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Behalf, Inc. CEO: Four Things to Watch for in B2B Finance
Bigger investments in digital commerce lead to new financing opportunities and more buying power for small and mid-sized business
- New York and Ra'anana, Israel |
- February 2, 2022 |
Behalf, Inc., a provider of In-Purchase Financing solutions for B2B sellers and buyers, expects big advancements in the digitization of B2B finance in 2022 as business merchants continue to invest to improve the customer experience and streamline their business operations.
“Prior to the pandemic, a surprisingly large percentage of B2B commerce still took place via traditional channels such as in-person sales, assisted selling, distributors, and phone,” commented Rob Rosenblatt, CEO of Behalf. “When everything shifted to online purchasing, a lot of B2B sellers were really unprepared. But, since then, we’ve seen a lot of progress.”
Rosenblatt expects that progress to continue on several fronts in 2022.
- B2B Gets Real About Digital Commerce
Innovation in B2B payments has lagged B2C for many years. The fundamental changes in buyer/seller interaction models caused by the pandemic have forced the B2B merchant community to take a fresh look at how payments and financing enhance – or detract from – the overall customer experience.
In 2022, B2B merchants will continue to fortify the e-commerce experience with the goal of making the end-to-end buying process as frictionless and differentiating as possible. This will go beyond the shopping experience. Building on the momentum for Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)* in consumer retail, B2B merchants will invest in capabilities that enable them to automate the offering of financing solutions at the point-of-sale. These capabilities will provide their customers with greater buying power (raising the average ticket) and enhance cash flow through better matching of cash inflows and outflows. They will also build customer loyalty and create important operational efficiencies.
- B2B Buyers and Suppliers Flex on Payment Details
In B2B commerce, “payment terms” are an important aspect of any business relationship. These financing details have typically been negotiated up front — before the vagaries of specific transactions can really be considered.
As SMBs take more considered approaches to how they pay for goods to optimize capital allocation, manage cash flow, and match inventory to revenue flow, B2B merchants will respond with more flexible financing choices tailored to different types of transactions. We will move towards a “slider function” built within financing programs that facilitate alignment on financing details, discounts and payment summaries between buyers and sellers at the individual transaction level. Longer-term, we will see the evolution of category and merchandise-specific automation of financing options with the assistance of AI- and analytics-based platforms.
- New Financing Options for Small Business
Small businesses desperately need more flexible financing alternatives to traditional business credit cards and loans. Fintech will be the solution to that problem in 2022 with the emergence of alternative lending solutions specifically for small businesses. These will come in different forms — from alternative financing solutions purpose-built for B2B, to all-in-one small business and spend management credit cards, to neobanks and defi solutions. SMBs have some access to products like these today, but 2022 will be the year in which we see a laser focus on products that specifically address the needs for expanded working capital solutions for small businesses.
- Banks Dive Deeper into BNPL
Some traditional banks view alternative financing solutions like Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) as a threat – to their credit card, credit line and installment loan businesses. JP Morgan Chase, in particular, has been outspoken about this threat and vowed to defend against it. Others such as Barclays and SoFi recognize the promise of BNPL and have partnered with MasterCard to offer BNPL-type services.
In 2022, expect to see more banks incorporate alternative financing and BNPL solutions into their offerings for consumers and businesses. Some will offer solutions via acquisitions of fintech startups while others will look to partner with fintechs or build these capabilities from within. As more banks embrace alternative financing, they will in fact contribute to the proverbial “rising tide that lifts all boats.” Beside their role as a trusted source of financial advice, banks have the ability to capitalize on vast reservoirs of spend and payment history to improve access to flexible financing alternatives for both consumers and businesses.
“The web is tailor-made for B2B commerce — always on, 24/7 availability, self-service, nearly unlimited choice,” added Rosenblatt. “It creates a wealth of new opportunities for businesses to improve the way they engage and serve their customers, while also dramatically streamlining their business operations. I think we’ll see B2B start to really close the innovation gap with B2C in the next 12-24 months.”
Behalf offers alternative B2B financing solutions tailor-made for real-time commerce across e- tail, assisted-selling and other merchant sales channels. The solutions enable merchants to outsource their net terms and extended financing programs and receive payment as early as the next business day. With Behalf, merchants can significantly increase their business customers’ spending power without tying up capital or devoting resources to the business of credit and collections. Customers can receive in-purchase financing from Net-30 to up to 180 days.
Behalf’s e-commerce financing solution is offered by an array of merchants across the electronics, mobile phone resale, business supplies, medical and health, home/hardware, and other merchant categories. To date, Behalf has on-boarded over 19,000 merchants and 95,000 business customers, and provided over $1 billion in financing. For more information, visit https://www.behalf.com/.
* All business loans are made by FinWise Bank, a Utah-chartered bank located in Murray, Utah, member FDIC, Equal Opportunity Lender. All Merchant Cash Advances are made by Behalf. Visit www.behalf.com/legal-documents to review our comprehensive program terms, conditions and disclosures.