Factoring 101 Blog - Acounts Receivable Factoring and Other Industry News

Technology Posts

From finance to shopping to the home to your phone, technology is changing everything. Read up on some of the latest technologies on the Factoring 101 Blog.

Accounts Receivable Factoring vs Supply Chain Finance

With each passing day it seems like a new technology is disrupting a traditional business model. Certainly an industry that has been around as long as factoring is not immune to disruption from innovation, and currently supply chain finance is one of these disruptors. However, it is important to understand the differences between factoring and supply chain financing so that you may determine which is right for your business. While they both offer access to improved cash flow, beyond that they don't really have all that much in common.

Perhaps the biggest difference between accounts receivable factoring and supply chain finance is who decides to use the service. With factoring, the decision rests entirely with the supplier. The buyer has no say in whether or not an invoice is factored. With supply chain finance it is the buyer's decision when and if to offer quicker payment on an invoice, and it is up to the supplier to accept that offer. As a result, a supplier can not rely on supply chain finance to fund their business since it may or may not be offered to them. If a supplier needs immediate access to working capital so that they can run or grow their business, factoring is the best way to guarantee that they always have access to the working capital they need.

The next major difference is which buyers you can get immediate funding on. In general, factoring companies will work with all of your buyers, regardless of how large or small they are. However, supply chain finance is typically only offered by major retailers as they are the ones who do enough volume to make supply chain financing affordable. Besides, typically smaller retailers are not cash rich and can't afford to make early payments. To further complicate matters, each one of your buyers who does offer supply chain finance may do so with a different company, meaning you need to manage your accounts across multiple financing platforms, whereas with factoring you only ever work with a single factoring company so it is a much more streamlined process.

Of course the fee is also a major difference. With factoring, the fee is part of the agreement that you have with your factoring company, it does not change. With supply chain finance, the fee is not fixed, you need to make an offer to your buyer and your buyer needs to accept it. If your buyer is cash rich than they may take a lower offer and supply chain finance could be cheaper than factoring. However, for a buyer who is not cash rich or is struggling, they may only be accepting higher offers and factoring could be the cheaper option.

Another issue is timing, many buyers who offer supply chain finance may wait 7-10 days to do so as they need to check your products into their system and make sure nothing is damaged before they can approve it for payment. Then they need to ask you to make an offer. If your offer isn't acceptable then you typically need to wait until the following day before you can make a counter-offer. With supply chain finance it may take two weeks or longer before you receive funding. However, factoring companies offer you funding the same day that you ship and invoice your customer.

Finally, credit insurance may be the most important difference. Of course, you might say that you don't need credit insurance if you are getting early payment with supply chain finance, because after all, you are getting paid. However, it isn't quite that simple. First of all, there is no guarantee that supply chain finance will be available from one of your buyers, even if they did offer it to you in the past, there is no guarantee it will be offered in the future.

The other issue has to deal with US bankruptcy law. When a company files for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court may require you to return any payments you received within 90 days prior to the filing. The reason being is they don't want creditors receiving preferential treatment, all creditors should be treated equal. Of course, you don't need to return these funds if you can prove that you received them in the normal course of business, but if you are offering a buyer a discount to pay you early, then there is nothing normal about the transaction. This recently became a problem when Toys'R'Us filed for bankruptcy. Toys'R'Us partnered with C2FO to offer supply chain finance, and there is no doubt that everyone who received an early payment from Toys'R'Us had to later return those funds to the bankruptcy court.

With non-recourse factoring however, not only does your factoring handle all of the credit checking for you, but they also insure your receivables. So if one of your buyers does file for bankruptcy or goes out of business, you still get to keep the funds that your factoring company gave you. Furthermore, since factoring companies don't request early payment, it is quite possible that they may be able to prove that payment was received in the normal course of business and they too would not be required to return the funds.

While supply chain finance can potentially be cheaper than factoring with stronger retailers, it can also be more expensive and does not offer all of the benefits that you receive with factoring. Furthermore, it is only available if your customer wants to offer it to you. In many ways, supply chain finance is just a more expensive way of offering your customers a discount for early payment such as "1% 15 net 30" day terms. On the other hand, factoring is a much safer and more reliable way of funding your business. Factoring can be used with all of your accounts, and has very similar pricing to supply chain finance.

If you could benefit from improved cash flow and would like to give a factoring a try, give DSA Factors a call at 773-248-9000. With over 30 years experience helping companies improve their cash flow, DSA Factors has the money to make your company grow.

Surviving the Brick and Mortar Meltdown

Today Bonton began its liquidation sales, by the end of August there will be no more Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, or Younkers. It was only last month that Toys'R'Us made the same exact announcement. On top of that, Sears, J.C. Penny, Neiman Marcus, Lord and Taylor, and Macy's have all been closing many locations, and now things are looking very bad for Bed Bath and Beyond. Even Walmart closed 63 Sam's Club locations at the start of the year. Things have gotten so bad that it was barely even news when Nine West filed for bankruptcy last week. So what does this mean for the retail environment?

Certainly things aren't looking too good. Bonton is a major department store that anchors many malls. For smaller retailers in the mall, losing Bonton could mean loosing foot traffic and maybe even permanently closing their stores as well. For other struggling anchors in the mall, it might give them reason to close their store in the struggling mall. In malls that have already lost an anchor, losing a second anchor could be the end for the mall. While we have seen many big box stores in strip malls close, this is the first time that we are seeing a major department store and mall anchor close all its locations. There is a very real possibility of it having a snowball effect with the other struggling department stores.

Of course, as a manufacturer or importer, you not only have to worry about the next bankruptcy filing, but also losing a major customer. In many ways, the latter can be much worse. The proof of this is Mattel and Hasbro. Both their stocks took a major hit when Toys'R'Us filed for bankruptcy, and then another when they announced they would be closing all their stores. In fact, billionaire Isaac Larian, owner of Little Tikes and many other toy companies, tried to purchase Toys'R'Us out of fear of what its closure could do to the toy industry.

Certainly you need to be selling to online retailers like Amazon, however, you can't only focus on online. Amazon might be one of the major reasons why all these stores are closing, in fact they announced on Wednesday that they now have 100 million Prime subscribers. But to focus only on Amazon is also problematic, after all, you don't want to have all of your eggs in one basket or limit where your customers can purchase your product. Plus, many of your customers may want to touch and feel the product before they purchase it, something that isn't (yet) possible with Amazon.

Of course, selling to brick and mortar can be very scary right now. While one option might be the increasingly popular taking a discount to get paid early, doing so won't actually protect you. The bankruptcy laws require you to pay back any money you received within 90 days of a company filing for bankruptcy if it is believed you received preferential treatment. Toys'R'Us was working with C2FO to offer its vendors early payment in exchange for a discount prior to filing for bankruptcy, and you can be sure that anyone who received early payment at a discount, is now returning that payment back to the bankruptcy court. What might have seemed like a smart option at the time, in the end did not offer vendors any protection.

Really the only thing that can protect you is by partnering with someone who is doing the credit checking for you, staying on top of breaking news, and offering you insurance. While credit insurance is available for extremely large, credit-worthy accounts, it typically isn't available for smaller companies or companies that show even the slightest inkling of financial distress. Non-recourse factoring on the other hand provides you with the protection you need on the widest range of customers available.

DSA Factors has been offering non-recourse factoring for over 30 years now. When you partner with DSA Factors, we handle all of the credit checking for you as well as provide you with insurance on the receivables which we approve. As an added benefit, we help improve your cash flow by funding you the same day you ship and invoice your customers. For more information about how factoring can help your business, give us a call at 773-248-9000.

