How does buy now, pay later work in B2B?

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) has exploded in popularity in the B2C sector. In fact, experts are predicting that BNPL e-commerce transactions will total close to $700 billion by 2026. That’s a huge opportunity – but what does buy now, pay later look like in B2B? And how can it support businesses?

Read on for a breakdown of how buy now, pay later works for businesses and an overview of the B2B benefits.

Firstly, what is buy now, pay later?

In simple terms buy now, pay later (also referred to as “BNPL”) is a form of short-term loan. Essentially, customers can make a purchase instantly but don’t have to pay for it until a later date.

What problem does buy now, pay later solve for businesses?

In the world of B2B, extended payment terms are expected. Your customers are likely to be used to 30 or even 60 day payment windows in their offline purchases. There’s nothing new there.

But what happens if you have to pay the supplier right away? You’re at a risk of experiencing instability in your cash flow. In January this year, 3 in 5 small businesses were waiting to receive money tied up in invoices, increasing to 9 in 10 for medium-sized enterprises. Losing control over your cash flow can negatively affect your business, for example by putting pressure on payroll or preventing investment back into the business.

As we already mentioned, credit has been a common practice in the business world for a long time, so why the need for this innovation? Well, BNPL is a method of bringing those agreements and processes from the offline world into the online world. In recent years there’s been an explosion in the use of e-commerce as it has become the number one way to buy in B2B spheres post-pandemic. And so this new wave needs a secure and simple way of offering and processing the payment options these buyers are used to offline.

BNPL allows you to close gaps in your cash flow and can boost your spending power by giving you longer to pay. You don’t have to be limited by cash in the bank when choosing what stock you can afford to order – and that can trickle down across your business. Financing options such as BNPL can help you grow your businesses at a faster rate and offer you the financial bandwidth to make other improvements rather than using all your cash upfront. And it’s all in your hands! You make the decision at checkout if and when to use BNPL – there’s no need to commit to a facility, especially if you’re using it to purchase smaller ticket items.

How does B2B buy now, pay later work?

The exact terms might differ depending on the provider. However, the basic flow is:

  • A buyer shops as normal on the supplier’s website, adding items to their basket
  • A BNPL option is offered at checkout alongside other payment methods, such as immediate card payment.
  • The buyer orders their items as normal, but doesn’t have to pay right away (they may be able to choose to pay in 30 or 60 days, or in three smaller payments, for example)
  • The supplier gets paid by the BNPL provider right away
  • Goods are delivered as usual
  • The buyer pays back the BNPL provider after the agreed time period – this could be an automatic payment, a bank transfer or a card payment
  • And that’s it! Buyers can keep making orders as usual and choose when they want to use BNPL for other orders

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Here’s how it can work using MarketFinance:

As a buyer you add your items to your cart as usual and when you get to checkout you’ll see one or more MarketPay buttons. Depending on what the supplier wants to offer, you’ll be able to choose between paying in 30 days, 60 days, at the end of the following month, or in 3 monthly instalments. Once you’ve clicked on the payment option you’d like to go for, your order will be placed. We pay the supplier the full amount upfront and you can expect your shipment to arrive as normal. After the agreed time period, you pay the money directly back to us.

And just like that – you’re in control of your payments and your business can focus on growing and thriving.

Is buy now, pay later the same as credit?

BNPL is a form of credit – trade credit. specifically. Trade credit has been a staple of the business world for millennia.The US Federal Reserve System considers it “the most important form of short-term finance for firms”. BNPL is a safe and simple way to offer trade credit online, modernising and accelerating processes common in the offline world.

How is buy now, pay later different from a credit card?

The purpose of BNPL and credit cards is similar – they let you spread the cost of your spending over a period of time. Credit cards, however, tend to have less flexibility in repayment periods. You’ll usually pay off your credit card debt every month, whereas with BNPL you can choose from multiple different options and will only need to repay after that time period. So with a credit card you have to pay attention to the billing cycle and be more strategic with when you make your purchase.

Additionally, a credit card will impact your credit score. Even applying for a credit card will have an impact on your score if it’s not favourable.

Have we convinced you?

Hopefully we’ve given you the confidence to try buy now, pay later next time you make an order. We believe this product will greatly impact businesses around the world and remove a lot of the friction they experience when moving their operations online!

If you’d like to learn more about buy now, pay later check out some of our other blogs on the topic.

And if you’re a B2B marketplace, is offering buy now, pay later to your own customers something you’d like to do? Get in touch today to find out how we could help.