The tides are changing. Purchase orders and invoicing – once considered the customary methods for B2B buyer and distributor transactions – are taking a backseat to alternate payment options. According to Forrester research, 50% of B2B buyers now prefer to pay online with a credit card, as opposed to 28% who still favor POs and invoicing. Another 19% prefer an online payment service, while 3% opt for an e-procurement portal, such as a punchout catalog. Distributors are listening to and addressing buyer preferences by enhancing their online offerings in order to provide multiple payment methods that meet everyone’s needs.
At the forefront of these offerings is a payment gateway. This popular component of B2B eCommerce provides a safe and easy way for buyers to transact with a credit or debit card. In addition, it integrates with an organization’s day-to-day business transactions so that a buyer can make a credit card purchase online the same way he would at a distributor’s branch office.
How it works
A payment gateway facilitates the transactions made between a website and a payment processor, which is the financial institution that analyzes and transmits the transaction data for an online merchant. In just a few seconds time, the gateway and processor perform three key tasks to complete the transaction:
- Encrypt the data: The transaction data is encrypted for protection and then sent by the gateway to the payment processor used by the vendor’s bank.
- Authorize the request: The payment processor sends the data to a card association where the credit card’s issuing bank reviews the authorization request and approves or denies it.
- Process the payment: The processor forwards the authorization to the payment gateway, where it’s transmitted back to the vendor website for order fulfillment.
Because the actual payment transaction is handled externally, and the distributor’s website never ingests any card information, payment gateways offer a safe and convenient payment alternative for wholesale vendors.
Why it pays off
An online payment gateway offers benefits that both vendors and buyers can appreciate:
- Fast – For those buyers who want to make a quick purchase without having to log in to a vendor portal, paying with credit card is a fast and easy option. A gateway also helps vendors get paid faster, because most online transactions are posted to their account within one or two business days.
- Secure– Online payment gateways must meet stringent compliance requirements and use secure encryption methods to protect sensitive data, which benefits both the merchant and consumer from fraud.
- Convenient– By offering credit card transactions, people can shop and transact at any time, without the need of a customer service representative. This added convenience can greatly expand a distributor’s customer base.
How to get started
Wholesale distributors who want to increase sales and customer loyalty need an online storefront that can handle multiple payment options – from online PO orders and punchouts, to credit card purchases. CIMM2 by Unilog Content Solutions is that storefront. CIMM2’s robust software platform is an all-in-one solution that makes commerce easier and more effective for B2B companies. CIMM2 integrates with almost any payment gateway, including Element, CenPOS and PayPal, to ensure safe and reliable credit card transactions. More than 85% of Unilog’s customers use payment gateways to get a bigger return on their eCommerce investment, so if you’re looking for more ROI from your online offerings, contact Unilog today.