Justin Main is the vice president of integrated payments for Lawrenceville, New Jersey-based Billtrust, overseeing integrated payments operations and sales enablement as well as emerging payments products. He is based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Let’s face it: Gen Z is not like any other generation that has come before it. They are the first true digital-first generation and have grown up with technology at their fingertips. As they begin to climb the corporate ladder, their influence is being felt in all areas of business, including business-to-business payments.
But here’s the thing: Gen Z has a penchant for instant gratification, and they expect quick and seamless digital transactions. If your brand cannot offer a great digital experience, they are not going to like you, and they will not do business with you.
This is true across all industries, but especially so in the B2B world. B2B organizations have been slow to adapt to the changing demands and expectations of Gen Z. They are still using outdated payment systems and processes, which are no longer effective in today’s digital age. While many B2B organizations have started to modernize their order-to-cash systems, they are still far behind where they need to be.
One of the biggest areas where B2B organizations are falling short is in touchless innovations. Gen Z is used to using mobile wallets and peer-to-peer apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle. They expect the same level of convenience and speed when it comes to B2B payments. Yet, many B2B organizations have been slow to adopt these technologies, and as a result, they are losing business.
Another area where B2B organizations are falling short is in credit and debt. Gen Z is adopting newer forms of credit and debt, such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) technology at rates far greater than other generations. While this technology has taken off in the retail space, B2B organizations have been slow to adopt it. If they don't catch up soon, they risk losing business to competitors who are willing to cater to the needs and expectations of these younger generations.
The bottom line is that Gen Z is going to drive the future of payments, including those made in B2B environments. If your brand cannot keep up with their demands and expectations, you will be left behind. This is not just about adopting new technologies; it's about changing the way you think about the customer experience as a whole. You need to be willing to take risks, be innovative, and think outside the box.
But here’s the harsh reality: many B2B organizations are not willing to do this. They are stuck in their old ways, and they are resistant to change. They believe that their existing systems and processes are good enough, and they don’t see the need to invest in new ones. This is a huge mistake, and it can cost them dearly in the long run.
To succeed in the B2B world today, you must embrace the digital age, take risks, and make it easier than ever for customers to do business with you. If not, you risk losing out on the most influential generation we’ve ever seen.