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NEW YORK, 02 Feb. 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Behalf, Inc., a provider of purchase finance solutions for B2B sellers and buyers, expects big strides in digitizing B2B finance in 2022 as merchants continue invest to improve the customer experience and streamline their business operations.
“Before the pandemic, a surprisingly high percentage of B2B commerce was still done through traditional channels such as in-person sales, assisted sales, distributors and telephone,” commented Rob Rosenblatt, CEO of Behalf. “When it all shifted to online buying, many B2B sellers were really unprepared. But, since then, we’ve seen a lot of progress.
Rosenblatt expects that progress to continue on multiple fronts in 2022.
1. B2B gets real on digital commerceInnovation in B2B payments has lagged B2C for many years. The fundamental shifts in buyer/seller interaction patterns caused by the pandemic have forced the B2B merchant community to rethink how payments and financing improve — or hurt — the overall customer experience.
In 2022, B2B merchants will continue to strengthen the e-commerce experience with the goal of making the end-to-end buying process as smooth and differentiating as possible. It will go beyond the shopping experience. Building on the momentum of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)* in consumer retail, B2B merchants will invest in capabilities to automate the offering of point-of-sale financing solutions. These capabilities will provide their customers with greater purchasing power (increasing the average ticket) and improve cash flow through better matching of cash inflows and outflows. They will also build customer loyalty and create significant operational efficiencies.
2. Flexible B2B buyers and suppliers on payment detailsIn B2B commerce, “payment terms” are an important aspect of any business relationship. These financing details were usually negotiated in advance – before the vagaries of specific transactions could really be taken into account.
As SMBs adopt more thoughtful approaches to how they pay for goods to optimize capital allocation, manage cash flow, and match inventory to revenue streams, B2B merchants will respond with more flexible financing choices tailored to different types of transactions. We will be moving toward a “slider feature” built into financing programs that makes it easier to align financing details, discounts, and payment summaries between buyers and sellers at the individual transaction level. Longer term, we will see the evolution of automating category and commodity funding options with the help of AI and analytics-based platforms.
3. New financing options for small businessesSmall businesses desperately need more flexible financing alternatives to credit cards and traditional business loans. Fintech will be the answer to this problem in 2022 with the emergence of alternative lending solutions specifically aimed at small businesses. These will come in a variety of forms – from alternative financing solutions specifically designed for B2B, to all-in-one credit cards for small businesses and expense management, to neobanks and challenge solutions. SMBs have some access to products like these today, but 2022 will be the year we see a laser focus on products that specifically address the needs of expanded working capital solutions for small businesses.
4. Banks dive deeper into BNPLSome traditional banks view alternative financing solutions such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) as a threat to their credit card, line of credit and installment loan businesses. JP Morgan Chase, in particular, was candid about this threat and promised to defend against it. Others like Barclays and SoFi recognize BNPL’s promise and have partnered with MasterCard to offer BNPL-like services.
In 2022, expect to see more banks integrating alternative financing and BNPL solutions into their retail and corporate offerings. Some will offer solutions through acquisitions of fintech startups while others will seek to partner with fintechs or develop these capabilities from within. As more and more banks embrace alternative financing, they will actually contribute to the proverbial “rising tide that lifts all boats”. In addition to their role as a trusted source of financial advice, banks have the ability to capitalize on large pools of spending and payment history to improve access to flexible financing alternatives for consumers and businesses.
“The web is tailor-made for B2B commerce – always on, available 24/7, self-service, almost limitless choice,” Rosenblatt added. “This creates a host of new opportunities for businesses to improve how they engage with and serve their customers, while 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.
About BehalfBehalf offers alternative B2B finance solutions tailored to real-time commerce through e-commerce, assisted selling and other merchant sales channels. The solutions enable merchants to outsource their net terms and extended funding programs and receive payment as early as the next business day. With Behalf, merchants can dramatically increase the buying power of their business customers without tying up capital or devoting resources to credit and collection activities. Customers can receive in-purchase financing from Net-30 for up to 180 days.
Behalf’s e-commerce financing solution is offered by a range of merchants in electronics, mobile phone resale, business supplies, medical and healthcare, home/hardware and other categories of merchants. To date, Behalf has onboarded over 19,000 merchants and 95,000 business customers, and provided over $1 billion in funding. For more information, visit https://www.behalf.com/.
* All business loans are originated by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered bank located in Murray, Utah, Member FDIC, Equal Opportunity Lender. All cash advances to merchants are made by Behalf. Visit www.behalf.com/legal-documents for our full program terms, conditions and disclosures.
Media Contact: for Behalf Tim Walsh [email protected] 617.512.1641
Source: Behalf, Inc.