Financial technology company Affirm is betting that what works for online retailers will also work for B2B merchants who want to offer online financing to customers.
Affirm has launched Resolve as a B2B version of an online financing service that Affirm provides to retailers.
A broader audience of buyers
Offering online financing to B2B buyers is another step forward in the trend of bringing more ecommerce features to B2B web sites and portals, says Ian Benton, senior analyst, Digital Banking for Javelin Strategy & Research.
“The digital experience is starting to move downstream in B2B,” Benton says. “The kinds of features Resolve and others are making available were once only available to a supplier’s largest and best customers. Being able to offer this financing option to a broader audience of buyers will expand the service, and the trend of bringing more ecommerce features to B2B.”
Resolve says it aims to give B2B companies in need of financing services an alternative to installment loans or credit cards, providing them the buying power to increase order size and frequency, without crimping their cash flow.
“We heard from merchants doing business with Affirm that would like to see this kind of financing option when doing business with their own suppliers,” says Chris Tsai, CEO and co-founder of Resolve. “We can be a front-end conversion tool for suppliers.”
Aiming to boost conversions
Suppliers that are early users of Resolve say its payment terms have helped them better serve business customers through ecommerce. “Resolve made it easy for us to boost conversion, revenue and loyalty by offering extended net 60 payment terms,” says Nicklas Brandrup, founder and president of Hyperikon, a manufacturer of LED lighting products. “We now stand out in the marketplace because distributors know they can order more through us with fast, accurate financing decisions.”
James Lester, managing director at Event Decor Direct, a supplier of materials companies use to decorate business gatherings, says his firm used Resolve to quickly deploy a “buy now, pay later” financing option for its customers. “It’s the core of our ecommerce business strategy.”
Resolve’s goal is to make B2B financing more accessible online by eliminating many of the speedbumps associated with traditional B2B financing, such as manual application processes, follow-up email, faxes and phone calls. In addition, many suppliers offer net 30-day payment terms only to their best and oldest customers. Those customers not qualifying for this option rely on credit cards or installment loans as financing options, the company says.
“Much of B2B ecommerce is still managed in archaic, outdated ways—the sector needs its tech moment in order to fully reach its potential,” says Affirm CEO Max Levchin. “Resolve’s ability to power automated payment approvals and terms will help deliver on this promise of adoption and scale.”
Levchin, who in 1998 co-founded the company that evolved into PayPal, remains an investor and advisor to technology start-ups.
Buyers looking for financing through Resolve can qualify for net 30-, 60- and 90-day payment terms. The application is customized for their business type and size. Resolve analyzes applications using such data as purchase history, credit bureau information and other third-party sources of information to approve customers’ financing applications and determine credit lines.
Once it approves a buyer, Resolve forwards payment minus a financing fee to suppliers and assumes all risk associated with repayment. Buyers meeting Resolve’s terms pay no interest. The ability to spread out payments interest-free over the term leaves more cash in buyer’s pockets, which can give them the buying power to place another order before their financing term is up, Resolve says.
The average order size financed is about $50,000, with a ceiling of less than $250,000, and 60-days net is the recommended payment term, Tsai says. If a buyer fails to repay the amount owed in the agreed-upon term, Resolve charges the buyer a 1.5% late fee. Resolve declined to reveal the fees it charges suppliers, but did say they were competitive with credit cards, which generally charge between 2% and 3% of the value of a transaction.