B2B sales are doing some digital shape-shifting of their own, and not a moment too soon.
Getting right to the heart of the matter, Maria Prados, vice president of global eCommerce at Worldpay, recently told PYMNTS that “B2B sellers have historically been slower than other businesses to embrace digital evolution [and are] still using a lot of paper-based and manual processes, especially for payments.”
Replacing paper process with digital exactitude is the name of the game in payments now – and, as we learn in the new Global B2B Payments Playbook done in collaboration with Worldpay, “The COVID-19 crisis is compounding existing cross-border B2B payments pains as more companies seek employees or partners abroad. Economic crunches are also leading businesses and workers to seek faster payment methods, meaning that many typical B2B transaction methods are no longer sufficient.”
Reducing friction in cross-border B2B payments couldn’t be more crucial to the global economy, and the Global B2B Payments Playbook is a wealth of information and insights on streamlining and personalizing payment methods to meet businesses’ changing needs.
Room for Improvement
Some of the name-brand companies that are just getting around to digitizing their B2B payments are rather surprising. General Electric is a prime example.
“Well-established companies are looking to learn new payment tricks as international business grows more competitive and complex. This includes 142-year-old industrial manufacturing firm GE, which recently announced plans to digitize its cross-border B2B payments processes to cut costs and streamline transactions for its clients,” per the new Playbook. “Shreya Fatehpuria, intercompany and FX payments leader for GE, recently told PYMNTS that the pandemic has made reducing the time and effort such transactions take more critical, and GE is now looking to digitize more of its cross-border payment processes.”
The Playbook makes the further point that “commerce has become more interconnected over the past few decades, and supporting a healthy international business model is now key to helping companies in many industries stay competitive. These firms have to navigate the ins and outs of various markets for consumers and also for the B2B payments between their suppliers or vendors.”
B2B Blossoms in the Digital Domain
As with any bad situation, one can obsess about B2B payments problems, or solve them. And though it’s odd to say the pandemic had good impacts, it has hastened digital transformation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed all industries five years ahead. Now, it is not only newer generations demanding a better buying experience in B2B to match their B2C experiences, but global lockdowns are keeping people from going to work, and [they require] digital offerings to keep things going,” Prados told PYMNTS. “For example, 89 percent of B2B buyers are making more online purchases than last year, and B2B companies are seeing five times faster revenue growth with eCommerce channels.”
To nurture and grow that promising trend, the Playbook states, companies must aggressively embrace “pairing technology that can send … data in real time alongside payments sent via real-time networks. Automation and technologies like blockchain are gaining momentum, with several card networks and payment processing firms offering blockchain-enabled solutions that can boost security and reduce transaction times.”