B2B commerce is getting a capital ‘E’, and adapting to E-commerce at a dizzying pace.
By 2025, 72% of B2B merchants expect the ‘majority’ of business revenue to come from e-commerce sites they own and operate. To get there, though, merchants need to deliver the purchasing experience business buyers expect.
And what do they expect? 41% of buyers consider self-service functionality the leading feature they look for on e-commerce platforms, but not many platforms meet this expectation.
Digital transformation is a leading focus with B2B merchants, looking to march their organisations into a future where their customers get the best possible service. But as all transitions go, it could be a tough one.
For example, did you know that many B2B merchants, even those with a functioning e-commerce platform, still use fax to facilitate communications up and down their supply chain, including in the critical moment when someone actually wants to make a purchase?
But the fax is just an example of how large organisations, even those focused on adopting innovation, are still bound by prevailing industry norms.
We don’t do faxes but we have our own paper to deal with. Our paper is called Checks. You’d expect that by 2020, many organisations would be ditching paper checks and moving to more advanced, modern payment solutions, right? Not so simple.
A new study by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) found that almost half of business-to-business (B2B) payments are being made by check.
And while many modern payment solutions look to altogether replace outdated payment methods, such as checks, with ACH, wire and credit cards, we've found that for the overwhelming majority of merchants, swift change is not feasible.
BTW - In this regard, Checks are not alone.
The “Paper Product Catalog → emailed Quote → email Invoice → Wire Payment” flow, for example , is still very much a thing, even for merchants with a robust e-commerce platform.
When we began building Balance, we made sure to engage industry experts very early on (and we’re extremely appreciative of their insights - see here). Based on their feedback we've found that merchants want cutting- edge innovation but have to account for established practices as well.
That’s why we knew that in our mission to build the most advanced B2B payment platform, we have to remain respectful of industry practices, norms, that are so deeply rooted they still command a meaningful place in our product offering.
Merchants need, nay, deserve, a business checkout experience that allows for instant ACH payments, automatic credit approval, auto-consolidation of transactions and milestone-based payments.
At the same time, they still need the messy paper checks challenge to be solved, the much needed “Get a quote” flow to work, and better ways for buyers to pay invoices with.
In short, what merchants need is for someone to bring the new and the old together, to create a seamless buying experience for B2B buyers. Hopefully, in Balance, they will find just that.
B2B marketplaces appeared destined to occupy only a minor niche in the u.s. So what changed?
A major Federal Reserve outage made us wonder, how worried should businesses be about their B2B payments when the Fed is down, and how often does it happen?