This post is by Radoslav Albrecht, the founder and CEO of Bitbond. Based in Berlin, Bitbond is a peer-to-peer lending platform that specializes in providing loans to online sellers and small businesses. The platform uses bitcoin as a payment network and is therefore available to everyone who has access to the internet. Previous to starting Bitbond, Radoslav was advising banks at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and has worked for Deutsche Bank in London.
As a seller on eBay and Amazon you’ve doubtlessly thought about driving the growth of your online business. Whether its financing new inventory, hiring new staff, or keeping up with increasing demand, growing your business can be an expensive endeavor.
At Bitbond, we’ve helped finance 1,400 loans worth more than €740,000 to small businesses and online sellers. We operate globally, and often receive questions from international online sellers unsure whether a loan is the right choice for them. Our community is over 40,000 strong, but we recognize that many eBay and Amazon sellers still have doubts about growing their business with external financing.
Below, I have given detailed answers to the most commonly asked questions. We will cover all important aspects of financing for online sellers located in the US and abroad. With the information in this post, you will be able to decide if external financing is right for you, and what your next step should be.
This post is by Matthew Ferguson, Customer Success Manager at Volo, a provider of technology and services to some of the world’s largest marketplace sellers. Matthew worked as an ecommerce manager in Florida for six years, before moving into a marketplace services role in London.
A little while back we were working with a big retail chain, and they were thinking about pulling the plug on Amazon and eBay. They were putting more and more work into it, and their listing count had grown but sales were down. They were frustrated and ready to completely write off selling through marketplaces.
But they hadn’t dug into their data. When we ran some quick comparisons, we found that none of their key products had been restocked. Their best sellers across several brands hadn’t been reordered over a two-year stretch. Then we saw that their product prices were getting lower but their shipping rates were up. Overall they were less competitive than they had been two years before.
How on earth did they miss such simple things? Well, when you have a large sales volume and/or a team of people working in the business, you don’t “just know” that kind of information. You have to go looking for it. But when you do routinely examine your data, those things are really easy to spot.
But using data isn’t just a matter of regularly comparing sales figures, it goes much further than that. To put it frankly, data is make or break for ecommerce businesses. It can uncover problems, optimize current sales and guide you down new paths. That’s when you really start unlocking its power.
This post is by Todd Ryan, a Florida-based IT manager who has been selling online since 1999. He currently concentrates on the Amazon marketplace, growing 100% year-on-year and employing three people in the business.
A lot of sellers find themselves in between a hobby and a business. They start selling as a hobby, just to make a little extra income, and enjoy the process of buying and selling. But after a while it’s not as much fun as it used to be. It takes more and more time, and a lot of the work becomes frustrating and repetitive. It’s no longer a good hobby.
But it’s often not a great business either. It may be profitable, but only just. If you are in this situation, you can find yourself working a lot of hours, but discover – when you properly calculate all of your costs – that you are making less than the minimum wage.
Many sellers struggle with making the leap from hobby selling into building a legitimate business. Making that change isn’t everyone’s goal, but it was certainly a pivotal point for me and my business. This post is about what I’ve learned in taking that path, and I hope it helps you if you’re on that same journey.
This post is by Emma Scotton, Director and Founder at independent ecommerce consultancy KnowGlobal. KnowGlobal offers advice and support to online businesses, both large and small, on all aspects of their ecommerce offering. They help clients grow their businesses both domestically and at an international level.
Ecommerce is booming and businesses are increasingly fighting for a share of the lucrative global market by looking at ways to take their online business cross-border.
The US market makes for a particularly attractive option, with US consumers expected to spend $327 billion online in 2016. Moreover, the number of web shoppers in the US is expected to grow by 15% this year to 192 million and each shopper will be spending more on average, up 44% from 2012 to $1,738 per year.
What’s more for marketplace sellers is that global marketplaces are expected to own nearly 40% of the online retail market by 2020, providing a viable and rewarding route to new markets for businesses of all sizes.
In the rush to expand, however, merchants can overlook areas of international business that are unfamiliar. Ensuring you support international payments and have a logistics network capable of fulfilling orders is important, but with new opportunities come new complexities, particularly when meeting the challenge of sales tax compliance in the United States.
This post is written by Crystal Gilliam and illustrated by Joyce Lee, both members of the TradeGecko content team. TradeGecko is a cloud-based inventory management software solution for SMBs. TradeGecko’s blog and knowledge base are full of tips and tricks for retailers and wholesalers on inventory management, ecommerce and logistics.
Supply chain management. The term brings images to mind of warehouses, shipping containers, and people walking around in hard hats holding clipboards. It can seem complicated – and let’s be honest, it is. A supply chain is the multi-faceted backbone of your retail or wholesale business whether you’re selling online, in stores or doing a little bit of both.
As with any major aspect of your business, there are probably lots of areas where you’re incurring more costs than necessary and some of these can definitely be streamlined. It’s worth taking a look at your supply chain as a whole to recognize areas where there could be fewer costs, which also means higher profits.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a guide for cutting those costs and optimizing your supply chain.
In the following, we take a look at six areas of the supply chain and how you can start to cut costs and streamline: inventory cost, inventory valuation, quality control, sales channels, warehousing and fulfillment logistics.