Unparalleled B2B Checkout Experiences: A Look at Balance's B2B Payment Solution | EP. #98
In the B2B e-commerce space, checkout experiences can make or break a customer's buying journey. On this 98th episode of The E-Comm Show, Andrew interviews Bar Geron, CEO and co-founder of Balance to explore how their payment solution provides unparalleled B2B checkout experiences. Bar will dive into the complex world of B2B payments and how they are helping merchants create a seamless checkout experience for their customers. Join the conversation to learn how Balance is revolutionizing the B2B checkout and learn more about ways to improve your B2B payments and checkout process.
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Unparalleled B2B Checkout Experiences: A Look at Balance's B2B Payment Solution
Andrew Maff and Bar Geron
Bar Geron is the CEO and co-founder of Balance, the B2B ecommerce payments platform built for merchants and marketplaces. Bar has an extensive background in payments from his experience working at PayPal. That’s where he met the future co-founder and CTO of Balance. In 2020, the two went on to found the company. Bar is fascinated by the role of technology in solving inefficiencies and he is focused on transforming trade to improve the economy.
BALANCE is a combination of three different products in one to create a beautiful b2b checkout experience.
Andrew Maff 00:09
Hey everyone this is Nezaar Akeel of Max Pro, Hi I'm Linda and I'm Paul, and we're Love and Pebbles. Hi, this is Lopa Van Der Merch from RASA and you're listening to and you're listening and you are listening to The E-Comm Show.
Welcome to The E-Comm Show, presented by BlueTuskr, the number one place to hear the inside scoop from other ecommerce experts, when they share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew, Maff.
Andrew Maff 00:50
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show, presented. I'm your host, Andrew math and today I'm joined by the amazing bar drone, who is the founder and CEO of Balance Bar. How're you doing? Ready for a good show?
Oh my God, tell me that. That's my wife. I'm very happy I joined the show. So good, blessed to be here.
Andrew Maff 01:10
Super excited to have you on buddy. I always like to start these off in a very stereotypical relatively boring fashion. But we'll make it more fun as time goes on. But if you wouldn't mind giving everyone a little bit more insight into who you are your background, what you got going on a balance and we'll take it from there. Okay.
Sure. Thanks. So happy to be here. Bala balance is a three year old company focusing on b2b e commerce payments, which sounds boring, but it's quite exciting. If you're doing a step back before that I had a bootstrap company in healthcare coming from a background of FinTech working at companies like PayPal, just big corporates to very small startups. I'm doing it with my co founder Yanni, which is with me from the PayPal days and the first startups we had together. I live in Brooklyn with my wife, daughter and one on the on the way. And studied Industrial Engineering, the Master's in philosophy was an officer in the army. And let's talk a bit about balance. few sentences, do something, do it. First of all balances a tech company is raise almost $450 million $100 million almost in equity, and $350 million in a credit facility. Balance is the leading solution for b2b e commerce companies looking to streamline the ordering step in the flow, b2b e commerce in high level is the attempt to traditional trade of chemicals, lumber, textile, steel, you name it to the online space, it's fascinating. And it's the new economy, as we like to call it. The first stage that we're in, in E commerce and b2b is around discovery, finding new products, which is working quite well, balance is focusing on the second step. Now after you find the product that you want. Now finishing the order online, which is something today that you do offline. To that end balance is a combination of three different products in one to create a beautiful b2b checkout experience. One is the ability to give net terms for buyers, you don't know bounces leveraging underwriting technology to extend terms, this is why the credit facility. The second is payments, you can pay in alternative payment methods that suits your business. You know, as a business buyer, you need to pay on that 16 of each month because this is where you pay your vendors. And you need to do it with checks. And you need to do it with an invoice. So all of that is facilitated online with balance and getting software like milestone based payments, managing credit notes, managing credit line, everything that you need in order to make it truly self serve. That's it.
Andrew Maff 04:22
Beautiful. That's it simple.
Thank you. Bye.
Andrew Maff 04:25
Good talk. Thanks for being on the show. Yeah, so we actually do a lot of work on the marketing side with b2b e commerce sellers. So I'm very familiar with the approach from a marketing side. But honestly, once we get the lead in or once we get them through checkout, I'm totally blind on what actually happens there because that's a little bit outside of our wheelhouse. So, explain to me who is this good for? Is this like something where you can have like a Shopify or Magento WooCommerce and add it as an additional checkout type of thing or is this a custom built onto the site like what is This, how does this what's the functioning behind it?
Yeah, so great question. The short answer is yes, we are integrated with with most of the platforms today, Shopify Bigcommerce, Magento, Salesforce miracle, everyone that are close, the b2b e commerce ecosystem bounces seamlessly integrated, it's just a toggle on essentially an alternative for the b2c credit card processors that you just plug into your website balance is the same, just much more robust and much more b2b oriented. That's one second, it's also a custom build, it's very similar to stripe and stripe is also one of our investors important to say. It's very similar in the sense that it's API based, you can take our components and integrate them into your core systems. This is why we have a lot of custom built with our, you know, publicly traded companies that have their own websites, and also like the SMB with the extension on the platforms.
