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Online commerce is an important part of our economy and makes our everyday lives easier. Yet most companies in e-commerce started small before becoming corporate giants on the global market. After all, small businesses also contribute more than half of Germany's total economic output.

Nevertheless, small and medium-sized retailers in e-commerce have difficulties in obtaining a loan for their business and necessary investments. Especially the traditional way via banks turns out to be a difficult hurdle race. The solution is alternative loans for businesses.

What is meant by an e-commerce business loan?

Under a Credit for companies in e-commerce is understood to mean specific loans which are geared in particular to the financial needs, requirements and Conditions of online trading adjust. The capital can be used, for example, for the procurement of new goods, the coverage of incurred production costs, the settlement of outstanding receivables or other company-relevant expenses.

Possible examples are the Purchase, goods and warehouse financingwhich are intended to provide traders with sufficient liquidity for their business processes. With the help of a Financing of Goods can be used to pre-finance new goods or means of production without directly losing liquidity; whereas with an Inventory Financing: the liquidity tied up in the warehouse is capitalised and a loan is granted for its countervalue.

The conditions of the loan for companies are usually determined individually and checked by the lender. In contrast to alternative forms of financing, the lender for conventional bank loans must undergo an extensive review process with a credit rating. The criteria for the rating procedure can be completely different from lender to lender.

What problems arise with traditional lending for online retailers?

Short-term loans in particular are difficult or impossible for small businesses to obtain through traditional channels. Here, the collateral offered to the bank is crucial for loan approval. In principle, banks will accept collateral as long as they can resell it; however, they value and categorise collateral very differently: first-class collateral (guarantees, goods, credit balances) and ideal collateral (real estate, vehicles, machinery) as well as emergency collateral (assignment of goods and fixtures).

Although banks would also accept inventory and machinery as collateral, the reality for online retailers is usually different. Rarely are they familiar with the processes of online trading or willing to accept the goods as collateral for a loan. Smaller, start-up or fast-growing businesses in particular will encounter credit approval issues here. However, it may also be the case that online traders are unable to deposit the necessary collateral. Basically, the requirements for companies when applying for a bank loan are very high:

  • Verification of the creditworthiness of the company through disclosure of the financial situation
  • Retrieval of the borrower's SCHUFA data for additional verification

For the Disclosure of the financial and economic situation the following documents are usually required:

  • Business management evaluations (BWA) or Tax assessment notices
  • Balance sheets
  • Extracts from the commercial register
  • Bank statements
  • Statutes and contracts

These documents give banks insight into the financial situation and further business development. Just that forecast is not always very simple and clear in online commerce, which is why banks usually refuse a loan.

That's why we want to offer you alternative financing options that help you remain financially flexible even in difficult times with a tailor-made loan.

Why does a loan make sense for online businesses?

A loan for businesses is usually necessary to keep business processes running and to ensure growth. A loan secures the liquidity of a company.

If there is a lack of capital, processes come to a standstill and thus endanger the existence of the company. Particularly for small and medium-sized companies, there is often a short-term need for liquidity that can be covered by financing goods, purchases or inventories. Many online traders are familiar with the classic problems when new goods have to be ordered, but it is not possible to work with the sales achieved because receivables are still outstanding. In this case, a short-term and quick liquidity improvement with the help of a loan is needed. In particular, house banks cannot meet the demand for fast financing - this is where alternative financing solutions close the gap.

When is a loan worthwhile for businesses?

A loan for companies is always worthwhile when liquidity bottlenecks arise or have arisen. In the first few months, companies usually lack the financial resources to cover costs incurred and help their business to grow.

Through a business loan, e-commerce merchants can buy new goods, cover production costs, pay rent, storage and transport costs and outstanding liabilities. The business loan provides merchants with sufficient financial leeway to continue processes, secure their existence and drive growth. This also makes them more flexible and able to respond better to economic or technological changes.

Alternative financing solutions close the gap in e-commerce

Alternative financing solutions close the liquidity gap in e-commerce and have long recognised the potential and ambition of small and medium-sized enterprises. As a result, they specialize in financially supporting the innovation and high level of performance of young companies. Alternative lenders agree here that companies have a positive impact on the economy and should be supported - they want to invest in the market of the future.

The difference to other forms of financing and providers

Alternative, tailored finance solutions for e-commerce - such as fulfin offers - help merchants finance working capital and accelerate growth. With the help of a loan tailored to their needs, they can purchase new goods and pay for related acquisition costs. Most often, alternative finance lenders specialize in certain areas and know what capital needs specific businesses have. Fulfin, for example, focuses on the e-commerce sector, offering its services exclusively to companies that use sales channels such as Amazon, Shopify, etc. and have already successfully launched a product.  

However, fulfin is not a Intermediary; in contrast to fintraders or classical commodity purchase financing, fulfin does not act as an intermediary in the commodity supply chain and therefore also takes over no communication with suppliers or manufacturers. The loan is disbursed to the borrower's business account upon application and after a successful risk assessment. Thus, the merchant can transfer the amount of the liabilities to be paid directly to the supplier or manufacturer. Accordingly, fulfin does not interfere with the business processes of online merchants.

Loan for business - What are the requirements?

The requirements for alternative business financing can vary depending on the provider. For this, you need to check the conditions of the provider. In most cases, the company should be registered in Germany and the borrower should have a German bank account.

The Minimum requirements at fulfin look like this:

  • The company headquarters must be located in Germany.
  • The company must have existed for at least 3 months.
  • The monthly turnover must be at least 5,000 euros.

