15 May B2B VS B2C RECURRING PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
The business-to-consumer, or B2C, model is the more common case and most billing providers cater to the this model. However, there have been many providers that have (unsuccessfully) offered recurring billing solutions for firms that sell to other firms (Business-to-Business or B2B). At first glance, payment professionals may think there wouldn’t be any significant differences between B2B and B2C recurring payments. However, on deeper analysis there are indeed some major differences providers need to understand.
- Invoicing – For a B2C company, invoices for their customers can be optional but typically not required by the average consumer. However, for a B2B model, most larger companies expect to be invoiced. And if your customer base includes SMB as well as enterprise customers, then be prepared to offer both options.
- Payment Methods – Consumer based business can settle for credit/debit cards as the standard form of payment, with electronic funds transfer (ACH) from your bank as a second choice. Expecting a corporate entity to pay with a credit card? Think again. Paper checks still dominate for corporate payments in the US since this offers the traditional paper trail for accounting and banking.
- Interchange and Enhanced Data Requirements – So your corporate clients are paying you with a credit card? That nice, but chances are they are using a commercial credit card. These cards impose higher interchange rates if you do not send enhanced data fields (like sales tax, PO numbers, product details, etc.) with the credit card authorization. If your billing system cannot handle Level 2 and Level 3 data, you will incur substantially higher card processing fees!
- Contracted Pricing – Sign a big corporate customer, and sure enough, they have negotiated pricing terms. Make sure your billing system can deal with customer-specific pricing models.
- Complex Pricing Models – Business focused companies will usually have more sophisticated pricing models – metered billing, tiered pricing, early payment discounts (“2% 10 net 30”), bundling discounts, bills with multiple line items, etc.These models have have come about as companies look for added revenue potential, and can be critical for the B2B segment.
- Multiple Concurrent Subscriptions – While consumer based subscriptions usually involve a single monthly bill, it is very common for a corporate customer to have multiple subscriptions (e.g., a data center may bill the same customer in arrears monthly for data storage, and quarterly for pre-paid colocation space.) The billing engine needs to handle the added complexity around processing payments on invoice due dates, sending overdue notices, reporting, ageing, combined payments, etc.
Here at BluSynergy we realize the different needs and requirements when it comes to recurring billing for B2C and B2B companies. As a result, we can offer a solution that maximizes revenue for your company and minimizes the risks involved.