Businesses and customers have a variety of ways to make and receive payments. Whether it’s electronic bank transfers, debit and credit cards, checks, internet banking, the trusty old cash option, and in recent years, cryptocurrencies, there are many options to choose from.
No customer wants to waste time on payments though, and neither should you as a produce company. After all, the faster payments can be made, the faster you get money to move your business forward. This is why instant payment options are the way to go.
It’s important that as a produce company, you have a payment system that’s flexible and offers a great number of options. Payment flexibility offers you many benefits.
What is payment flexibility?
In its simplest form, payment flexibility is the ability to make payments in a variety of ways. This means providing a variety of payment options, with advanced options offered by solution providers like Silo, which allows installment payments and pay later options.
However, what payment flexibility means can vary depending on your payment solution provider. This may include some or all of the following:
- Instant payment options
- Installment payment options
- A Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) feature
- Automated bookkeeping
- Advanced billing options
Why your produce business should consider improving its payment flexibility
Having flexible payment options available to your customers offers your produce business a number of competitive advantages.
1. Faster payment
We live in a very busy world, and any chance we get to save more time is always appreciated. The same applies to customers, so much so that in fact, research shows that customers are constantly demanding faster payment options and are more likely to switch to other service providers if it means they’ll get it.
Faster payment also means you get your account credited quicker. The faster you receive funds, the faster you can reinvest into your business for growth.
2. Increased payment ease
Faster payment doesn’t necessarily mean easier payment. Thankfully, payment flexibility offers both. Not only do you get instant payment options available to your customers when you offer flexible payment options, but you also create streamlined payment options, which takes out all the stress of making payments.
With most solutions that offer flexible payment providing features that allow easy automated billing, as well as solutions that encourage timely payment, you make payments much easier.
3. Personalized billing
As a produce distributor, you’ll undoubtedly have to do business with different kinds of clients, all of whom probably have different payment preferences. A flexible payment plan gives you more than a one-size-fits-all payment option, allowing you to offer the most efficient billing plans and options for your clients.
4. Reduced bad debt risk
With payment flexibility making it easier, faster, and more efficient for customers to make payments, you’ll be greatly reducing the risk of running into bad debts. By removing many of the factors that hinder cash flow and taking care of all the potential pain points that could delay payments on your customer’s end, you greatly improve the chances of getting your money right on time.
So now that you know the ‘why’, let’s discuss the ‘how’.
4 ways to improve your produce company’s payment flexibility
1. Provide a variety of payment options
This is the most basic way to improve your payment flexibility. Provide your clients with a variety of payment options to choose from. This doesn’t mean simply providing options upon options simply to have as many options as possible though.
When providing payment options, ensure they’re the kind your customers will actually choose. Your customers are your best bet when determining which options should be included. If you find customers often requesting a certain payment option, then that’s as good a sign as any that you should consider including it.
2. Centralize your payment
Having multiple payment options enabled for your company can quickly become a real pain if these payment options are isolated and scattered. You’ll want to have these options centralized and managed by a single system. This helps you keep an eye on your different payment options, ensuring there are no disputes in the future. ERP platforms that provide payment management support are a great way to do this.
3. Take your customers’ needs to heart
Take into consideration each customer’s unique needs and provide payment plans based on what these needs are. Include options for installment payments or even “buy now, pay later”. Create personalized plans that let your customers choose what would suit them best. Offer options that make payments easier and more convenient for your customers.
4. Put it all together with an automated payment solution
Keeping track of all of this is no easy task, especially when there are many other things to pay attention to as well. Investing in a payment solution is the most efficient way to incorporate everything mentioned earlier and more.
Utilize a payment solution that helps you manage your instant payment options and makes it easier for your customers to make payments.
It should also make it easier for you to monitor and manage transactions. Some solutions go even further by creating more advanced features like vendor communication and advanced bookkeeping to further improve your experience. Invest in these solutions and you’ll find yourself benefitting in every way.