Can B2B Payments Take On Omnichannel?
While not all major retailers have proven to master an effective omnichannel strategy in today’s increasingly mobile world, some players, like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and others, have done pretty well for themselves. Based on their customers’ past shopping patterns, they have managed to up their sales by offering new products, discounts and coupons in the store, online and in apps.
But in B2B payments, such automatic, data-driven messages and coupons aren’t as effective, as “impulse buys never happen, acquiring a new customer unsolicited is unlikely,” and the goal of B2B e-commerce is not the same, according to an article by CMS Wire. Omnichannel is therefore not so much a buzzword in the B2B payments space – but this has great potential to change.
TRENDS IN THE B2B PAYMENTS SPACE
Over the past few years, the world of B2B payments has seen “an increased importance of data from both the buyers and suppliers perspective,” said Dean Leavitt, CEO of the B2B electronic payments provider Boost Payment Solutions, in a recent podcast interview with MPD CEO Karen Webster. “As both sides of the transaction move to more sophisticated or, for smaller companies, less expensive ERP systems, their reliance on data is becoming important – remittance data, and the ability automatically reconcile transactions.”
That’s where Boost’s product, Boost Intercept, comes into play – a cloud-based electronic payment platform that “that transforms supplier-initiated virtual card payments into a buyer-initiated payment experience for suppliers,” according to the Boost Payment Solutions website.
WHY BOOST INTERCEPT WAS DESIGNED
Using Boost Intercept, suppliers can receive remittance data in ways that have previously been unavailable. Data is accessed via an automated process, and can easily be imported into an organization’s AR system – organizations no longer have to deal with a cumbersome reconciliation process and the high costs of labor associated with it.
While this data has been available, said Leavitt, companies can now manage their businesses better because they have “the ability to convert that data into information that can be used to establish metrics, KPIs, and other types of tools that a company can use to run the business.”
Boost Intercept was developed by Boost Payment Solutions in response to suppliers’ “pain points” – they were willing to take cards but they were frustrated by the need to support multiple virtual card platforms. According to Boost’s website, Boost Intercept “cures” these pain points by doing the following:
- Eliminating the need to support multiple V-card platforms
- Eliminating the need to login to multiple portals, extract card data and manually process payments
- Eliminating the need to store/pass/process card data
- Reducing PCI DSS compliance scope and cost related to Boost payments processed
- Lowering cost with access to lowest interchange rates
- Streamlining companies’ ERP requirements with customized remittance data in native format
- Eliminating manual and lengthy reconciliations, improving efficiencies and visibility
HOW BOOST’S SOLUTION SPANS THE INDUSTRIES
One sector where Boost Intercept has been deployed is the transportation industry, where inefficient and expensive payment processes have historically yielded delayed payments, inadequate remittance detail, manual payment processing and reconciliation and potential security risk from exposed banking information. The Boost Intercept platform offers custom solutions that cure these “pain points” while delivering significant operational efficiencies.
Boost’s electronic payment platform also benefits the public sector, higher education, healthcare, manufacturing and many other industries for which Boost facilitates commercial card payments among institutions, municipalities, corporate payers and their suppliers.
Payments made by paper checks are burdensome and make for complicated accounting requirements. By expanding commercial card payments, Boost Intercept reduces AP and AR-related costs, improves cash management by extending Days Payable Outstanding, while reducing Days Sales Receivable and eliminates the costs of issuing, receiving and managing checks.
Regardless of the industry being served, the set-up process for Boost’s platform requires no change to banking relationships or procurement processes, and no implementation costs.
BRINGING OMNICHANNEL TO B2B PAYMENTS
Two principles in omnichannel that can be applied to the B2B world, according to CMS Wire, include: 1) the aim to centrally manage execution across all channels consistently, and 2) the measurement and consolidation of data across all channels to determine which combinations of channels and interactions attribute most to a company’s bottom-line.
To accomplish these goals, a B2B organization needs to remove inefficiencies from its processes, enhance data, and integrate all of its systems, thereby creating an effective, real time experience for customers.
Boost Intercept was specifically developed to accomplish all of the above. All virtual cards are processed across one single automated platform, and detailed remittance data can be easily integrated with ERPs. There is no longer a need to go through the inefficient process of logging onto portals, hunting down single-use card data or worrying about PCI compliance.
According to Boost, its innovative payment solution is the “only omnichannel payment platform for the B2B community,” and will likely continue to help shape the B2B payments landscape now and in the future.