The way retailers construct their marketing strategies and how customers shop have all been disrupted by digital technology, which is the main reason why the world of retail is very different today than it was just five years ago. Consumers now use their smartphones to see product reviews and compare prices. In other words, it is now a lot simpler for consumers to make informed decisions. The same is true for the financial component. The form of funding the buyer chooses has altered as a result of the changes in consumer financing over the past few years.
For example, the usage of BNPL lending has increased drastically after the pandemic hit, and the trend is still going as BNPL has become a kind of habit for consumers:
SOURCE: CORNERSTONE ADVISORS
As shopping patterns continue to change, let’s examine how brands may develop and apply next-generation marketing tactics to enhance the customer experience with different consumer financing options in the upcoming years.
Why Is Consumer Financing Necessary
Retailers struggle to select the best consumer financing option due to the wide range of options available. As the usage of consumer financing is increasing every year, it is impossible to have a successful business without it.
So why is consumer financing so important?
To increase sales – you can offer customers lower prices, promotions or discounts on your products, but it’s becoming more attractive to consumers to pay full price if they have the option to finance their purchase and split the payment. Using lending services has become a part of our merchant offering, and consumer lives.
In addition, clients can split payments over time without incurring any costs thanks to current financing solutions. Because of this, BNPL lending and POS financing are among the most popular types of consumer finance available today. Many times, even though a person has sufficient funds on hand, they still choose to employ a BNPL or installment loan, for instance. There is a simple reason behind it, wise use of financing options increases their purchasing power and allows consumers to have an extra amount in their accounts to feel secure and be ready for any emergencies.
Because of this, funding choices are now available for products and services like furniture. home improvement, vacation, autoparts, education, and many more, as an integral part of the shopping experience.
The Increased Popularity Of Omnichannel Consumer Lending
Consumer financing has become more popular overall during the past ten years. More consumers frequently use lending services to obtain the funds required for shopping or unexpected expenses. According to the statistics, consumers favor BNPL loans or point-of-sale financing solutions. Consumer financing choices give consumers freedom, and if they’re used appropriately, they make it much easier for them to manage their finances. However, online financing isn’t the only instrument that can help the buyer have a positive purchasing experience. Customers who prefer local shopping or need a product that was nearly hard to select or purchase online required retailers to adjust to their needs.
For instance, if a customer wants to purchase a new mattress or any other type of furniture, they may want to physically inspect it to ensure that they are making the appropriate decision. Therefore, when a customer went to a store after seeing the retailers’ pleasant financing options online, they had to have the same financing experience there. For situations like that, retailers offer in-store financing. To provide the buyer with the same comfortable shopping experience, several furniture stores, including Raymour & Flanigan, are now leveraging the POS financing and BNPL lending features via an omnichannel multi-lender platform.
POS financing has evolved into one of the key tools for consumers, making it seamless to access flexible lending options, , and younger generations are also the main customers here.
Source: TransUnion US Consumer credit Database
The fact that customers receive the quickest and coziest method of financing is one of the reasons the service has become so well-liked. It usually only takes a few seconds to apply and receive the funds you require when reputable third parties are involved. It also allows customers to receive the best financing options: Installments, Revolving loan, BNPL or LTO (Lease-to-Own) are amongst the most popular examples of financing.
Potential Problems For Retailers
Since the economy has begun to expand again in recent months, retailers have faced difficulties on both the top and bottom lines as a result of some sales growth that has slowed and margins that have shrunk. In the future, the industry will probably have to contend with a more difficult growth environment in addition to higher expenses. In addition to the rising cost of goods, retailers must also deal with increased costs for everything: from production inputs to freight, fuel, and labor. Although inflation hasn’t yet had a significant effect on nominal consumer spending, we are starting to notice the first indications of a future slowdown. Despite unprecedented inflation in the first quarter of 2022, US consumers kept their wallets open. Considering that US consumers had almost $3.3 trillion more in funds than they did in 2019, the increase in consumer spending was maybe not unexpected. Many people didn’t hesitate to use their savings when credit constraints loosened. And it hasn’t only been the savers who have been spending; credit card debt is also starting to increase.
Consumer financing is undergoing the same changes, so retailers are currently juggling two issues at once. Although the increase in prices and inflation has forced customers to use additional financing choices, it has also made them more anxious and made it more difficult to decide whether to apply for extra loans. Consumers are increasingly attempting to use financing services with caution and only select the ones they trust the most.
To ensure that customers are receiving the services they desire when they visit a retail website or physical location, retailers must now pay close attention to consumer behavior and implement innovative consumer financing features.