Bloomberg Warns that Fintech May Lead to Our Next Financial Crisis

It's been almost ten years since our last financial crisis was caused by banks that were too big to fail. However, Bloomberg is warning that the next collapse will be tied to Silicon Valley rather than Wall Street. Over the last ten years the government has tightened regulations on Wall Street to ensure that we won't find ourselves in the same situation that occurred in 2008. However, there has also been a revolution in the world finance by startup companies incorporating new technologies.

While most people are aware of the new regulations that have been placed on the too-big-to-fail banks. It is now nearly impossible to get a small business loan, and even refinancing a mortgage on your home requires massive amounts of documentation that can take you weeks or months to put together. However, not many people are aware of just how large and diverse Fintech companies have become.

While Fintech has entered the world of factoring, its reach extends well beyond factoring into all other arenas of finance. There are Fintech companies that give out business loans, do crowd funding, give computer generated advice, and there are even virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.

The main issue with these new Fintech companies is that unlike the institutions that existed prior to the crash, these new businesses have no oversight. Not only has the government avoided regulating the industry, but the very idea of Fintech implies that there aren't humans making the credit decisions, instead decisions are made based on complex algorithms that are hosted on internet servers. Without any human input going into financial decisions, it is quite possible that businesses may learn how to manipulate the systems and receive funding that they shouldn't qualify for.

Of course the biggest threat to the industry is hackers, who have been breaking into systems and stealing sensitive information at an incredible rate recently. In fact, it was just announced today that Whole Foods' restaurants had been hacked and credit card information had been stolen. The world of Fintech has already been attacked. In 2014 a security breach put Mt. Gox, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange at the time, out of business and cost Bitcoin owners $3.5 billion in today's dollars. To make matters worse, the security breach apparently happened in 2011 and went unnoticed for three years.

While there is no clear cut solution to the problems presented by Fintech, the fact is, Fintech has had an incredible impact on the world of finance over the last ten years. Furthermore, while many Fintech companies have come and gone, overall as an industry, it doesn't look like Fintech is going to slow down any time soon.

UPDATE: Breaking News

Former Securities Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt spoke out yesterday at the Economist's Finance Disrupted conference in New York. At the conference he stated, "Fintechs tend to march to their own rules. It's a new industry with lots of failures and lots of spectacular successes. But regulation is often kind of background music, and the prevalence of scandal and mismanagement and aggressiveness is part of the backwash of innovation. Hardly a day goes by where there isn't a recording of some scandal or another"

At the same conference, Scott Sanborn, CEO of Lending Club said "We do need to take responsibility in [Silicon Valley] where there is a mentality of growth at all costs, and if you don't have the right checks in place, the right kind of board in place, and plenty of people with audit and risk experience that are providing the right kind of governance, you can have problems."

Alexa, ask how long until Thanksgiving?

There are 77 days until Thanksgiving, which falls on November 23rd. Thank you for using the Birthday and Holiday Countdown presented by DSA Factors. Have a nice day!

So it may not be about factoring, but as the number one factoring company in creating new Alexa skills, we have created an Alexa skill that tells you how long until a certain holiday or date. All you need to do is ask Alexa, ask how long until... and from there you can choose just about any holiday or give it a date such as your birthday. We won't bore you with a list of every holiday available in the skill, but lets just say it is a lot! It can tell you how long until any American holiday, as well as Christian, Jewish, and Chinese holidays. That's right, it even knows when holidays based on a lunar calendar will occur.

So what are you waiting for, find out how many days are left until your birthday, until you go on vacation, or until you get to go trick or treating! As a bonus, if you ask Alexa the day before or the day of some holidays, she might even have a special message for you!

Alexa, open invoice factoring

Alexa just got a whole lot smarter. Earlier in the month we introduced our Accounts Receivable Factoring skill which would tell you exactly how much it will cost to factor an invoice, and it was so popular it even got written up on the Small Business Trends blog. So DSA Factors is proud to introduce our newest Alexa skill, Invoice Factoring. Simply tell Alexa to open invoice factoring, and then start asking anything you have questions about.

You can ask simple questions such as what is factoring, or more complex questions about recourse vs. non-recourse, purchase order financing, credit checks, submitting invoices, and virtually anything else. Of course, you can't expect Alexa to be able to give you the personalized service that you have come to expect from DSA Factors. Furthermore, Alexa can only answer questions about general knowledge and not about your accounts. That is why you can still give DSA Factors a call anytime at 773-248-9000 and one of our principals will be available to speak with you over the phone.

Alexa, open accounts receivable factoring.

DSA Factors is proud to announce that we have published our first skill for Amazon's Alexa service. If you own an Echo, Dot, Tap, or any other device that supports Alexa, you are no longer just limited to playing music, turning on lights, asking how to spell words, listening to a news report, or asking about the weather. You can now ask Alexa to open accounts receivable factoring and learn exactly how much it will cost you to factor an invoice. That's right, DSA Factors has created the world's first ever factoring skill for your smart home, and there is no telling how this skill may revolutionize the world.

You will of course have to tell Alexa how much your invoice is for and what you factoring rate is for the invoice. After that Alexa will do the rest for you and will tell you exactly what the factoring fees will be and how much will be held in reserve (assuming it is 10%), so that you can know exactly how much funding you can expect to receive.

So go ahead and make your smart home even smarter by activating the accounts receivable factoring skill today.

P.S. If this news wasn't exciting enough, we have more skills in the works... stay tuned!

How Would an Amazon Furniture Store Impact the Furniture Industry

Amazon is already a retail giant, but up until recently all of their sales have existed only online. However, that is slowly changing. In November 2015 Amazon opened its first brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle, and has opened a handful more across the country in the last year. They also started experimenting with cashier-less grocery stores at the end of last year. Of course the big news came a couple of weeks ago when Amazon announced they would be purchasing Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. While Amazon is yet to open a brick and mortar furniture store, there have been reports that they are looking into doing so. If, or when, they do open a furniture store, you can bet that it will have some pretty dramatic effects on the furniture industry.

Amazon and the Book Industry

Amazon of course started off as an online book store back in 1995 and didn't turn a profit until 2001. The impact that Amazon has had on the book industry has been dramatic. They drove Borders, a 500+ store chain and former Amazon partner, out of business in 2010. Barnes and Noble has survived but is struggling. So it is interesting that the company that has been responsible for closing hundreds of bookstores around the country, and has no problem selling books online, would want to open up their own bookstores. Of course, for a company like Amazon, the cost of opening up a bookstore is insignificant, and it could be worth it to Amazon to open these stores even if the stores themselves are not profitable since they can be used as market research and for marketing Amazon's other services such as Prime. The fact that these bookstores are popping up slowly and only in several cities may indicate that indeed the stores are not profitable on their own.

Amazon and the Grocery Industry

Groceries, however, unlike books, have been a much bigger problem for Amazon. While non-perishable foods can be shipped, they are also heavy and shipping them can be expensive. Of course fresh produce is much more problematic, not only does it have a short shelf life, but most consumers wouldn't want someone else picking out which bananas or cut of meat they are purchasing. Then you have refrigerated or frozen foods, if it took Amazon two days to deliver your milk, it would go bad long before it arrives at your doorstep. At the end of last year Amazon started experimenting with several grocery store concepts in Seattle. Amazon Go offered cashier-less convenience stores. You simply walk in, take the food you want, and walk out, with your credit card automatically getting billed. Amazon Fresh Pickup allows customers to order food online and then pick it up at a nearby drive-thru. While Amazon Fresh Pickup still doesn't address the issue of allowing consumers to pick their own produce, it at least addresses the issue of short shelf life and refrigeration. But just like with bookstores, which also started out in Seattle, these stores are being rolled out slowly and Amazon still has an insignificant market share of the grocery industry.

