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Since launching in 2013, SME lending platform Bitbond has established itself as a fast and reliable financing solution for businesses around the world. Now the Berlin-based platform has launched a new product: Bitbond Flex.

Bitbond Flex is designed to give entrepreneurs the financial flexibility to make smart business decisions. More specifically, Bitbond Flex allows borrowers:

  • To ‘top up’ their existing loan, giving them additional funds quickly.
  • To easily extend the loan duration of their current loan in order to decrease the monthly repayment amount.

Bitbond Flex has proven to be very popular, generating over $200,000 In loan volume in its first day.

This is good news for the 150 million SMEs all over the world, who typically struggled to acquire additional financing from banks and other financial institutions.

Founder & CEO Radoslav Albrecht said: “Bitbond Flex gives entrepreneurs from around the world the ability to adapt to a quickly changing business environment. Now businesses can use our platform to top up and stretch their existing loan. As a result, businesses can access extra capital with the click of a button through our platform.”

In 2016 Bitbond received a regulatory licence from the German Financial Authority, BaFin. As a consequence, Bitbond is one of the first fully regulated and licensed blockchain based platforms in the world.

Most of Bitbond’s borrowers are established small businesses and a large portion are online E-commerce sellers who use marketplaces like eBay, Amazon or Shopify.

About Bitbond

Bitbond is the first global marketplace lending platform for small business loans. Individual and institutional investors fund working capital loans of small business owners to earn above average fixed-income returns. Bitbond conducts a credit check on all borrowers based on data from their business accounts.

By using the blockchain for payment processing Bitbond and its users are independent of banks. Bitbond is the first German regulated financial services provider that uses blockchain technology.

Before founding Bitbond, Radoslav Albrecht Bitbond worked for Deutsche Bank London in sales and trading and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

 

The post [Press Release] SMEs can now access flexible working capital with Bitbond Flex appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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In order to receive a loan on Bitbond, you will be asked to connect your bank account. This connection gives us read-only access, meaning we can see your cash flow but cannot edit or change any data. If for some reason a bank connection is not possible we will ask you to provide PDF bank statements for the last three months. Unfortunately, finding and downloading your bank statement isn’t always as straightforward as it should be.

In order to make it easy for you, we’ve decided to provide instructions for all the major banks. So far, the list focuses primarily on UK banks, but we will add more countries in time.

Barclays Bank
  1. Log into your online bank  (you will need your PINsentry or MOBILEsentry to log into your account online)– where you will then be taken to your homepage displaying your account(s)
  2. Click ‘show my latest transactions’
  3. Then a small window will appear showing a few recent transactions, at the bottom of the small window you will be able to see blue words that say ‘view all my transactions’, select this.
  4. You will then be taken to a table displaying a larger number of your transactions
  5. On the subheading bar above the list of your transactions, you will be able to see ‘download all pdf’ which is on the right-hand side, select that.
Clydesdale Bank
  1. Log into your online bank
  2. For your current and saving accounts, you can view the last six months or four hundred transactions (whichever is the lesser)
  3. You are also able to print a copy of your transactions by selecting the print option in the top right-hand menu
Halifax
  1. Log into your online bank
  2. Once you are on the homepage go to the desired account(s) and select ‘view statement’
  3. Here you will see your current balance, available funds and any transaction history made in the past 3 months.
  4. To download your statement go to the bottom on the statement page and select ‘download’

Lloyds Bank
  1. Log into your online bank and go to your homepage
  2. Select ‘view statement’ on the desired account to view your statements
  3. To download your statement go to the bottom on the statement page and select ‘download’

Santander Bank
  1. Log into your online bank and select the account you wish to view
  2. Select ‘Statements & Documents’ located on the left-hand menu
  3. Then select ‘Go next’ on the desired statement, this will open in a separate window ready for downloading

The Royal Bank of Scotland
  1. Log in to your online bank (digital banking)
  2. Select ‘statements’ which is located to the left of the screen
  3. Select ‘view statement PDFs and certificates of interest’
  4. Then choose the desired account from the list
  5. Now choose your desired time frame and your statement from that period will be displayed
  6. To download your statement as a PDF, click on the ‘Download statement (PDF)’ link at the top left-hand side of the page and then when prompted, select ‘open’
HSBC Bank
  1. Log into your online bank and select the account you wish to view
  2. Click on ‘Previous Statements’ located on the left panel, and select a month
  3. To download your statements select ‘Print’ from the bottom, then ‘save as PDF’

Nationwide
  1. Log into your online bank and select the account you wish to view.
  2. Then select ‘Statement’ which is located on the left-hand side of the screen, and then select ‘Archive’.
  3. This will display your statements that are available to view
  4. To download your statements select ‘save’ and ‘print in PDF’.

The Co-operative Bank
  1. Log into your online bank
  2. First select ‘Statements’ found on the left menu and then select the desired account
  3. Select a statement number, followed by ‘Print’ located at the top
  4. To download right-click on your statement and select ‘save as a PDF’

Tesco Bank
  1. Log into your online bank and select the account you wish to view
  2. At the top right hand of the panel select ‘View your Statements’
  3. Choose the desired dates and then access the PDFs from the main window

Sainsbury’s Bank
  1. Log in to your online bank here you will see you Account Summary
  2. Here you will see a list of your accounts
  3. Next to each account, you will see an options drop-down menu, click this to access your accounts management tools where you can view and download your statements
 

The post How to download a bank statement (UK) appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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This is a guest post by Mohit Sharma. Mohit is a Digital marketing expert with experience in marketing, communications and eCommerce Development. His interests include eCommerce software, Hotel Management Software, and content marketing. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, friends and playing chess.

