The Ottawa headquarters of Canadian e-commerce company Shopify are pictured on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Shopify Inc. is offering merchants interest-free, cash advances to help businesses using its e-commerce products cope with the impacts of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

E-commerce giants offer cash advances, waive fees and more amid COVID-19

The moves come as companies across Canada are struggling to stay afloat

Canadian businesses struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic are getting some relief from the e-commerce platforms they use to sell their goods and services.

E-commerce companies including Shopify Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Canada are trying to help businesses grappling with the impacts of COVID-19 by offering cash advances, waiving fees and pausing loan repayments.

The moves come as companies across Canada are struggling to stay afloat amid physical distancing measures that have shuttered brick-and-mortar stores and had to resort to layoffs and pay reductions to cover mounting bills.

According to surveys from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 56 per cent of small businesses have no more capacity to take on debt during this emergency, 30 per cent do not have cash flow to pay bills accrued in April and 39 per cent are worried about permanent closure.

With numbers like those in mind, Shopify said Monday that it is offering its merchants interest-free, cash advances ranging from $200 to $500,000 per eligible company.

READ MORE: ‘I just want to survive:’ Greenhouses struggling with economic reality of COVID-19

The Ottawa-based technology company said the advances will have to be repaid through future sales, but are meant to provide fast relief to cash-strapped businesses across the country, who realize how daunting it can be to take on debt.

“This funding will fill in the gaps that banks generally can’t satisfy right now and provide businesses with the cash flow they need, when they need it most now, not months from now,” said Kaz Nejatian, Shopify’s vice-president and general manager of financial solutions, in an email to The Canadian Press.

Companies who receive funding from the program called Shopify Capital will only have to pay it back when and if their business starts to rebound through the Shopify platform.

“The merchant is not obligated to pay anything if they are not making sales,” Nejatian said.

He declined to reveal how much money would be available to Canadian merchants through Shopify Capital, but said the company is adding US$200 million to the program worldwide.

The company will decide which of its merchants are eligible for Shopify Capital in Canada by using an online application and approving those who qualify within a few days.

Meanwhile, its rival Amazon.com Inc. waived two weeks of inventory storage fees in March, as well as long-term storage fees for companies using its platform.

The Seattle-based tech giant paused loan repayments between Mar. 26 and Apr. 30 and relaxed delivery and fulfillment policies for sellers experiencing supply chain issues due to pandemic-related disruptions.

READ MORE: B.C. police can now issue $2,000 tickets for reselling medical supplies, price gouging

In an email to The Canadian Press, an Amazon spokesperson said, “We know this is a change for our selling partners and are working hard to help them during this difficult time.”

Over at Ebay Canada, businesses that are new to the platform can enrol in the Up and Running program to get selling fees on up to 500 sales waived and access a free basic store for a three-month period to help them better generate cash flow.

“The majority of Ebay Canada sellers are small businesses from across the country. They embody what it means to stay local and sell global,” said Rob Bigler, Ebay’s general manager, in a release.

“We are putting every resource into making it simple and cost-effective for them to quickly set up on Ebay and resume selling.”

The move comes after Ebay zeroed in on helping Halifax amid COVID-19 with its Retail Revival program.

The initiative launched in the city at the start of the year uses training, support and educational resources to help local business owners learn how to most effectively sell their inventory in a global marketplace.

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronaviruseconomy

Just Posted

Métis communities make do with minimal financial aid from Trudeau; CBT offers support

Métis citizens in valley forged ahead thanks to support from local leadership and community groups

Furor erupts over CastleRock mountain bike trails

A petition has garnered 1,700 signatures so far and seeks to have the CastleRock trails legitimized.

Pedestrian-only main street?

A car-free, pedestrian-only main street in downtown Invermere could be a possibility this summer.

Radium’s beloved bighorn sheep herd on the decline

Advocates say safer streets needed

Flood evacuation in Fairmont; residents able to return home

Evacuation alerts remain in place for Fairmont Creek and Cold Spring Creek.

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read