Nearly every business type has to deal with outside vendors and is accustomed to receiving monthly bills from them. This is particularly true within the retail industry. Yet when it comes to generating sales for their own businesses, many retailers only focus on consumers. In doing so, they are missing out on a huge revenue stream within the business-to-business (B2B) world — where the retailer functions as a vendor for other businesses and gets to be on the receiving end of those monthly payments rather than the giving end.
The B2B possibilities for retailers are wide, varied and limited only by lack of imagination. Boutiques and clothing stores can sublet a section of their store for a specific brand or local beauty product supplier. Automotive parts stores can offer part delivery services to local auto repair shops. Grocery stores can play host to pop-up restaurants. The possibilities are nearly endless.
However, there is one critical piece of infrastructure that is required — beyond creativity and the ability to pitch other business owners — and that is having a way to efficiently collect payments from B2B clients. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions for doing that, and in implementing the right B2B payment solution, there are immense benefits.
Improved Cash Flow
Modern B2B payment solutions allow retailers to invoice clients and collect payments online through a virtual terminal, eliminating the old-school process of sending invoices by mail, waiting for a check to come back in the mail, and then manually depositing the check.
By doing everything electronically, the invoices are not only delivered faster, but clients also pay more quickly. This greatly improves cash flow, giving retail businesses greater flexibility when it comes to payroll, paying their own vendors and so on.
Automated Tools Decrease Labor And Risk
At their core, virtual terminals for B2B payments are software, and, as such, they are packed with features to streamline processes and reduce workload. A great example is with the ability to schedule recurring billing, whether it’s monthly, weekly or even daily. Once a B2B client’s information is input into the software, there is no additional work required — the software invoices and collects money on a regular schedule automatically, leaving time-strapped business owners free to devote time to other aspects of their company.
Beyond reducing labor time, these automated tools also reduce financial risk by allowing clients to pay with credit cards through a secure connection online. The virtual terminals are designed to collect Level 2 and Level 3 transaction data (e.g. client business name, address, zip code, etc.) to reduce the chances of fraud. In addition to reducing risk, this also can lower the transaction rates that retailers have to pay for credit card processing, saving them a little extra money.
Long-Term B2B Client Retention
The ability to perform secure online transactions doesn’t only benefit retailers. It also creates a sense of trust for their clients, by giving them peace of mind that their financial information is private and secure. Many businesses are hesitant to pay with a credit card over the phone or through the mail, and rightfully so. Without a viable B2B solution for paying online, they may instead opt to pay via check through the mail, leading to reduced cash flow for the retailer.
By implementing a B2B payment solution, clients are much more likely to pay by credit card, speeding up the transaction time, which benefits both parties. After all, the client is a time-strapped business, too. Any task they can do faster and easier makes them happy, and the right virtual terminal does just that — it allows them to pay without having to cut a check, and it stores their information, including their credit card, if they choose, leading to significant time savings when it comes to recurring bills. By reducing the hassle involved for clients, the retailer successfully eliminates one of the key factors that might otherwise cause them to take their business elsewhere.
The final key benefit to having a B2B payment solution is the added flexibility it offers. While B2B payment software is ideally suited to invoicing and collecting recurring payments, it is equally adept at performing one-time transactions. Take for example, a large order coming from an organizer for an event. Without a virtual terminal, the retailer has few options. They can send an invoice and wait for a check, or they can use the POS at their business location to process a credit card payment from the client, which can disrupt business with in-store consumers.
With a B2B virtual terminal, however, the retailer has the ability to send an electronic invoice and have the client pay online, or even take the credit card information in person from the client and process the payment right from a computer, tablet or mobile phone.
This sort of flexibility opens up even more possibilities for B2B revenue streams, allowing retailers to take payments at consultations, meetings, conventions and more.
In short, a B2B payment solution is a must for retailers that are looking to stay competitive in a rapidly advancing marketplace. It opens the door to new revenue streams while simultaneously keeping labor costs down, keeping clients happy and giving the retailer the flexibility needed to do business in whatever circumstances are unique to their business.
RJ Horsley is the President of SpotOn Transact, LLC, a cutting-edge payments and software company redefining the merchant services industry by integrating multi-channel payment capabilities with software solutions for companies to better run and grow their business. Under Horsley’s leadership, SpotOn is rapidly growing their team, which includes a national outside sales force along with internal employees at SpotOn’s San Francisco headquarters and offices in Chicago and Detroit. By creating a dynamic workplace that effectively engages employees, SpotOn has fostered an environment that encourages innovation and flexibility while offering unparalleled support to their business clients.