Any kind of business that exists today requires billing and invoicing solutions for its daily transactions. No matter what size the business is, and whether it is online or offline, the volume and variety of transactions make it impossible and impractical to handle invoices using older techniques such as Excel spreadsheets.

If you run an eCommerce business or are an online seller, the need for an efficient eCommerce software that handles billing and invoicing is magnified. The numbers speak for themselves:

Global eCommerce sales hit $2.3 trillion in 2017.
1.66 billion people bought goods online in 2017.

You can imagine the humongous number of invoices that would have been generated in order to finalize the orders and complete the myriad transactions. The sales value of eCommerce transactions shows no sign of decreasing. In this increasingly competitive business environment, when you’re competing with giants such as Amazon and Walmart, you need every bit of help you can get. You need to deliver the best to your customers in order to retain them and survive the cutthroat eCommerce market.

So, there is no way that a billing solution that’s not automated would work out for eCommerce sellers. Quick, professional, accurate bills and invoices are going to help your case greatly. Additionally, they will not only make your task easier, they will indirectly add value for your customers.

You need an effective invoicing and billing solution, and your best bet is a billing software. Here’s why:

1. Quicker Payments

Late payments are the bane of the online seller. If you run a small online business, it becomes all the more important to receive timely payments because it affects your entire cash flow. An inaccurate invoice will lead to undue delays in your payments.

A billing software will ensure that all the requisite details are present in each invoice generated for your customers. Ideally, an invoice should contain details about the customer, their purchase, date of payment/when the payment is due, preferred mode/s of payment and contact details of the parties involved.

An invoicing software will do you one better if its an integrated one. It automates the entire payment process and enables easy online payment, the details of which are stored in your records automatically. Your customers/clients also get automated payment reminders depending on the due date.

2. Recurring Billing

Recurring billing is a common aspect of many online businesses. Certain customers purchase the same quantity of a product over a fixed period of time as their need dictates. In such cases, the invoice generated is the same in each case.

You don’t have to go to the trouble of generating a brand new invoice each time the recurring purchase is made. Your billing software will automatically generate recurring invoices for long-term subscriptions. It will reduce the time for the sale to be effected, thus helping to increase the productivity of your business while adding value to your post-purchase services.

3. CRM Integration

If your billing system can integrate with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, your job is made so much simpler. Most of the popular billing/invoicing solutions available today provide direct integrations with your CRM or provide APIs through which you can build your own custom integrations.

CRM systems, as the name suggests, help companies to manage their relationship with customers. It collects pertinent data and details regarding customers, which comes in handy for loyalty programs, discount schemes, new offers, etc.

When your billing solution integrates with your CRM, the CRM system can automatically reconcile and update the payments made by a particular customer. Thus, invoices can be leveraged to formulate improved loyalty programs for different customers.

Moreover, invoices for different promotional/loyalty campaigns can be automated as per their separate requirements, ensuring a smooth workflow and a smoother billing process for customers availing these offers.

4. Multiple Currencies and Languages

Your billing software most likely supports multiple currencies and the requisite conversions to the currency of the country you’re operating from. As an eCommerce seller, your customers are scattered worldwide.

You might be operating your business from Australia but your customer base might be most densely concentrated in the US. So, your billing software is equipped to generate invoices in USD for your customer while you get the converted amount in AUD in your records.

Similarly, your customers can get their invoices generated in the language of their choice.

Both these options make the invoicing process easier for the customer to comprehend. They can understand the invoice better if they are dealing with their own currency and language.

5. Financial Reporting

A top-of-the-line invoicing system will generate detailed financial reports for your eCommerce business. Get client-wise invoice reports, tax reports, outstanding reports, expense reports and even custom reports according to parameters that you can set yourself.  Financial reports are key to analyzing the financial standing of your business.

Tax reports help you to plan your taxes and make sure your business is complying with the statutory requirements. Similarly, expense reports are essential to your budgeting and controlling strategies. Managing the financials of your business becomes easier and more effective with the help of reports. Periodic and continuous analysis of important financial indicators is made possible with these reports, which enables your eCommerce business to take its steps accordingly.

6. Simpler, Faster Auditing

As mentioned before, a good billing/invoicing software will generate all your financial reports quickly and accurately. It also keeps all your invoices, expense receipts, estimates, and other related documents in one place, all easily accessible from the dashboard. Calculating the eligibility for tax deductions becomes easier.

Moreover, in case of an audit, all your receipts and expenses are conveniently within easy reach. This will not only make the audit go much faster, it will also make the process smoother and will keep your business in the ‘good books’ of the auditor. Making all the necessary documents openly accessible shows that you have nothing to hide.

7. Security

A cloud-based billing solution does not only have access to endless storage space but also to incredible security features. Invoices contain relatively confidential information when viewed from the perspective of the customer. This data needs to be secure because if it gets in the wrong hands, it could wreak havoc.

Therefore, security is always a priority that is treated as such by manufacturers of billing and invoicing software. They make sure that their solutions comply with the highest standards such as the PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), and make use of security measures such as SSL encryption. Your customers can be sure of their information being safe with your business.

8. Environment-Friendly

No treatise on the benefits of billing software is complete without mentioning that using billing software to replace paper bills with digital invoices is incredibly environment-friendly. In fact, digital invoices can be up to four times more environment friendly than paper bills!

Being an eCommerce business means being at the forefront when it comes to using emerging environment-friendly technologies. So, using an invoicing software to eventually forgo the use of paper invoices completely will earn your business brownie points from customers for your service to the environment.

Upholding your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) has never been easier. You’re not only saving your time and resources, you also get to save the environment (or at the very least, contribute a little towards saving it)!

9. Brand Recall

You can make customized invoices which contain your company name, brand logo, tagline and any other details you might want to add, which point to your unique identity as a brand. It will contribute greatly towards your brand recall, and if you’ve done your job right, will encourage repeat business. It also increases the chances of getting paid faster.

