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How SMEs can afford post-Covid-19 e-commerce upgrade

The impact of the coronavirus has thrust e-commerce to the fore, in particular for small firms. Developing this market presence in the post-Covid-19 marketplace will require investment and business owners need to be aware of all the funding options available to them.

Shopping for products and services online was already a firmly entrenched part of business and consumer culture pre-Covid-19, but the outbreak of the disease has taken the adoption of e-commerce activity to a new level, both for traders and consumers.

Many traders have been forced to take their businesses online, with e-commerce service offers ranging from basic to advanced. At the same time, consumers have had little choice but to find and purchase a lot more of the services they need online.

This fast-forward of e-commerce market development is unlikely to be rewound. Some traders and consumers may revert to pre-Covid-19 practices, but many are likely to embrace the innovation and let it continue to shape how they go about their business.

With regard to small businesses, taking such a step, whether it’s cementing a first step into e-commerce or upgrading to a more comprehensive operation, will have significant financial implications. Whatever the engagement with online business practices, there are ramifications in areas such as ordering, stock management, storage, supply management and delivery.

The shifting of business models, with targeting new growth and security goals in mind, requires investment and this capital will have to be found at a time when money for such purposes is very thin on the ground.

Alternative finance can help.

In the wake of extended caution from traditional lenders, the likes of invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are redrawing the small business funding landscape. These facilities, which offer a more personalised approach to lending, are helping small businesses survive and grow. They are providing them with access to capital, on an affordable and flexible basis, to help manage cash flow and for critical investment.

This is how a Sussex small business used peer-to-peer lending, through a commercial finance broker that specialises in alternative finance, to raise the capital to invest in new equipment.

Amid the uncertainty surrounding the post-Covid-19 business landscape, it seems clear that e-commerce will play a larger role. There will opportunities in developing this market presence and taking them will require investment. This is why raising awareness of alternative finance facilities is important.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Steve Bowles on 01903 602211 or steve.bowles@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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