CEO Sharon Price John says Build-A-Bear’s old e-commerce system is a big reason for disappointing online sales in December.
Knowing what’s what and who’s who counts heavily in funding expansion.
In a time of tight capital, web retailers can get the best deal on the financing by knowing what form of investment they really need, says SG Commerce LLC president Shael Wilder.
Wilder will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in San Diego on June 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. during the Financing Growth workshop in a session titled “Where to find lender financing—and how to negotiate the best deal". He says the key to finding the right type of loan or investment for funding growth is getting to know early on the most appropriate banker or broker.
At SG Commerce, which owns and operates SportsGiant.com and a pair of stores in Minnesota and California, Wilder has negotiated two recent equity deals. The additional capital has helped SG Commerce develop a niche e-commerce operation that generates annual sales of around $20 million.
“The challenging retail and e-retail climate over the past few years has impacted the sources and availability of loan capital,” says Wilder. “In our session, we will be examining current trends in traditional commercial versus asset-based loans for e-retail businesses and other sources such as subordinated, mezzanine and convertible debt.”
It often takes months to find the right type of financing, one reason many web merchants need to begin developing relationships early on, says Wilder. “You need to groom a banker or find a broker and make sure they know what your business is and how it operates,” he says. “Many commercial bankers don’t write loans for the retail industry and some won’t do e-retail at all, even if the online retailing business is successful.”
During his session Wilder will focus on explaining the institutional and structural side of commercial and asset-based loans. “In this session we plan to dig into detail on loan terms, collateral and security requirements, and the entire process of getting the loan committed, documented, closed and funded,” says Wilder.
Internet Retailer’s editors asked Wilder to speak because he is a veteran e-commerce CEO and dealmaker. SG Commerce is an investment firm that specializes in Internet retail holdings. Prior to SG Commerce, Wilder partnered with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky in the development and operation of sports facilities and served as president and CEO of an investment holding company. For 18 years before that, Shael practiced corporate and international business law.