Moreover, when you have relevant information from your CRM integration, you can include personalized messages for specific customers, which will almost definitely help them remember your business! In a way, your company’s identity will be ‘branded’ on their mind. It will make your business identity stand out in the oversaturated eCommerce market scenario.

10. Error-free Invoices

Any manual invoicing process is prone to errors. Even if your best accountant is handed the responsibility of creating invoices with his magic Excel skills, she still cannot guarantee 100% accuracy.

But an invoicing software can.

As long as your system is picking up the correct transaction values, the software will generate accurate invoices, complete with the taxes and/or discounts applicable on each item.
The ultimate aim of the billing process is to ensure that the customer pays the right amount at the right time, without cause for any dispute in between. A billing software guarantees this. Your error-free invoices serve to increase convenience and comfortability for the customer, which helps to strengthen your reputation as a customer-oriented business.

Final Thoughts

Given the current market scenario, a billing/invoicing software has become a necessity. There are hundreds of different billing software. You have to decide which one is right for your business based on the size, volume of transactions, and specific functionalities required by your company. Most sellers offer a free trial of their software, so you can easily see if it suits your business needs or not, without having to waste funds on the same.

Whichever software you decide to go with, it will confer the aforementioned advantages to your business, enabling it to grow further and cement its position in the burgeoning eCommerce landscape.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Bitbond. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

 

The post Benefits of using Billing Software for Online Sellers appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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This is a guest post by Howard Robson. Howard is a blogger from Melbourne. He enjoys travelling, photography, computer games and meeting new people. So, feel free to join him on Twitter and Facebook.

An eCommerce business is going to be a challenging journey, no matter your budget, knowledge, and skills. Of course, outlining your strategy and figuring out what you must do, when you must do it, and why you must do it, will surely create better odds for your business.

Scaling up the ladder and overstepping your present competition isn’t easy. In fact, for your eCommerce site to sell more than other competitive platforms, you’ll have to do your best to raise its awareness and reputation.

You can only do that if you know how to do that, right? So, in today’s post, we’ll cover 8 essential strategies that should skyrocket your e-commerce platform quality and success, bringing it to the attention of the masses. Remember, when it comes to eCommerce, you can never optimize too much!

1. A Comprehensive Outline of Your eCommerce Strategy

Whether you work alone or with the help of a team, you should first detail your business executive summary. I believe that this step is both the first and the last steps whenever you must create a marketing plan no matter the type of your business.

The executive summary is the document that classifies, aligns, and brings together more elements of your marketing campaign. This includes the distribution plan, the off-line marketing plan, the on-line marketing plan, the conversion strategy, potential joint ventures, techniques for increasing the orders, and also the affiliate/referral strategies.

Your business’ executive summary shall be the first resource that new employees or freelancers must check in order to understand your brand, its mission, its strategy, and its short to medium term objectives.

2. A Great Understanding of Your Objectives

When you start a marketing plan, you’ll want to start with the basics. I would recommend you start outlining your long-term objectives before anything else. Every business has different goals and expectations. Most of the times, the higher the expectations the bigger the results, but that’s not a general statement. Your eCommerce goals might include:

  • Launching your new eCommerce site (startup)
  • Launching a new product or a new product line
  • Penetrating an existent niche market
  • Creating a new niche market
  • Improving the distribution
  • Improving the customer service
  • Improving the brand’s reputation
  • Scaling the business to new heights

Depending on your circumstances, needs, and wishes, you should outline a few big plans for the year or for the next following years. Either way, make sure you have a clear deadline.

Once you’ve established the big goals, you must split them into pieces and identify smaller goals that, collectively, will contribute to the achievement of your bigger objectives. Mark the deadlines on the small goals and stick to them no matter what!

3. An Exceptional Understanding of Your Target Audience

The #1 rule for selling is basic: know your audience well, and you’ll never struggle to sell again. This is more like a non-written rule that most webmasters and businessmen fail to cover in detail.

The digital environment is a competitive environment. You may have millions of potential customers and you might not know how to target them. Well, the first step to the process is the audience selection. Here’s how you should go about it:

Set aside some time for brainstorming (alone or with your team) and try to imagine the “best customer” or the “ideal customer”. This is an imaginary person (called a “target persona”) who is most likely to be interested in the products your brand is promoting and selling. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s the age, gender, nationality, culture, religion, political affiliation of my target persona?
  • What hobbies, interests, passions, desires, wishes, wants, craves, does my target persona currently have?
  • What are my target persona’s most pressing needs, concerns, problems, sorrows, fears?
  • Where does my target persona spend his/her time on the web? Is it social channels? Google? YouTube?
  • What’s the emotional state of my target persona? Happy? Confident? Fearful?  
  • What would make my ideal customer choose me over my biggest competitors?

Take it from here but don’t stop. You can ask yourself many more questions before fully covering all the details about your ideal customer. If you already have traffic and email subscribers, you should definitely develop and promote a few surveys. Your customer’s direct answers will help you modify and stabilize your current image of an ideal target persona.

4.Consistent Insightful, Relevant, and Valuable Content

“Whether you’re selling pancakes, food, clothes, or jewelry, content remains one of the essential components of a successful marketing strategy. You can’t sell products unless you know your audience. That, you should have already got covered. But then, once you know who you’re “dealing with”, you must first catch their attention.” – Jana Fervid, CEO at AustralianEssays.

