flow for the holiday season and beyond. They also offer:
- Fee free wire transfers.
- Corporate cards with flexible repayment terms.
- 1.75% cash back on all transactions with no personal guarantees.
You can get started with Rho in less than 48 hours by signing up, entering your business details, integrating your key accounts (Quickbooks, etc) and getting approved by their team. They work for merchants of all sizes, from starting store to enterprise.
Ramp is a credit card and financial management tool that allows you to earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases while also automating your accounting. It takes everything you would usually have to track by spreadsheet (travel, recurring expenses, supplies, etc.) and plugs it into an easy to use platform.
The 3 main components to Ramp are:
- Expense Management
- Vendor Management
Ramp is used like a charge card where you pay the entire balance at the end of every 30 day period, so there are no fees (0% APR’s), or spending caps because you are paying it back right away. Charge cards are underwritten based on cash on hand on the day of your application for a lesser amount than what is in the bank, and you are earning 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no minimum spending or waiting required. You can access your reward as soon as you have earned it.
Brex offers an all in one approach to financial management for growing your businesses. From business accounts and credit cards, to spend management tools, they are transforming the way Ecommerce merchants manage their money.
- Zero Fee Banking
- Instant Access to Your Revenue (get paid instantly from your Amazon, Paypal, Shopify, Square and Stripe accounts when you connect them to Brex)
- Uncapped Rewards
- Spend Management
The best thing about Brex is they use your Shopify sales and bank data to validate and approve your credit cards, thus the card is tied to the business, not you personally. Cards are available for daily (everyone) or monthly (certain size and revenue requirements) repayments with no fees or personal guarantees.
Plastiq is an “intelligent payment platform” that offers the ability to pay for anything using a credit card, even where credit cards are not accepted. Say you need to pay a vendor that only accepts ACH, but you need to keep cash on hand. You setup a payment with Plastiq to your vendor with your credit card, Plastiq takes a small fee for charging the card, then pays your vendor via ACH. Essentially acting as the middleman for payment. You get to earn rewards through your credit card benefits, keep cash on hand and your vendor gets paid on time.
- Global Payments
- Pay Cash from your bank account
- Syncs with QuickBooks online
- Multiple User accounts
- And more
You can use Plastiq to pay your bills, get paid or for both.
Wayflyer is a revenue-based financing platform for Ecommerce brands that helps you bring in capital to support marketing, inventory, or general cash flow. They import Google Analytics and Shopify data, process it, access your performance, and then give you a range of financing options based on your revenue.
They study your data to figure out two things:
- How fast you will grow if they don’t give you money.
- How fast you will grow if they give you money.
And if giving you money helps you grow faster, it is a clear win-win.
There is no personal guarantee required and it does not affect your credit score to get funding with Wayflyer. The faster you make money, the faster you repay them. The slower your sales, the slower your repayments. Wayflyer is all about helping companies grow, tracking that impact and keeping merchants in a strong cash flow position.
Clearco (formerly Clearbanc)
Clearco offers equity-free capital products that allow you to scale your business while maintaining 100% ownership and control.
- No personal guarantees
- No monthly minimums
- Capital offers based completely on your last 6 months of revenue and sales
- Turnaround times for approval and funds hitting your account are an average of 48 hours
Investments range from $10K to $10M, and are repaid via a revenue share agreement, plus a flat fee. The fee typically starts at 12% fixed, but go as low as 6% if you use the capital on marketing or inventory costs. This means if you’re planning on making more than a 6% margin on sales made through your Clearco capital, you have a clear win-win growth lever to pull.
7 Figure Funding is an affiliate financing platform that helps less established business owners get revolving credit lines, even if they have a brand new business or have no sales yet.
They provide a money back guarantee to obtain the best and most funding a merchant qualifies for, and even helps them get multiple types of funding to ensure they get the most capital to grow their business.
There are 3 Ways to Qualify:
- Personal Credit
- Verifiable Personal Income (w2 if employed, last 2 yrs taxes if self employed)
- Business Financials
Options for funding include Unsecured Loans, Lines of Credit, Revolving Lines of Credit and more. Unsecured loans are available up to $250,000 at 0% interest for 12-18 months.
So there you have it, with a few steps you can easily figure out your cash flow needs for Q4 and then secure the financing that you need - be it a credit card with great cash back or longer repayment terms, or a capital loan based on sales, or a personal loan based on you, etc.
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