This is a guest post from Vicky Sullivan of Payability.
The holiday season is around the corner. With it comes increased demand and the opportunity to make a lot of money — that is, if you’re prepared for it.
What will you sell? How much of it will you need? Will you run marketing campaigns to expand reach? What deals or offers will customers expect?
Clearly, there is a lot to think about for your Q4 selling strategy. In order to figure all of this out, you need to think about your financials — everything from how you’ll pay for things like inventory and marketing campaigns, to what payment options you’ll offer your customers, to how you’ll actually manage and spend money.
In this guide, we’ve outlined five FinTech solutions that can help boost your Q4 strategy so you can have your strongest sales season yet.
1. Customer Financing Solutions
One way to help boost sales is to offer your customers the ability to buy now and pay later — but not in the traditional “layaway” sense. With “point of sale” loans from companies like AfterPay, Affirm and Klarna, customers can purchase an item and then pay for it over time without having to wait to get the item (beyond the shipping time, that is).
During the busy holiday season, this will be an especially attractive option as consumers are more likely to spend a lot of money in a short period of time. So giving them an opportunity to pay for something over time (and with little to no interest) should help drive more conversions. In fact, point-of-sale loans have shown to increase cart conversions. AfterPay merchants see a 22% average increase in cart conversions while Klarna merchants see a 30% average increase.
While they sound similar to credit cards, point of sale loans can be a bit more flexible for shoppers. On one hand, there is no hard credit pull and, in some cases, no interest. Decisions are made in real-time and, if approved, customers simply complete the checkout process (and don’t have to wait for a physical card to arrive in the mail before shopping).
If you offer a point-of-sale option, you’ll get paid in full right away on all sales, no matter how long it takes a customer to pay off. But, similar to credit cards, you’ll have to pay per-transaction fees. While these fees vary depending on the actual terms you offer your customers they are generally around 2-3%. As you do research on the right POS platform for your eCommerce business, be sure to book demos and ask about how pricing works.
2. Online Banking
Online banking has become a popular option for businesses and consumers alike — especially in a post-pandemic world where people are looking for more contactless experiences. So not only do online banks allow you to manage your banking needs without having to go visit branches in-person, you can also make and save more money in the process. That’s because online banks charge little to no banking fees, do not require a minimum deposit amount, and often offer high APY on checking and savings accounts. Some, like Rho, also offer corporate cards, expense management, and additional analytics on your business.
All in all, it’s more convenient and economical to use an online business bank — especially during a busy season like Q4 when you’ll likely be making more money, ordering larger quantities of inventory, etc.
3. Cash Advance
To prepare for the increased demand in sales during Q4, you’re going to need to invest in a larger-than-usual inventory order, additional shipping materials, warehouse space, more marketing campaigns, etc. If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay for it, you might want to consider a cash advance. Companies like Payability offer cash advances designed specifically for eCommerce sellers.
With an Instant Advance, you’ll get an advance on your future eCommerce store or marketplace sales, typically in the amount of 75%-150% of one month’s sales revenue (up to $250,000). You’d pay a flat fee of 0.5%-1.0% per week and can lower the cost with Payability’s fee rebate for every week it’s collected early.
Unlike a traditional loan that could take weeks or even months to get, eCommerce businesses can get approved for an Instant Advance in as little as 24 hours. Approval is based on account health and sales performance. So there are never any credit checks. Instant Advance works well alongside other financing you may already have in place such as Amazon Loans, Shopify Capital, lines of credit, and more.
Case Study: See how Gina Goldring, Founder of Wild & Gold Distributors, grew her Amazon business fast using Payability Instant Advance.
4. Accelerated Daily Payments
As an eCommerce seller, you’re likely thinking about (and stressing over) your cash flow — especially for the busy holiday season when having consistent and reliable cash flow is so important.
On one hand, you can be more proactive by investing in more inventory, preparing holiday PPC campaigns, etc. On the other, you can be more reactive once the Q4 sales season is in full swing. For example, if you see that one product is performing better than others, you’ll be able to quickly invest in boosting sales for that product to keep your momentum going and make even more money.
So how can you get more reliable cash flow when you don’t actually get your payouts for weeks at a time? You’re going to need accelerated daily payouts. Payability’s Instant Access will get you your marketplace payouts the next day, every day, so you’ll actually get paid in real-time on your sales — and be able to reinvest sooner when sales are growing. So if you have $5,000 in your account on Monday, you’ll get up to 80% of it on Tuesday to use as you need in the moment (the remaining 20% is kept on hold to cover any necessary chargebacks or returns). All in all, Instant Access allows you to boost cash flow on a consistent basis and reinvest as your business needs it. Plus, you won’t have to worry about getting hit with an Amazon Unavailable Balance in the middle of Q4, if you’re using Instant Access.
Case Study: Lisa Blaurock, Co-Founder of 5 Strands Affordable Testing, grew her Amazon business fast without taking on debt or giving up equity with the help of Payability Instant Access. When she sold way more than expected on Black Friday, she was able to cash out right away and immediately invest in the shipping and packing materials she needed to fill this large influx in orders. To see for yourself how Lisa uses Instant Access to fund her eCommerce success, watch her Instant Access Customer Testimonial.
5. Spend Management
How and where you spend your money is another area to optimize as you get your Q4 planning underway (and as you think about long-term growth in general). Several FinTech solutions exist to help make spend management easier, including:
- Payability’s Seller Card: Available to anyone with an Instant Access or Instant Advance from Payability. With this card, you can access your eCommerce payouts in real-time and any day of the week (including weekends and holidays). What’s more, you can earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases.
- Divvy: A corporate card and expense management platform that allows business owners and their employees to more easily track spending, process expense reports, and close books.
- Brex: Brex offers corporate cards with revenue-based spending limits and cash management options with no transaction fees and free wire transfers.
At the end of the day, there are a variety of ways to streamline all aspects of your financials so you get the most bang for your buck this holiday season.