The global pandemic accelerated e-commerce strategies in a wide range of sectors. The builders’ merchant industry is one such that witnessed an upsurge in take-up of online marketplaces and expansion of online ordering portals.
While some popular e-commerce platforms come designed for card payment based checkouts, trades such as those in the construction sector rely on a post-pay model with thirty-day credit terms. When businesses adopt a digital-first strategy, finance directors and CFOs need to adapt their accounts receivable processes.
We show you how we help eInvoicing and receivables platforms can and should support e-commerce and digital-first sales strategies.
1. Click to pay
We are not suggesting that you ditch credit terms and force customers to pay on order. The main advantage to customers is choice – a convenient and familiar process of paying by card online isn’t complicated. It’s easy for the buyer to reconcile payments against order references and card statements.
For you as a supplier, it has big advantages: yes, the transaction fees may be higher than receiving bank transfers, but the ease of allocation means it costs you less in time spent reconciling payments with invoices. It pays for itself in that your Accounts Receivable managers have a fully digital and error-free link from payment pending to payment cleared. Beautiful!
Add online card payments to your eInvoicing solution to give customers an easy click to pay option when they view invoices on your branded portals.
2. Seamless integration of invoicing and ordering
Your customer logs in to your site to place an order and has the option to view invoices and pay online: why make that harder by asking them to log in with a different password? With customer single sign-on features in Corrivo, you can connect your invoicing portals with your online ordering portal without compromising security.
And it works both ways: an Accounts Payable manager could log in to view invoices and transition back to an order catalogue to cross-check invoice items or reorder. The benefits? Apart from convenience and good CX (customer experience design), the integration drives sales and a fully online experience, even in a B2B commerce situation.
3. Mobile-friendly design
In many sectors, the ability for customers to view invoices on the go from smartphones or tablets is key. You can only do so within a website to make a page easily readable when viewed on mobile operating systems. If you have designed the front end sales side of your ordering portal for mobile-friendliness, don’t let your customers down with invoices or invoice portals that are not mobile optimised too. You know your customers; where they view, check, approve and pay, especially when working remotely during lockdowns?
Ensure your einvoicing portals can be easily accessed and viewed on mobile devices.
4. Free archives
Giving your customers what they need for a good digital buying experience is not like processing a fast-food customer in a queue. Your web designers will tell you they measure success partly in how long customers spend on a page. Pro in ding a free archive of past invoices will help customers cross check past orders, remember product names as shown on statements and ensure that credit notes have been correctly supplied.
Ideally, you, not your eInvoicing software partner, should decide how many months’ history is made available on your invoicing portal. You are the expert on how your customers behave and what they need to pay you sooner.
5. Provide collated Proof of Delivery with invoices
If you have introduced invoicing portals, you’ll want to move away from the frustrations of sending multiple PDF attachments with invoices. Ask your provider if they can combine all PODs and PO documents into one single attachment, not just in a zip file as separate items, but joined. This cuts down processing time at the customer end and makes their lives easier.
The problem of missing PODs can be the greatest barrier to hitting your target DSO and cash position. So ensure your eInvoicing software partner can do this capably. And that they can help you with the preceding step: finding and matching those PODs to invoices.
Click here to watch a two-minute video on how we helped a multi-national, FTSE listed Builders Merchant address just this problem.