BNPL can be adapted to B2B... but with some caveats!

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) has of course become a convenient option for B2C, but its implementation in a B2B context requires many adjustments, as explained by Arnaud Soubien, CEO and co-founder of RollingFunds. Here he is interviewed by Aline Abeya, Sales Manager France and Benelux at Webhelp Payment Services.

We often hear people say: “BNPL is easy: there are many turnkey solutions that allow customers to pay in 3 or 4 instalments”. This is entirely true when the end consumers are private individuals… but transposing the B2C model to B2B, without asking the right questions, is doomed to fail. Why?

For many years now, with many B2C brands, there has been the option to pay in 3 or 4 instalments, without charge, as a private individual. It is also the case that  BNPL  is now an off-the-shelf product that can very easily be integrated into a marketplace type environment.

But it must be emphasised that current solutions are aimed at individuals and for average baskets of small amounts that can be charged to a bank card. From a B2B perspective, however, there are specific factors that must be taken into account, including in particular:

1 – Establishing a relationship remotely via KYC

When it comes to entering into a financial relationship, the law requires that due diligence be carried out to acquire a good “knowledge of the customer”. This is referred to as a KYC, or “Know Your Customer”, process. However, the procedures required to verify the identity of a customer differ greatly depending on the type of customer involved.

Individuals can of course prove their identity with an official identity document, but companies need to be able to prove their existence (with a certificate of incorporation, articles of association, etc.), and to identify their legal representatives (natural persons with the power to bind the company) and the beneficial owners (the main partners). The procedures to be carried out in the context of a B2B business relationship are therefore much more complexand they differ from one country to another. They are based on automated or human controls, or a mixture of the two, as offered by Webhelp KYC Services.

2 – The basket total and the payment methods

In the context of a B2B business relationship, average baskets are usually much larger, requiring limits much higher than those granted to individuals – typically from fifty or so to a few hundred euros.

In addition to risk management issues, the basket total, and therefore the due dates, cannot be charged to a bank card as is the case for individuals, given their payment limits. One must therefore look at the means of payment commonly accepted by companies (direct debits, transfers, cheques, etc.) depending on the target clientele.

3 – The margin on sales

BNPL is generally offered to individuals free of charge: “pay in 3 or 4 instalments, free of charge”. The financial costs are borne by the e-merchant. And the fees are quite high, since they are generally in the 3-4% range at the time of the transaction (i.e. for an average financing period of 30 days, an APR of more than 30% per year). In contrast, the margin on sales for B2B is much lower than for B2C. The cost of BNPL must therefore be adjusted to take this into account.

4 – Risk analysis and management

Unlike BNPL for individuals, where risk analysis can be purely statistical, given the uniform nature of the population and the granular nature of the exposure to risk, the great diversity of companies requires a specific analysis: a CAC 40 company, a medium-sized company, a VSE/SME, or even a sole-trader artisan are not analysed in the same way. Evaluating the credit risk of a company requires specific know-how and a specific model which, in addition to company size, must take into account many parameters such as the company’s activity (B2B or B2C activity), specific sector or location related factors, etc.

But the strategy for deploying a BNPL offer in B2B cannot, and should not, be defined based on these considerations alone. For a BNPL programme to be truly successful and to reflect short- and medium-term sales targets, it must meet two conditions:

  • it must be structured to serve the marketing and business strategy of the marketplace,
  • and it must be flexible enough to adapt in response to future developments.

An international dimension is often present in B2B. What constraints apply?

An e-commerce platform or B2B marketplace will often connect buyers and sellers who are separated by borders. Cross-border transactions require the specific administrative, legal, regulatory, monetary and fiscal nature of the countries concerned to be taken into account, even if these countries are all members of the European Union.

It is therefore important for the BNPL solution to be designed to “integrate” this complexity at a national and international level, in order to protect the marketplace from any risk.

What about specific business factors? Can a B2B solution be standardised?

First of all, I think it is important to remember that, in the B2B world, BNPL has existed for more than a century, under another name, and in another form: the trade receivable, an invoice with a payment deadline. In France alone this amounts to more than 650 billion euros.

However, each sector of activity has its own market practice: for example, payment periods are not the same for the sale of fresh products as for the sale of equipment and fittings. In addition, commercial policies may vary from one company to another, depending in particular on how marketing is conducted , the type of customer and internal procedures.

That’s why, at RollingFunds, we are convinced that a B2B solution cannot overlook the actual nature of the business.

“The specific nature of each sector of activity, and the marketing and commercial strategy in the short and medium term, must be taken into account from the outset of the project.” – Arnaud Soubien

To take a concrete example, that of the fashion sector – where we work in partnership with Webhelp Payment Services – one has to adapt to the specific nature of the sector, in terms of both the countries involved and their purchasing habits and payment methods. Typically, a large order will be placed at the start of each season, followed by small restocking orders as time passes. Other types of business have different customs of their own.

Ultimately, very specific risk analyses and flow analyses need to be adopted, regardless of the business sector.

As an attentive observer of this market, I can tell you that the simple roll-out of a BNPL solution from B2C to B2B, without taking into account the specific factors involved, has always resulted in failure and been a source of frustration.

What B2B financing solutions does RollingFunds offer in partnership with Webhelp Payment Services?

Webhelp Payment Services provides a range of customer relationship management services including billing, collection management and the collection of trade receivables.

As part of their partnership, Webhelp Payment Services and RollingFunds have linked up their information systems to allow Webhelp customers to easily subscribe to a financing offer that is perfectly tailored to their needs.

In addition, RollingFunds provides financing solutions dedicated to the purchase of products and services – which positions us as a key B2B player in the BNPL sector.

For example, a builder can choose to pay the Building Platform, of which Rolling Funds is a partner, for their equipment, on a deferred basis or on credit (the BNPL offer).

