Everything You Need To Know
E-commerce Business Overview The Online Retail Industry
In 2015, the UK had the third largest e-commerce market in the world. Of the 66.8 million people living in the UK, 96% are internet users and total online sales is expected to exceed £200 billion at the end of this year.
The Ecommerce Foundation’s latest report shows that just under 8% of the UK’s gross domestic product is made by e-commerce sales, a huge jump from 2015 where it was just 5.2%. The amount each e-shopper spends online annually has also seen a significant increase. In 2015, it was marked at £2,252 and has risen to £3,242 this year.
With internet purchasing figures growing substantially year on year, now is a great time to run or be involved with an e-commerce business.
The Ecommerce foundation also reports that in the e-government development index, the UK ranks 1st. Online spending in the UK now amounts to over £1.1 billion every week, and as businesses strive to meet consumer shopping preferences, e-commerce optimisation is becoming even more vital to business growth.
When analysing the main factors drawing consumers to e-commerce sites, 54% of those polled felt they have more choice online than in store. 48% believe they can get lower prices and better deals and 53% prefer doing their shopping at home rather than having to visit stores.
Despite the figures so far presenting great opportunities and several positives for the industry. Brexit presents challenges in terms of logistics and suppliers, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit makes it difficult for UK e-commerce businesses to develop strategic goals. Not only this, e-commerce SMEs face challenges as they attempt to remain competitive against Global giants that are constantly evolving. In the UK, the biggest e-commerce players are made up of Amazon, Tesco and eBay.
The good news is that across the UK, there is excellent infrastructure and internet connectivity – evidenced by the fact 96% of the population are internet users. What’s more, consumers are amongst the most tech-savvy in Europe…
For SMEs looking to penetrate the UK’s e-commerce market, David Campbell, eCommerce Manager at Retail Excellence has this advice:
’The biggest piece of advice is to engage in comprehensive market research to identify opportunities and thriving online sectors such as pharmacy / cosmetics. Irish retailers, for example, has invested heavily in the UK market for years on multiple platforms such as Google shopping. It provides a fantastic opportunity to target a developed eCommerce market with a substantial population figure.
SMEs should contact other retailers who have previously expanded cross-border into the UK in order to learn from their knowledge and expertise, and also to avoid the pitfalls initially occurred.’
Loans For E-commerce Businesses E-commerce Financing
On the face of it, an e-commerce business seems like it would come with relatively low costs. This could not be further from the truth. When selling online, there are several expenses that you will need to financially forecast and take into consideration.
One of the biggest mistakes e-commerce business owners make is not maintaining positive cash flow, and poor spending can often result in cash flow shortages.
E-commerce Business Costs
Website Building & Hosting
The most obvious cost will be your business’ website. It’s more than simply setting up a WordPress blog. E-commerce sites are expected to be tech-focused, optimised for user experience and robust in the number of web pages. People now expect sites to load in under 2 seconds – and not having this website functionality will undoubtedly impact your sales conversions.
In order to sell products online, you’ll probably need a third-party ecommerce platform to make the sales. These platforms typically charge monthly subscriptions or ask for a percentage of each sale in return for use – which can become costly over time.
Once you’ve determined the name of your e-commerce business, you will need to choose a domain name for your site. The domain name is the web address on the internet and depending on what name you go for – prices can get expensive!
Estimating shipping capabilities and costs can be particularly tricky when first starting out. The more you sell, the more opportunities there will be for bulk deals at cheaper prices.
As well as these set up costs, there are several running costs to manage your e-commerce business that you need to consider:
- Staff costs
- Inventory management
- Equipment maintenance
- Storage / warehouse costs
- Refunds and returns
- Marketing and advertising
- Utilities (internet etc.)
- Transactional / processing fee costs
We Help E-commerce Businesses Hit Their Goals SME Loans Funding Solution
E-commerce is booming and you’ve got a stellar product to sell. So, whatever the reason you’re looking for an e-commerce business loan, let us help. We’ve helped online retailers land unsecured finance to cover everything from new website builds to marketing costs, stock purchases, unexpected expenses or team expansion. How can we help you?
We know that funding an e-commerce business can be expensive. Which is why we offer tailored business loans for online retailers. With our loans for e-commerce businesses, business owners can apply to receive between £1,000 and £500,000 in funding, and all in just 24 hours.
Our e-commerce loans are unsecured, which means there’s no need to risk your business assets as security for the loan. Instead, a lender may ask you to provide a personal guarantee. This personal guarantee exists to ensure that if your e-commerce business defaults on payments, you as the business owner become personally liable to repay any money lost.
After taking out the loan, you will be required to make scheduled monthly repayments with interest at a pre-agreed rate.
Our Qualifying Criteria For E-commerce Businesses:
- Registered and trading in the UK
- Actively trading for a minimum of 6 months
- Has a minimum monthly turnover of £5,000
- You / the business owner are over the age of 18
Apply For An E-commerce Loan
Applying for an e-commerce loan takes just a matter of minutes, and our dedicated account managers are on hand to help with anything you’re confused about. If you need guidance through the application process, please do give us a call at 020 3475 9213.
Click to apply. You will be redirected to a page where we will ask for more information about your business, including:
- The name of your e-commerce business
- The number of years your business has been trading
- Your average monthly turnover
- The amount you are wanting to borrow
The next step involves disclosing your personal details, please be ready to tell us:
- Your title, first name and surname
- Your position in the business
- Your contact details
Step 3: Carefully read through the terms and conditions, accept them and click ‘get my quote’. From here your application will be reviewed quickly by one of our approved business finance suppliers, who will help find the best lender for your garden centre.
Step 4: Please expect a call and email from one of our dedicated account managers to discuss the terms of your loan agreement.
Step 5: Carefully read through the terms of agreement and sign the relevant documentation ready to return to the lender. From there you will be able to access the funds in your account in just 24 hours.
E-commerce Business Loan FAQs Frequently Asked Questions
If you're still unsure about getting a business loan for your e-commerce business, then make sure to check out our FAQs below where we've answered some popular questions.
What are e-commerce business loans?
E-commerce business loans are business financing for online shops or any website that sells goods solely online. Although e-commerce businesses may operate at lower costs than most traditional highstreet businesses, they still require business finance. Often business loans are used to help sustain cash flow but also to help finance shipping costs, website maintenance and building, and to purchase domains.
How can I get business loans for my e-commerce business?
If you run an ecommerce business and are looking for finance, you can apply for e-commerce business loans on SME Loans. You’ll have to complete an application form and disclose how much you want to borrow and some basic information about the business. This will need to be supplemented with some personal information and your contact details. Once submitted and successful, we will be in touch with you to have a chat about the business and what financing options are available.
Why should I choose SME Loans for e-commerce business loans?
At SME Loans we understand that e-commerce is a growing sector and requires more financing than people might imagine. That’s why we’re determined to find the right financing option for your business by working with lenders who can offer competitive rates. Our application is easy to complete and can be submitted in a matter of minutes.