Despite the fact that most wholesale distributors still rely on checks as their primary form of payment, B2B payments for distribution is changing rapidly. Three technologies t can streamline your operations. From virtual credit cards, online payment portals, and robotic process automation you can help you give customers a better experience.
1. Virtual credit cards
Virtual credit cards are single-use credit card numbers that allow you to make online purchases without exposing your actual payment info or identity to hackers. AP teams can assign virtual credit card numbers to a specific purchase – minimizing the risk of fraud. The number expires after the first use.
Virtual credit cards are gaining popularity with consumer and B2B buyers who are concerned about data security. Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX now allow customers to use their cards to make B2B virtual payments. Now is the time to prepare your AR systems to meet customer demand for virtual payments.
2. Online payment portals
B2B payments for distribution are moving to the cloud. According to a recent survey, 80 percent of B2B e-commerce retailers accept payments via their websites. Meanwhile, 54 percent of organizations plan to move their payment infrastructure to the cloud within the next year.
Cloud payment portals give customers the convenience to pay at any time and from any device. They are also more secure than storing your payment data on-premises. According to a cloud security report, “on-premise IT infrastructure is more likely to be attacked, more often, and through a broader spectrum of attack vectors than cloud-based infrastructures, countering security concerns about the cloud.”
3. Robotic Process Automation
Finance teams are taking advantage of robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline their processes and reduce their costs. RPA isn’t actual robots – it’s software that automates your routine tasks. You can use RPA to automate your financial close, validate that the customer information on your invoices is accurate, and reconcile transactions in your ERP. Research has shown that RPA can reduce the cost of your finance processes by 50-70 percent.
Despite the fact that the B2B payments landscape is changing rapidly, many wholesale distributors still run their AR departments the same way that they did 20 years ago. They rely on old-school technology, paper checks and manual, error-prone processes.
Sticking with dated processes puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting customer expectations and improving their experience so that you can compete with Amazon.
By fully understanding the challenges preventing wholesale distributors from achieving financial goals, you can begin to address them – helping you improve your customer experience, gain a competitive advantage, and optimize your cash flow. Click the link below to download our e-book.