Your eCommerce business can grow slowly or quickly depending on your ability to leverage all available tools at your disposal. Maintaining short-term maneuverability and long-term stability with reliable cash flow and keen funds management is vital at any growth stage.
Finding ways to control your cash flow can help you outshine the competition and gain momentum in your market niche – but where do you begin? With the proliferation of cash flow management tools, eCommerce companies can more easily exert greater control over their financial health, even with minimal starting knowledge.
Improving cash flow management is crucial to maintaining the solvency of an online business and increasing growth no matter how much competition there is. In eCommerce, profitability depends on currencies' fast and strategically timed movement, creating enormous advantages for those who take the most effective steps at tightening their cash flow processes. We'll explore some of the benefits of cash flow management tools eCommerce companies can leverage to take their online business to the next level, no matter their growth stage.
Cash flow management tools for eCommerce businesses
Cash flow management tools help business owners calculate and forecast their cash balances, enabling them to make better decisions related to expenses. This is vital for any business, but even more for an online business. Multiple methods are usually employed to do what brick-and-mortar shops generally accomplish with only one thing. By that, we mean that certain links in an eCommerce supply chain are, in truth, multiple links that function separately to accomplish a single business function. A single process thus becomes plural, for example:
- Sales platforms
- Refunds for each of those platforms
- Potentially broader ranges of products
- Customer service channels
- Marketing expenses
- Payment processors
- Multiple currencies
- Webhosting fees
The list goes on – and each of these items will likely involve a broader range of specific services, branching out from the business owner's central control. Every one of these "multi-links" must be accounted for, and consolidating cash flow data for an eCommerce business thus requires a much more complex equation. It's simply the other side to the myriad benefits that online businesses enjoy (e.g., extremely low overhead, immediate access to international markets, etc.).
To mitigate this higher need for data synthesis, cash flow management tools for eCommerce businesses are more available than ever. With the hard part out of the way, eCommerce business owners and managers can better interpret and utilize the data to the best effect. This is not just a matter of convenience (although it certainly is convenient) because, most primarily, it is about maintaining long-term viability as a business.
The quality of cash flow management has become more critical than sheer profitability to most investors who have seen the folly of judging a company based on initially impressive profits. Once very few of the many moving gears start to get out of balance with each other and record, profit margins can just as quickly begin to slim without continually learning more about your cash flow processes. You owe it to your employees, customers, and yourself to leverage any tool available to keep your eCommerce business afloat. Next, we'll outline some of the essential principles for transforming cash flow management into opportunities for growth that apply to any stage.
One of the biggest strengths of business software tools is the ability to automate information, enabling users to schedule orders, invoices, shipping, send bills in advance, and much more. Applying automated cash flow management tools at the highest level can be extremely powerful, enabling users to automate growth rates or cost-reduction measures practically. At the very least (and with minimal training), eCommerce cash flow management tools will help even inexperienced business owners tighten up their billing practices and save time immediately.
One of the most common examples is automated recurring payments, which leads to an incredible amount of extra bandwidth for your employees and greater customer satisfaction. You'll be less likely to lose the customer to possible changes of heart when the orders they've been satisfied with keep coming in regularly. They'll become a V.I.P. customer, and their business partners may become your new customers, who are likely to buy more extensive or periodic quantities.
After the transaction, automated cash flow management tools can generate digital receipts and log each sale into not only your current accounting period but tentatively into future accounting periods. The more recurring payments you have, the more you can start planning for future cash flow needs.
Forecasting your sales and expenses can also help you play with your budget numbers and see which cost-cutting measure (e.g., reduced shipping costs) would likely have the most considerable ripple effect.
On top of it all, your employees will be able to set their attention on other matters of importance. Orders and invoices are much more easily managed with minimal input, thus reducing labor hours for menial tasks. Your employees will be able to engage in more growth- and value-adding efforts, a win for everyone.
Planning expenses around expected revenue
With accurate accounting data more readily available, one of the most strategically important things you can do is apply your accounting forecasts to schedule future payments in the most logical possible way. You’ll be able to avoid dipping into the red while enhancing vendor relationships and establishing excellent business credit. Such a reputation will go a long way in helping you find more significant financing opportunities.
Another benefit along these same lines is a massive reduction in surprises. Let's say an invoice from one of your mission-critical vendors didn't reach you on time. Even though they are a regular supplier, the problem stemmed from the fact that you had made a supplemental order to keep up with higher demand the previous month. You're flying high and thinking about the future, so, not having the invoice, you invest in something in the interest of your company's growth.
When the oddly scheduled invoice finally arrives, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. You and the vendor had both forgotten about the extra transaction, and you already spent the funds you knew you needed to set aside at first but didn't have a consistent reminder until it was too late.
It's a common occurrence that you can prevent with a cash flow management tool that logs expenses and all relevant details. If your cash flow software consistently logs all details, you won't even need invoices to know about your upcoming payments – it's all contained within the cash flow management tools.
eCommerce is inherently flexible. With cash flow management software, you'll maintain that flexibility without getting lost in the added administrative complexities that can make clear foresight a challenge for even the most competent business owners. With these cash flow management tools, you can also strategize your funding to synchronize with almost real-time cash receipts, ensuring that you can expand in lockstep with performance.
Easily integrate payment processors
One of the great things about online retail is the ability to offer your customers a wide range of payment methods – but this means more moving parts to maintain in your cash flow management system. With cash flow management tools, eCommerce businesses can keep track of any number of payment processing systems all under one roof. In a single glance, you can compare the performance of payment processors against each other and note patterns or changes in purchasing behavior.
You'll also be able to compare payment processors' fees so you can strategize ways to encourage your customers to use the cheapest payment processors. Small changes in customer payment behavior, multiplied countless times, will lead to fluctuating margins. This wealth of information can be good or bad. One thing is sure: it sets the stage for huge savings for those who learn how to apply the wealth of payment data being continually recorded in the background.
This dynamic is compounded when international, crypto, and silver- or gold-backed debit cards are considered more common in the eCommerce world. But no matter how simple your online payment processing options are, the chances are that you have much more to keep track of than traditional stores. Even this consideration alone makes eCommerce's automated cash flow management tools a veritable necessity.
Cash Flow Management Doesn't Have To Be Difficult
With eCommerce, more and more operations can be managed by fewer and fewer employees. It's a double-edged sword, though, if what starts as an increase in opportunities begins to feel overwhelming. You need a method to cut down on time lost, keeping track of data manually when you should be able to focus on utilizing data as soon as possible.
In eCommerce, cash flow management tools make that happen, enabling online business owners to enjoy the best eCommerce has to offer while drastically minimizing the challenges.
Even if the profit-boosting potential of cash flow management tools seems over your head at first glance, such tools are easy to start using at the most basic level for massive time-saving. At the most fundamental level, saving you and your employees time is practically the same as saving money, as long as you leverage that time to seek and secure future opportunities.
To ensure you have the right amount of cash on hand at the right time, get started with Onramp Funds today – we'll help you lock financing into your actual cash receipts for a funding strategy that adapts perfectly to your sales.