That of course has all changed with Amazon's buyout of Whole Foods and its 460+ stores across the nation. In a matter of seconds Amazon made a major move not just into the grocery industry but into brick and mortar retail. They instantly gained hundreds of locations around the country where customers can pick up orders, drop off returns, and do their shopping all at the same time. They also can roll out some of their new technologies on a much larger scale than they have done so far.

Amazon and the Furniture Industry

The Challenges of the Furniture Industry

With Amazon apparently solving their grocery problems, that leaves only one other industry where Amazon is struggling to get their foot in the door, the furniture industry. While furniture may not go bad like fresh fruit and vegetables, it has its own challenges. First of all, it is a major purchase, even the cheapest pieces will cost you at least a hundred dollars, and if you are updating a room you can expect your bill to be in the thousands. When making such a large purchase consumers are going to take their time to shop around to make sure that they are getting exactly what they want. In the case of upholstery and bedding, consumers need to touch and feel the product to make sure that it is comfortable. Furthermore, many furniture purchases are custom orders where the consumer picks the colors and finishes they want. As a result retailers are not able to stock the merchandise but instead need to order it, meaning it could take anywhere from 4-12 weeks for the consumer to receive the merchandise. This doesn't work well with Amazon's goals of reducing delivery time from two days to two hours. But of course the largest problem with furniture is delivery. Furniture is bulky, heavy, and easily damaged. While it can easily be transported to distribution centers and stores, it is delivering it the final mile into the consumer's home that presents the greatest challenge, along with assembly for items such as beds that would not be able to fit through doorways if they were delivered fully assembled.

How does Amazon Enter the Furniture Industry?

So of course the next question is what will Amazon do? Amazon has committed to selling furniture; they have opened up showrooms in both Las Vegas and High Point. While it is possible that Amazon may experiment with opening its own stores, it is likely that when they are ready to make the jump into brick and mortar furniture, they will buyout a furniture retailer. Of course, there are very few furniture retailers that have locations nationwide like Whole Foods, but Amazon doesn't necessarily need to purchase a furniture retailer. Purchasing a department store might make greater sense as they are larger, have more locations, and would allow Amazon to sell other merchandise that is difficult to sell online, such as appliances and clothing.

If you start looking at department stores, Amazon has a lot more opportunities as many of the department stores are struggling, mainly due to having to compete with Amazon and other online retailers. Purchasing Macy's would give them access to 800+ locations around the country. JC Penny would give them over 1000 locations. But most interesting is perhaps the department store that has told its investors that it may not be able to keep its doors open. If Amazon were to buyout Sears, not only would they be able to purchase it at a bargain price, but they would immediately have access to over 1500 retail locations and a wealth of real estate all around the country.

Of course all of this is just speculation, what isn't speculation is that Amazon is going to do something in the furniture industry. There is talk of them using technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality so that you can picture what a particular piece of furniture would look like in your home. Another possibility is offering delivery windows within hours of when you make a purchase in their store. But whatever they do, it is going to be big and everyone is going to have to keep up with Amazon if they don't want to lose out.

What will be Amazon's Impact on the Furniture Industry?

FURNITURE RETAILERS

While retailers will face stiffer competition, they may also benefit from the new technologies that Amazon brings to the industry. If existing furniture stores are able to adopt Amazon's technologies, they too could use those technologies to increase sales. Of course, the real advantage to traditional retailers comes in the area of customer service. A company like Amazon will never be able to provide personalized service and most likely wouldn't have trained salesmen who know about all the products in their store, instead they will probably rely on Amazon reviews like they do in their bookstores, and perhaps a specific customer's buying trends. While Amazon may already know if a customer is looking for a more traditional or contemporary look based upon their online purchasing patterns, a traditional salesman can simply ask the customer what they are looking for and forget about all the algorithms. By offering exceptional customer service and a knowledgeable staff, current furniture retailers should be able to compete with Amazon and would definitely do better in customer retention.

FURNITURE VENDORS

From a vendor's point of view, Amazon stores can potentially open up more possibilities. Smaller vendors, who have trouble getting floor space in the showrooms of larger furniture retailers, may have an easier time getting floor space in an Amazon showroom. While certainly Amazon could offer everything online, it will be limited in what they can display in their showroom by the amount of real estate they have. Unlike traditional furniture retailers who buy from a handful of vendors, Amazon purchases from everyone and that of course is what sets them apart.

If Amazon's bookstores are any indication of how they do business, products that perform better online will have the upper hand. At Amazon bookstores there is a very limited selection of books, and the selection is not based on which books Amazon's buyers feel should be on the shelves. Instead the book selection is all determined by algorithms which look at sales volume and customer reviews of each book. As a result, a category that has a more limited selection but sells modestly well may get more shelf space than a hugely popular category that offers a much wider variety of books to choose from. For example, Amazon bookstores have an excellent selection of recipe books which individually sell well online, but a very limited selection of fiction, a category that performs incredibly well as a collective group, but not as individual titles. Furthermore, where a traditional bookstore will feature every book that Dr. Seuss ever published in their children's department, Amazon bookstores would probably only have one or two of his books that sell extremely well online, if any. There is no reason to believe that Amazon wouldn't take the same approach in a furniture showroom.

This could be huge for niche manufacturers. While overall your sales volume may look insignificant when compared to someone like Ashley, if you have a single unique product on the market that sells very well, it is quite possible that it would get floor space in an Amazon showroom. While Ashley may offer 1000 different products, it means that each product only gets a thousandth of Ashley's overall sales volume, and your single product receives 100% of your sales volume. As a result, your single product would have better sales numbers than any individual Ashley product, and if it receives positive customer reviews, it would perform better in Amazon's algorithms.

If there is any lesson to be learned from this, it is quite simple, online matters. If you don't want to get left behind, you need to bring your business online, and the more you offer the more you have to gain. Getting sales and positive reviews right now on Amazon could result in even greater sales volumes in the future when Amazon starts opening brick and mortar stores. If you are looking to get your product for sale online, DSA Factors is here to help. We provide factoring for Amazon receivables, as well as Wayfair, Hayneedle, One Kings Lane, Zulily, and many other online stores. Give us a call today at 773-248-9000 to learn more about how DSA Factors can help you grow your online business.

How Accounts Receivable Factoring Fits Into the Fintech World

It may seem strange that accounts receivable factoring, a form of financing that dates back further than the Silk Road, could fit into the modern world of Fintech, an industry that is less than a decade old. However, like any business that has survived since antiquity, accounts receivable factoring has constantly evolved with changing times and in many ways pioneered the path for the new Fintech industry. While you would be hard pressed to find an a true factoring company that only exists in the online realm, you would be just as hard pressed to find a traditional factoring company that doesn't offer a large variety of online tools.

In the same way that online banking and ATM machines have made it so many Millennials never had to write a check or step inside a bank branch location, accounts receivable factoring can now provide your business with the financing that you need without needing to walk away from your computer. In fact, here at DSA Factors we've been offering online tools to our clients for over a decade now. So in many ways, we were a Fintech company before Fintech even existed. But unlike Fintech, we haven't stripped down our factoring program to only offer the services and benefits that a web page can provide. Plus we are still happy to work with clients who prefer doing things the old fashioned way, via phone, mail, and fax.

