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How SMEs can afford the tech to tap into the Xmas market

Smaller retailers don’t need reminding how important Christmas is. But tapping into this lucrative market needs investment in resources and that comes at a cost. Alternative finance has a key role to play.

Is Christmas is a boom time for retailers? Well, in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, only for firms that are properly prepared.

And according to a new study from Brightpearl and YouGov, being prepared means using retail management software. Which it has found few small businesses are (its research revealed that less than 10% of decision makers at SMEs invest in technology to manage seasonal sales spikes).

So as well as managing an increase in costs to cover seasonal recruitment and longer opening hours, there is also a need to spend on retail management software. Is it necessary? If smaller retailers are going to compete with the likes of John Lewis, Amazon and Argos, it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Staying competitive has never been more important or harder. SMEs are already struggling with the burden of costs relating to the likes of cyber-security, pension auto-enrolment and living wage reform. Then there’s the impact on Brexit on the market – the latest FSB Small Business Index shows confidence among small businesses has plummeted to the lowest level since the days immediately following the EU referendum.

With traditional lenders continuing to be cautious in their attitude to SME lending, alternative finance has an important part to play in helping small business owners manage the impact on cashflow of these costs, including extra resources for the Christmas period. For example, invoice finance can ease the burden of late payment, which remains a huge problem for SMEs.

New data from Ultimate Finance show that over 80% of SMEs have cashflow problems as a result of late payment, and that a similar figure have up to £25,000 outstanding in late payments. For small businesses, this kind of financial blackhole can have a catastrophic impact at a time when the ability to invest in resources is critical.

Given the market climate, being able to invest in resources, including technology, is crucial for SMEs if they are going to survive and thrive. That’s why alternative finance, whether used alone or with traditional lending services, is so important.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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