74% of Millennial B2B Buyers Have Switched Vendors For Better Consumer-Like Experience

B2B companies are taking to digital channels to manage business functions, establish buyer or vendor relationships and handle critical payment functions. As they do so, B2B buyers want the same sort of seamless payment processes that they have during business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions.

In fact, 74% of millennial B2B buyers have swapped vendors because the new company offered B2B experiences more like consumer payments, according to the Optimizing SMB Payments Report, a PYMNTS and American Express collaboration. Among B2B buyers of all ages, 67% have switched to purchasing from vendors that offer a more consumer-like experience.

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While boosting sales to these buyers, B2B sellers are realizing many other benefits when they abandon paper processes in favor of less cumbersome digital solutions.

Delivering Easy-to-Use Payment Experiences

“Easy-to-use payment experiences can help [small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs)] in a ton of ways,” Dean Henry, executive vice president of Global Commercial Payments at American Express, told PYMNTS. “For example, one area where we’re focused is offering automated accounts payable and accounts receivable solutions. These are easily integrated in the businesses’ accounting systems, making it more straightforward to manage supplier payments and cash flow; increasing visibility into up-to-date information on accounts, invoices and payments; and reducing manual reconciliation and errors.”

For sellers, this involves clearing several hurdles, including legacy infrastructure and a lack of automation in their accounts receivable (AR) departments. The issue is especially prevalent among SMBs in the B2B space, as many have less cash and fewer employees to spare as they consider taking their payment processes digital. As a result, it’s especially critical for them to determine which technologies and processes are the most worthwhile investments.

Implementing automation, flexible payment tools and other key technologies is one way these firms, especially smaller manufacturing companies, may be able to cross that B2C-to-B2B gap.

Cutting Down on Payments Time Frames

Automating payments processes in a way that allows instant collections management helps SMBs address a key pain point. PYMNTS data found that firms with highly automated AR processes typically take 16 days to follow up on late payments, far less than the 27 days it takes those with no automation in these processes.

B2B firms are also starting to comprehend the importance of accepting credit card payments. Some B2B businesses have held out on accepting credit cards to avoid the modest fees they charge, but many are beginning to change their tune in the era of eCommerce. Credit card acceptance gives buyers access to one of their preferred payment methods — and working capital to expand. Sellers, on the other hand, get a better handle on their cash flows by getting paid more quickly.

Cutting down on time to payments can help inch small buyers’ B2B experiences closer to the B2C-like interactions many now expect. Failing to do so raises the potential for B2B sellers to fall behind, especially as digital becomes the norm for all types of commerce.