If retailers take risky, thought-out actions, they can turn these difficulties into opportunities. Businesses that do very well during recessions often outperform their competitors over the ensuing ten years
3 Ways Retailers Can Combat The Demand For Consumer Financing
1. Be On Every Channel
According to TIDIO statistics, various customers utilize POS financing and BNPL in-store and online in different ways. Online services are not preferred by all customers. Some customers prefer to purchase goods and services from brick and mortar establishments.
This once more demonstrates the need for consumer financing solutions like POS financing or BNPL lending across all channels. Whether it will be for customers who choose to shop in-person at the neighborhood store or for online users on websites or mobile applications.
2. Offer Simple And Clear Financing
According to the findings of Citizens Point of Sale Survey, 76% of American consumers are more inclined to make a retail sale if a payment plan is supported by an easy and smooth point of sale experience. The survey found that 62% of respondents would like fixed monthly contracts with unambiguous payment terms, and a good understanding of how the sum will be paid off as the most crucial elements. Additionally, 66% of customers believe they already have sufficient credit cards and would rather avoid adding an additional credit card merely to make a large purchase. This suggests that customers seek a different option than applying for a new credit card to make a sizable purchase at a store. Retail brands can modernize their payment solutions by moving away from the store credit approach and adding simple financing options to their customers.
3. Offer White-Labeled Consumer Financing
Consumers are flocking to private-brand products in the current market to combat inflation. Retailers should periodically reevaluate their category strategies in order to take advantage of this. Successful stores will strike a balance between fast-changing consumer tastes and pressures from individual inflation rates. This would need to reconsider their balance of national and private brands.
Consumers planning a major purchase viewed trust in the organization providing the financing and this is one of the main reasons they like branded lending platforms over independent FinTech firms. It demonstrates how retailer brands can profit from branded white-label financing solutions to attract more customers. As consumer financing has gained popularity, a wider range of independent businesses now provide these services.
Additionally, financing platforms like ChargeAfter, provide customizable white-label financing options. This allows the merchant to change the financing software however they see fit while still giving customers the financing options they need and demand.
Choosing The Right Consumer Financing Company For Your Store
Ready to provide your clients with immediate financing? Great! But which should you pick? It’s difficult to single out the top consumer financing providers because so many fintech firms provide BNPL products. Having said that, there are some qualities to consider while selecting a BNPL and consumer financing providers:
- Positive customer experience: Businesses need to be able to deliver satisfying user experiences. For instance, ensure a smooth checkout experience would help prevent cart abandonment. Since over 80% of shoppers leave their carts empty before making a purchase, financing and BNPL ought to have superb integration to your customer journey. User-friendly features and no interruptions during checkout help decrease cart abandonment.
- Perfect payment plans: By offering a variety of payment options, retailers open up their products to more people, which can increase sales and brand loyalty. Customers and business owners alike can benefit from high flexibility. Any retailer can act as a lender thanks to financing platforms. A financing platform gives shoppers the freedom to choose their financing conditions based on sophisticated risk assessment models. Customers will be able to select from a variety of payment plans, without having to worry about not being approved.
- Reduced risks: Flexibility and scalability are features that reputable consumer finance businesses can provide. You may increase sales, draw in new clients, and maintain existing ones by making it simple for people to finance the goods and services, but risk management should always be taken into account. Make sure to work with providers with low MDR (Merchant Discount Rate) and can provide the best interest rate for your customers. In addition, make sure the PoS financing solution of your choice has cutting-edge management including managing reconciliation, chargebacks and dispute resolution.
- Helps you control Data: Lastly, reputable BNPL and PoS financing solutions ought to assist retailers in regaining control over consumer data in addition to streamlining payments. This would enable retailers to better understand what customers want, need, and like. Advanced financing solutions don’t just permit retailers to give clients financing options, but give the retailers the ability to safeguard user information, and build long-lasting relationships with customers.
In the end, we can say with certainty that consumer financing is still an evolving industry, and that brands must stay on top of emerging trends to ensure they offer the services that customers want. If not, retailers won’t be able to take full use of financing options. Therefore, we can conclude that both the retailers and the financing platform are involved in the process and that it is not a one-party job.
ChargeAfter is a leading multi-lender platform for Consumer Financing. It connects businesses with the most reliable lenders, enabling them to offer customers the greatest financing solutions. With the best system of Waterfall Financing, ChargeAfter guarantees lending to every shopper, by matching the most relevant lender to every client. Using the unique consumer financing technology, ChargeAfter provides consumers with the best shopping experience. MUFG, VISA, Bradesco, BBVA, Synchrony, CITI Banks are among the investors of ChargeAfter.