Awesome content (interactive, educational, relevant, qualitative) is all you need to make a good impression. You should develop a blog around your products and post new content on a consistent basis. There are a number of reasons why this strategy is truly profitable:

  • Great content improves your SEO rankings (therefore leading to more opt-ins and sales).
  • Great content improves your brand’s reputation.
  • Great content improves your customer’s trust.
  • Great content diminishes your customers’ barriers to purchase.
  • Great content makes you a great brand, not just some random eCommerce platform. 
5. Social Media Marketing Focus

eCommerce sites are basically dependent on social media channels. Why? Because most of the customers are spending time there. Generally, digital customers have two big approaches: they seek a product out of a need or they’re pitched with a product on social channels.

Of course, an eCommerce site without a social presence is likely to be considered a scam, or a fake, because let’s face it – what respectable business doesn’t have at least a social account nowadays?

Depending on your niche, on your target audience, and also on your intuition, you should select one or two social networks and put all your focus into them. After you’ve figured out the characteristics of your target persona, you must figure out which social channel he/she prefers the most.

For example, if you were to sell cute personalized t-shirts, Instagram and Pinterest would probably be the best social channels for your, all due to their visual nature.

If you sell expensive products such as high-quality tech, then LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook will be much better choices. Either way, establish where you’re heading and start outlining your social strategy as soon as possible.

6. An Exceptional Customer Service

Customer service is a strong differentiator when it comes to eCommerce stores. Every now and then, a customer won’t be satisfied with your services. It may be the distribution, a damaged product, or maybe they simply don’t like what they’ve received. In this case, the first thing he’ll do is try to contact your customer service.

If your customer support is helpful and can find the proper solution, everything will be fine. If your customer service lacks professionalism or is not existent at all, your business might be in trouble.

You see, a dissatisfied customer is your worst enemy because he can influence the public opinion by leaving disgusting reviews about your brand. Of course, one customer won’t be a big problem, but when there are 10 dissatisfied customers which leave 10 awful reviews, your sales will slowly start to drop.

A great customer service doesn’t deal only with the problems after the purchase. In fact, it deals with every stage of the customer’s journey, including the before-purchase stage. If you can, offer your site visitors a live chat where they can address their most pressing questions before they decide to purchase.

You can also offer free shipping (a good incentive for new customers) and see how that works out for you. Free shipping doesn’t necessarily have to be free shipping, as you may add a few extra dollars to the product’s price, or you may offer free shipping to orders that exceed a certain sum.

7. Search Engine Optimization

Lastly, don’t forget to optimize your eCommerce store for the search engines. Content marketing and social media marketing go extremely well with a search engine marketing strategy. These three big marketing practices are truly interconnected.

Whenever you publish new content on your blog (and then share it on social channels), ensure that it’s also optimized for Google. SEO is a complex practice, and it cannot be performed by newbies. In case you have the necessary budget, I’d advise you to hire an SEO professional who can deal with your on-site and off-site optimization.

Otherwise, you should start learning the basics and start covering them step-by-step until you notice results. Here is a basic eCommerce SEO optimization guide that might help you. If you want to continue with the advanced stuff, here’s another (more advanced) SEO guide that will offer even more insights!

Takeaways

The difference between e-commerce businesses and successful e-commerce businesses lies mostly in their strategies and their way of approaching the market. Of course, the branding elements matter too, but that’s something that you should already be dealing with since you have launched.

Take these strategies into consideration and try implementing some of them.It wouldn’t hurt,right? I promise you great results as long as you remain consistent and persistent. Good luck!

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Bitbond. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

 

The post 7 Essential Elements You Should Include in the Eye-Catching eCommerce Strategy appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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Bitbond by Daniela Cherkova - 11M ago

Best Dropshipping Products – A lot of people looking to start their own online business face one common problem, they have no idea what to sell. No matter how much experience you have, deciding on the products you think will be successful for your online business is a c cumbersome task. However, this doesn’t have to be because if you decide to run your business as a dropshipping model then you will have plenty of great products which you can immediately start selling.

In addition, you will neither need to worry about dealing with physical inventory nor sell out on storage space since your suppliers will be taking care of that for you. However, choosing the best dropshipping niche is a debatable topic that demands extensive market research as well as proper prior planning.

But what is dropshipping?

In a nutshell, dropshipping is a type of retail fulfillment method where seller forwards customer orders to a manufacturer who in turn takes care of fulfillment. Dropshipping can either be used in conjunction with multi-warehouse selling such as Amazon FBA to supplement your other forms of fulfillment or be the foundation of your eCommerce business.

The beauty about dropshipping is that you can remove underperforming products or add new ones if you want to with just a few clicks. This permits you to experiment with your inventory to the point where you find a list of products that your customers like. In addition, with dropshipping you don’t have to worry about buying goods in bulk unlike traditional eCommerce. Also all you need is a good computer and internet to run your business thus you can do it from anywhere.

How to find the best dropshipping niche

Before starting an actual business, it is essential that you select the right product niche. While this might seem like an easy process, it is actually your business’ foundation stone. However, before we dive in, it is important you know that there are two kinds of niches the good kind and the bad. Here is how you distinguish a good niche from a bad one:

  • A good niche will make you a lot of money while a bad one will have no sales hence no money
  • With a good niche low customer support is required, a bad niche on the other hand will require you to spend a large amount of time in customer support
  • A good niche has higher profit margins while a bad niche has smaller margins for you the entrepreneur
  • A good niche already has an established customer base

With that said, here are some of the ways of finding the best niches for dropshipping.

Make Google Trends your best friend

Once you see the figures and numbers associated with your business then everything comes into perspective. This also applies for product niche. Have you shortlisted some of the niches you want to go with? If so then it is time to check the facts.

Google Trends which is offered for free by Google is a tool that can assist you in evaluating if the niche category you have chosen is trending and the amount of traffic it has reduced or gained over the past months and years. If the product you wish to sell is still popular and hot then you have just hit the jackpot.

