Production delays and limited retailer cash flow are straining relationships between vendors and suppliers. But experts said it is necessary to work together if both want to emerge from these challenges in a stronger position. By alleviating some of the friction in the B2B experience, businesses can focus on the more critical pain points.
Payment automation is one area that often creates a negative experience for suppliers, according to executives at financial technology company Nvoicepay. Common issues include payment companies requiring a specific payment method or charging fees; these requirements are then passed on to the vendor, who may not be set up to comply.
“The most ideal situation occurs when suppliers accept electronic card payments because they receive their payment earlier and you have the potential to earn a card rebate,” said Derek Halpern, SVP of sales at Nvoicepay.
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Halpern describes a successful B2B payment solution as one that offers suppliers different payment options, sends remittances with electronic payment — which can import directly into the system — provides a supplier payment portal for easier tracking, and has a dedicated customer service team.
For suppliers that can’t accept virtual card payments from vendors there could be a way to compromise. Offering that method, in exchange for an early payment deal, can allow both the vendor to pay more conveniently while minimizing the risk for the supplier.
Risks have increased across the payment space, with Nvoicepay observing a rise in payment-related fraud. The company suggested this may be an attempt to capitalize on pandemic anxiety. However, consistent employee training in the recognition and handling of unsolicited emails and phone calls should mitigate this increase, said Halpern. Businesses can also refer to the guide created by the Federal Trade Commission.
While many companies may be reluctant to invest in new systems or technology due to a financial strain, Halpern argued that the right payment solution could actually be a revenue generator. The rebates received should outweigh the cost of the solution, which in turn should be minimal. It also frees up time for employees, which can then be devoted to other business operations.
“Customers can eradicate manual, no-value-added payment processes, which are proving even more cumbersome in a remote-work environment,” said Halpern. “This includes not only getting the payment out but managing payment data, enabling suppliers to accept electronic payments and answering supplier payment questions.”