At 8:00 AM, my new colleague Sophia strode into the office in a bright new pair of sneakers. “Nice kicks,” I said. She laughed, “Honestly, they targeted me on Instagram. Took 3 seconds to buy them.” Isn’t that nice? Buying sneakers is easy as - scroll, click, done. But what about the retailer that had to buy 100 pairs of sneakers?
Most people never think about it, but the B2B transaction experience goes a little something like this. The seller receives a purchase order, sends a quote, waits, negotiates financial terms, and waits again to get paid by check or bank transfer. From the manufacturer, to the wholesaler, to the distributor, and to the retailer. That’s a lot of transactions floating around the value chain for B2B goods and services. Remarkably, only 10% of them take place online, where B2B marketplaces like Amazon for Business and Faire have driven innovation. And that little slice is already worth double the transaction value of all consumer ecommerce. This means that 90% of businesses are accepting payments offline, sending invoices, and counting the days until paper checks arrive.
Companies from early-stage startups, to software developers, hospitals, department stores, and more deal with the offline, tedious and drawn out experience of business purchasing every day. They crave a seamless online transaction, but the only innovation so far has been consumer-oriented checkout, starting with PayPal, Apple Pay and newer startups like Bolt and Fast.
But what works for consumer payments is not helpful for businesses. The complexity of B2B transactions requires a new approach.
In 2016, I met my Balance co-founder Yoni Shuster at PayPal, where we worked on improving decision making around risk and product experience. A couple of roles and a startup later we launched Balance with the mission to help businesses thrive in the digital era. Balance is the industry's first self-serve B2B checkout platform that can take 100% of their payments into the online space. Leveraging state-of-the-art payments and risk assessment technology, any merchant, marketplace or SaaS company that sells goods and services online and offline can now offer their buyers a wide array of payment methods and flexible payment terms, while getting paid easily and instantly - all in a single platform. It’s maximum flexibility for business buyers, with the ease and simplicity of card payments.
We built the Balance business checkout experience for the CEOs and founders that are busy solving problems for other businesses. For the finance teams at SaaS companies that are stuck tracing wire transfers. For the entrepreneurs digitizing marketplaces for goods and services. We built it for the owner of the creative agency and for the procurement officer at the online medical cannabis pharmacy. We built it for the millennial CFO, and for their father, who manages a print factory.
Response is a B2B marketplace that helps high-growth businesses optimize sourcing and procurement. They cut their time-to-pay by adding self-serve B2B Checkout to their marketplace website.
For B2B sellers, successfully transitioning to a modern digital payment experience requires a delicate balance of old and new payment methods