Sanket Shendure is the Co-Founder and CEO of Minko, a FinTech platform that provides unorganized retailers with short-term credit to grow their businesses. In his capacity within the organization, he oversees product strategy and technological development. Sanket also interacts with the investors and helps with fundraising while supervising strategic alliances. Sanket has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Applications from the prestigious Goa University. He then pursued his MBA from Jain University in Bangalore but then dropped out to start Minko. The talented young entrepreneur was selected as the top Under-30 founder from India to be a part of the startup village incubation hub in Bangalore.
Financial services are being transformed by digital innovation. Mobile money, peer-to-peer (P2P) or marketplace financing, Robo-advice, insurance technology, and crypto-assets are examples of financial technology innovations that have grown worldwide. After the demonetisation, a massive portion of the country switched to the digital payment system. Currently, the market is flooded with digital payment platforms for the B2C sector. However, this is not the case with the B2B payment sector. Let’s understand this more briefly.
India’s overall retail spending is around $ 900 billion, or roughly Rs 75 lakh crores. With a population of 138 crores, this means that each person spends on average Rs 55,000 a month on food, groceries, clothing, phones, electronics, medicines, and other necessities. Despite such a massive volume of daily transaction, most of the payment in the B2B sector takes place in cash. This brings a lot of problems for the distributor. For example, they had limited technology to deal with the massive cash they were collecting every day. They had to spend a lot of time chasing and following up on payments. Moreover, distributors don’t get to provide credit at the touch of a button, cash discounts to all retailers, and other special deals.
The best solution to these problems is to digitalise the B2B payment platform. The ability to send information and engage remotely, both between organisations and directly with consumers, has rapidly risen thanks to the Internet and mobile technology. Technology has enhanced access to efficient direct delivery channels and promises lower-cost, personalised financial services, thanks to the near-ubiquity of mobile and smartphones.
The same could be used to enhance the B2B payment system. This not only streamlines the payment system but also leverage the network effects. How? On the demand side, network effects are important in financial services like payments, where the network’s value to all users (both payers and payees) increases as the number of linked users grows. A bank that serves a business, its suppliers, and its consumers could connect counterparties more efficiently to transfer payments and supply working capital.
Some of the other benefits of digitalising B2B payments are:
- It enables users to view all invoices created by a distributor and makes them instantly available to the network of retailers via an online platform that facilitates payment.
- On the app, shop owners can see invoices and make payments online using the UPI or other online payment options.
- If a business owner has extra funds, he or she can pay their bills early and receive cash discounts.
- If a store owner needs money to acquire extra goods (for example, to stock up for the festival season), they can easily get credit from their suppliers using a digital network that makes payments easier.
- It helps distributors save money and time by simplifying payments and, more crucially, reconciliations.
- Retailers can take payments from clients and use the same money to pay their suppliers’ bills in one touch using an online payment network using a QR code.
- Business owners can readily discover patterns in the cash flow by automating B2B activities (rather than depending on paper checks to make/receive payments). This allows users to make more informed decisions regarding where and when they spend money. A corporation can develop reports that provide you with an overview of the AP and AR processes by using a payment software platform. This top-down transparency entails identifying merchants who pay on time and those who don’t and then managing those relationships appropriately.
The B2B payment sector has a lot of potential, and innovation with network effect can bring significant growth in this sector. However, digitalising the B2B payment sector is not an easy task. Authorities will need to work together to efficiently navigate this new territory and achieve the appropriate policy goals. On a national level, central banks and other financial sector regulators must work with industry regulators (for example, telecommunications and other utilities that may offer financial services), as well as data protection authorities. The innovation in the B2B payment sector can transform the industry and make things easy and efficient for both retailers as well as distributors.