Oro forges a B-to-B payments pact with PayPal

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Oro Inc., a rising force in the emerging $7 trillion business-to-business e-commerce market, is teaming with PayPal to streamline transactions as more global suppliers move their sales online.

PayPal has created a fully integrated payments solution for Oro's open-source website, OroCommerce, to handle the process for buyers to pay for, track and receive goods and services, the companies announced Tuesday.

Oro's CEO is Yoav Kutner, who was a co-founder and chief technology officer at Magento, an open-source e-commerce platform launched in 2008 that eBay Inc. acquired in 2011 for $180 million. In 2010 Magento inked a similar deal to Oro's with PayPal, Kutner said.

Magento’s platform was built to support online stores for consumers, whereas OroCommerce enables B-to-B sellers to display vast, complex catalogs designed to sell products and services to other businesses, according to Kutner.

Oro, founded in Los Angeles in 2012, has quickly expanded to 190 employees with offices in Ukraine, Poland and Germany, and its deal with PayPal will likely accelerate growth, Kutner said.

"Once a buyer’s payment credentials are stored via PayPal with Oro, it opens up more advanced use cases," Kutner said.

Examples include scenarios where a company buying supplies from a B-to-B e-commerce site has a team of employees involved in a single transaction. “One of the complexities of B-to-B e-commerce is there is no single buyer—there’s often someone in research, a buyer, a manager and a sales rep—and they’re all parties to one purchase,” Kutner said.

The OroCommerce website also enables buyers to associate details of products they buy from Oro with their own customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

A B-to-B e-commerce platform with built-in CRM integration is a rare combination, said Kate Leggett, a CRM expert who is a vice president and principal analyst with Forrester. Having a 360-degree view of prior communications and interactions along with customers' transactional history facilitates customer service and cross-selling, among other things, Leggett added.

One of the new frontiers in B-to-B e-commerce is expanding general sales and marketing opportunities via mobile devices, according to Kutner.

“At expos and tradeshows, a seller can show a prospective customer the catalog via Oro on a mobile device, and generate a price quote on the spot instead of waiting until they get back to the office to create a transaction through paper and phone calls,” Kutner said.

Oro, which was founded in 2012 and recently raised $12 million in financing from Highland Capital Europe, also will help PayPal expand its reach to new markets, Kutner said.

“We’re seeing a growing adoption rate of PayPal by B-to-B businesses,” said Jason Smith, head of PayPal Global Channel partners, in a press release. The B-to-B e-commerce market is expected to expand by 70% in the next three years, reaching $12 trillion by 2020, according to Frost and Sullivan.

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