Carry out some serious brainstorming and write down your best ideas

During your brainstorming session chances are that you will come across categories or products that just click with you. You might want to start by taking a piece of paper and pen or your mobile device and note down all the ideas you have. This is an essential part of the process because brainstorming is one of the best ways to capture great ideas.

After you are done choose about 10 of your best categories from your list and separate them from the original list you made which had more options. Lastly, carry out some extensive research which involves looking for the most popular stores and what they are selling. Keep a keen eye on the list of top selling products as well highly promoted products. The lesson here is to find the categories for hot products and pick the best money making niche for your online store.

Know your competition

You should know that if a niche is popular there are high chances that you will be up against some tough competition. Don’t let it deter you because it makes your work easier. Once you know who your competition is, measure and analyze them in order to gather valuable information that will help you when opening your own dropshipping store.

If you realize that there is too much competition in the niche you picked then you might want to rethink your options. If you have picked a broad niche like jewelry, shoes or clothes you might need to select a narrower niche or a sub niche when making your dropship store.

For example, if you have picked Women’s clothing be ready to have many brands and dropship stores as your competition because this is a big niche. However, you can combat this by selecting a sub niche such as stylish maternity clothes for new mothers or Plus size clothing for women. By doing this you are not only reducing your competition but also helping your business to grow faster thus ensuring more profitability.

Choosing the best products to dropship

Now that you know what dropshipping is and why it is a great business model to use for your store, it is time to teach you how to choose the best dropshipping product. As mentioned earlier, Google Trends is an essential tool to get data from if you want to curate through high potential products to put on your dropship store.

If you want to know if a product is great for dropshipping, the following is a criteria you can use:

  • It is difficult to guess the product’s price
  • Customers will buy the product without researching about it
  • It is difficult to find the product elsewhere
  • The product is not overly expensive
  • The product is not only unique but also entices the potential customer to click

To promote your products, you are recommended to use the Facebook advertising platform because it is among the most effective marketing channels for dropshippers. Think of it this way, you will be having access to an audience of about 2.2 billion active users as well as incredible target options.

The best dropshipping products by category

Now that you already have an idea of how you can start and run a successful dropshipping business, it is time to go to the next level. Picking the best dropshipping products is the most crucial part of turning your new business venture into a success. Here is a compiled list of top dropshipping products category for you:

1) Beauty and health supplies

These include things such as skincare, makeup and shower products. Since these products are renewable, it means that you will be able to create a strong customer base thus ensuring consistent product repurchases. In addition, most beauty and health products can be bought at a low wholesale price and their weight is usually significantly low.

2) Computer accessories

These include laptop cases, USB drives and laptop batteries. When bought in bulk, you can also purchase such products in wholesale price. This allows you to have a bit more room to make a profit. The key benefit for this category is that it has the potential to sell multiple items in various bundles

3) Fashion and clothing

Over the years, fashion and clothing has maintained its status of a universally attractive commodity, better yet, one that is in demand all year round. This category offers you the potential of creating customers who are loyal and ones that will continue buying from you. For this reason you will be required to focus on providing quality products and top-notch customer care service to build repeat customers.

4) Mobile phones and accessories

Because mobile phones are in high demand, lightweight and most importantly because you can stock multiple different brands, selling them together with their related accessories can be advantageous. By selling mobile phones, there are high chances of making another sale by offering your customers related accessories.

5) Party supplies

Parties are not only happening more often but also becoming more extravagant all thanks to the new era of social media. This makes it a potential niche because you can sell party supplies thus capitalizing on the trend. Party supplies are easy to sell in bundles and are usually cheap and lightweight.

If you want to enter the eCommerce field then dropshipping is a great start because the numbers don’t lie. You can now automate communication between suppliers and sales channels by using dropshipping software. This can also be your best options if you’re hoping to run a successful online business, more so if you have the best dropshipping products. With all this information, you are more than capable of finding success in dropshipping whether you’re an industry veteran or a newbie.

 

The post Best Dropshipping Products – Our top 5 appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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This is a guest post by Anand Srinivasan. Anand is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources.

Struggling to make payroll? You are not alone. According to one study, nearly 82 percent of businesses in America fail because of cash flow issues. Ironically, the more successful a businesses is at selling products, the more likely it is to face cash flow issues.

Let us understand why. But before we get there, it is important to understand what cash flow is, and why it is significant. In layman terms, cash flow is essentially the money that is in your bank account after you subtract the money that goes out. For instance, if your customers have paid you $50,000 for all the products you have sold and you, in turn, pay your suppliers $30,000, you have $20,000 in your bank. You are thus cash flow positive by twenty grand.

But things are not this simple in the real world. When you are just starting out as a bootstrapped entrepreneur, you may purchase a limited quantity of products from the supplier and sell them to your customers for a profit. Your margins in this case are lower; even unsustainable. But if you have sufficient capital to tide over the period between buying from the supplier to selling to the customer (also called the working capital), then you are likely to end the transaction with a positive cash flow.

The challenge in the above example is making sure that you have enough working capital. But as your business grows, it no longer makes sense for your business to pay your suppliers for each procurement. The volume of purchases increase and businesses request their suppliers to invoice them at the end of each billing cycle. This makes accounting easier.

But customers do not pay immediately either. If you are selling your products to another business, then they tend to buy products from you on credit (similar to the arrangement you have with your supplier). If your supplier has a 45 days credit period and your customer promises to clear invoices within sixty days, then you are putting yourself in a position where you need to pay your supplier before you get money from your customer. Cash flow problems as these are not one-off and is a reason why so many businesses fail.

Things get more complex in the eCommerce world. For one, chargeback is a big issue for online payments. According to one study, nearly 8 in 10 customers tend to file for chargebacks with their bank even before they exhaust all other options for dealing with the seller. In other words, your customers may refuse to pay for a product for simple reasons like the product not working as desired or them not requiring your product any more.

