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64% of B2B Firms Plan to Increase Their eCommerce Investments

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Companies expect eCommerce to play a more prominent role in their future business relationships. Similarly, business buyers tasked with finding new vendors or suppliers for their firms believe digital sales are two to three times more important than those made in traditional channels.

Together, these trends indicate that more companies expect their business relationships and their payment processes to go digital. In fact, 64% of B2B firms plan to increase their eCommerce investments, according to the Global B2B Payments Playbook, a PYMNTS and Worldpay B2B Payments collaboration.

“B2B sellers have historically been slower than other businesses to embrace digital evolution [and are] still using a lot of paper-based and manual processes, especially for payments,” Maria Prados, vice president of global eCommerce at Worldpay B2B Payments, told PYMNTS. “The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed all industries five years ahead.”

Facing Hurdles in Reaching New Markets 

Sellers are also entering new, cross-border markets. They are finding that B2B payments face numerous hurdles — even when they are domestic. But making payments internationally often compounds these problems.

Many firms still process cross-border transactions through wire transfers — and other traditional payments — that are often ill-equipped to keep international partners and employees satisfied. These transactions pass through an average of six financial institutions before they are finalized, and wire transfers can take as long as five days to arrive.

In addition, factors including the dynamics of the markets in which transactions take place and the payment amounts being sent, can shift wire transfer costs. As businesses face more pressure to keep an eye on their cash flows, these routine price fluctuations that often accompany cross-border B2B transactions are more frustrating than ever.

To make matters worse, such payment methods are also prone to fraud. Much of the time involved in sending wire transfers stems from businesses verifying recipients’ financial details, as failing to get them right can send funds to the wrong accounts — or bad actors. Scams targeting wire transfers have long been an issue, and fraudsters perpetrating these schemes send emails to convince firms to wire money into fraudulent accounts.

Meeting Demands for a Better Experience 

Given this friction, firms are reconsidering their use of wire transfers, examining new ways to optimize their cross-border B2B payments. Businesses are exhibiting interest in several tools and payment processes that could address wire transfers’ weak points, including automated technologies that help companies examine all details attached to transactions with more speed and transparency. Technologies like blockchain are also gaining momentum, with several card networks and payment processing firms offering blockchain-enabled solutions that can boost security and shorten transaction times.

Firms doing business internationally must optimize their cross-border B2B payment processes to stay competitive. The challenge is not in finding available solutions, but in implementing them effectively. Deciding which tools are best suited to companies’ and their international partners’ payment needs could be key to helping them survive and thrive.

Noting that since the beginning of the pandemic, B2B buyers are making more online purchases and B2B companies are seeing faster revenue growth with eCommerce channels, Prados told PYMNTS, “Now, it is not only newer generations demanding a better experience in B2B to match their B2C experiences.”

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