Our solutions are tailored to B2B players, whatever the sales channels: marketplace, an e-commerce site, a store network, click & collect, etc. Thanks to our omni-channel approach, customers have access to their payment facilities on all sales channels – just as we do for the Building Platform.

I would stress that our technical solutions are very simple to implement, being based on SaaS and APIs.

The combination of our technology and financing know-how, with Webhelp Payment Services’ 35 years of experience in managing international buying and selling transactions and customer relations, allows us to offer a range of BNPL services with high added value and adapted to the context in which companies operate and their target clientele.

How does BNPL work in a B2B marketplace?

It all depends on how far a project has advanced. Indeed, the strategy for deploying a BNPL offer is not the same for an existing B2B marketplace, with an established clientele, as it is for a developing marketplace.

But, as I see it, the first step is a BNPL offer deployment strategy that is perfectly aligned with a company’s sales and marketing strategy: target customers, payment deadlines, payment methods, etc.

It is our belief that in a B2B context we need to offer a tailor-made solution, one that corresponds to the lifetime of the marketplace, its outlook, its risk strategy, and its financial cost allocation policy. It is essential that the BNPL offer is fully aligned with the marketplace strategy.

It is this ability to adapt that we are able to offer, with our partner Webhelp Payment Services and, thanks to our technology, all without any technical complexity.

The CV of Arnaud Soubien, CEO and co-founder of RollingFunds

Arnaud Soubien started his career in the capital markets. At Crédit Agricole CIB, he worked for nearly 15 years in the structuring of corporate securitisation transactions, at European and international level. After his initial experience in the general management of a Fintech specialising in factoring, in 2018 Arnaud Soubien created the startup RollingFunds, which aims to provide financing solutions to VSEs-SMEs directly integrated into a B2B business relationship.

RollingFunds has developed a technology platform to automate the granting and management of loans for VSEs-SMEs. The financing platform is directly integrated into the tools and organisations of its key account partners, suppliers and VSEs-SMEs.

RollingFunds offers 3 types of funding:

  • 1-click credit,
  • advances on sales or other receivables,
  • the financing of purchases.

RollingFunds has just completed a new investor round with AG2R La Mondiale, CCR, PRO BTP, Truffle Capital and leading business angels, for a sum of over 5 million euros.

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[Sponsorship] Bob Team Boch at the Beijing 2022 Games

Four years ago, Carla Sénéchal and Margot Boch didn’t know each other, but they both had the same dream, that they would one day take part in the Olympic Games. One wanted to break into gymnastics, the other wanted to succeed as an athlete, but it was finally in bobsleigh that the two women from Savoie made their dream a reality by going to Beijing.

Bob Team Boch got in touch with Webhelp Payment Services in 2018, to present its projects and to ask for financial support, and since then the company has sponsored this French women’s bobsleigh duo, made up of Margot Boch (pilot) and Carla Sénéchal (pusher).

The Birth of Bob Team Boch

It’s something of a tradition in the Boch family; Margot’s grandfather and father were both bobsleigh pilots.

Margot started with tobogganing, before training for bobsleigh, and, in 2018, she decided to create a bobsleigh team and contact athletics coaches to find a pusher. One name came out, Carla Sénéchal.

 “It was really an opportunity I had to seize and I didn’t hesitate for a moment.” – Carla Sénéchal

Carla had been competing in athletics for 16 years and, for a long time, had been planning to go into this winter sport, as do many sprinters.

A real partnerships has developed between the two young women, which accounts for the strength of this duo today. The results speak for themselves: during the most recent 2021/2022 season, Bob Team Boch won the silver medal at the European Cup inInnsbruck, while last season it won gold at the Junior World Championships in Saint Moritz and silver at the European Championships in Winterberg.

Today, Margot competes in monobob and two-woman bobsleigh, and excels in both disciplines. On 7 January, this Savoie native won a gold medal in monobob at the European Cup in Innsbruck, Austria.

Top speeds of up to 150 km/h

You need a strong stomach to practise bobsleigh, which can reach up to 150 km/h on an icy track a kilometre and a half in length. In addition, you must be benough to handle this 200 kg unit while controlling the thrust and the piloting and preparation of the equipment. Not for nothing is this sport is often compared to Formula 1, and that’s what Margot and Carla like about the sport – adrenaline and speed.

The first French women’s bobsleigh team at the Olympics

For the first time, the French Ice Sports Federation has sent a women’s team to represent the country in the two-woman bob events at the Olympic Games.

Thanks to their can-do, never-say-die attitude, these two women from Savoie were not put off by initial difficulties, and in particular the financing that needed to be found, because this discipline doesn’t come cheap. To be able to practise their sport and then fly to Beijing, they relied on the help from the Federation and from the Club de la Plagne which has supported them throughout, and called on local companies, including Webhelp Payment Services which has operated in Savoie since 1984; at the same time, they launched a funding call on Instagram.
Just so you know, a bobsleigh season costs between EUR 80,000 and 100,000.

“It was a little girl’s dream to go to the Olympics one day” – Margot Boch

How do we sum up their achievement in one word? ”Wow!” A shared adventure and unforgettable encounters. Thanks to their experience at the Olympic Games, they hope to encourage all young people who dream of getting into this winter sport. Although Margot and Carla have achieved their goal of competing in the 2022 Olympic Games, they aren’t stopping there! The next step is to win a medal at the 2026 Olympic Games in Italy.

To follow their adventures leading up to the next international sports competition, go to their Instagram account @bobteamboch


Wholesale Is Not Dead: the podcast that gets real fashion pros talking

Dedicated to fashion pros, as a strategy consulting agency Mars Branding Agency stands out for its originality. It produces the podcast Wholesale Is Not Dead (WIND), well known to young designers, brands, shops and wholesale specialists. The agency was founded by Julie Le Gall and Florent Tamisier: in an interview with Aline Abeya, Sales Manager France and Benelux at Webhelp Payment Services, they share their vision of the market.

 

What services does Mars Branding Agency offer?

Julie Le Gall: Our business strategy and communication consulting agency was founded in March 2020 – hence our name. [In French ‘mars’ means both March and Mars] We offer fashion brands solutions for managing distribution, communication and digital strategy issues.

Florent Tamisier: We support or manage projects, using support formats that range from individual coaching to implementation: community management, press relations, influence marketing, content creation (video, audio and photo), sales, and the development of a distribution and agent network in France and the rest of Europe, etc.

How long have you been working together? How does your individual experience complement that of the other?

Florent Tamisier: We worked together a few years ago in a subsidiary of the Eram group. I was the export sales director, in charge of around fifteen agents and fifteen distributors, with an export turnover of around €10 million. Julie was in marketing: the resulting synergy made us want to try our own wings, so we created Mars Branding.

Julie Le Gall: Among the footwear brands we had in our portfolio were Les Tropéziennes, which have already proved very successful in France and the rest of Europe. I worked there for six years as director of communications and marketing.
Florent and I had the pleasure of being part of this beautiful French brand’s revival, which in 2015 changed from wholesale to omni-channel. And this move to digital has worked really well, even at an international level. This explains our desire to support other brands who are eager to move from wholesale to digital, or simply to develop their business.

Regarding the Les Tropéziennes brand, what lessons have your learnt from its successful transition to digital?

Florent Tamisier: The general principle you would hear repeated until then in the fashion business was: “you must first have a presence on the digital market and, when the brand is strong enough, sell your product in stores”. But we have shown that this is not the case: thanks to the network that existed across the country, with a very strong brand on the ground, digital took off very quickly.

Julie Le Gall: In fact, it’s a very profitable strategy to start with wholesale on the ground, before switching to digital, with retailers bearing the costs involved. The Les Tropeziennes brand has become a textbook case!

What types of support do you offer young fashion designers?

Julie Le Gall: With our Coaching offer, we support many young designers and project leaders in the product, marketing and communication areas. They are right at the start of their brand development careers and are responsible for promoting very specific products and values. Often they manufacture in France and develop their products in a very competitive environment.
Essentially we advise them on brand and distribution strategies in the French leather goods, textile design, footwear and jewellery sectors.

Florent Tamisier: These young designers have many very specific questions: should I look to wholesale, and how do I go about it? Do I need to set up a store and in what form? Do I need to promote my product, my brand, or both? Is this the right time to promote my product on a particular channel? etc.
During support sessions lasting a few hours, which we make readily accessible, we share our expertise with them, based on our professional experience, our networks, and the exclusive contacts we have with highly experienced, specialised professionals.

And what is it you do for those brands?

Julie Le Gall: Brands have reached a stage of development where they are concerned with production and the regular promotion of their collections, and they often have a distribution network. Some are wholly digital and we can support them from the wholesale perspective, for example. With advice on marketing and business development.
Similarly we can support brands that already operate on a full wholesale basis and want to move to digital. In this case, our efforts focus on communication, marketing and e-commerce site development.

Leading fashion pros are interviewed in your highly successful “Wholesale Is Not Dead” podcast. What is the idea behind this?

Florent Tamisier: The idea came from a particular observation. We provide a lot of courses in incubators and support structures. For this audience, characterised by a particular desire for the sharing of professional experience, we have created a podcast format. This enables our students to follow an in-depth conversation, between highly experienced professionals… something hard to come by elsewhere!
In as little as 40 minutes, our students feel they are entering the real world of professionals, which perfectly complements the theory they are learning.
And it goes without saying that there are very different types of content: declarations of love for our profession, seldom heard truths, analyses or very specific advice… trade secrets often come at the end of the interview.
As a result of the very positive feedback from students we wanted to broadcast these podcasts to a wider audience. That’s why we created a series with the catchphrase Wholesale Is Not Dead (WIND), dedicated to developing the fashion industry at the physical point of sale.

Julie Le Gall: We have now published approaching 90 podcasts. These can be found on our website but also on all listening platforms such as iTunes podcast, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon and Google.
To give an example that will interest young designers, there is the podcast by Sophie Baron, from the Pom boutique in Marseille.
In terms of shops, retailers and independent stores, we have often heard mention of a sense of isolation. These professionals often work alone, or in very small teams. This a place where they can immerse themselves in a relevant live medium that “speaks” to them just where they are. It is also a very rich source of inspiration and motivation.

Why this name Wholesale Is Not Dead ? I must admit that it caught my attention the first time I saw it… and I share your analysis: there’s a vast Wholesale ecosystem out there and it is alive and well!

Florent Tamisier: Our in-depth knowledge of wholesale is precisely one of the things that makes our agency stand out from the rest. When we started two years ago, at the beginning of the first lockdown, we focused on digital. This was also in keeping with a global shift in the sector towards digital. So there was a lot of help that this channel had to offer.
With the closing down of shops and stores, some observers have claimed that wholesale is part of the “old model”. Especially since in-store sales had already been decreasing since around 2007. As for “100% retail”, which has been in vogue, we can also say that this has harmed Wholesale.
However, it seemed to us that this disaffection was a mistake: some companies make considerable profits from wholesale. This distribution channel also offers huge opportunities.
That’s why we decided to sing the praises of this market… taking the form of wholesale recommendations: do not make the mistakes of the past when it comes to either buying or selling, when touring with your product or in the management of your margins, for example.

Julie Le Gall: I would add that the most beautiful European shops are independent multibrands: they have a lot of soul and provide real value. Today, they are a great way to support product design and young designers.

How did Mars Branding and Webhelp Payment Services meet?

Julie Le Gall: We are very active on the market, we try to meet as many people and market players as possible. This curiosity resulted in our attending conferences on all sorts of subjects. A few months ago, a conference organised by Webhelp Payment Services caught our attention at Who’s Next: it was one of the few to talk about wholesale!

Florent Tamisier: It was also one of the few conferences that addressed the issues of sales, distribution and payments. Yet these are essential matters! We got together at once and then decided to talk regularly about the area of distribution in fashion, a subject that tends to go under the radar. And what we find is that this subject is now bringing more and more people together…

Is there an awareness of payment services in the fashion industry? What are the needs?

Florent Tamisier: Some ways of doing business, such as Cash & Carry, are changing. Cash & Carry used to be based on a simple principle: the absence of a payment deadline. But some market players are starting to look for greater flexibility and are turning to a provider like Webhelp Payment Services.
In more general terms, I would like to have known sooner about all the payment services that are available today!
I could have recommended them to market players in the sector who were faced with payment collection and document verification problems, and with a need to know the financial health of a particular market player… or knowledge of the market in general, including exports.

Julie Le Gall: What is important to us is that the wholesale community involved in the fashion industry continues to grow and develop its skills. We look forward to continuing to contribute to this with our podcasts!

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Fireside chat with Webhelp Payment Services and Thunes Collections | B2B marketplaces and payments

Financial services is one of the fastest growing industries in today’s world.

What does the future of payments look like in an ever-changing world?

Webhelp Payment Services President and CEO Axel Mouquet talks all about B2B payments for brands, from the fashion industry to tech manufactures.

 

Speakers


Frédéric Maus (WSN): "In the world of fashion, 2022 will be the key year to capitalise on B2B marketplaces and omni-channels"

Given the uncertainty in the event world today, it is difficult to predict whether B2B trade shows will be held in 2022. What is certain, however, is that digital trade shows and B2B marketplaces will bring new opportunities throughout the year. Trend analysis and advice from Frédéric Maus, Managing Director of WSN.

Fashion: the 4 trends that will shape 2022

1 – The COVID pandemic has already saved textile companies 7 years in their digital transformation.

This is what explained Marie Dupin of Nelly Rodi during the Role Model Day of the Fédération Française de Prêt à Porter held on December 7, 2021. Let’s also remember, as Clarisse Reille (Director General of DEFI La Mode de France) did, that digital technology impacts not only sales but also logistics and the very heart of the customer experience. Digital technology will therefore continue to grow rapidly in 2022 and for many years to come.

2 – “Think Global Act Local ” is the challenge for 2022 and future years for stakeholders in the fashion industry.

Some organisations, like WSN and Comexposium, have already succeeded in reconciling this international dimension with local management, and indeed this has already been the philosophy of Webhelp Payment Services for more than 30 years. As for Impact, WSN’s sustainable and committed trade show event launched in 2019, its international success proves its raison d ‘être.

3 – In B2B, omni-channel options are no longer an option, they’re a must.

Let’s look at what has happened in B2C: we have all adopted omni-channel options, i.e. the ability to at any time choose the sales or communication channel that best suits us (shop, brand website, instant messaging, email, phone call, etc.). This flexibility of operation and quality of customer experience are gaining vast amounts of ground in B2B practices… and we have everything to gain from it!

4 – Trade shows will develop along 2 different dimensions: physical and digital.

Of course, it would be wrong to believe that digital trade shows will simply replace physical ones in the fashion industry! But it would be a bigger mistake not to take full advantage – 24/7, 365 days a year – of the incredible opportunities and facilities provided by digital trade shows like WSN and the Comexposium platform.
It’s important to clarify that this is why at WSN, unlike our competitors, we conceptualise the physical trade show as an extension of our digital trade show (to do the opposite would be rather short-sighted!).

My 4 tips for taking advantage of the opportunities of 2022… and staying in the race

1 – Don’t choose between physical and digital trade shows: enjoy the best of both worlds.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is counter-productive to see “physical trade shows” and “digital trade shows” as competitors: you do different things in each, and you do these different things at different times. Both abound in opportunities, so why deprive yourself of one or the other?
At physical trade shows, you will be able to create and maintain trusting relationships with your contacts, and of course view and touch the collections. Afterwards, outside the physical trade shows, you will be able to exploit the buying and selling opportunities that are available to you 24/7 all year round. When checking out the opportunities available on these platforms, start small and then increase your ambitions step by step.
Illustration with a typical journey for a buyer: locating a brand on the platform, organising a visit to the trade show, then finalising sales, deliveries, and payments on the platform.

2 – Move towards a sales model that makes your cash flow smoother.

Do we really need to emphasise this? Cash flow is the lifeblood of fashion. On this crucial point, platforms provide a powerful and proven solution: the complete digitalisation of financing and payments.
Let’s take an example, on the buyer’s side: I identify a brand and products that interest me; I ask for and obtain the corresponding financing; I finalize my orders and my payments on the platform; I sell my products; I pay the financial intermediary on the due date.
Just as a reminder, a payment intermediary such as Webhelp Payment Services has been providing such services for over 30 years, both nationally and internationally, and works in partnership with WSN and Comexposium.

3 – Reduce your inventory problems.

Here again, the situation has not changed: inventory management carries a major risk in the fashion sector. To protect yourself against this risk, staggering your orders and payments is good practice.
Platforms like WSN and Comexposium are designed to optimise this spread by finding the one that suits you best, all year-round.
In short, inventory is expensive and is harmful for the company as well as for the planet. But there are solutions!
Thanks to platforms, it is possible – and easy – to improve inventory management, to replenish part of your range quickly, and even test new types of products in a flexible and agile way, all with very limited financial risk and a reduced ecological impact. It is up to you to find the best mix to optimise your business.

4 – In your stores, test the “concept-storisation”.

In France and elsewhere, the trend is to expand the range of products on sale: hence the concept stores where we find fashion, food, sports goods, etc.A platform like that of Comexposium greatly facilitates the creation of a “winning mix”. Buyers and sellers of fashion items, food, and sports goods already use the platform. And in 2022 optical items, lingerie, and many other categories will be added.With the concept store, there is therefore a uniqueness of the goods on offer, at a given place. This opens up the possibility of trialling certain categories and sometimes responding to specific inventory problems.

In short, in 2022, pandemic or no pandemic, fashion buyers and sellers will be able to develop their business, sometimes at physical trade shows, sometimes on digital platforms. The latter will enable you to reduce financial risks and costs, inventories, organisational constraints, and the environmental impact of your business. Who would still want to deprive themselves of this?

Frédric Maus

 

In figures…

  • WSN, the global leader in B2B fashion shows with 32 years of experience, works with the top 150,000 retail locations worldwide. In 2019, WSN successfully launched Impact and in 2020 resumed the Traffic trade show dedicated to innovations and solutions for fashion brands and distributors.
  • With more than 35 years of experience in fashion and luxury goods, Webhelp Payment Services supports nearly 1,000 brands across a network of 35,000 stores in Europe and North America.

 

 

 

 

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Buy now pay later

B2B - Buy Now Pay Later, a new payment standard: 4 ways to stand out

Buy now pay later

Now is the time! The opportunities offered by Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) appear to be massive for B2B. When offering their payment methods, platforms and marketplaces should choose to stand out from the rest, as recommended by Meriem Ouenniche, Client Solution Manager at Webhelp Payment Services.

This is no longer simply an option, it’s a standard: Buy Now Pay Later is experiencing exponential growth in the area of B2B. It is noted that this credit purchase option has been offered in e-commerce and B2C marketplaces for years by fintechs such as Younited Credit or Klarna, who are now transposing their solutions to B2B. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) allows marketplace operators, sellers and buyers to access deferred payment solutions.
But is this not “merely” a new credit option? Here are the arguments suggesting that this phenomenon deserves to be looked at more closely:

– It is true that credit is nothing new in B2B commerce, but we are conscious of a new desire on the part of Buyers and Sellers for a solution that is perfectly integrated with the shopping experience. This “way of thinking” comes as no surprise: millennials represent a significant part of the workforce in companies, and 73% of them are involved in B2B purchasing decisions*. As keen supporters of B2C purchases on ultra-optimised platforms (eBay, Amazon, Cdiscount, etc.), they aren’t ready to give up this quality of experience in the workplace.

– From the perspective of Sellers and the business platform, BNPL is seen as an opportunity to increase the value of the average basket, to enhance customer involvement and loyalty, to reduce financial risks and to focus on the business and growth rather than on payments.

– From the Buyers’ perspective, VSEs and SMEs are a very receptive target for the benefits offered by BNPL, as long as the operations and formalities are straightforward and fast. These companies are looking for more flexible and less restrictive alternatives to the credit solutions offered by conventional banks.

4 ways to stand out with BNPL

In a context of rapid change it would seem appropriate to offer Buy Now Pay Later in the following 4 areas of differentiation:

1) You need to offer a highly personalized shopping and payment experience

The buyers must feel understood, listened to, and that their preferred payment methods are taken into account. Analytics and AI seem to be particularly relevant in this new purchasing ecosystem, thanks to their ability to personalise the customer experience.

2) Your payment solution should make it possible for the seller to be paid more quickly (instant pay out) and for the buyer to pay on the payment date that suits them (which may differ from the one proposed by the seller)

Scoring plays an essential role in the analysis and evaluation of the buyer’s profile in order to define the appropriate credit line and thus limit the risk of non-payment.

3) Your payment solution needs to be fully integrated, fluid and seamless

In contrast, a complex payment experience will, in the long run, prove to be a deal breaker. This shows the importance of continuous, dynamic improvement of the user experience (UX).

4) Your payment solution needs to be comprehensive and flexible

To meet new market demands, it is recommended to offer BNPL solutions in order to support B2B marketplaces in their growth and diversification of their offer.
As a PSP (payment service provider), Webhelp Payment Services covers the entire spectrum of B2B payment services through a scalable offer adapted to the client’s needs: scoring, onboarding of buyers & sellers, pay in / out, white label invoicing, dunning, debt collection, credit insurance, BNPL, etc.

 

*According to a report published by Merit.

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Fashion and ready-to-wear: 3 tips to help you make the most of the economic recovery

A quick analysis of the fashion and ready-to-wear market, plus 3 tips from Bertrand Mahon, VP Operation Logbox at Webhelp Payment Services, whose credit management network covers 35,000 shops and more than 400 brands; a unique economic vantage point.

What a lovely surprise! Back in autumn 2020, who would have placed any bets on the fashion and ready-to-wear sector being back up and running? So many bankruptcies, outstanding debts, mass unemployment, disaffected consumers… the media was dominated by grim predictions. And yet here we are in autumn 2021, and the indicators are pretty positive… excellent even: at Webhelp Payment Services, we’re even breaking records – our monthly sales figures for September 2021 are the best since our company was founded, in 1984!

Without claiming to replace the pollsters, our “surface area” means that we really understand these markets: we manage more than 400 brands and 35,000 ready-to-wear shops in Europe and the United States, as well as department stores and online retailers. In 2021, we expect to manage more than 600,000 invoices, equivalent to 1.3 billion EUR.

Based on this, we can say today that wholesale distribution networks in Europe & the United States have weathered the storm – no doubt due to the exceptional financial support that has been offered, and thanks to the fact that brands have managed to restructure some of their debts. And we can attest to the fact that the current levels of debts and disputes are neither extraordinary nor worrying.

A general picture that is totally different from the catastrophic situation in 2008-2009, for example. This time, the market has been managed well – that’s our first observation.

Digital players have benefited from the health crisis

Our second observation will be less surprising: digital players have been able to take advantage of a period during which in-store stopping was prohibited or limited. In addition, many department stores – and even retailers – were able to develop their online sales channel quickly. In the end, the sector sped up its digital transformation, and so new buyers were recruited. But the wholesale market has still done well in this complicated, competitive environment.

Admittedly, overall, we are not yet seeing the same levels of activity as “before”, in other words in 2019, but everything is pointing towards the fact that there is some new momentum, and that it would be a good idea to make the most of that.

For 2021, according to a study carried out by Euler Hermes, a partner of Webhelp Payment Services, a rebound of +14% is expected in the turnover of French textiles and clothing, but we won’t be going back to pre-crisis levels before 2023. As for marketplaces, they grew by +27%, so twice as fast as in 2019 (according to Fevad).

Let’s allow ourselves to dream a little: what if 2022 were to surpass the performance we saw in 2019? If you spend some time at trade shows, and according to our clients, that idea isn’t as crazy as it might seem!

Tip #1: don’t be timid

Faced with this new momentum, it’s a good idea not to hold back. During the crisis, brands and the wholesale market protected themselves from risk, including in particular by reducing the number of models or collections.
Now, we need to turn over a new leaf and get away from this “crisis mentality” that holds initiatives back. Although some supply chains have been disrupted, a return to normal is falling into place. And consumers – who have saved a lot of money in Europe – are rediscovering the desire to treat themselves, to step out of the gloom and even to build a better world.
Brands that are more daring will win market share. This is backed up by the spectacular growth seen in ethical, second-hand and eco-friendly fashion.

Tip #2: watch out for signs of impending failure

We know that there are some warning signs before a shop or a retailer defaults. That’s why we advise our clients to watch out for “weak signals” that indicate a potential breakdown. In particular, levels of debt and disputes should be closely monitored!

To that end, we have created indicators, alert thresholds and procedures to detect and mitigate financial risks.

Tip #3: take national and international payment practices into account

Our extensive experience of national and international markets backs up this advice – the crisis hasn’t changed anything in this area: you need to take into account the specific characteristics and payment habits of each country or economic area. The desire to impose “unique conditions”, with exactly the same payment deadline for all European countries, for example, runs the risk of significantly penalising your business.

To sum up, Webhelp Payment Services has unique quantitative and qualitative information: we have local bases and have been pooling millions of pieces of data from brands and stores for more than 30 years. That means that we understand what really happens with payments, depending on the stakeholders and the countries, in real time. This customer knowledge is a key asset when it comes to making the most of the recovery that lies ahead.

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Mode paiement

[Fashion] - 4 tips to make payments easier and more secure in Europe and the US

Mode paiement



For fashion brands, the European and United States markets are strategically very important. But there are some risks when it comes to payments, especially with department stores and e-commerce sites. Anke Glaser, General Manager of Webhelp Payment Services for Central Europe, offers some advice.

 

1. Fashion brands should make the most of the momentum driven by departments stores and e-commerce sites

Over the last 2 or 3 years – and especially since the health crisis – online sales have really flourished in the fashion industry, both in Europe and in the United States. This growth is mainly due to department stores, which already have a digital strategy, and e-commerce platforms.

This trend is explained by companies investing more and more in digital technology generally – in England, spending on websites and online sales platforms went up by 30% in one year. In the United States, department stores can account for up to 70% of suppliers’ turnover. We can also see this trend in Spain where the leading Spanish department store has made its digital development a major focus in its development strategy.

We therefore recommend taking full advantage of this momentum, driven by departments stores and e-commerce sites, because we think it’s one that is going to last!
However, while digital strategies are undeniably seeing a surge, we remain convinced that the physical component is still vital, and that the crisis will lead to an offering that combines human and digital solutions.

2. Protect yourself against the problem of deduction

Brands have to comply with the conditions imposed by department stores and e-commerce platforms, which generally have very strict rules, at the risk of having to deal with chargebacks. In practice, whichever country you’re in, department stores and platforms rarely make a payment for just one invoice. Usually, they send us a payment advice: a document summarising all the invoices to be paid. Added to these are debit notes or chargebacks that are deducted from the payments. For a brand, it is important to be aware that these practices, which can be for many different reasons, are widespread.

Webhelp Payment Services manages debit notes directly for department stores and platforms. We check them, as agreed with the brand, and if the deductions are not totally justified, we dispute them with the department store or the platform. Our regular contact with the stores and platforms means that we can speed up the processes and so resolve any disputes faster.

Every year, this work by our experts, dedicated exclusively to managing these key accounts, helps our clients’ brands recover substantial amounts of money, as well as giving them a clear overview of the buyer’s current situation.
The benefit: if the Order to Cash process is under control, those involved in distribution generally pay on time.

3. Know how to manage the complexity of accounting documents for department stores and e-commerce platforms and avoid mistakes

Each season, brands receive documents with a lot of items to reconcile, from department stores and platforms. This involves a considerable amount of work for their accountants!

We have developed a specific reconciliation and comparison tool for documents that come from department stores and platforms. It makes the accounts much easier to understand, and means we can analyse the source of chargebacks.

Our dedicated customer platform allows clients to find all the information and all the payments in one place. It is here, for example, that any deductions will be clearly shown. This document provides a good basis for the interaction between us, the brand, and the department store or e-commerce platform.

4. Digitise your data exchanges

The relationship between department stores, platforms, and sellers is also going digital. Implementing this digital process is really useful when it comes to optimising your cash flow with these different stakeholders. Indeed, in addition to the speed of transmission via EDI, it also means that you can check to make sure that invoices have been received, and act promptly if the invoice is rejected or incomplete. This means we can reduce delays to invoice payments, but also lots of chargebacks that might not be due.

We are currently working on setting up EDI with the many department stores and e-platforms so that we can offer our clients simple, unique access, whilst also relieving them of the technical work specific to each buyer. Why not take advantage of it?

 

With 35 years of experience in fashion and luxury, Webhelp Payment Services can be both a personal advisor and a facilitator, not only for department stores and e-commerce platforms, but also for retail distribution. We are currently working with 400 ready-to-wear brands with a network of 35,000 stores in Europe and the United States.