Online Credit Approvals

For years now, offering online approvals has been a standard service that accounts receivable factoring companies have offered. What this means is that when you get a purchase order, you just login to your factoring company's portal and request an approval. Often times the computer is able to make an actual credit decision on the spot and offer you an instant online approval. Of course, as in any business, there is a limit to what can be completely automated, so in the case where the computer can't approve an order, it gets sent to your factoring company's office for review. When this happens at DSA Factors, we do our best to get back to you with a credit decision within 30 minutes, and will e-mail the credit decision to you.

Real-time Aging Statements

Most factoring companies will provide their clients with aging statements each week so that they know where their accounts stand. At DSA Factors we take this one step farther. At any time our clients are able to login to our portal and view a real-time aging statement.

View Transmittal Sheets

Just like how banks and credit card companies allow you to view statements online, at DSA Factors we give our clients to view transmittal sheets from our online portal. And unlike banks or credit cards that may limit you to only one or two years of statements, here at DSA Factors you can go back as far as you want to that very first payment we sent you when you first started factoring.

Access to a Variety of Online Reports

In addition to aging statements and transmittal sheets, at DSA Factors we offer our clients a variety on online reporting options. This includes being able to pull account statements for any customer. Viewing all open or used approvals. Pulling sales reports that show you how much volume each of your customers gave you over a specified period of time. Plus, if there is a report that you would like to see on the portal, all you need to do is give us a call and we will do our best to create it for you. As a family owned business, we pride ourselves on the quality service we provide our clients with, and that extends to the online services we provide as well.

Allow Customers to Pay Online

At DSA Factors we don't just extend online benefits to our clients, but also to their customers. At any time your customers may login into our portal with a login and password we provide at the bottom of every account statement we send them so that they can view a real-time statement and make payments online. After all, don't your customers deserve access to the same online conveniences as you.

Why Choose Accounts Receivable Factoring Over Fintech?

If the online services that we offer at DSA Factors doesn't seem like enough, keep in mind that we offer one huge benefit that no Fintech company is able to offer. At any time you are able to pick up a phone, give us a call, and one of our principals will be able to talk to you and help you come up with a solution that works for you. That isn't something that you will get from a large Fintech company, that is something that you can only get from a family owned accounts receivable factoring company. And the value of being able to speak with someone who can actually help you and cares about your business, is much greater than the inconvenience of being limited to only the functions that a web page is able to handle.

If you want to improve your cash flow, outsource you accounts receivable, get credit insurance, and have the convenience of being able to work online, but still want the personalized service that you deserve, give us a call today at 773-248-9000. Or if you want to go "Fintech", feel free to send us an e-mail at info@dsafactors.com or chat with us right now on this web page.

The Original Fintech Factoring Company

Everyone knows that accounts receivable factoring has been around for a while, in fact, if it wasn't for factoring, in fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus wouldn't have been able to sail the ocean blue. However, in recent years, in response to rapidly developing technology and an unwillingness by banks to lend money, a large number of fintech companies have emerged offering entrepreneurs a variety of ways to raise money for their businesses. These fintech companies offer everything from crowdfunding to factoring. However, it is important that you compare the services that these new fintech companies provide as well as the fees they charge to more established funding sources.

Crowdfunding vs Venture Capital

Crowdfunding is indeed an excellent alternative to venture capital. Companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow start-ups to raise money for their business through pre-sales, rather than receiving loans or giving up a percentage of ownership to venture capitalists. So not only does crowdfunding allow you to maintain ownership of your business without taking on new debt, but it also provides young companies with advertising and the chance to build up a large and enthusiastic customer base. Of course crowdfunding isn't free, you will have to pay a commission on any funding you receive in addition to payment processing fees, but then again venture capital isn't free either. The other big difference between crowdfunding and venture capital is the scale. Typically crowdfunding works on a much smaller scale, giving new start-ups the ability to raise thousands, tens of thousands, and occasionally hundreds of thousands dollars. Venture capital on the other hand isn't always all that interested in such small investments, but could be a good place to start if you are looking for a million dollar deal.

While crowdfunding is a great way of getting your product seen and sold directly to consumers, it does not typically help you with funding large orders from retailers. For this, an excellent alternative to venture capital is purchase order financing, which is a service provided by many traditional accounts receivable factoring companies. With purchase order financing you can obtain a short term loan based on a purchase order, and then you pay back that loan by ultimately selling the invoice associated with that order to your factoring company.

Fintech Factoring vs Traditional Accounts Receivable Factoring

Factoring has always been an excellent alternative to getting a bank loan. However, fintech factoring companies haven't really innovated the factoring industry, but rather offer short-term, high-interest small business loans that improve your cash flow, but don't provide the other services that traditional factoring companies provide you with. Like traditional factoring, the fintech factoring companies are not too concerned with your business's or your personal credit, meaning that companies that do not qualify for a traditional bank loan will qualify for a loan with them. However, coming from their IT backgrounds, the principals of these firms don't have any real experience in the factoring industry, nor do they understand all of the benefits that traditional factoring offers small businesses.

In an interview with ABF Journal, George Bessenyei, director of 48 Factoring, stated "we are not coming from the financial space, we are coming from a technology space. I see us as a technology company that provides finance." In another interview with ABF Journal, Eyal Lifshitz, CEO of BlueVine said "I was looking for a way to disrupt the lending industry. I started learning about factoring. I wanted to modernize it and make it a streamlined process where the borrowers can click a button and get money." While it is true that these new fintech companies have streamlined the process of getting funded so it can be done entirely online, they also stripped-down factoring to its bare bones. Key aspects of factoring such as not taking on any new debt, outsourcing your credit checking and collections, insuring your receivables, and an unlimited potential for funding have been eliminated by the fintech factoring companies.

While fintech factoring may offer a faster, more streamlined approach to getting funded, and its rates mirror traditional accounts receivable factoring rates, they actually will cost you quite a bit more both timewise and financially than traditional factoring. Because fintech companies don't handle your credit checking, you are still responsible for assessing the credit worthiness of your customers and will need to subscribe to expensive credit agencies in order to do so. You are also responsible for handling all the collection work, which as your company grows could eat up much of your time or require you to hire additional employees. Finally, without credit insurance, when a customer is unable to pay an invoice, you are out the money. While you could be very conservative in who you offer payment terms to, doing so will mean that you will be turning down a lot of business that a traditional factoring would most likely be willing to improve. Alternatively, for large orders, you can purchase credit insurance for an additional charge from insurance companies.

Technological Innovations Offered by Accounts Receivable Factoring Companies

It is true that accounts receivable factoring may be old, but that doesn't mean that traditional factoring companies don't innovate. The fact is, traditional factoring companies have been using innovative software and providing online tools to their clients for many years now. Nearly every traditional accounts receivable factoring company allows their customers to submit accounts for credit approval online, and oftentimes can provide their clients with instant approvals directly on the web page. Invoices can also be sent via e-mail to ensure speedy processing. Plus, your factoring company has the ability to pay you via ACH or wire so that funds are electronically deposited into your bank account as opposed to having to wait for a check to arrive in the mail and then take it to a bank. While the process might not be as streamlined as fintech factoring, accounts receivable factoring companies always pride themselves on speedy turnaround and funding you within 24 hours, if not the very same day that you submit your invoices to them.

Another common misconception that fintech factoring companies have about traditional factoring is that accounts receivable factoring companies are all owned by banks and only care about large accounts doing millions a year in sales. While it is true that many factoring companies are owned by banks and prefer not to deal with smaller businesses, this is not true of all factoring companies.

