INTURN’s B2B software solution launched last April as a way to tackle a long-ignored segment of B2B eCommerce: apparel resale. When fashion brands have excess inventory, there are other companies that want to scoop up those products for resale in their own stores.
How that extra stock goes from one retailer to another, said INTURN CEO and Co-Founder Ronen Lazar, has been done the same way for many, many years (think: the spreadsheet).
So INTURN brought software to the market to address what Lazar described as an “archaic and massively inefficient” process. The firm offers a B2B marketplace for retailers to strike deals for that overstocked or last season inventory, making it easy for potential buyers to search for and access information about the off-price items up for grabs.
When PYMNTS last spoke with Lazar in April, just after its software was launched, he said the company was looking ahead at how to provide businesses conducting trade on the site a mechanism to negotiate a price and conduct a transaction (at its launch, INTURN had businesses carry out the payment outside of the platform), and to broaden the platform with foreign exchange and escrow services.
This month, the company made progress toward that goal of making it easier for businesses to pay each other when conducting trade in the off-price inventory sector.
Last week, INTURN unveiled expansions to its software to enable cross-border transactions. It’s a significant step, especially just five months after launch, and comes with support to automate the process of international trade. And yes, that includes foreign exchange services.
PYMNTS caught up with Lazar once again to discuss what companies can expect from the upgrades and how INTURN plans to ease the path of international B2B payments.
When it comes to the off-price inventory segment of B2B commerce, Lazar said there are three main reasons why international deals are so difficult. First, as a whole, the industry’s dependence on spreadsheets is hardly conducive to managing the complexities of international deals, he said.
[bctt tweet=”When it comes to the off-price inventory segment of B2B commerce, there are 3 main challenges when going global”]
Second, the sector remains largely under-developed. “The off-price marketplace is not well built out and there is often only one or two major off-price buyers in each market, if at all,” Lazar said. “The result is that inventory sales are not optimized."
And third – perhaps the largest challenge when it comes to the payments side of B2B eCommerce – is how different product prices change from place to place.
"Pricing of inventory varies by market, even in adjacent countries, by more than 25 percent,” the executive explained, adding that factors like standard of living and domestic currency influence pricing conditions for each market. Even in the Eurozone, these cross-border fluctuations can be significant.
With these challenges in mind, INTURN rolled out a slew of new features to support international off-price apparel trade. Businesses gain insight into the sales activity of markets across the globe, pricing systems for multiple markets, price optimization and analysis for these differing markets, and support for price negotiations in multiple currencies.
In short, Lazar said, this means that businesses looking to sell their excess retail can do so in multiple markets, and price their stock based on the varying pricing levels in each of those jurisdictions. “INTURN has developed sophisticated pricing systems which support a seller’s price optimization efforts as they offer inventory to buyers in different markets,” Lazar said.
The new features address more than just currency exchange rates; INTURN said that it provides real-time data analytics, as well as historical data, so businesses looking to conduct trade don’t have to go blindly into new markets.
Lazar added that still, companies are expected to carry out the transactions they agree upon through their own, generally through wire transfer, he said. The company is still working on an internal payments mechanism, Lazar added, so businesses conducting trade through the platform aren’t yet doing so in an entirely seamless way.
But with the latest updates, INTURN has taken steps toward easing cross-border B2B friction by addressing the challenges of not only foreign exchange, but of the varying economic climates seen across the globe.