The B2B buyer journey doesn’t end when buyers choose a product or service. Every step of the process is critical, but underestimating the impact of payments on the overall customer experience can be disastrous.
Consider the customer experience fallout that EA games suffered in 2017. The gist of this payments horror story is that EA games released a product with multiple currencies, in and outside of the game — creating mass confusion, headaches and anger for both players and employees. Beyond the realm of video games, B2B companies can easily experience a similar crisis if they overlook the quality of their payments experiences.
The Current B2B Payments Landscape Is Falling Short
B2B sellers often default to credit cards as the easiest, most readily available payment method for buyers. While credit cards can streamline transactions for some buyers, they are not a one-size-fits-all payments solution. In fact, 76% of B2B buyers have encountered an issue that prevented them from completing an online purchase with a credit card, and 79% of those who often use credit cards to make online purchases experience post-transaction pain. With transaction fees averaging around 3-4%, B2B sellers could find themselves losing both cash and loyal customers if they don’t offer more payment methods.
In the end, both buyers and sellers want a frictionless payments experience that keeps up with evolving expectations inspired by B2C purchasing — an online alternative payment method that offers speed, convenience and personalization such as net terms. With over 80% of B2B buyers agreeing that their personal buying experiences impact their expectations for business purchases, how can B2B businesses hope to keep up and continue driving growth? The secret lies in a frictionless, alternative payment solution with the following features:
- Seamless Onboarding: Eliminate payment friction from the start with a seamless onboarding experience — customers that experience delayed or friction-filled onboarding for more than two days are less likely to actually complete the purchase. Satisfy buyers’ need for speed with a solution that automates the customer onboarding process and and offloads time-consuming back-end processes. The sooner you have cash in hand, the sooner you can get back to the business of sales.
- Low Cost: Alleviate working capital constraints with a payments solution that outsources tasks and creates invoices on your behalf. Those 3-4% transaction fees add up quickly, and managing a full accounts receivable team to handle billing, collections and payments is expensive. Even more importantly, a reliable partner can eliminate the fraud costs with internal credit analysts and automated risk assessments. With these potential savings, you can use the boost in working capital to achieve business growth and take action on more pressing initiatives.
- Extended Terms: Allow customers to more easily manage their cash flow with term-based transactions — 77% of B2B buyers would choose a vendor over others if that vendor offered invoicing at checkout with 30-, 60- or 90-day terms. Whether it’s improving working capital management or increasing customer share-of-wallet, net terms are a critical part of a seamless, alternative payment solution. B2B businesses that offer net terms to buyers are on track to improve customer satisfaction and experience a boost in business since 74% of B2B buyers who are presented with the option of paying by invoice will buy more products or services from that vendor.
- API First Technology: Ensure your alternative payment solution includes automation and API integrations that work with a variety of POS, ERP, and other business systems for consistency, and the ability to offer custom pricing and anticipate customer needs. For example, rather than requiring B2B buyers to request additional credit when the business grows or evolves, your payments solution should leverage buyer data from purchase histories to automatically adjust credit limits. Integrations like this allow B2B businesses to function proactively when it comes to credit decisioning — streamlining the experience, alleviating credit concerns during busy seasons and encouraging long-term loyalty.
A Seamless Payment Solution Wins Loyalty and Revenue
A streamlined, innovative purchasing experience is a great opportunity to do more than just win the loyalty of repeat buyers. Optimized B2B payments processes also ensure that businesses continue to increase revenue, attracting new buyers with a payments experience that offers speed, convenience and personalization. Remember: If your business doesn’t make it easy for B2B buyers to purchase goods or services, they can easily find another seller that meets their needs and preferences.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of necessary features for providing a seamless B2B payments experience. You must also consider how to offer a payments experience that is omni-channel, consistent and streamlined across all channels buyers prefer, whether it’s in-store, online or by phone.
Now that it’s clear which steps you should take to achieve a frictionless payments experience, how do you get there? Consider metrics like cash flow, buyer data and the future business goals you need to meet. Then, partner with a payments solution provider like MSTS to make those goals a reality.
Credit as a Service is an all-in-one alternative payment solution that supports business growth through seamless onboarding and checkout, risk-free credit extensions and credit management, and back-end accounts receivable support.
Ready to learn more? Contact our credit experts to get started.