4 ways to differentiate your B2B e-commerce checkout

4 ways to differentiate your B2B e-commerce checkout

Team Balance
Team Balance
·
May 29, 2022

So you have an e-commerce store. You have your product pages, search functions, and up-to-date stock information. Your traffic is growing and all seems to be working well. But you aren't seeing conversions the way you would like to. 

According to a PYMNTS report, 67% of B2B buyers have switched to purchasing from vendors that offer a more ‘consumer-like’ experience. With increasingly sophisticated expectations, the buying experience is not something that merchants can afford to put on the backburner. Below, we’ve put together a list of effective ways to make sure your checkout isn’t stopping you from growth. 

  1. Net terms

It's not only common, but expected for businesses to offer customers time to pay for their orders. That's why net terms or trade credit solutions are so important to B2B e-commerce – they enable merchants to extend financing to buyers. The B2C equivalent is BNPL.

The difference is that B2B transactions are typically of much higher value. So merchants have a lot on the line if a buyer never pays. To protect against that, merchants need to determine a buyer’s creditworthiness, which is usually done through a slow and tedious application process. 

Luckily, now that’s all changing. BNPL for B2B, a once underserved segment, is becoming crowded with players. But what you should look out for are the ones that can bring consumer-like ease and convenience to your B2B checkout flow. According to a Wunderman Thompson report, 32% of U.S. B2B buyers stated that an easy checkout was the most important thing when it came to online purchasing.

When a buyer is ready to complete their purchase, the experience should be nothing short of:

  • Letting buyers opt in for net terms in no more than a click
  • Presenting buyers with a payment schedule, whether that’s net 15,30, or 90
  • Seamlessly approving them for the terms selected 

No buyer wants to wait days or weeks to know if they can get payment terms. They have their own buying cycles that are time-sensitive.

They want to know upfront that when they shop with your brand, they’re going to get to choose the payment option that best suits their timeline and cash flow needs.
  1. Pre-approvals

We all live in an age where e-commerce shopping accounts make our lives easier. Saved payment details and shipping information make all the difference between a one minute checkout and a five minute one. B2B buyers also want to be able to check out quickly.

Amazon is the perfect example of the kind of level of convenience we all have come to enjoy. So why should B2B purchasing be any different? And yet a lot of B2B e-commerce stores require buyers to apply for credit for every product they want. This can really introduce a lot of friction and slow down the buying process.

On the other hand, if you pre-approve existing buyers and even offer pre-approval for payment terms to new buyers – they never have to deal with the hassle of applying for credit with you again. 

So all they have to do is log in to their account and get terms at the click of a button. It becomes a lot easier to build loyalty when you incentivize potential and existing buyers with added perks.

In consumer shopping, even where we have gotten used to a high level of convenience, we still expect to be able to do everything as fast as possible.

Now imagine taking something as tedious as credit qualification and making it fast and seamless. It puts your brand on a different playing field than your competitors. 
  1. Payment methods

According to the same Wunderman Thompson report, the top reason B2B e-commerce buyers switched suppliers was due to lack of payment options, followed by poor discount options, and a bad checkout experience. Each business buyer has a preference of how they want to pay for their goods.

It depends on things like the value of the transaction, internal AP processes, and cash flow constraints. Limiting your customers’ payment options can have a major impact on their own internal accounting and financing needs. 

While paying with paper checks is a default in the industry, that certainly doesn’t mean that payment methods like credit card, ACH, or wire are not often preferred by your buyers. It’s simply that merchants don’t always have the means to process more than one or two payment methods so they’re forced to cut down on what they can offer.

Credit cards, for example, are expensive for merchants, so many avoid accepting this method of payment. But for buyers, credit cards can help them grow their business by delaying payments to a preferred billing period. 

  1. Digital invoicing

A lot of attention on invoicing is on alleviating the problem of reconciliation on the merchant’s end. Manually searching for payments and tracking down individual invoices is definitely a real hassle.

But it’s not a one-sided problem. Buyers face a lot of administrative overhead with invoices as well, which can lead to late payments. And it makes sense – manually sorting through invoices doesn’t fare well when it comes to precision and speed. 

Digital invoicing is a win-win. Instead of waiting days or weeks to receive a faxed or scanned invoice, your customers can get their invoices automatically and instantly sent at the time of checkout, just like we as consumers get confirmation emails after purchase. Buyers can immediately review the payment terms they selected, the payment method, and all relevant order information.

Ultimately if they don’t have to rely on paper-driven processes, it doesn’t only help build trust, but it's also a lot easier to follow up and manage payments if there is a digital trace. 

Conclusion

For businesses moving online, it can feel like there is a list of hundreds of things to get done. The checkout might seem low in priorities, but investing in the right experience can ultimately help you grow your e-commerce channel and make your customers more likely to make a purchase.

Talk to our team to learn more about how Balance can help you turn your checkout from a point of friction into a revenue channel.

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Team Balance

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