DSA Factors has always been family owned and operated, and we provide factoring to all businesses regardless of how much volume they do. At DSA Factors we have always been innovating ever since we started factoring in 1986 and programmed our very own factoring software using Basic on DOS 3.3 computers. While we have long ago moved on from our original software, we still continue to develop all of our own software and are continuously improving it in order to give our clients more options in how we finance their businesses. Today we offer online instant approvals to our clients along with a number of online reports including real-time aging statements as well as give them the ability to view previously paid transmittal sheets for as long as they have been factoring with us. Additionally we provide your customers with a login where they can view an account statement and make payments online. We even welcome ideas from our clients on how to improve our online portal so that they can get the most out of our factoring services. So if you are looking for financing and want a factoring company that combines technology with knowledge, experience, and service, look no further than DSA Factors. Give us a call today at 773-248-9000 and one of our principals will be more than happy to speak with you.

Factoring vs Fintech: Finance in the High Tech World

For most small business owners, obtaining a line of credit from a bank has never been easy. In recent years a number of technology companies have discovered this problem and it has led to the emergence of fintech, a form of online lending. However, what many small business owners don't realize is that there is another alternative to the banks, which is factoring. Factoring companies however offer a whole lot more than the fintech companies, but also have much more experience and knowledge, better customer service, and typically cost less.

Industry Knowledge

Fintech companies provide their customers, who don't qualify for a small business loan from a bank, with short-term, high-interest loans using their receivables as collateral. Because they are using receivables as collateral, companies such as BlueVine claim that they provide accounts receivable factoring, but really they are just providing their customers with a loan. Other companies like Fundbox claim they provide invoice financing, which they differentiate from factoring. While it is true that they do not provide factoring, what they don't realize is that invoice financing and accounts receivable financing mean the same as factoring. This demonstrates a very big difference between fintech and factoring. These fintech companies are really young IT start-ups with little or no experience in the industries that they serve; in fact, they may not even know basic industry terms. Factoring on the other hand has been around for hundreds of years, even Christopher Columbus used factoring. While most factoring companies haven't been around quite that long, they all have quite a bit of experience and a background in the industries that they serve. For example, DSA Factors started off as the consumer finance arm of a retail furniture store under the same ownership. Eventually they decided to start offering factoring services to furniture and bedding wholesalers who they bought from. As the factoring business grew they started expanding out to other industries such as giftware, housewares, apparel, and trucking. Now, having factored for over 30 years, they are still helping small and medium sized businesses grow.

Improved Cash Flow - Debt vs No Debt

While the goal of both fintech and factoring is to help you improve your cash flow, perhaps the biggest difference between fintech and factoring is how they accomplish this. A fintech company provides you with a loan, meaning you are taking on debt. Furthermore, the loan has a very short term and if you offer extended terms, such as net 90 days, to your customers, it is quite possible that the loan will become due before you receive payment on the invoice that was used as collateral. With factoring, the factoring company is purchasing your accounts receivable, or invoices. The funds you receive from a factoring company are yours to keep and spend however you like. Even if one of your customers pays late, you don't need to worry about paying back the funds you received.

Accounts Receivable Outsourcing

Of course services provided are another really big difference between fintech and factoring. Fintech companies seem to pride themselves on how they will never contact your customers; they seem to think that you will appreciate this. However, all that this means is that if your customers don't pay them, they will come after you. With fintech you still need to stay on top of your accounts receivable and send out statements and make collection calls. For a small business this means that the owner typically needs to spend a lot of time just trying to get paid by their customers. For medium sized businesses you will probably need to hire another employee just to manage your accounts receivable, meaning additional payroll. With factoring you are outsourcing your accounts receivable. Factoring companies have already invested heavily in the software necessary to manage A/R, and are able to do so because they manage A/R for many clients. They have professional and courteous collectors who are able to make the phone calls for you. Plus, because your customers may purchase from several other vendors who factor their receivables, a factoring company has a lot more leverage in collecting from a customer who may not be willing to pay. The fintech companies try to scare you by saying that factoring companies can ruin your relationship with your customers, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Factoring companies are not collection agencies, they understand the importance of the relationship you have with your customers, after all, they have a similar relationship with you. As a result, your factoring company provides your customers with gentle reminders that payment is due, and always treats your customers with the respect they deserve.

Credit Insurance

Another big difference between fintech and factoring is the insurance they provide. With Fintech you receive no insurance on the invoices you put up as collateral, if the invoices don't get paid, you still have to pay back the fintech company. However, many factoring companies, such as DSA Factors, provide non-recourse factoring, meaning that you are insured in the situation where one of your customers is unable to pay due to financial problems. Furthermore, since your factoring company is insuring your receivables, they also handle all of your credit checking for you, meaning that you don't need to subscribe to expensive services such as Dun & Bradstreet. While it is possible to purchase credit insurance separately, it of course comes with additional fees, and typically only covers large orders for very creditworthy companies such as Amazon or Walmart. If your customers are mom and pop stores, or your invoices are smaller than five or six figures, credit insurance is not something that is readily available to you.

Purchase Order Financing

Of course, for many small companies simply getting funded for your invoices isn't enough. For a company that has just received their first six figure purchase order, it may be very difficult to put that order together. To make matters worse, if you are unable to accept such a large order, it is unlikely that the company placing the order will come back to you in the future. If you manufacture in China you typically need to put 30% down to start production and then a month later when production is complete, pay the remaining 70% to get the merchandise put onto the boat. It will be another month before the container arrives in the US and you are able to ship and invoice your customers, and a fintech company will not provide you with a loan until you do so. For service companies you may need to hire additional labor and will need to meet payroll long before you complete the job and invoice your customer. If use fintech for your financing they won't lend you the capital in advance, and you won't be allowed to take out a loan with a bank. However, many factoring companies, such as DSA Factors, will provide their clients with purchase order financing, which is a short term loan based on the PO so that you can fulfill a large order.

Customer Service

Finally there is one more major difference between fintech and factoring companies, and that is customer service. Fintech companies are all about technology; they integrate with business software such as QuickBooks, and believe that customer service is about giving their customers fancy online tools. Of course this means that you too need to use QuickBooks or whatever other software they may integrate with. Factoring companies on the other hand realize that a big part of doing business is developing a relationship with the people they work with. Perhaps factoring companies don't offer all the fancy technology and software integrations as the fintech companies do, but they aren't dinosaurs. Nearly every factoring company has an online portal where their clients can login, request approvals, and view a variety of reports. While there are some large bank-owned factoring companies, there are also plenty of family-owned factoring companies such as DSA Factors. At DSA Factors you can always call and speak with a principal, no need to deal with account managers or low-level employees who can only answer simple questions. As a result, factoring companies are able to work with you creatively and aren't restricted to just the 1's and 0's of the digital fintech world.

Choose Your Financing Carefully

When it comes to financing your small business it is important that you look at the big picture. While fintech may be new and exciting, you get a whole lot more with factoring. Plus, with factoring you most likely will save money as well!

If you would like to give factoring a try, call DSA Factors at 773-248-9000 and either Ben, Max, or Howard will be available and able to help you. There is no obligation or long-term commitment, and you can start receiving funds in as little as 24 hours. Start growing your business today with a time-tested and proven method that works, accounts receivable factoring.

Traditional Factoring vs Fintech

There has been a lot of talk in the news about fintech (financial technology) lately. Certainly there is a lot to be said about alternative approaches to financing over more traditional methods offered by the banks. However, accounts receivable factoring has always been an alternative financing method over what the banks offer, and has a long track record of success. In fact, many of the fintech companies even offer factoring programs, but they tend to be bare bones versions of factoring that only offer some of the benefits gained by factoring, and oftentimes even charge higher rates than traditional factoring companies.