Andrew Maff 06:04
Interesting. So is, do you find that the ideal client you're working with? Are they someone who's like, hey, I want to start offering a b2b side of my business that's pre existing on let's say, like a Shopify or something? Or is this really meant for those that have a b2b aspect of their businesses already built out? And they're looking for a more seamless checkout process?
Yeah. We see both. To be honest, if you're in Shopify, usually you came from the retail side, you're selling to consumers, and you just want to create in humanization model, so Shopify is now enabling nationally, Shopify Bigcommerce, as well, and others, but it's becoming more and more common to just integrate a b2b wholesale type of approach if you are there to consumer brand. So this is something that we see a lot, but also just, you know, traditional businesses that are looking to make their business more efficient. If you're looking at market, it's the Digital Officers, the innovators that are trying to digitize and our business can be a huge steel manufacturer food, chemicals. We have 36 Different industries today on the platform. So yeah, I think both of them are very, very much engaged in the revolution moving online right now.
Andrew Maff 07:35
Yeah. Do you find that more and more sellers are looking to get into the b2b like kind of direction with things like DTC, you had your very simple bring them to the site, I say simple, very, very loosely, but you bring them to the site, convince them to purchase they make a purchase, the deal is done. It's over b2b. It's a lot longer of a sales cycle is how many sales reps, there's conversations involved. Obviously, it sounds like what balance helps with is the payment terms, which sometimes you have net terms, sometimes you have invoices, like there's a lot of different ways in that direction. So do you find that you're having more and more people starting to just start off on the b2b side?
Yes, I think that you're right by saying that B2
C is is like the North Star is the level of experience that everyone are dreaming of, in b2b, it's a process. But we see more and more sellers and buyers that are millennials. That's like, the latest report, I saw like 83% of them are millennials today. So they are they want the next level of experience. So I think the natural movement of the b2b space is to attract more and more of the longtail, which are the millennials and even younger players that are just looking to engage with this huge market, just unbelievable market, which is becoming more and more of an opportunity as the supply chain challenge is becoming bigger and bigger. Because if I'm a Business Buyer, I'm looking for alternatives today. I don't want to work with the same vendors I was in the last 20 years. So the analog of b2b e commerce more than anything else to create those alternatives and I think b2b sellers are recognizing it.
Andrew Maff 09:31
Now, we don't have to name any of your competitors. However, I would say especially I believe Shopify got rid of their host elites Shopify Plus got rid of wholesale, is that correct?
You don't know that. They did.
Andrew Maff 09:49
I swear I saw someone in a group mentioned that they got rid of wholesale. I know that there's a lot of different apps now that where you can just have a basic Shopify account, you can you know, do a plug in or something like that. At what, what would you say is the biggest differentiator from, from balance comparative to the other ones out there?
Yeah, balance is really dedicated on the checkout experience. That is, it's really quite unique in the sense that it combines three areas that are disconnected today. It's like a stripe, or a PayPal in the sense that you can just accept payments. But it also gives you the financing element on top of it to provide that germs. And it's also a workflow enablement to create invoices on the fly customize with your own brand. And, and is working in the way your business works in terms of workflow like the milestone based payments and other ways. So the uniqueness is the only one with the ultimate b2b e commerce focus, like a truth checkout, like a true b2b checkout experience.
Andrew Maff 10:56
So what happens on the front end, so if we're talking, someone's got a Shopify account, they create some, you know, someone's got to create an account to be able to see their own wholesale pricing or something along those lines, do you integrate directly with that. So basically, if they're connected as a wholesale account, it then takes them to the balance checkout, which gives them different payment options. Beautiful
thing, the beautiful thing about balance is that it's white labeled, it's your checkout. It's not like a cloud, or like an affirm, that is like, sign up with balance is it's powering brands is borrowing our sellers, to provide a payment experience that works in the ways that the buyers are looking for. So when a business virus is going to a website, he has two options. One, you know, he's choosing his items he's looking to check out, and then he can use credit cards today. Usually, if it's a significant purchase, or you want to buy supply, you don't do it with a credit card will be maxed out, it's expensive. So you call the sellers and you're starting the back and forth offline with invoices and payment terms, so forth. With balance, when you toggle it on, the first stage of the checkout, which is really beautiful experience is just setting up that terms we do in real time evaluation of your business and give you terms to pay in 30 days for your purchase. It's really similar to the vinyl fader experience is just very b2b oriented. And then you can get an invoice that is based on the card that you created. And you can pay that invoice in every payment method that is available in the US. So you can pay with checks and wires, and ACH or a call if you like. And all of that is just very self serve. So you feel you can also just pay online or but it's just really similar to the experience, you know, from the b2c space just a bit more robust in the sense of b2b.
