Don’t send shoppers off the checkout page.
That’s the golden rule of e-commerce. However, Tracy DiNunzio, CEO of web-only luxury consignment retailer Tradesy, found an exception to the rule.
DiNunzio added online payment service Affirm Inc. to her site in 2014. The service functions as a loan that allows shoppers to break up the cost of a purchase into installments rather than pay the full amount upfront with a credit card. If a shopper chooses the Pay in Installments button on the checkout page, she leaves Tradesy and is taken to the Affirm website, where she signs up with her mobile phone number, email, birthdate and last four digits of her Social Security number so that Affirm can retrieve a credit report. Affirm charges an interest rate to shoppers between 10-30%, and shoppers can choose to pay back the loan in three, six or 12 months. The entire process takes less than a minute, says Len Eschweiler, Affirm’s senior vice president of retail.
DiNunzio was nervous about shoppers leaving her site—until she tested the feature and found that shoppers who use Affirm spend more than other shoppers. For instance, the average order value for shoppers who used Affirm to buy was $570 last year, 103.6% more than the $280 average order value for non-Affirm customers, DiNunzio says.
“We drove better sales and more [gross merchandise value] having it there,” she says.
When the web merchant first offered the payment option, DiNunzio saw it as a customer acquisition tool, as Tradesy’s first-time buyer conversion rate increased, she says. In addition to boosting AOV, the repeat purchase rate for Affirm customers is 15% higher than non-Affirm customers, she says.
In 2016, Affirm processed 23% of Tradesy’s revenue, up from 19% in 2015 and 13% in 2014, she says. For January of this year, Affirm processed 24% of the web merchant’s revenue.
DiNunzio says there are several factors driving the strong response to the alternative financing. First, the approval process takes less than a minute, so a consumer can quickly get the financing she needs without filling out a long form and waiting. The other reason is customers’ perception of Affirm, which markets itself as a transparent lender that provides information about its practices and fees, and such an approach resonates with many shoppers, she says. “The language of the brand and the communications are in tune with digitally savvy customer. There is no fine print, and that puts people at ease. That makes the brand to be perceived as trustworthy,” she says.
DiNunzio has heard anecdotally from her customers, especially younger ones that don’t have credit cards, that payment installments with interest is an easy way to understand and access credit online.
“I don’t have to feel suspicious or feel like I’m being scammed,” DiNunzio says about Affirm’s easy-to-understand language about the service.
Tradesy has the Pay with Affirm button on its checkout page, product pages and “about us” page. On a product page, for example, a consumer might see a $1,000 luxury handbag and underneath the price a message that reads, “Starting at $80 a month with Affirm, learn more.”
DiNunzio says Affirm’s fee structure is competitive with other credit card providers, which is typically between 1-3%. It was simple to integrate the button onto the site and she doesn’t have to allocate technical resources to maintain it, DiNunzio says.
Tradesy sells hundreds of millions dollars in gross merchandise volume annually, DiNunzio says without revealing specifics.Favorite