The factoring industry has been around for a long time. It was well established in Europe when the original colonists brought it over to America. In fact, the king and queen of Spain offered a form of factoring to Christopher Columbus when he wanted to set sail for the "New World". While this may seem antiquated in our modern technology driven world, the fact is that most factoring companies do take advantage of modern technologies, offering most of the benefits of fintech, but with much more experience, a proven track record of helping to grow small to medium sized businesses, and much lower rates.

To see the difference, the chart below compares traditional factoring with DSA Factors to similar programs with PayPal Working Capital, Bluevine, and Fundbox, three of the more popular fintech companies offering similar programs to invoice factoring.

  DSA Factors PayPal Working Capital BlueVine Fundbox
Take on New Debt No, the funds DSA provides you with are yours to keep. Yes, PayPal is offering you a loan, so you are taking on new debt. Maybe, if your customers don't pay BlueVine, they will require you to pay them back after 90 days. Yes, Fundbox is offering you a loan, so you are taking on new debt.
Credit Limit No, with DSA Factors we will fund you for all of your receivables. Yes, the lesser of 18% of your annual sales on PayPal or $97,000. Yes, $20,000 to $500,000 based on your company's credit. Yes, $25,000.
Based on Your Credit No, since DSA is giving your customers a line of credit, credit decisions are made based on your customer's good credit. No, the loan amount is based on your annual sales volume with PayPal. Yes, BlueVine will assign you a credit limit based on your credit worthiness. Yes, Fundbox determines your credit limit based on your credit worthiness.
Charges You Interest No, DSA offers a flat rate factoring fee. Yes, the interest is charged to you up front when you get a loan, regardless of how long it takes to pay the loan off. No, BlueVine also offers a flat rate program, but at 10-15% their rates are at least triple or quadruple the rate that DSA offers. Yes, based on the size of the loan, Fundbox may charge you anywhere from 5-12% over the course of a 84 day loan.
Term Limit No, DSA Factors has no problem working with extended terms. Yes, PayPal requires you to pay back 10% of the loan every 90 days, with the full amount due in 540 days. Yes, if payment has not been received after 90 days, you are required to pay back BlueVine. Yes, you must pay off the loan in 12 weekly installments.
Collections Outsourcing Yes, DSA Factors handles all of your collection work. No, your customers must make payments through PayPal, but PayPal does not help with collections. No, your customers are required to make payments to a BlueVine drop box or bank account, however BlueVine does not help you collect. No, Fundbox does not handle collections for you, it is strictly a loan that you need to pay back.
Insure Your Receivables Yes, with DSA's non-recourse factoring your invoices are insured against non-payment. No, PayPal only does payment processing for you. No, if an invoice has not been paid after 90 days of being funded for it, you are required to pay back BlueVine. No, Fundbox is strictly a loan that must be paid back in 12 weekly installments.
Choose Which Invoices You Factor Yes, DSA Factors does not require you to factor all of your receivables. No, a percentage of all payments made through PayPal will be applied towards your loan. Yes, you can choose which invoices you want to get funded on. Yes, however there is a $100 minimum in order to get funded for an invoice.
Minimum Volume Requirement No, at DSA Factors you are not required to factor a certain amount, and there are no annual fees. Yes, PayPal requires you to pay back 10% of the loan every 90 days if you aren't doing enough volume. No, BlueVine does not require you to fund a minimum amount each year. No, Fundbox does not require you to draw a minimum amount each year, however, they will not fund you if an invoice is worth less than $100.
Long Term Commitment No, with DSA Factors you can stop factoring at any time, but since many of our clients have been with us for over 20 years, we don't think that you will want to stop. No, once your loan with PayPal is paid off you can start looking for alternative sources of financing. No, BlueVine allows you to stop drawing on your line of credit at any time, but you will need to pay them back for any invoices that they have not received payment on. No, once you have paid off your loan with Fundbox, you are free to pursue other financing options.
Charge Payment Processing Fees No, DSA will never charge you for processing a payment. Yes, you are required to accept payments through PayPal and pay their payment processing fees. No, although BlueVine will funnel all payments into their account without your customers knowing that BlueVine is receiving the payment. N/A, Fundbox does not process payments.
Available Technology DSA offers its clients an online portal where they can get automatic approvals, view agers, remittance reports, and other reports in real time. Your customers may also go online to make payments. With PayPal you get a loan online and customers make payments online. BlueVine requires the use of Quickbooks or similar software to get funded. Fundbox requires the use of Quickbooks or similar software to get funded.
Good Old Fashioned Service As a family owned and operated business, you can call DSA at any time and speak with a principal who can come up with creative solutions to help grow your business. PayPal doesn't even list a phone number on their web site. BlueVine may have a phone number, but it is doubtful that you will be able to speak to anyone who can actually help you. Fundbox may have a phone number, but it is doubtful that you will be able to speak to anyone who can actually help you.
  DSA Factors PayPal Working Capital BlueVine Fundbox

As you can see, traditional accounts receivable factoring with DSA Factors offers all of the benefits that the fintech companies offer, along with many more. You still get an online portal where you can efficiently do business and your customers can make online payments, but you also can pick up a phone and speak with one of our principals at any time. As a result, we can come up with creative solutions for your business that might not fit into a fintech company's software, such as purchase order financing. So if you are looking for ways to finance your business, go with a time-tested method that works, accounts receivable factoring. Give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000 and we can be funding you in as little as 24 hours.

Smartphones in a Smart Home

There is no doubt that technology has changed the way we communicate and the way we shop, but smart technologies are starting to become a major part of the way we live as more and more household products become connected with smart technologies. In the same way that smartphones have had an impact on how we stay connected, soon our furniture and appliances will be connected as well.

Nearly three quarters of American adults own a smartphone, and over two thirds of US households have high speed internet connections according to Pew Research Center. The iPhone alone has more than 75 million users in the US.

While the number of smartphone users and internet users may not come as too much of a surprise, you might be surprised by just how many of the products we find in our home are now connected to our smartphones. The most popular item in the house connected to the smartphone is the TV. Whether you are using the smartphone as a remote to change the channel, to record a show at home when you are at work, or to stream video off the internet, TVs offer far and away the most smart features of any product in the home. 65% of households with TVs have at least one TV that is connected to the internet.

After TVs, home security systems come next in connectivity, allowing you to monitor your home from your office, a ballgame, or even when your on vacation thousands of miles away. Next comes audio systems which may use bluetooth technology to play music from your phone or stream music from Pandora or other popular apps.

The other most popular connected products are garage doors, indoor lights, thermostats, locks on doors, outside lights, detectors (such as smoke or carbon monoxide), and kitchen appliances.

The reasoning behind owning connected devices varies. When it comes to TV and audio, certainly convenience plays a major factor in why consumers would want a connected product. For home security and smoke detectors it less about convenience and more about safety. In the case of a connected thermostat the goal might be cost savings. But of course the most important thing to look at regardless of what product you are considering connecting is that it's just fun!

According to HGTV, almost half of all consumers find it extremely important to have products in their home that utilize smart technologies, and over half of all homeowners would consider making their home a smart home in order to increase its value and make it more appealing to potential buyers. It should also come as no surprise that Millennials are 10 times more likely to make a smart home improvement than any other generation.

