You may have noticed Amazon Lending in the news recently. According to Bloomberg, Amazon has given out more than three billion dollars in loans since the inception of the Amazon Lending program in 2011, with one billion of those dollars being lent in the last twelve months. They have reportedly given loans to 20,000 businesses throughout the US, UK, and Japan in amounts ranging from $1000 to $750,000. Their loans supposedly carry a very modest APR between 6% and 14%, which would make them cheaper than most other Fintech lenders out there. But just like with PayPal Working Capital, there is a catch. While the APR may be low, Amazon makes up for this by taking a large sales commission. As a result, Amazon Lending may work for very small businesses, but if you're ready to take the next step in growing your business, accounts receivable factoring may be the better option.
You can not request a loan from Amazon Lending, rather Amazon makes loan offers to sellers on Amazon Marketplace, and those sellers can either accept or ignore the offer. It is unknown what criteria is used to determine when a loan offer is made, how much the loan offer is for, what the term of the loan will be, or what the APR on the loan will be. However, Amazon bases the loan on the seller's sales history on Amazon Marketplace, so you can probably assume that if you don't have large and steady sales figures, you probably won't be offered a loan. Furthermore, if you sell directly to Amazon, then you do not qualify for these loans.
While shoppers who use Amazon will see all the products available from both Amazon and Amazon Marketplace every time they search for something they want, the platforms are very different from a wholesale point of view. If you sell direct to Amazon, it is like selling to any other retailer. They give you a purchase order, you ship the merchandise and invoice them, and when the invoice is due Amazon pays you. However with Amazon Marketplace, it is kind of like selling your product on eBay. Amazon will list your product on their site, and will take a commission for each sale you make. If you would like your product to qualify for Amazon Prime, then you need to ship your product to Amazon warehouses, pay storage fees, and when the product sells, you are charged a shipping fee as well. Basically you are giving Amazon merchandise on consignment, and you may be paying them additional fees as well.
Commissions are based on what type of product you are selling. Commissions can be as low as 6% if you are selling computers, and as high as 45% if you are selling an accessory for an Amazon device, for example a Kindle cover. In general, commissions are typically around 15%. In addition to these commissions, Amazon may charge you either a monthly fee or a transaction fee on each sale. If you let Amazon warehouse your product so it qualifies for Prime, you will be paying storage fees and shipping fees as well. If you ship yourself, then you are responsible for paying for shipping. Additionally, Amazon will also charge you a closing fee for each item sold.
Only you can decide whether or not a loan is correct for you. If you sell your merchandise on Amazon Marketplace and wish to continue doing so for the term of the loan they offer you, then you are already paying their commissions and the loan may carry an attractive APR. The loan gets repaid automatically as you sell more merchandise through the Amazon Marketplace, so as long as sales volume remains steady you won't need to worry about paying off the loan. However, if you would like to start selling directly to Amazon or any other retailers, then this loan probably isn't right for you.
Accounts receivable factoring is another form of alternative lending that works with small businesses. Unlike Amazon Lending, accounts receivable factoring works with companies who sell directly to Amazon or other retailers, both online and brick and mortar. With accounts receivable factoring you get funded for your receivables the same day you invoice your customers. Plus, since your factoring company is purchasing your receivables, you aren't taking on any new debt.
Amazon Marketplace may be a great way to introduce your product to the market, and Amazon Lending might allow you to purchase more product to increase your sales volume. However, if you really want to grow your business and want to take the next step, you will have to start selling direct to Amazon and other retailers. If you are ready to take that next step, then give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000 and find out how we can help you fund your growing business.