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Webhelp B2B Marketplace

B2B Purchasing and Marketplaces - 7 tips from 3 experts: Manutan, Zetrace and Webhelp Payment Services

Webhelp B2B Marketplace

Which Purchasing platform models are best suited to B2B? This is the question we put to three experts in the field: François Duranton, CEO at ZeTrace; Julie Dang Tran, Managing Director for Southern Europe at Manutan; and Julien Duméry, International Development Director at Webhelp Payment Services. Here are their answers in the form of 7 practical tips.

  1. Identify the two main families of solutions for making your Purchases
  2. Choose the purchasing model that suits your business size
  3. Consider the punch-out solution
  4. Check whether a “Manutan” model would suit your requirements
  5. Payment services: comply with the B2B codes
  6. To onboard your Sellers, rely on an optimal KYC solution (automated systems + human input)
  7. Key Accounts: don’t underestimate the difficulty of operating a marketplace

1. Identify the two main families of solutions for making your Purchases

François Duranton (ZeTrace): To help you get your bearings in the vast universe of corporate purchasing platforms, we can distinguish two families that correspond to two ways of buying: shopping vs purchasing.

  • In a shopping model, which we can also call a “seller-side” model, strategic purchases are set aside, and we look for the best solution for everyday purchases – bearing in mind how easy B2C platforms are to use. B2B distributors often have an e-commerce site of their own and are sometimes grouped into B2B marketplaces. In the latter case, the current software reference is Mirakl – a publisher that came out of B2C. In this particular context we would also mention Izberg, which has a few B2B solutions, and Uppler, a specialist.
  • In a purchasing or “buyer-side” model, – we find the historical Purchasing and e-procurement platforms. They are more supervised from a contractual point of view and make it possible to manage strategic sourcing, but they are less attractive from a UX point of view (research, navigation, customisation, single multi-seller basket, etc.). In this family of solutions we would also mention products such as SAP-Ariba, Coupa, Ivalua and Determine.

In both cases, these families of solutions should be compared with certain key elements: the company’s internal Purchasing processes, for example, or integration with its IS.

2. Choose the purchasing model that suits your business size

François Duranton (ZeTrace): The larger the size and requirements of a business, the less suited the marketplace model is. In general, a VSE or a small SME does not see itself as a “Buyer” and does not think in terms of a “Purchasing function”: it is often the manager who deals directly with major purchases. As for average SMEs, they sometimes have this function for class A or B direct purchases, but indirect purchases are poorly controlled: there is no question of having single invoices or grouped deliveries, for example. This need for supervision increases with the size of the company, as the Purchasing function becomes a focus of value creation. But the greater this need for supervision, the less relevant the marketplace model is: it is well suited to a many-to-many distribution model (users, buyers) while the Purchasing function of a large company is more of the few-to-many type.

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): From our point of view, the marketplace model is actually not well suited to managing the peculiarities of a Key Account Customer. Suppose, for example, that special conditions are granted – discounts, payment deadlines, delivery conditions, etc. – these conditions will be difficult to impose or enforce on third-party Sellers in the marketplace. Similarly, it will be practically impossible to impose a price, since this would affect the Sellers’ margin.

3.Consider the punch-out solution

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): To the family of purchasing solutions we can add punch-out systems. These are dedicated and personalised websites for a Customer – which Manutan can deploy for some Key Account customers, e.g. on an SAP-Ariba basis. When the Customer connects to Ariba, it will see a Manutan icon among its Suppliers: with a click, it can access the punch-outsystem. This is where it will find its usual purchasing processes, in compliance with internal validation systems. In fact, under this solution, we do not place an order directly: we issue a purchase request, which will then go through the company’s internal validation system, and finally be converted into an order.

4. Check whether a “Manutan” model would suit your requirements

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): Class A and B purchases are well formulated in large companies, unlike class C purchases. However, the latter, which represent a very large number of references spread across all areas and departments, account for the majority of indirect costs, even though they are presented as small amounts. At Manutan, for these class C purchases, we start from a basic premise: the company manager or the Purchasing manager is responsible with regard to their employees. Indeed, the teams use these products on a daily basis, informed by safety, ergonomics, and often CSR.

The Manutan model is therefore based on product selection, which must meet certain criteria. In contrast, with a marketplace model – where it is the Sellers that are selected – the choice of products rests with those Sellers. This means that the Manutan model is focused on referencing selected products, in the context of a partnership with Suppliers. From the Customer’s perspective this makes it possible to guarantee the origin of the products and to supply the corresponding certificates, while providing them with advice and monitoring the commercial relationship.

5. Payment services: comply with the B2B codes

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): Everyone knows that B2B processes differ from B2C processes, and that they must be scrupulously observed. For example, certain key operations must be initiated prior to payment:

  • facilitate the creation of a customer account;
  • ensure a customer’s solvency from the outset;
  • manage the entire order up to invoicing (i.e. checking the content of the order and the invoice; an incorrect or incomplete invoice may result in late payment and compromise the relationship with the customer);
  • offer a recovery solution, automated or human;
  • facilitate reconciliation (to avoid costly manual processing);
  • and finally, manage the payment transactions associated with B2B codes (bank transfer, direct debit, card, etc.).

We therefore recommend ensuring that the operations leading to payment are also managed in a spirit of value addition.

6. To onboard your Sellers, rely on an optimal KYC solution combining technology and human input

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): To ensure that the B2B marketplace remains a trusted space, in full compliance with the latest regulations at all times, ensure that you have effective KYC procedures in place. These will enable you to onboard Sellers, regardless of their geographical location and their local legal constraints.

Offering your salespeople good onboarding experience is important. We recommend that you ensure human support is made available; this is essential, because automation cannot meet every need, especially when the items expected are not the right ones. This is why you should favour hybrid solutions that combine technology and human input, and ensure that they are perfectly integrated. What if the automated system has failed to resolve the problem? It sends the file to an expert so that they can provide an immediate solution, or enter into dialogue with the Seller in order to obtain the information or documents essential for finalising onboarding.

