Why B2B ecommerce needs to replicate the B2C experience – Enterpay

Wednesday 6 May 2020 08:31 CET | Editor: Oana Ifrim | Interview

Jarkko Anttiroiko, Enterpay: Our mission is to make B2B ecommerce customer experience just as good as in B2C ecommerce

What is the story of Enterpay and how do you differentiate among other companies in the B2B payments space?

Finland-based Enterpay is on a mission to boost B2B (business-to-business) ecommerce and optimise the payment process for B2B ecommerce by automating the counterparty risk assessment process.

Though the ecommerce models of B2B and B2C (business-to-consumer) are vastly different, the more ways in which you can infuse the B2C experience into your B2B buying cycle, the more customers you’ll close and the more likely you’ll retain them for the long haul. It is all about the consumerization of B2B ecommerce and the massive opportunity for B2B companies that get it right, as Forrester also observed.

As we noticed, most online payment methods, such as credit cards, serve only the B2C segment, but fail to meet the needs of both the selling and buying sides of the underserved B2B ecommerce space. Invoice payments are the preferred option in B2B commerce, but these are often handled manually, which makes them time-consuming and potentially risky. As online purchases in the B2B market continue to grow rapidly, B2B buyers expect the same smooth experience that they know from B2C ecommerce.

Enterpay has developed a technical solution that is equipped to meet the changing expectations of the B2B customers and allows you to make invoice payments in B2B transactions easily, quickly and securely. Enterpay’s payment scheme consists of a platform where all necessary parties can enable automated B2B trade and cooperate seamlessly. As a result, B2B merchants can increase the number of profitable customers through automated invoicing.

We partner with banks and PSPs so that they can offer purely digital and fully automated invoicing and factoring solution to their B2B merchant customers. Very importantly, our technology automatically carries out the fraud and credit risk assessment and integrates to various ecommerce platforms and payment gateways.

Our unique business model is based on collaboration with other financial institutions, as we believe more can be achieved by collaboration than competition. We are already cooperating with Collector Bank and Arvato in Finland and recently entered a partnership with German bank Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken to bring Enterpay's solution to the German market.

What are some of the main segments that you serve and what are your core offerings? What problems does the company solve?

Enterpay was founded to make B2B payments easier for business buyers and merchants and thus boost B2B ecommerce. We offer services to banks, finance companies and PSPs who want to provide payment services for the B2B commerce needs.

The most difficult part of developing this kind of services is to combine information from different sources and connect decision-making based on that information smoothly in the checkout process. Unlike B2C trade, where the assessment of the solvency of the customer paying by invoice is quite straightforward, in B2B  trade fraud prevention and solvency are extremely complex. Obviously, there are more sophisticated measures to be undertaken in this checkout process - you need to ensure the security of the purchase, to asses the identity of the customer and to also assign insight into the creditworthiness of the customer.

Through our technology, this can be done in a few seconds, offering banks quick and low risk entry to that market. We combine our services with those of banks, finance companies, and PSPs in order to provide new payment solutions to the market.

In B2B trade, technology trends lag behind B2C and easy payments methods based on invoices have quickly conquered the market in consumer trade.  But we expect that innovation in the B2B ecommerce market to explode, as all research indicates that B2B will solidify itself as the largest ecommerce segment. And, as today’s technologies and changing consumer expectations are raising the bar for B2B ecommerce, providing the best customer experience will become essential for surviving for many B2B merchants, and payments can play a deciding factor in the race.

By simplifying the invoicing process, which is generally viewed as time-consuming, risky, and tedious, Enterpay’s fully white-label service (that includes the necessary online decision-making capabilities) will continue to provide value for every member of the B2B ecommerce value-chain.

What are the challenges specific to B2B payments? How do you overcome these challenges?

There is plenty of opportunity in B2B commerce, but new sales channels also invite emerging fraud forms.

First of all, B2B merchants must quickly determine remote potential buyers are who they say, a process typically achieved through data collection and identity verification solutions.

Also, they must ensure that the purchase and transaction mechanisms are available, secure and legal.

We have a fully automated solution that supports data identification, customer authentication, and comprehensive credit assessment. Enterpay’s solution is based on a three-dimensional assessment that combines an assessment of the buyer and his business relationship, an assessment of the risk of fraud associated with the purchase, and an assessment of the credit risk of the buying company. Our solution is based on a combination of a modern decision-making system and machine learning.

In your opinion, how will the current COVID-19 situation affect online trade?

The immediate effect has been a significant traffic uplift in online trading, especially in consumer trade. In Finland, for instance, online trade seems to have increased by 50-70% by now. Also, with the closure of physical stores, the coronavirus epidemic is accelerating the development of online stores.

One category managing to keep sales afloat was electronics, as consumers invested in entertainment products (eg TVs), while workers bought essential office equipment for their home setups.  On the other hand, some began to decline as the frequency of purchases lessen (eg food, beverage and event tickets).

In the longer term, there’s no doubt that the pandemic will accelerate the pace of the digital transformation. Service providers, be it merchants or companies providing payment services to merchants, really need to take change seriously and step up their game in a time of disruption and need. Keeping up with today's relentless pace of change is a must.

What do you think it will happen in the B2B payments space over the next 5 years?

The traditional closed B2B online store where login requires a complicated, tedious, and time-consuming onboarding process will face significant challenges. We believe it`s time to look at online businesses and asses how the pandemic will accelerate the development of traditional services and analogue services. It is necessary to replace the old way of doing things in B2B online commerce, and build smooth, easy onboarding processes.

We will witness an increase in the number of marketplaces and branded B2B online stores. Vendors must choose whether to hand over customer relationship management to the marketplace or continue to develop their own online channel. In both cases, smooth customer experience and the payments related to it are keys to success.

While the coronavirus crisis is ongoing, leading to innovation and new payments services, growth-oriented payment service providers and finance service providers should leverage new opportunities for growth  and move quickly into creating new services and payment solutions.

About Jarkko Anttiroiko

Jarkko Anttiroiko, Co-Founder and CEO of Finnish FinTech startup Enterpay, is a seasoned expert in the payments industry. Before his career as an entrepreneur, he has served as SVP in leading Finnish Credit Bureau Asiakastieto and as Head of Cards in OP-Pohjola Group.

About Enterpay

Founded in 2013 in Helsinki, Finland, Enterpay is a fintech startup with an international outlook. Enterpay offers an easy and frictionless way for financial institutions to build automated invoicing products for B2B ecommerce. We have partners among the leading Nordic businesses in credit management, invoicing, and finance. We believe that the best in the business should bring their knowledge together.

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Keywords: Jarkko Anttiroiko, Enterpay, B2B ecommerce, fintech, credit management, invoicing, finance, payments , merchants, online trading, coronavirus, B2B payments, banks, payments services
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Finland
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce