How to Prepare Your Retail Business Finances for the Holiday Season 2021

As a small business owner, you’ve probably already started to think about the holiday rush ahead and how best to prepare yourself to serve customers in the face of almost as much unpredictability as in 2020. It isn’t. no surprise that last year’s holiday shopping season was very different from most others, with the Covid-19 pandemic keeping many consumers away from physical stores and opting for curbside pickup instead or online retail.

According to a study by Adobe Analytics, companies that offered curbside pick-up saw their digital sales increase 49% year-over-year, compared to a 28% increase in digital sales for those who only offered in-store purchases. And of course, internet retailing has seen a huge increase as shoppers navigate the safety and comfort of their own homes: online shopping is up more than 32% in 2020 over the year. former.

In November 2020, e-commerce sales topped $ 100 billion for the very first time, and online sales for the entire holiday season reached $ 188.2 billion. However, internet spending actually fell 20% year-over-year during the week of Thanksgiving through Cyber ​​Monday, in part due to an earlier surge in sales and offers. in October that drew shoppers hoping to avoid crowded malls and stores and be careful about their holiday shopping earlier in the fall. Deferred payment features such as “buy now, pay later” also increased by 109% in 2020; perhaps a reflection of fiscal tightening efforts on the part of consumers who have struggled financially as a result of the pandemic. Home-centric products like appliances, books, and groceries have also grown in popularity.

As businesses have slowly reopened over the past year, the emergence of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has reintroduced another layer of uncertainty into the retail landscape just as shoppers contemplate their purchases. options, so small business owners can probably expect a bigger push towards online shopping again this year.

Online business presence budgeting

In light of this, it is more important than ever for small business owners to ensure that their websites are prepared and ready to serve as a foundation for potential and current customers who purchase their holiday gifts online. This means including features like product photos and descriptions, strong online shopping capabilities, substantial inventory, and a secure payment portal. While you may have already left room for these costs in your annual budget, it can help to plan everything out so you don’t go over your limit.

Source your small business cash flow

If it turns out that you will need the extra money to cover the costs of this holiday season, you have several options. While the Paycheck Protection Program (P3) ended on May 31, 2021, you may be eligible for a loan forgiveness if you are an existing borrower. Otherwise, there are conventional small business loans, which are guaranteed by the US government’s Small Business Administration and often offer low interest rates. However, depending on the lender, there may be restrictions on how you use the funds, there are significant documentation requirements to qualify, and the process may take longer than with other loans. It’s also important to keep timing in mind. If you anticipate needing the funds before the holiday season, a small business loan is unlikely to be processed on time, as it usually takes at least 60-90 days.

Merchant Cash Advances can help you at a glance and help you access financing quickly – within 48-72 hours of request – in exchange for a share of your future credit or debit sales, but depending on how quickly you are able to pay the roll back, you may have to deal with a high APR (up to 350 percent in some cases).

If you are looking for ways to finance the needs of this holiday season without a loan, a home equity investment might help. There’s no interest or monthly payments to worry about, and the funding schedule is pretty quick – you can get cash in as little as three weeks. Plus, you can use the money for anything you want, whether it’s expanding your online presence, increasing your shipping capabilities, or investing in high-quality product photography. . Buyers are already starting their holiday browsing, so now is a great time to make sure you’re ready to give them the best experience possible.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of are theirs and not those of

Anne G. Cash

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