Also, unlike in the real world, your customer does not get to ‘touch and feel’ your product before they pay for it. Not surprisingly then, the number of returns and replacement requests are significantly higher online. As a seller, you are responsible for handling the logistics – such issues can cause a significant dent to your cash flow.

Let us take a look at few ways an eCommerce seller can overcome the cash flow issues in their business.

Rethinking the cash flow cycle

One of the most obvious ways to fix the cash flow issues in your business is by remodeling your business to address the pertinent issues in the process. At a fundamental level, this essentially requires you to make sure that your credit period with your customers is shorter than the one you have with suppliers. This way, you get paid by your customers first and this money can then be used to pay your suppliers back.

This is easier said than done. The model only works if you are a major seller targeting retail or low-end business customers. In such a scenario, you have leverage both over your supplier and the customer and can thus dictate the credit period on either side.

As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, the success of your business depends on the credibility of your supplier. Trusted suppliers are hard to come by and often dictate their credit periods. Similarly, you earn healthy profits by selling to high value customers. Such customers have the upper hand when negotiating credit cycles.

One way to overcome this is by reinventing your business model. Dropshipping is a popular choice among eCommerce businesses since it completely removes the supplier-end of the transaction. With dropshipping, you no longer have to deal with stocking inventory from the supplier and fulfilling them to the customer. Instead, you serve as the white-labeled reseller of the supplier’s product and are merely responsible for collecting money from the buyer, keeping your commission and transferring the rest to the supplier.

This model is extremely popular among eCommerce entrepreneurs since it virtually guarantees you a positive cash flow. The downside of this strategy is that your brand and credibility is now in the hands of a dropshipping supplier. A failure on their part to honor a delivery can adversely affect your credibility. If you use third party tools like AliExpress to find a dropshipper, make it a point to partner with someone who has a feedback rating of at least 95% with a feedback score of over 2000.

Scaling up

Businesses that contribute to a larger volume of the supplier’s business tend to get a better deal. Growing your business to reach larger turnover is indeed the dream of many an entrepreneur. There is however a catch-22 dilemma here. As noted earlier in this article, businesses that increase their volume of trade often need higher working capital to get by. This brings their profitability down and can even lead to bankruptcy.

The way to fix this is by raising capital through a healthy mix of debt and equity. Infusing capital into your business by giving up on equity is not a sustainable idea since it brings down your leverage within your own organization. However, equity based capital financing is safe from an operational perspective. It is a good idea to give up equity to raise funding that will be used to build capital equipment like manufacturing plants, warehouses, etc. These investments are quintessential to a growing organization. Also, these investments take time to show results. Raising money through debt can be quite risky.

However, if you plan on scaling up through massively expanding your sales network, then debt is a better bet. By raising debt, you can retain complete ownership of your business. Also, expanding your customer base tends to bring increased revenue flow at very short notice. This makes such expansion viable through the debt route.

There are many ways to raise debts. The challenge with traditional bank based lending is that it restricts the power of approval to a select few individuals. That, combined with the time it takes for approval makes it a difficult proposition for entrepreneur who need working capital loans.

Services like Bitbond are ideal for short-term loans like those required to cover your working capital deficit. These are loans that are lent for a short duration of anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. Also, these are relatively quicker to get approved and help you seek out for a loan from thousands of lenders globally.

This is especially helpful for eCommerce businesses since the lending process is completely online; just like your business. Traditional lending channels are wary of businesses that have suppliers and countries located in different countries.

Amazon FBA/MCF

Logistics is a huge bottleneck for eCommerce entrepreneurs. The shipping charges on popular providers like UPS and FedEx is not exactly nominal unless you are a major player. If you are a seller on Amazon, you may be interested in using their FBA feature. FBA, or Fulfillment By Amazon is a feature where you pay the company a small fee each month to hold and process your shipment. In other words, you do not have to stock your inventory. Instead, they may be shipped to Amazon for fulfillment.

This facility is especially useful for small and fast moving products. Large products, or those that do not see a huge turnover can cost a lot in terms of holding and processing. It is a good idea to dropship such products directly from your supplier to the buyer.

One lesser known feature with Amazon is their Multi-Channel-Fulfillment policy. MCF makes it possible for eCommerce entrepreneurs to hold their inventory and process their orders through Amazon even if you do not sell directly on the website. That is, you may process your orders on your own site or another eCommerce platform and still process these shipments through FBA.

There are a few points to note here. MCF can be quite lucrative compared to FBA since you may be paying an additional seller fee to Amazon for products sold through the website. But it is also worth pointing out that Amazon charges extra for stock removal or repackaging – these are fees you may incur if your goods expire or the customer needs a replacement. You may also explore alternatives to MCF like FedEx Fulfillment or a local freight forwarding company if the price is right for your product category.

From an eCommerce entrepreneur’s perspective, taking fulfillment off your shoulders and handling them through a third party can be a great way to fix your cash flow woes. This is primarily because inventory management is a highly capital-intensive function. This pushes your business into the red even before you start shipping your first product. Holding it through a third party gives you a reliable fixed cost estimate for every product you stock. It is easier to calculate the margins per sale through this process.

Third party fulfillment however has its own disadvantages, especially if you have an unreliable sales cycle. In such cases, your product may incur unreliable holding costs from your fulfillment partner that may backfire and impact your cash flow.

 

The post How To Address Cash Flow Issues In An eCommerce Business appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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This is a guest post by Albert Ong. Albert leads content at Jazva, an all-in-one eCommerce management platform for multi-channel sellers. His works have appeared on several publications, including Retail TouchPoints, Independent Retailer, Aftermarket Business World, and The Savvy Shipper.

