Return to Blog

Unlock your secret weapon in retail

Blog By Duncan Khoury – 14 May 2019

It’s no secret that retail businesses are subject to one of the most fickle customer bases. Unstable sales conditions can put huge financial pressure on owners and the teams they employ. Having adequate cashflow allows businesses greater resilience in the face of challenges. In addition, the right finances and support can arm ambitious retailers with the means to capitalise and flourish.

Coasting the ebbs and flows

Octet’s recent discussion with Australian retail veterans and trailblazers, Wittner Shoes, helped shed light on the value that finance solutions can bring to businesses in their sector.

According to CEO Michael Wittner, “All businesses go through good times and bad. And over a hundred years, we’ve certainly had peak periods of growth and then periods of decline. So, by having a product like Octet, you can future-proof your business during those down times.”

A major hurdle in retail arises in managing cycles of inventory, occurring in the space between purchasing or producing a product and selling this stock on.

Whatever the size of the business, this process can be even more stressful in the unavoidable slow or irregular sales periods. To add one more layer of pressure, even if you see drops in sales, certain financial responsibilities never cease, such as meeting staff payments.

By contrast, in order to maximise on potential trade booms, businesses may need the capital to increase their inventory and sales capacity. Seasonal spikes in the calendar, like Christmas or Valentines, can be what keeps a retail business going. However, if you don’t have the cashflow to keep up with customers, then you’re liable to miss out on important growth opportunities.

This truth of the retail trade is a recurring factor of business for Michael Wittner, “Obviously in a fashion business like ours, we have massive peaks at the start of the season when we’re bringing in new ranges, so having a product like Octet can be terrific in terms of managing those peaks.”

It’s also worth considering factors that may affect business beyond consumer behaviour. For example, if you’re receiving goods from China, there are dates to watch in order to avoid a supply vs. demand obstacle. With the Lunar New Year falling in February, many businesses in China effectively shut up shop for several weeks. Australian businesses need to think ahead to stock-up in advance of this period, necessitating extra funding.

Room to grow

Whether you’re expanding into a franchise at home or taking your business global, getting a foothold in new territories requires capital. Having financial room to breathe during key growth phases relieves stress and allows management to think clearly, pace itself and make well-reasoned decisions. This is an powerful position to be in when your business is upping the ante – and the stakes.

Outside of finance, when entering new markets, Octet can help your business liaise with new suppliers and partners. With offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, we have experts, fluent in a broad range of languages at your disposal. This support can bridge the language barrier and smooth the process of onboarding parties to new systems such as the Octet platform, which streamlines payments for both buyer and seller. This was a feature of particular appeal for Wittner in entering the new partnership:

“One of the things I was surprised about, was how easy it was to actually set up the Octet platform. Not only here in Australia, but surprisingly, in China, in our factories. The fact that Octet has offices in multiple countries was of enormous value. I’m excited about the opportunity for us to reach new markets and distribute and expose the Wittner product to new customers.”

Keeping options open

Octet can offer support to fit your needs and objectives, bringing flexible finance solutions to retail businesses of varying shapes, sizes and scales. For larger or more established operations with the option of receiving backing from banks (such as Wittner Australia), Octet facilities can be utilised to supplement, without interfering with terms from other financiers.

Beyond bank loans, Octet finance facilities can be combined with sources of funding as wide ranging as credit cards all through the convenience of the Octet platform. Your supplier will then receive one consolidated payment from Octet, streamlining the process.

According to Michael Wittner, their relationship with Octet has helped them improve their other business relationships. He shares, “Our suppliers have really taken to it. They love Octet because they get paid the day the shoes leave the factory, and we love it because it provides us with some extra cashflow.”

Finance facilities and seamless payments can furnish you with more cards to play when entering the negotiation room. When approaching suppliers in the interest of reaching a better deal, having access to ample funding can allow you to bargain for early-settlement discounts. This approach can in turn save your business significantly over the long-term, allowing you to economise through a win-win situation.

The needs of every retail business are different. With ongoing guidance from Octet’s expert team, you can be sure that you’re getting the most from your finances. Talk to Octet about our flexible options, to access funding that makes sense to your business, your market and your objectives for the future.