As you already know, running an Amazon business can be expensive. You may need more inventory, new equipment, storage space, or a bigger marketing budget. But where can you get the funding to scale if your remaining revenue isn’t stacking up?
Finding funding for your eCommerce shop can be exhausting, but with the increasing costs, it is often necessary. Between your inventory, storage, equipment, shipping, and marketing needs, you also need to factor in Amazon fees. And all of that adds up, fast.
In this guide, we’ll lay out the different ways you can find funding for your Amazon shop.
1. Personal savings
Before you do anything, you’ll want to review your personal savings and see if it is enough to get started. Debt and opening different lines of credit can be useful, but it’s critical to keep your debt low, especially at the beginning of a venture. If you have any additional savings that won’t affect your current financial situation, use that first.
2. Credit cards
If all you need is a quick influx of cash to tide you over, using a business credit card might do the trick. While credit cards typically hold higher interest rates, they can still help you get some immediate funding. Just be careful to always pay on time and consider negotiating with your credit card company for a lower interest rate.
3. Traditional loans
If you’re planning on taking out a loan and have some time on your hands, checking out the traditional route may be the way to go. Not only are you likely to get lower interest rates, but banks tend to be more tightly regulated than their fintech counterparts.
If you aren’t eligible for a traditional bank loan, don’t worry.
Applying for a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is just one example of the options out there. Under this program, for-profit businesses can take out between $5,000 to $50,000 at interest rates between 8% to 13% APR. These microloans don’t require personal credit scores, but you will need a business license, personal financial statements, a business plan, and collateral.
Besides the documentation, the major downside is that this method can take several weeks.
4. Fintech funding solutions
There are numerous fintech solutions that cater to small businesses looking to raise quick funding. These are generally lines of credit, but they require less documentation than traditional venues and you can be approved within minutes. Interest rates and collection methods differ, but here are some of the most popular options:
- Payability - This eCommerce funding solution allows you to borrow up to $250,000 in 24 hours with no origination fees. As a seller, you must average around $10,000 in sales a month on top of having a selling history of 9 months. The best part is that you can link it directly with your Amazon shop account. Payability’s Alex Sklar explains how to determine if eCommerce capital makes sense for your business here.
- AccrueMe - This fintech solution helps Amazon sellers who have been in the game for 6 months or more. They claim to be able to double your capital and invest $5,000-$5,000,000 in your Amazon business. Funding is based entirely on your Amazon track record, so there are no credit checks.
- Kabbage - As a revolving credit line, you can make use of these small loans whenever you need to. They offer a variety of loan types based on your sales record, and you can borrow up to $250,000. Not only can you link your loan with your seller account, but you can also sync it with your regular bank account as well.
- BlueVine - Like Payability and Kabbage, you can borrow up to $250,000 with BlueVine. Rates are low, starting at 4.8%, but you need a bit more documentation. BlueVine requires borrowers to have over a 600 FICO score, over $100,000 in business revenue, and your Amazon shop must have at least six months under its belt.
- Fundbox - With Fundbox, you only pay for what you use, and their flat-rate pricing starts at 4.99% for a 12-week payment term. If you can repay early, they’ll also waive any remaining fees.
- Upfund.io - Like other options listed here, Upfund directly links to your Amazon seller account, and your loan options are based on your sales history. However, you don’t need to worry about paying the loan back until you start shipping your inventory. And instead of an APR, you get charted a flat-rate fee.
5. Merchant cash advances
A popular option is merchant cash advances (MCA). Unlike with your credit cards or a traditional loan, an MCA takes a percentage of your sales for repayment. Combined with a less-intensive application process, MCA can seem like a dream come true. But keep in mind that this route usually involves heftier interest fees, possibly more than 30%.
Best used for a short-term loan due to the higher interest rates, merchants approve borrowers based on their monthly sales, their credit score, and the length of time the borrower has been in the business. Depending on which service you use, you may need the following documentation:
- Your driver’s license
- Bank statements
- Your credit score
- Credit card processing statements and business tax returns
- A voided check from your business account
Sellers who have been in the business longer, even if they are new to Amazon or eCommerce, may have a better chance at securing and paying off MCA loans.
6. Amazon lending and Amazon credit
You can, of course, choose to get your funding directly from Amazon itself.
Amazon lending is a selective program available to merchants from their Sellers Central dashboard. Eligible sellers can borrow up to $750,000 with fixed monthly payments spanning 3-to-12 months intervals. The interest rates vary based on your seller history but have been reported to be around 3% to 17%.
But what does eligible mean? Your Amazon business may be eligible if:
- You are in good standing with Amazon (likely with over a 3.5-star review)
- You are an active seller with a consistent increase in sales.
It can take up to 5 days to be approved for an Amazon loan, and funds are usually issued within 2 days after approval. There are no application fees or prepayment penalties, but payments are taken out of your account balance, so it’s very important that your sales are either consistent or increasing.
Amazon credit is a bit different. With the help of Goldman Sachs, Amazon has launched their own line of credit. Their revolving credit line offers 12.99% purchase APR with no annual fee, but it can only be used with Amazon. Borrowers can take advantage of the $1 million credit line, but only if they are invited by Amazon to participate in the program.
7. Peer-to-Peer lending
You can also turn to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. A P2P business loan is funded by individual investors rather than a financial institution, although you’ll likely need a decent credit score to secure a good loan. Usually, you will go through an intermediate online platform that will take care of the underwriting and repayment process. Since you’ll be working through a third-party platform and investors can’t expect the same ROI as regular lenders, you’ll likely be paying higher fees.
Did you know you can also sell your accounts receivable? A factoring loan allows you to do this, but at a higher rate than a bank loan. The good news is that this method makes it simple to get more cash on hand.
If you’re just starting out, you may want to rethink your strategy rather than scrounge around for funding. Dropshipping on Amazon is one method where you can save on inventory and storage costs.
The way dropshipping works is that you actually hold no inventory. Instead, you order the product from your supplier after the buyer purchases an item. You usually sacrifice quick shipping times and your profit margin will be paper-thin. But if you’re just starting out, this may be a way for you to raise capital before shifting to a more traditional model.
Don’t forget to do the math
Whatever method of funding you choose, it’s critical that you sit down and do the calculations necessary to ensure you won’t be digging yourself into a whole. If you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you can use their nifty calculator to get a good grasp of your potential fees. You may also want to create a spreadsheet or use a cash flow software to understand how much money you’ll actually have on hand per month. Projecting your cash flow lets you easily visualize how a new expense, like a loan, can affect your overall cash flow.
And once you get your funding, you can focus on scaling your business, whether that’s adding in automated feedback request workflows, finding ways to boost your seller reputation, or simply moving products faster.