Today, in the B2B ecommerce space, buy now pay later options are more accessible than ever before, e-invoicing is quickly advancing, and product content is becoming more digitized and sophisticated. But few trends are adding as much fuel to the fire as B2B marketplaces.
Global companies like Coca-Cola HBC, Walmart, Toyota Material Handling, are launching B2B marketplaces. However, when you have multiple buyer personas to address and need to onboard a large number of third-party sellers and suppliers, the challenges start to arise. Especially when it comes to B2B marketplace payments.
For starters, buyers need a single issuer of the invoice and they need credit terms on marketplace transactions. After all, most B2B buyers aren’t putting purchases on a credit card. But because the operator is not the seller of record, there can be a number of payment and compliance complexities.
Read on to learn how Bryzos, the leading digital marketplace for steel, and one of Applico's top 50 marketplaces of 2021, quickly leveraged Balance to offer customers net terms financing and stopped worrying about payments for good.
Since its launch in 2019, Bryzos has been facilitating trade between third-party buyers and sellers. However, Bryzos is more than just a platform for trade - it aims to support the industry's transition to digital. Along with its core service of connecting buyers and sellers, Bryzos also offers marketing, customer engagement, and B2B marketplace payment options to its members.
Currently, the platform supports over 1,000 US businesses and welcomes about 70 new members per month. In 2021, Bryzos' GMV increased six-fold, with transaction velocity continuing to grow as their network strengthens.
One of the biggest value added services that B2B marketplaces are heavily investing in are payments. But most marketplaces have two options: Either they build it themselves or they leverage outside partners. Because meeting the payment needs specific to their buyers and sellers, can’t be solved just any way.
In the case of Bryzos, they faced three major payment challenges.
First was the issue of compliance. To enable payment processing, a marketplace can only do so by either becoming a payment institution, payment facilitator, or electronic money institution. However, this requires the marketplace to manage and develop payment services, which involves a range of tasks such as vendor integration, managing incoming funds, and monitoring cash flow.
Moreover, the marketplace needs to consider regulatory approval for every market they wish to operate in, as each region has its own unique set of rules that must be followed. Therefore, it's crucial for marketplaces to carefully evaluate their options and understand the regulatory requirements before venturing into payment processing services.
For Bryzos, the compliance hassle had real consequences, demanding lots of time and focus. "We don’t want to ‘touch’ the money. We can’t. Bryzos is not a licensed money transmitter," Shep Hickey, CEO and founder, explains.
Second was offering customers the payment terms they needed. While Bryzos did find providers of digital financing for net terms, their limits and lengthy processes often prevented buyers from purchasing. At the end of the day, B2B customers expect the same speed and ease they find in the consumer world.
They want to be able to log in, add to cart, and pay their invoice on net 30, net 45, or net 60. And Bryzos needed to be able to offer those financing options, at the same speed and convenience of a credit card payment.
Finally, Bryzos needed a way to make the experience easy and fast for both buyers and sellers. B2B merchants might think that the buyer experience is the only one that matters. But the seller experience is critical in the success of a marketplace model.
Mary McNeer, Senior Product Manager at Vertex, a leading tax technology solution for B2B merchants, said it best. According to McNeer, a "holistic approach that addresses both seller and buyer needs from an end-to-end perspective, along with the right technology to support this design, is crucial for marketplaces to succeed."
By adopting such an approach, businesses can truly streamline manual tasks for all stakeholders involved in the transaction. This is what can ultimately enable transformative change in the way they operate. In essence, a well-designed and technology-enabled marketplace can't only benefit one of the parties involved.
Byrzos knew that if the digital experience for the seller wasn't easier or faster than calling, then it would be challenging to convince them to sell online. At the same time, Bryzos needed to provide buyers with an easier and faster way to buy—plus ensuring sellers got paid fast, too.
That's a lot of people to keep happy.
Shep explained that "the timing of debit and payout is also unique within many B2B purchases, and it is essential to both verify that the buyer is satisfied with the goods post-delivery and to enable modification of transactions."
B2B marketplace payments, solved
After reading a PYMNTS article he’d been sent by a friend, Hickey reached out to the Balance team.
It was very refreshing to talk to Balance—finally, I thought, someone has taken a step back and evaluated how all of this is working.
Within a week of that first call, their payment journey of 2+ years was over. His team leveraged Balance to offer customers the net terms financing (with appropriately higher limits) that they’d grown to expect from the industry. Bryzos also avoided the need to jump through compliance hoops by using Balance’s auto-vendor payouts to ensure they never “touch” the money, acting as a facilitator instead of a distributor.
Finally, with Balance’s auto vendor payouts and flexible payment methods, sellers were able to get paid instantly after their buyers paid by ACH, wire, check, or card with a click. The cherry on top for Hickey and Bryzos was the unexpected positive feedback not only from buyers, but from sellers.
What marketplaces can learn from Bryzos
If you're running a B2B marketplace, it's high time you start offering marketplace payments. According to Applico, a research and consulting firm that tracks B2B marketplaces, around 33% of the top players have already added payment options, including financing. And guess what? Another 20% of marketplaces are gearing up to introduce digital financing within the next six months.
Offering payment and net terms financing capabilities is simply a must-have feature for top players. At Balance, we take care of all the payment and collection-related complexities for the seller. And all of the financing and processing needs for the buyer. So that marketplaces can provide a seamless payment experience, without needing to invest heavily in developing these capabilities themselves.
Learn more about accepting multiple payment methods, instant terms, automatic vendor payouts, automated collections, and beyond.