Despite the popularity of being connected, the furniture industry has lagged behind in integrating smart technologies into their products. However, by offering smart technologies furniture companies have a lot to gain. Over half of consumers under the age of 50, and nearly 3 in 10 consumers over the age of 50, would be interested in a couch that offers a smartphone docking station so that they can charge their phones while watching TV. Over a third of consumers regardless of age would appreciate a couch that has integrated reading lights. For those under the age of 50, one third would like a couch with integrated speakers, and a little more than a quarter would like bluetooth connectivity so that they can control motion features from their smartphone or tablet.

There is no doubt that technology is changing how we live our lives. While many companies have been focusing a lot on eCommerce and social media, it is also important that they look beyond marketing and expand technology into the products themselves.

Whether you are looking to integrate smart technologies into your current products, or you are a new start-up that just invented pants with a smartphone controlled fly, it is important that you have the funds to not only develop your product, but to keep up with increased sales volume. While many companies look for SBA loans or investors, with accounts receivable factoring you can get the cash flow you need without taking on any new debt or giving up any portion of your company. Call DSA Factors today at 773-248-9000 and find out just how easy it can be to get the funds you need to grow your business.

Shopping with Social Media

Today nearly everyone is connected to at least one form of social media, and nearly everybody is doing their shopping online. However, you may be surprised by what role social media plays when people are shopping for furniture or other merchandise for their home.

Two thirds of all adults in America are connected to social media. It probably comes as no surprise, but the younger you are, the more likely you are to be connected. 90% of all adults under the age of 30 are connected to social media. However, social media isn't just for young people, 35% of those over the age of 65 are also connected.

When it comes to which sites people use, Facebook is easily the most popular with almost three quarters of internet users connected to it; it gets nearly half of all social media traffic. When it comes to mobile usage, the Facebook app accounted for 19% of the time that Americans spend on mobile devices. Almost one third of internet users are connected to Pintrest, however Pintrest gets less than 2% of all social media traffic. These are followed by Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for having the most people connected, but like Pintrest, Instagram and LinkedIn each get less than 2% of all social media traffic, while Twitter gets a little less than 5% of all social media traffic. While it may not have that many people connected to it, YouTube receives nearly a quarter of all social media traffic.

Of course it isn't just individuals using social media, but businesses as well. 86% of all furniture stores are connected to at least one form of social media, and the average store will dedicate 3% of its advertising budget towards social media campaigns. It should come as no surprise that Facebook is the most popular choice for furniture stores, with 88% of those with social media accounts having a Facebook account. After that comes Twitter and Pintrest, each of which are used by 62% of furniture stores that have social media accounts. Finally, Instagram is used by 32% of furniture stores with social media accounts.

While those numbers above might appear to make sense given how many people are connected and how much traffic each social media site receives, you might be surprised about which sites actually translate into sales. When it comes to researching furniture, only 5% of consumers will use Facebook for research. Pintrest is actually far and away the most popular social media site for researching furniture with over half of all consumers who research funiture online using it for their furniture shopping. For those ages 18-35, 61% of them will use Pintrest to research furniture. Those numbers drop down to 55% for those ages 36-51, 50% for those ages 52-60, and 36% for those ages 61-70. After Pintrest, Instagram is the next best social media to use when researching furniture. Instagram is used by 26% of those ages 18-35 and 12% by those ages 36 to 51, however for those 52 and over, it is only used by 3% of consumers. The least popular social media for researching furniture is Twitter. Less than 1% of consumers use Twitter for researching furniture, and that is regardless of how old they are.

As a furniture or housewares manufacturer or importer, one way you can increase your sales and help out your customers is by displaying your merchandise on Pintrest. After all, if you show off your merchandise on Pintrest, it will benefit all of the retailers who purchase from you, while also saving them some time and effort. And who knows, you might even get noticed by a few retailers who don't currently buy from you and pick up a few new accounts.

Social media is certainly an important advertising forum for the furniture industry. However, it is important to make sure that you are investing in the correct sites in order to reach the most retailers and consumers. If you don't have the time or money to advertise on social media, give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000. By factoring your accounts receivable, we can provide you with the cash flow you need to start your next social media campaign, as well as free up some time by handling all of your credit checking and collection work.

Most Consumers Shop Online for Furniture

As furniture companies are gearing up for the Las Vegas Market which opens this Sunday, Furniture Today reported that according to a recent survey seven out of ten consumers shop for furniture online. But don't worry, the key word to keep in mind here as you are busy preparing for the Las Vegas Market is "shop". The vast majority, just over seven in ten, still buy their furniture from traditional brick and mortar stores. Nevertheless, it is very important that you have your merchandise available both at brick and mortar stores as well as online.

What this means is that approximately 30% of consumers still shop and buy their furniture at traditional brick and mortar stores. Another 40% will shop and do price comparisons online, but still purchase their furniture from a brick and mortar store. These numbers do vary slightly based on the age of the consumer, but this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It was found that only 24% of Millennials, ages 18 to 35, do their shopping and buying all at brick and mortar locations, while 47% will shop online but purchase at a brick and mortar location. For Baby Boomers, ages 52 to 70, 38% will both shop and buy at brick and mortar stores, while only 36% shop online but buy from a brick and mortar store. Generation X, ages 36 to 51, falls right in the middle with 31% both shopping and buying at brick and mortar stores, while 40% will shop online but make their purchase at a brick and mortar location.

Of course this still leaves three in ten consumers purchasing their furniture online. About 12% of consumers will shop in traditional brick and mortar stores, but then purchase their furniture from an online store. While 16% of consumers will do all their shopping as well purchasing from online retailers. What is interesting is that age has no impact on how you shop for furniture that you buy online. These percentages don't change much when you break them out for Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.

Another important thing to consider about online shoppers is how they do their shopping. The biggest change comes from where they do it. In 2010 only 5% of internet users used a mobile device to do their shopping, this number has steadily risen and in 2015 over half of online shoppers are using mobile devices. Then there is how they do their shopping. It was found that eight in ten internet users will use the internet to compare prices before they make their purchase. Finally, there are the sites that internet users visit when doing their online shopping. 56% of shoppers will visit online-only retailers, 51% of shoppers will visit stores that also have a brick and mortar counterpart, 35% will visit the manufacturer's site, 16% will use deal comparison sites such as Google Shopping, while only 10% will visit social media sites.

It is important as a furniture manufacturer that your furniture is available both at brick and mortar and online stores, and with over a third of internet users visiting manufacturer sites, you too need a strong online presence. This can be difficult to do if you are too busy making collection calls and have all of your money tied up in receivables. Let DSA Factors help, we have been factoring for the furniture industry for 30 years. Give us a call today at 773-248-9000 and if you'll be at the Las Vegas Market keep a look out for Ben as he will be visiting the market and will be able to answer questions you may have about our accounts receivable factoring program.

Online Furniture Sales are Booming

Online furniture sales for 2014 reached $9.7 billion, an over 14% increase from 2013's $8.5 billion according to Furniture Today. Leading the pack were Amazon who experienced 19.5% growth, Overstock with 14.8%, Wayfair with an amazing 44% sales growth, and Zulily with a whopping 72.% sales growth over 2013. All four of the companies had sales volumes in the billions. However, overall furniture sales only increased by 3% over this last year. This online sales growth can be accredited to the fact that 8 out of 10 consumers in the US have bought furniture or bedding online in the past year.

Now it may not surprise you that most of the people buying online were young, but you might be surprised by how affluent online shoppers are. Well over half of the households that bought bedding online this past year were under the age of 35 and make over $75,000 a year. 22% of households were under the age of 25, with 34% of them between the ages of 25 and 34. When it comes to household income, 32% of households that bought bedding online make between $75,000 and $100,000, with 12% making between $100,000 and $150,000, and another 12% making over $150,000. This might explain why only 59% of consumers agree that online retailers carry affordable furniture.

