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10/21/2019
B2B Buyer Expectations Are Evolving — Can Your Payment Processes Keep Up?

By Brandon Spear

B2B payment processes are outdated and inefficient — and customers are noticing. Nearly half of all B2B buyers have not completed a purchase because their preferred payment method wasn’t an option. Left unsatisfied, customers are quick to abandon their carts and shop elsewhere.

Customers expect their professional buying experiences to mirror their personal buying experiences. Payment processes must support modern expectations of convenience and personalization. When they don’t, buyers run into significant pain points leading to cart abandonment, high customer attrition and low levels of loyalty.

B2B sellers who wish to optimize their payment processes and provide frictionless purchase experiences for their customers must first learn the most common buyer pain points. Once equipped with that knowledge, they can work to update the payment experience to increase customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty with the following upgrades:

Multiple payment options 

Credit cards alone won’t keep B2B customers satisfied and their subsequent problems are a common roadblock for sellers who rely on them. In fact, 76% of B2B buyers have encountered an issue preventing them from completing an online purchase with a credit card. Issues such as surcharges, insufficient lines of credit and fraud plague the credit card buying experience and thwart customer satisfaction.

To revamp outdated payment processes and solve these pain points, B2B retailers can offer multiple payment options, such as invoicing at checkout with 30-, 60- or 90- day terms. And with 74% of B2B buyers purchasing more products or services from a vendor when they are given the choice to pay by invoice, this is more than just a customer experience win. Giving buyers the option to pay on terms increases average order volume, boosting revenues year-over-year and inspiring long-term loyalty.

Omni-channel payment experiences 

Offering multiple payment options solves one pain point. However, without access to the payment options across all channels, buyers will still remain unsatisfied. Customers need an omni-channel buying experience to support their needs — 98% of B2B buyers believe it’s important to have the same purchasing experience across all channels, from online to in-store.

Omni-channel purchase experiences must also be flexible: Buyers should be able to experience the benefits of each channel regardless of which touchpoint they are currently shopping. For example, things like purchase controls, pricing, credit limit visibility, integrations and order history should remain consistent across channels. In fact, 54% of B2B buyers agree that consistency across all channels would improve their buying experience.

In addition to keeping your currently omni-channel touchpoints consistent, stay open to adding new payment options. The payments landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s critical to keep up and continue meeting buyers where they want to make purchases.

Efficient websites and portals 

B2B buyers are frequently frustrated by inefficient websites and portals when making purchases for their companies. And, nearly 60% of buyers have not completed a purchase for their company because the checkout or process took too long. Beyond purchasing, customers who face delays of more than two days during the onboarding process are less likely to complete a purchase. 

To make the payments experience more efficient, B2B sellers must provide a seamless, omni-channel process supported by smart integrations and machine learning that anticipates customer needs. Plus, more than 50% of B2B buyers place a high priority on receiving 24/7 customer service — which means fast, efficient service is critical.     

You can read the full article on PaymentsJournal.

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