4 questions & answers about invoices in B2B e-commerce

Why is an invoice an important part of B2B online shopping? What are the risks involved and how to protect your company against them? Most common questions answered.
  • October 29, 2020

Consumerization and growth of B2B e-commerce force marketplaces and vendors to face a new situation: the growing mass of clients have new and different needs. 

Invoicing is one of these wishes. Paying by invoice can make the purchase process more convenient for the buyer and act as a competitive edge against fast-growing competitors. Still, there are many questions and worries about making a new payment option available. Enterpay CEO and a pioneer of safe B2B online e-commerce Jarkko Anttiroiko answers the most common questions about the hot topic.

Why offer an invoice as a payment solution when everyone has a credit card?

Among different payment solutions, paying by invoice is still the most practical – and the most cost-effective way – for companies to make online purchases. An invoice includes all the information needed by accounting systems, for example, which means that invoices can be handled automatically in accounting. This saves a lot of time.

Credit card statements don’t have all this information and it needs to be entered into the accounting software manually.  Processing each credit card payment costs a company dozens of euros. It’s an unreasonable amount, especially for small purchases.

Are invoices something people want?

It depends on the market. In the United States, paying by card is the default option, whereas, in Europe, invoice payment is a viable option that many buyers expect. The key is to know the target market and what they want and need.

Knowing this, offering an invoicing option can bring a significant competitive edge for European businesses.

Isn’t invoicing a risky payment solution in B2B e-commerce?

The biggest risk comes of course from the unpaid bills and collection charges that follow. This risk can be managed through experienced partners who help automate the risk analysis.

This allows for online sellers to marry the convenience of invoicing without compromising profitability.

Is now the right time to get on board?

Absolutely! The B2B e-commerce is already much bigger than its B2C equivalent: in many countries double the size. In Germany, for example, B2B e-commerce is a 1’300 billion business.

According to Statista, the market will grow at an annual speed of 13 percent, and the pandemic isn’t slowing the speed down.

E-commerce is growing especially quickly in Asia and also in Northern America. If the European businesses want to stay in the game, they’ll need to catch up quickly. Offering an invoice as one payment option can be one way to tap into the understanding of the local culture and become a way to serve European clients better than Asian and American competitors.