7. Key Accounts: don’t underestimate the difficulty of operating a marketplace

Julie Dang Tran (Manutan): Learning from some of the failures or difficulties encountered on purchasing platforms, it must be recognised that it is easy to underestimate certain key processes. For example, the onboarding of Sellers may be seen as nothing more than a straightforward large-scale administrative operation. The reality is much more complex and does not allow the operator to rely entirely on existing tools: for example, some reference suppliers of turnkey platforms, coming from B2C, do not provide a satisfactory response in B2B. To put it briefly: it’s not the same business as negotiating with suppliers when buying products from them, or referencing them on a platform by taking charge of all administrative aspects.

Julien Duméry (Webhelp Payment Services): I also think it important to advise great caution: some platform projects are started without taking sufficient account of certain obstacles. As far as Key Accounts are concerned, it is not enough to launch a project around a platform publisher, hire a payment intermediary, and then hope that customers will on their own initiative go to the new marketplace without communication, training of buyers/sellers, or prior marketing. In reality, these Key Accounts are then the only ones managing and running a marketplace – which is not actually where their expertise lies. Bringing this distribution channel to life is a real challenge! It will require integrating the costs associated with marketing and communications, or the recruitment and training of buyers/sellers, into the business plan.

 

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Webhelp Payment Services anti-fraud

[Testimonial] Why outsourcing has become a key part of Rue du Commerce's anti-fraud strategy

Webhelp Payment Services anti-fraud

With online sellers increasingly embracing tools to combat fraud, fraud patterns have evolved and now affect more than just payments. Above and beyond payment fraud, the trends that are growing in pace are mainly friendly fraud, customer account spoofing and fraud involving promotions and returns. They are becoming more and more subtle, putting pressure on sellers’ fraud management teams, and require specific expertise and know-how. For more than three years, Webhelp Payment Services has been working with Rue du Commerce, a major player in French e-commerce, on its anti-fraud strategy.

With a target of achieving zero fraud, our teams are responsible for checking all suspicious activity, sometimes within very tight deadlines, especially during peak seasons (sales, Black Friday, Christmas etc.), whilst also minimising customer queries.

In this interview, Christophe Charrot, Fraud Manager at Rue du Commerce, tells us about the challenges involved in combating fraud and how outsourcing has become a key part of its strategy 

Why did you decide to outsource anti-fraud management at Rue du Commerce?

Christophe Charrot: Quite simply because our resources and tools are not enough to prevent fraud. Initially, our anti-fraud department was based on payment fraud but we are realising that this is becoming increasingly anecdotal. Today, fraud has become “ingenious”; it focuses on fake documents, false statements about products not being received, hacking customer accounts, instalment payments, return fraud, etc. Given these developments, outsourcing was the obvious answer, allowing us both to maintain the highest level of quality but also to remain alert in an area that is constantly changing.

What are the key points for an outsourcing strategy when it comes to fraud management?

CC: Outsourcing doesn’t have to compensate for internal shortcomings but should be seen from a collaborative perspective. I would say that the first key aspect of a successful outsourcing strategy is to be surrounded by a brilliantly trained team, with whom we are constantly communicating and with whom there is a real sense of collaboration. As a client, we are an indicator for fraud trends, which means that the teams can be aware of exactly what they need to target and keep in mind with their anti-fraud strategy. On the other hand, outsourcing teams offer both the human and technical resources that we lack. It’s a real team effort.
The other key point in my view is the need to remain vigilant, to stay alert and be on the lookout for issues relating to fraud. Lastly, we need to demonstrate real agility if we want to be able to adapt quickly to changes when it comes to combating fraud.

In terms of figures, how do you measure success?

CC: Well, we haven’t had any unpaid invoices for 6 months from our manual reviews! And we know that we only had one or two unpaid invoices over the previous 6 months.
As far as manual reviews are concerned, we have also gone from 15% when I came to Rue du Commerce, to 4.5% now. It is important to reduce this review rate as it can have a real impact on the customer experience and cause friction.
Lastly, our rejection rate (transactions declined after purchase because they are identified as too risky) has gone from 30% to 12%, so this figure has more than halved.

How do you prepare for a peak season like Black Friday or Christmas?

CC: We start preparing for the peak season in advance with the Webhelp Payment Services teams to identify the key indicators that need to be monitored, as well as the fraud trends, and to optimise the manual review system as much as we can. The stakes are very high for the customer experience at this time of the year.

How do you see the future in terms of manual reviews?

CC: Payment fraud has given way to refund fraud. Today, the risks are no longer with bank payments but rather with credit or instalment payments. In legal terms, we are no longer talking about fraud but about unpaid debts.
Manual review must and will continue to exist. However, it will no longer focus on traditional payment methods such as bank cards, but on other methods like credit or instalment payments. In my opinion, we need to strike a balance between manual review (which will reduce in terms of volume) and artificial intelligence, which just keeps getting better.

What part does Webhelp Payment Services play in Rue du Commerce’s anti-fraud strategy?

CC: Webhelp Payment Services clearly plays a key role. Internally, for example, we will never have the capacity to compensate for peak seasons because this would require recruiting employees, purchasing equipment, expanding the premises, etc. Outsourcing is “the key”. Especially in an environment in which we will need to learn a new trade and adopt a system to deal with return fraud.
I have every faith in the Webhelp teams to adapt to the new challenges that lie ahead. We also have plans to launch a debt collection service together in the near future.

How would you rate your partnership with Webhelp Payment Services?

CC: 100% satisfied. It’s a real pleasure. Today, we no longer have a “client / supplier” relationship: it’s no longer about people who work “for” us but rather “with” us. I particularly enjoy working with the teams in Romania, with whom we have developed a real climate of trust that means we can work with real peace of mind.
There’s just one thing that I can’t wait for, and that’s to be able to go back to Lasi in Romania after a year and a half of being in a long-distance relationship!

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