A baking goods e-retailer finds a recipe for faster payments

February 19, 2016 10:13 AM

Taking shortcuts in baking is discouraged, but paring steps to save time makes sense on the business side for the owners of e-retailer The Smart Baker.

Daniel Rensing, co-founder with wife Stephanie of baking wares retailer The Smart Baker LLC, says he spends 50% less time handling invoices, reminding clients about  overdue bills and accepting partial payments from customers since he started using PayPal Holdings Inc.’s updated merchant tools.

The redesigned tools platform from the payments processor was released earlier this month, but The Smart Baker began testing the tools in the fall at PayPal’s request. The home screen for merchants aims to more clearly show sellers the tasks they might need to run their business, such as creating invoices, scheduling recurring payments, and sending and requesting money. Business operators also can “favorite” their most frequently used tools for single-click access.

Rensing says he can generate invoices automatically without having to re-type each one manually, see the status of all invoices at once and quickly copy re-orders and update such details as the date, prices and purchase order number before sending invoices via email. The tools also let him send invoices and purchase orders to more than one recipient, allowing email to the buyer and the accountant who takes care of the invoice, for example.

“The invoice is already pre-defined as a template with my business information, the company logo and other details,” he says. “It’s a big time saver. Instead of spending two-and-a-half minutes to re-type everything, I can be done in 30 seconds. It made it easy for us to be professional with a tool that’s integrated within our systems without having to set up new systems.”

Online sales account for 75% of the retailer’s yearly $500,000 to $1 million in revenue, with the remainder coming from sales to distributors and specialty retailers including Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts,  Chef Central superstores and Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise stores. The Smart Baker, which has been featured on the ABC-TV show “Shark Tank” and on the Food Network, sells directly at, and through, OpenSky and

 Rensing also uses PayPal’s tool to collect partial payment—usually 50% on custom orders—of an outstanding invoice without having to generate a second invoice. PayPal keeps that invoice updated so a merchant can see if and when the amount is paid in full. He can hit a single button to email a reminder to a late payer.

“I didn’t know I needed these features before,” Rensing says. “I never realized what I was missing.”

Thad Peterson, senior analyst with research and analytics firm Aite Group, says PayPal’s new tools give the payments company a suite of services for small merchants, ranging from the automated office functions to adding a buy button to a mobile app to offering accounts receivable-based loans.






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