Andrew Maff 13:05
What about from the back end? What kind of reporting? Are they supplied? Do they get insight into, you know, delinquent payments? Yes, terms that are coming up, like what does that look like?
Yeah, that's a very good question. So one of the elements that we have is a proposed transaction automation, or three, which includes donning buyer quarters and just general management of terms. So in balance, you can choose to do terms with your own balance sheet, or you can use the balance credit facility to get funding from us. So we will, we will pay you directly and get paid from the buyer. So if you're opting into that service, you don't need to manage those things because you get paid instantly and automatically reconcile. If you're leveraging around bountiful terms, you can see upcoming payments, you can do automatic collection and reminders, you can send links to buyers to pay all their invoices in once. You can leverage our reconciliation feature which gives our customers the ability to connect between invoices and incoming payments automatically so you don't need to do it sits on your Shopify Bigcommerce or others accounts. So yeah, it's it's like an extension or management tool for your AR to make it as simple as a credit card.
Andrew Maff 14:38
So it does alleviate a lot of the consistent follow up that someone in like accounts receivable hunting
people. It's the worst. Yeah.
Andrew Maff 14:48
Yeah. What about from a customization standpoint, like obviously, the checkout is very specific to b2b. You've got all these follow up notifications and things like that for people that are delayed. Is there anything from their that they can adjust on their own. Is there anything that you usually suggest? I'm just thinking like from a basic, you get into like a traditional do to see perspective you've got like upsell and that kind of stuff and b2b I know that's technically, that's usually not the case. But is there anything in that direction that would need to be adjusted?
It really depends on how complex your businesses, usually, it's just a toggle on and you can use it. But in some cases, there is some custom built, like we make sure that the app is working in very specific ways to support your workflows, which you can do with our solution engineering. You just depends on your tier. And what is it that you want to achieve? We also work like it's an omni channel approach. So we have like a dashboard that you can leverage for your offline sales as well. So sometimes we will invest some time in connecting those two together to make sure it's tight. But yeah,
Andrew Maff 16:02
it's pretty interesting. How did you come up with this? I know, obviously, you had the background in it. But what what sparked the idea,
I was very close to the E commerce and b2b ecosystem for years. And I thought b2b e commerce is fascinating, not just on the business opportunity level, I just found it fascinating in terms of what what what it will do for the economy. So I worked at a small startup that tried to do something in b2b e commerce. And I remember seeing like a for the first like steel market, because it wasn't a market based website, but trying to sell a steel online. And I thought to myself, that if you can do that, for all the commodities of the world, you can create a much more efficient economy and maybe with time, the, it will maybe even reduce the cost of living for everyone, because everyone can buy from anyone. So things that are locked in with like, few vendors can now be accessible, you know, across the globe. And I thought that was of the dimension of working on b2b e commerce can be fascinating. And then I just looked at the payment side because it's what I do. And so how it's it's not working. The way that that the beginning of like always with this wave of b2b e commerce innovation, they just took the what's working in b2c and turn it into the b2b side, which is just not the same. Just different needs. So yeah, it was a bit obvious the question, the big question in b2b e commerce is, How fast would it move? But it looks like the trend is moving, what is moving? Right? Well, sounds COVID. So I'm happy.
Andrew Maff 18:06
Yeah. And we see it on our end to just from a marketing perspective of more and more sellers looking to get into a b2b approach. They're exploring 10 different ways to get into that, that realm. What, um, obviously, you know, you've, you've gotten through the great customize checkout, for the b2b side, there's a lot of benefits on the back end of automating a lot of that follow up. What What else do you have coming down the pipeline of new features that you're going to be releasing and balance that you're able to share? At least at this point?
Yeah. We got some exciting news about our ability to support global customers that we'll be releasing during the year. We're also continuing to invest in the ability for the finance leader to control everything from from the dashboard. So the ability to do everything, like a back office tool, it is very robust in terms of like, just an OS to control AR, including AP, I think that will be a big piece that we see a lot of our users which are sometimes sits on the innovation side of the organization like a CTO or like a product manager, if it's econ oriented. Sometimes it's the finance team. And I feel like we didn't put enough focus in 2022 on the finance teams and the last six months, we really went deep with all of our users to make sure that they can leverage this robust system as a back office tool to make their life easier.
Andrew Maff 19:50
Nice bar, really appreciate you having the show. Thank you so much for joining us here. I'd love to give you an opportunity here. Everyone know where they can find out more about you and of course is more about balance.
For sure. So it's Balance, we have our LinkedIn page Balance balances. I guess it's a common law but you will find those because we have good followers. Getbalanced.com is the website, you can reach out to me bar and get balance for more questions and I was just happy to be here. So thank you so much.
Andrew Maff 20:14
Yeah, appreciate it. Thanks for being on the show. Obviously everyone that tuned in thank you as well please make sure you do the usual rate review, subscribe all that fun stuff on whichever podcast platform you prefer, or head over theecommshow.com to check out all of our previous episodes but as usual, thank you all for joining us and we'll see you all next time.
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