If you’re running an eCommerce business, you might think that investing in inventory management software is too expensive or time consuming. After all, inventory management directly affects your operations, and the last thing you want is for a new product to disrupt your workflow.

While it’s true that sellers in their early stages can make do without a dedicated IMS (inventory management system), all serious retailers will need to make the investment in this technology at some point. The fear of risk will limit growth, and as Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos put it, “In business, what’s dangerous is not to evolve.”

In this article, we’ll cover the top signs that will help inform you when it’s time to switch to a centralized inventory management system.

Your Business Is Growing Rapidly

When you first start your online business, it makes sense to do things as cheaply as possible. Perhaps you’re using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of inventory. Maybe you have an assistant crunching the numbers for you.

However, as you grow and begin to offer more products, inventory control becomes more and more challenging. Your team might even consider moving to a new warehouse, and this will require a tool that’s more sophisticated and a system that can automate your inventory tracking process.

If you continue to use spreadsheets and someone inputs a wrong amount in the file, then your operations can get disrupted, costing you money, a backlog of orders, and a lot of angry customers. By contrast, an IMS can help you be on top of your receiving and shipping operations, in addition to any returns and mis-ships that can happen during peak season.

You’re Struggling to Add New Product Lines

For most retailers, growing their business often involves sourcing new products and vendors. As you add more SKUs to your product line, you might even consider partnering with drop shippers or third-party logistics providers (3PLs).

With this much complexity, manual processes like emails and spreadsheets will severely limit your ability to grow. The alternative is to use automation. An inventory management system can keep your records clean with FTP feeds and EDI integrations. An IMS lets you take on new suppliers to expand product assortment.

Data is also more manageable, and reporting tools should help you determine which products are best to keep during certain seasons.

You’re Losing Products Consistently

While it may be annoying to misplace your sunglasses or your car keys, losing an order or inventory can really hurt your bottom line. Theft in the warehouse is more common than you think, and people mis-ship orders occasionally. That’s human nature. Everyone makes mistakes and it only gets worse when you reach high volume.

A better solution? Implement automation in your business. A warehouse or inventory management system will eliminate the risk of human error and give you peace of mind. With barcode scanning and a centralized system, you will always know where your inventory is. You will also be aware when something goes missing, especially if returns are involved.

With a proper software in place, you will also find that managing vendor data and purchase orders becomes much easier and more convenient. Your marketplace performance should get a boost from timely reorders and less backorders. A great option for you would be Jazva

Your Cash Flow Is Tied

If you purchase a lot of stock but it doesn’t sell, then you may run into cash flow issues. Reduced working capital will be very painful for growth. At the very least, excess inventory will limit your warehouse space, and you may be forced to liquidate dead inventory.

Overstocking is a clear sign that you need an IMS. Forecasting tools will help you make informed business decisions, so you’ll know which items you should always have on had and which ones you should avoid reordering too often. With an IMS in place, you can assess what products are considered top sellers and when you need to reorder certain items. This will help ensure you can meet demand and that your customers remain satisfied.

In the long run, this will free up more of your capital.

Problems Training New Employees

Companies that employ several outdated or legacy systems will find employee training to be quite challenging. This is especially true for multi-channel sellers, who would have to train their staff on how to use Amazon Seller Central, the shopping cart backend, Excel spreadsheets, and shipping sites.

Why not centralize your operations, so your new employees can learn only one software instead of juggling several sites? A modern IMS with a simple and intuitive UI can help you efficiently train new employee. This also reduces risk of error.

Data Inconsistencies

In growing eCommerce businesses, there’s usually an operational divide between frontend and backend departments. You might have employees handling the product listings and the copywriting, while you have another team on the warehouse floor. Add in your accounting team and you may encounter a lot of problems during their audit.

Data inconsistency will be inevitable if your departments are not in sync. And mistakes such as double entry will become more frequent. Instead, consider using a centralized system streamline data and communication, to ensure the numbers are correct and accounted for.

In business, the devil is in the details. If you want to grow your business, you’ll need a robust system to keep track of all your data.

You might also like: 10 Reasons to Integrate your eCommerce and Inventory Management Solutions

 

The post 6 Signs Your Company Needs New Inventory Management Software appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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Multi-vendor marketplaces. Also known as eCommerce marketing or eCommerce marketplace, the multi-vendor marketplace is a platform that encourages a person, shops or multiple vendors to sell their products with a strategic plan. The owner of the market place is required to draw customers as well as the prepared transactions while third party vendors are responsible for the manufacturing and shipping processes.

The Online Shopping Multi-Vendor Marketplace offers a simple portal that improves the methods of production by allowing businesses to sell their products directly to consumers, thus avoiding the immovable process of holding stocks. This form of supply chain management is also known as “dropshipping” method.

A business model for a multi-vendor marketplace

Companies such as eBay, Amazon and Flipkart run an affluent business model for the multi-vendor marketplace. This type of business model plan gained the most attractive and efficient name in web eCommerce by proving its potential. A multi-seller business module promotes sales for third-party vendors by permitting them to sell their goods in one online marketplace.

The whole marketplace works on the same software base. It allows all vendors to share their different products on a single website. In regards to revenue, the owner of the multi-vendor marketplace takes a certain percentage on the sale of any goods sold via the marketplace’s platform.

Why is there a surge in the growth of multi-vendor marketplaces?

A good number of entrepreneurs are starting to invest in the multi-vendor marketplace because it features a variety of business-friendly positives. They are listed below:

  • Reduces effort thus simplifying work
  • No need for inventory maintenance
  • Cost effective
  • A wide array of products attracts buyers thus generating sales
The benefits of a multi-vendor marketplace

The dynamic of online shopping continues to change as more eCommerce entrepreneurs are discovering that multi-vendor marketplaces are the better option. Business owners as well as eCommerce investors are endorsing online marketplaces over regular online stores because of their wide range of benefits.