Which documents are required?

Depending on the loan amount, fulfin requires some documents to process the application. When applying for a loan, borrowers should provide a Business management analysis (BWA) including totals and balances list and a Identification document of the managing director provide.

Merchants have the possibility to link the Amazon seller account or Shopify account as well as the bank account with the fulfin platform. If this link is not desired or does not work, there is also the possibility to upload account statements of the last 3 months as PDF or CSV file.

How does the application process work?

The application process is straightforward and quick to complete; merchants simply need to register and apply for the loan via app.fulfin.com or via the browser. During the process, the seller account and the business account can be linked to the fulfin platform in a few minutes. Subsequently, the BWA including the list of totals and balances and the identification document should still be uploaded. After reviewing the documents, fulfin will contact the merchant by phone. During the conversation, questions can be clarified. After a successful risk analysis, the trader will receive a financing offer and the loan will be disbursed within 48 hours.

The advantages of alternative financing with fulfin

Alternative loans for businesses offer many advantages over traditional forms of financing; most importantly, they are usually more flexible, approved more quickly, and tailored to the individual needs of the business. Furthermore, these forms of financing are less rigid and look more closely at the company's process and sales when assessing risk. If it is a fast-growing company with solid sales, then there are usually no problems with the loan.

fulfin also offers traders numerous advantages:

  • SpeedThe application process takes only a few minutes and can be carried out online without any problems. The review of the documents and the transfer of the loan are also quick. The risk assessment is completed after 24 hours and if all documents have been provided, the loan is already disbursed within 24 to 48 hours. At most, the process from application to disbursement takes about 4 working days.
  • Favourable fees: Loans with favourable conditions and low fees. The fees are calculated as a percentage of the disbursed amount depending on the loan amount, the number of instalments, the payment breaks and the collateral provided and start at 0.7 % per month. On average, the total fees amount to 2.1 %. Assuming you borrow 100,000 euros for 3 months at a fee of 0.75 % per month, the repayment amount is 102,100 euros and the total fees are 2,100 euros, i.e. 2.1 %.
  • Unbureaucratic: In just a few steps, the loan can be applied for quickly and easily online; it is the ideal alternative for online traders when there is a short-term need for liquidity. Fulfin avoids cumbersome bureaucratic procedures and aims to make the process as simple as possible.
  • FlexibilityOnline traders can choose between various financial products with variable terms of between 3 and 6 months. With appropriate collateral, credit amounts of € 1,000 to € 100,000 can be taken out.
  • Alternative test: The risk assessment of long-term bank loans is based on default probabilities and statistics, whereas fulfin uses the evaluation of sales figures and dealer turnover. Unlike traditional financing solutions and house banks, fulfin looks at the sales of the last 3 months and evaluates the creditworthiness of the company based on the sales.  
  • Better conditionsThrough higher order quantities, the costs per unit can be reduced, thus retailers receive better purchasing conditions from suppliers and manufacturers through the credit. Likewise, the transport and storage costs can be reduced through higher throughput quantities. Furthermore, they can benefit from seasonal price reductions, as well as rebate and discount promotions.
  • Avoid supply bottlenecksA loan can be used to cover supply bottlenecks (Out-of-stock events) and thus avoid negative customer reviews.
  • Option on mini loans: fulfin offers borrowers the chance to receive microloans starting at €1,000.

Conclusion

A loan for businesses creates liquidity; the capital provided helps businesses to continue processes smoothly, cover costs and purchase new goods. Alternative financing solutions in particular offer companies in e-commerce tailor-made loans that meet the requirements of online trading and offer them many advantages. Digital application processes overcome lengthy bureaucratic obstacles, which in turn ensures faster liquidity availability for the merchant.

Furthermore, the innovative, flexible approach to depositing collateral also supports companies that would not have received a loan in the traditional way. For example, inventories, future cash flow or receivables can be deposited as collateral. In addition, providers of alternative forms of financing usually have the necessary know-how to offer companies in e-commerce a tailor-made supply of liquidity and to provide them with competent support.

With a non-bureaucratic, straightforward approach to lending, fintech companies like fulfin can quickly provide businesses with the capital they need.

FAQ

What is meant by a business loan?

Unlike a personal loan, a business loan is a commercial loan that may be tailored to specific business activities. Thus, commodity finance is usually pre-financing of goods, whereas inventory finance is post-financing, where the equivalent value of the goods in the warehouse is used as collateral for the financing for goods already ordered from the trader.

What loans are available for businesses?

There are different types of corporate loans, which differ in their purpose, disbursement method, interest rate, term and liability. A classic corporate loan can be, for example, a guarantee loan, working capital loan, discount loan, goods financing loan or investment loan.

What are the special features of loans for companies in e-commerce?

Loans specifically aimed at companies in e-commerce are characterised by their intended use, terms and special conditions. For example, merchandise and warehouse financing are classic loans for companies in e-commerce.

When is a loan worthwhile for businesses?

A loan for businesses is always worthwhile when liquidity bottlenecks have arisen and capital is needed for new goods or to cover costs. Most companies need growth financing in the initial phase.

Why does a loan make sense for businesses?

To support the growth process of the company, corporate loans are often necessary. They provide the company with sufficient liquidity to exist and grow. Depending on the liquidity requirements, short-term or long-term financing can help. Fulfin offers fast, uncomplicated and short-term financing for high-growth companies in e-commerce.

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