Roll out of payment technology is helping to make wholesale operations more secure
Sugro and b2b.store are helping to improve safety for wholesalers by reducing the amount of cash being handled by rolling out B2B Open Banking.
The wholesale buying and marketing group partnered with technology solutions provider b2b.store in February to roll out the payment service – and has found the service is benefiting members more than by simply cutting costly card transaction charges.
Some Sugro wholesalers that have introduced open banking into their operations have reported a decrease in the quantity of cash being used to settle invoices, therefore creating safer conditions for employees in depots and on the road making deliveries.
And with security in and around wholesale depots still a key issue in the sector, Sugro’s Head of Commercial & Marketing, Yulia Petitt, is lauding the impact B2B Open Banking has already had.
“We always knew that B2B Open Banking would have a positive effect on the finances of our wholesale members, but to see other benefits shining through so strongly already is brilliant,” said Yulia.
“Crime against wholesalers is an ongoing concern for the entire sector and we’re always looking at ways to tackle the security issues the nature of the operations carried out attracts.
“Cutting down the amount of cash flowing between wholesalers and their customers is a key part of that, with the only remedy to find an alternative payment solution that retailers will use instead.”
One Sugro member, R&I Jones, has decided to stop taking cash for deliveries at all since integrating B2B Open Banking into the business.
Drivers for the Welsh wholesaler would regularly take up to £2,000 in cash on a normal delivery run and while employees never encountered any direct threats, switching to open banking has removed that risk from its operation.
Customers are now encouraged to pay with online banking, with QR codes and links included on invoices and order confirmations, while the wholesaler also ran an online promotion offering a free case of water for the first time a customer used the technology.
“When people have used open banking once and see how easy it is to use, they continue to use it,” said R&I Jones Director, Aled Roberts.
“The mindset thing is important because you’ve got to change someone’s habit from the way they’ve always paid to doing it by open banking, but we’re hoping it’s going to become like second nature for a lot of our customers.
“We’re taking less cash and have said to our customers that used to give us money upon delivery that we’re no longer going to take that, which is a lot safer for our drivers and much better for insurance purposes.”
B2B Open Banking allows wholesalers to accept payment by bank transfer – a secure, fast and convenient method that costs less than credit card and debit card transactions.
Open banking has grown in popularity in the UK over the past few years, with b2b.store devising B2B Open Banking payment links that can take customers directly to a secure payment screen with one tap. Customers then only need to enter some identifying details and select a bank for the transaction to be set up.
The B2B Open Banking can be integrated into existing systems a wholesaler is using, while links can be included in any form of communication or as a preferred payment method on invoices, making it easy for wholesalers to introduce and encourage adoption.
“Several wholesalers have started using B2B Open Banking in recent months and feedback so far has been positive,” said b2b.store CEO Rob Mannion.
“We can see that the payment method is becoming increasingly possible with wholesalers’ customers too, as the numbers of monthly transactions have been steadily going upwards.
“With costs rising elsewhere, we expect open banking to become more prevalent inside and outside the sector in the coming months and years, and any additional benefits – such as improving wholesaler security – is only going to accelerate that.”