Alex Lawson

This weeks guest blog post is from Piers Gorman, Vice President Business Development APAC at MSTS. MSTS is a global B2B payment and credit solutions provider that specialises in commercial transaction management, facilitating transactions for customers in over 190 countries with 40 years of experience. MSTS helps businesses reach new heights by entering new markets, expanding their footprints, and globalising their opportunities.

For B2B sellers, keeping pace with customer expectations is anything but easy. Accustomed to the simplicity and convenience that has become increasingly common across B2C transactions, buyers expect more from B2B sellers than ever before. Make the most of a growing B2B eCommerce market by considering the unique needs and preferences of each customer.

Here are 5 ways to differentiate your B2B channel effectively:

1. Personalised Payment Experience

Identifying ways to make things personal can help sellers overcome outdated business processes – such as funnelling customers through a complicated buyer journey. More than 70% of B2B executives report customer expectations for personalised experiences are growing. And nearly two-thirds of business buyers are likely to make a switch if a brand doesn’t personalise communications. Satisfy buyer demands and rise above the competition by swapping out archaic business methods in favour of more personalised services.

B2B sellers can cater more closely to each customer by employing several different strategies tied to personalization. From extending individual lines of credit to offering a number of different payment options, paving the way for personalisation promises to enhance the overall buying experience and boost business.

2. Multiple payment options

Most B2B buyers aren’t afraid to drop out of the purchase process. In fact, nearly 70% have abandoned an online shopping cart. Sellers can improve the customer experience and keep buyers from leaving by implementing a payment option that best meets their unique needs and preferences. The more payment options that are offered, the easier it will be for sellers to appease a wide range of buyers.

In 2018, 54% of B2B buyers across North America chose automated clearing house (ACH) payments as their preferred option while 41% cited checks as their least favourite payment method. Sellers can develop a convenient customer experience by building a good mix of payment options. From credit lines to electronic funds transfer (EFT), buyers should be able to select the option that works best for their business.

3. Offer Terms (Invoicing at Checkout)

When B2B sellers take their sales online, they run into different problems than B2C sellers. The biggest issue is determining how buyers will pay for services. Credit cards are the familiar solution, but expensive fees and insufficient credit limits reduce margins and limit purchasing. When offered payment on terms, buyers tend to purchase more. So, why doesn’t everyone offer payment on terms? The complications of underwriting and the risks of bad debt can be a limitation for many companies. Credit as a Service™ (CaaS) is an MSTS payment solution that manages payments between buyers and sellers, providing a seamless purchasing experience. Its solution allows the seller, to offer credit to the buyer, preserving the sellers working capital and offloading risk. MSTS’ technology underwrites and approves buyers for credit in under 30 seconds. The CaaS suite of tools includes InvoiceMe, which allows online invoicing at checkout at transaction fees 30% less than credit cards. The CaaS platform easily integrates into B2B eCommerce platforms, including Magento Commerce.

4. Offer price flexibility – Relationship Pricing

Buyer loyalty no longer lies with brands themselves, but rather the experiences they offer. Once restricted to a handful of brands, buyers can now do business with virtually any online seller across the world. Although that convenience is a big benefit to buyers, it also challenges sellers to step up their offerings or lose out on loyalty. Nearly 70% of B2B industry executives say customers are less loyal than they used to be – and the rise of the internet is a significant reason why.

B2B Sellers can remain relevant in the eyes of existing customers by offering discounts as well as vouchers. More than 60% of B2B buyers say good prices and discounts can help keep them loyal to a B2B vendor or supplier. By taking a number of different factors into account – including services and solutions that are critical to a buyer’s success or the length of their relationship with an organisation – this will ensure any discount offered is both valuable and timely.

Not only will buyers be motivated to tack on additional products or services to their next purchase, but chances are they’ll continue the relationship moving forward. And considering the fact that it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, absorbing the cost of a discount every once in a while is an easy decision.

5. Create an Omni-channel Sales Experience

Omni-channel customers are 25% more profitable than customers who only shop in-store. But a chief complaint of B2B buyers is that moving between sales channel is not smooth. It is important for B2B companies to provide a liquid experience between sales channels by integrating customer data and purchasing requirements across all channels.

While there are many challenges in meeting the complex eCommerce needs of B2B buyers and sellers, the good news is that it’s not impossible. Credit as a Service (CaaS), which streamlines and optimises end-to-end payment and credit management offerings, is powering eCommerce for digital businesses.

Learn more about the competitive advantage Credit as a Service can provide your business in this CaaS Overview.

About the Author

Piers Gorman is Vice President Business Development APAC for MSTS with responsibility for growing MSTS’s presence in the APAC region. Piers is focusing on helping B2B merchants grow their B2B business in the eCommerce, retail, automotive, aviation and fleet sectors through MSTS’s Credit as a Service solutions.