With a standard multi-vendor marketplace platform put in place, all parties can benefit in the following ways:

To the business owner
  • A marketplace business module allows the business owner to take a commission on the commodities sold by vendors. This can either be additional to or in place of the marketplace’s products thus raising the chances of a profit.
  • Since multi-vendor marketplaces allow platform operators or business owners to collect commission on the products sold by vendors it grows the earning profits
  • A multi-vendor marketplace offers a direct buying process since factors such as the cost of commodities as well as the availability of stock are all transparent and open on a certain platform in an open atmosphere
  • Multi-vendor marketplaces provide better chances for purchasers and suppliers to establish new relationships both within and beyond their chain of supply
  • It offers a reduced time limitation for selling across geographies because the online marketplace software runs around the clock
To the vendors
  • Small-scale vendors or stores don’t need to depend on a budget or marketing capacity in order to build their multi-vendor marketplace website because a software can help them join a marketplace. Such vendors or stores can get clarity by following themselves with a known business that is bigger, in some cases they can also use the marketplace’s shipping options.
  • Smaller vendors or stores looking to decrease their marketing values or aren’t too confident about establishing their own multi-vendor market place platform can join these huge marketplaces and get clarity through their fulfillment options.
  • Through improving and maintaining uniformity, multi-vendor market places create an environment where there is normal exchange of prices between new and old vendors.
  • A multi-vendor marketing platform acts as a new sales channel whose role is to market and sell the products or goods of vendors
  • eCommerce marketplaces enable the sales of goods overseas through offering vendors a chance to trade in the international online marketplace.
To the consumer
  • The users of a multi-vendor marketplace benefit from seeing a variety of options displayed on a single website which is enabled to offer them the highest quality or most moderate price for different products.
  • The consumers also get an opportunity to compare products rather than going on their different websites. This encourages them to find high quality commodities with the fairest cost.
  • Since multi-vendor marketplaces feature real time and updated data on the availability and cost of products making it easier for buyers to get the best deal.
  • Customers can not only search for their best vendors but also establish a trading partnership by having an exclusive deal with them.
Implementing multi-vendor marketplace eCommerce

If you’re thinking of executing multi-vendor marketplace eCommerce then you will need to establish the following for our business:

  • Commission fee – you need to establish how you will get paid from the merchants trading in your marketplace. How will your business make money?
  • Payment option – establish how merchants will collect payment and through which platform.
  • Liability – you need to find ways for ensuring that buyers  pay for goods purchased and that merchants produce goods that meet the needs of the customers.
  • Fulfillment and shipping – you need to figure out if it is your marketplace or the merchants that is responsible for the product fulfillment. Also how will you stablish the various options of shipping?

Once you have made decisions in regards to the aforementioned points, it is crucial that you get an excellent eCommerce software solution to reach your objectives.

Requirements of a standard multi-vendor marketplace

If you are thinking of establishing a standard marketplace eCommerce, then it should at least have the following features:

  • Fast search functionality – one of the most essential tools for a multi-seller marketplace to have is search functionality. It is more important than eCommerce itself. Customers need to find what they need in a vast sea of  third-party commodities.
  • Simple vendor listing/registration – it is important that third-party merchants know how to join your marketplace and build their product listing as soon as possible. If your platform makes it hard for merchants to list their products then they will go somewhere else. Remember, sellers want their profile page to manifest those listings.
  • Digital vs. physical – there are a few multi-seller marketplaces that are restricted to physical or digital goods. Therefore you need to figure out which of these options is the right one for your goals.
  • Cost – for the multi-vendor marketplace, there are a few notable differences in price. Therefore, you have to be extremely careful when selecting the platform by measuring its cost and what it will feature.
  • Simple reviews – since you will be having many merchants, customers need to assess both products and vendors as fast as possible so that the merchants can build a prominence.
  • Ability to collect commission fee – when you own a marketplace the one way you should be making income is through charging a commission fee. Your marketplace platform should make it easier for you to manage payments to avoid confusion.
The best multi-vendor marketplace platforms

When done right, multi-vendor marketplace are gold mines. Generally, the idea behind it is to allow companies or people to create profiles then post their products for sale on the website. Here are some of the multi-vendor online shops that can help you create a community of buyers and sellers and potentially earn some good money.

Magento with marketplace

Even though Magento primarily focuses on eCommerce, it is an open source platform making it one of the best platforms to build a multi-vendor marketplace on. The price is $349 excluding your Magento licensing. If you want to allow multi-vendors you need the help of an extension, in this case, the extension is the marketplace multi-vendor module which allows you to convert a pre-existing Magento site into a multi-seller eCommerce.

WordPress with the Marketify theme

The WordPress platform is somewhat faster when it comes to implementing a multi-seller system when it is paired to by the Marketify Theme, a much easier option for beginners. WordPress is free but the theme costs $63 making it an affordable option. In addition you get plenty of support from WordPress.

Even though WordPress with the Marketify platform works perfect for any type of business, you may be required to have a little bit of technical knowhow. However, it is not difficult to learn how to upload a theme onto this platform.

CS.Cart Multi-Vendor

With a $1450 lifetime fee, CS.Cart is not only powerful but also popular multi-vendor marketplace software which permits you to run your site off your own server. It also helps improve your security and gives you full control over your maintenance and content procedures. Even though CS.Cart’s standard packages don’t permit you to create a multi-seller site, the company offers a completely separate package for making it happen.

The next big thing in online eCommerce is websites that are able to find a solid niche and enable businesses and individuals to reach consumers.

 

The post The Benefits of a Multi-Vendor Marketplace for My Business appeared first on Bitbond resources.

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