To further explain these numbers, 61% of online furniture consumers own their house, and 59% have a full time job. When it comes to education, 33% of consumers hold a bachelor's degree with another 20% holding a master's degree or higher.

The average consumer will visit five different web sites when shopping for furniture online. However, only 56% of shoppers will start their search online, the rest still start their furniture search in more traditional brick and mortar stores. The main reasons why consumers are ultimately buying online is because of the large product selection available through online retailers, and online retailers provide them with design ideas. Many of these retailers will help out consumers with design ideas by maintaining active blogs.

If you aren't selling your merchandise to online retailers you are missing out on a lot of business. Let DSA Factors help you by factoring your online retailer accounts. We have lots of experience working with Amazon, Overstock, Wayfair, and Zulily, as well as with One Kings Lane, Hayneedle, Gilt, Hautelook, and many more. Give us a call today at 773-248-9000, don't let these sales opportunities slip away.

Targeting Millennials, America's Largest Generation of Consumers

Millennials, those born between 1981 and 2000, have become the largest living generation in the US with 75.3 million people, surpassing the Baby Boomers who now number 74.9 million according to Kids Today. There are 53.5 million Millennials in the workforce compared with 52.7 million Gen Xers and 45 million Baby Boomers.

As the Millennial population continues to grow, it is important to understand them so that you can market to them appropriately. There are two major factors that need to be looked at when dealing with Millennials. First, Millennials are waiting longer to get married and have babies than previous generations. In the last ten years birth rates for mothers between the ages of 20-24 have dropped by 20.6% and ages 25-29 have dropped by 9%. However, birth rates of mothers between 35-39 have increased by 13%.

Since Millennials are waiting longer to have kids, this means that they most likely will have more money to spend once they do have kids. They also tend to be better educated as they've had more time to get their bachelor's or even master's degrees. This is resulting in consumers who are willing to pay more for a product if they can get more out of it. Very often these consumers might just being willing to pay more for a higher quality product, but they also may be willing to pay a little bit more for a product that can grow with their families.

An excellent example of a product that can grow with a family are convertible cribs. 75% of moms under the age of 30 have either bought or plan to buy a convertible crib, compared to 71% of moms age 30-34 and only 62% of moms age 35-39. Of those who have bought or plan to buy a convertible crib, 71% of them are willing to pay more for a convertible crib than a standard crib, with 34% willing to spend as much as $100-$200 more for a convertible crib.

The other important factor is the internet. 61% of Millennials will rate products and services on the web, while only 46% of the older generations will do this. In fact 35% of mothers under the age of 35 purchase their children's furniture online. Of the 65% who still purchase their furniture at brick and mortar locations, most of them will do their research online before going into a store, with many of them buying exactly the product that they chose online.

For this reason it is very important for both manufacturers and retailers to provide lots of details about their product line on their web page. But a static web page with features and specifications isn't enough. Companies need to offer dynamic web pages that allow for questions, reviews, and link to social media. Over two thirds of Millennials that use social media rely on friend's posts to influence which products they will purchase. If your company only offers a static web page, it may be difficult to sell to this young generation of educated consumers with large incomes.

As this younger generation is quickly becoming America's largest group of consumers, it is important that you target your products and marketing towards them. You need to offer high quality, adaptable products, and take advantage of the internet not only for online sales, but also for marketing via social medias. This is a big change from traditional sales methods you may have used in the past. If you find yourself short on time to adjust your products and marketing to your customer's needs, let DSA Factors help. We can manage your receivables and collections while eliminating the need for you to run credit checks, allowing you to focus on more important issues such as product line, marketing, and sales, while at the same time improving your cash flow. Give us a call at 773-248-9000 and ask about our accounts receivable factoring program today!

Is your web site mobile friendly?

Mobilegeddon

As of April 21st Google made a major change where sites that are not considered mobile friendly will be ranked lower on searches made on mobile devices. It is important that businesses understand these changes and make sure that their site is mobile friendly.

What does this mean?

First of all, it is important to understand exactly what these changes mean. If your site is not mobile friendly, it will not effect search results made from desktops, laptops, or tablets. It will only effect searches made from mobile devices such as an iPhone, Android phone, or iTouch.

It will also only effect generic, non-branded queries. For example if ABC Furniture Store does not have a mobile friendly site and you search "furniture store" from your smartphone, ABC Furniture Store probably won't appear in the results. However, if you search "ABC Furniture" on your phone, ABC Furniture Store should still appear at or near the top of the results.

This change also will only effect individual sites that are deemed not mobile friendly. For example if your home page is mobile friendly and your "Contact Us" page is not mobile friendly, then your home page will still appear in search results on smartphones, but your "Contact Us" page will appear much lower down. Therefore even if you can't make your entire web site mobile friendly, it would be a good idea to make at least your home page mobile friendly.

Finally, just because you didn't update your page by April 21st doesn't mean that Google will never show your page on a search from a phone ever again. Google is constantly crawling the web, so once you update your web site to make it mobile friendly, Google will see it, and you will reappear on searches made from smart phones.

So how do I know if my web site is mobile friendly?

Google uses its algorithms to determine whether or not your site is mobile friendly. There are three main things that Google looks at:

1. Are touch elements too close?

A touch element would a link or anything else that you would normally click on while viewing a site on a computer. On a phone since you don't have a mouse, you need to touch these objects. If you have two links really close together it makes it difficult for a phone user to touch the correct link. Its very important that you make links large enough or far enough away from other links so that visitors to your site can easily touch them.

2. Is your viewport configured?

This might be the trickiest thing to understand because what is a viewport? Its quite simple, the viewport is simply the size of the screen you are viewing the page on. On a tablet or computer you have a large screen so you can fit a wider web site design onto it. However on a phone you have a very narrow screen, if your site uses a wide design then it will not fit very well onto a phone. So you need to make sure that your mobile site uses a narrow, stream-lined design.

3. Do you use a small font size?

This should be the easiest thing to fix. Obviously using a small font size makes it very difficult to read your site. Combine this with the small screens that we have on a phone and its nearly impossible to read your site. So quite simply all you have to is use large or normal sized fonts.

To find out if Google considers your site mobile friendly you can submit it to Google's Mobile Friendly Test.

How can this effect my business?

If most people visiting your business's site are using a desktop computer, then this will have very little impact on your business. However, if many people access your site from their phones then this could have a very large impact on your business.

Not only will your site appear much lower on Google searches made from a phone, but more importantly, visitors will have a very hard time reading and navigating your site from their phones. As a result, even if they find your site, they will be less likely to read or stay on your site.

If you are at a trade show, most people you meet will be looking at your web site on their phone. So make sure they are impressed with what they see. A clean, easy-to-read design will leave them with a much better impression of your business.

If you have sales reps who use their phones to show your product, it is very important that your website looks good on a phone. It can be very hard to make a sale if it is very hard to show your product.

So Google implementing these new rules can actually be a very good thing, especially if you do not have a mobile friendly site. This might just give you the motivation to create a mobile friendly site. And with a new mobile friendly site you might start getting a lot of new business from people who primarily use their smartphones to surf the web.

If your new mobile web site is leading to higher sales volumes and you don't have enough working capital to keep up with it, give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000. With accounts receivable factoring you will have the improved cash flow you need to grow your business and take on more and larger orders.

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DSA Factors - Money to Make Your Company Grow!

PO Box 577520
Chicago, IL 60657

 773-248-9000

 773-248-9005

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