When roughly 30-40% of Fenton’s customers were contacting the jewelry merchant asking to finance their purchases, the online merchant knew it needed to offer a payment solution.
U.K.-based Fenton sells fine jewelry, such as made-to-order engagement rings, and its average order value hovers around $3,000, says chief operating officer Jerome Brustlein. Because it sells such considered purchases, many shoppers contact customer service—which the retailer calls its concierge—via email, phone call, Instagram, Facebook and messaging app WhatsApp to talk about breaking up the purchase into smaller chunks.
“For a lot of our customers, this is one of the biggest purchases they will make—with the exception of a house or a car—but they are doing it online,” Brustlein says. “So, as you can imagine, the ability to pay-in-installments or ability to split the purchase into a plan that works for them is obviously paramount for a lot of customers.”
FentonandCo.com launched pay-in-installment services with vendors Splitit and Klarna in 2019, and Fenton immediately began reaping rewards from offering the options, Brustlein says. Its average order value increased about 5-10%, and shoppers started converting at a much higher rate, he says. Because Fenton offers two methods of financing, which have slightly different approaches, shoppers still often call customer service to ask questions about financing, he says. Of those consumers who contact customer service, 15-20% of them are asking about financing. For those shoppers that ask about financing, conversion has increased about 40-50% compared with before it offered financing, he says. As of March 2021, Brustlein estimates that 22-25% of its website transactions are made using one of the two payment options.
Shoppers buying now and paying for their purchases over time has increased in recent years, with more shoppers using it and more retailers offering it. Global ecommerce sites offering either pay-in-installment vendors Klarna or Afterpay grew by more than 60% to 90,479 online merchants in December 2020, up from 56,127 merchants in January 2020, according to web measurement firm SimilarWeb Ltd. Within Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000—which ranks the top online retailers in North America—27.1% of merchants offer a pay-in-installment feature. Financing was especially popular with shoppers during the early months of the pandemic, as consumers purchased items they had not budgeted for on account of sheltering in place—such as a desk or exercise equipment—and financing was an attractive option, says SimilarWeb consultant Simeon Atkins.
Merchants add the payment feature for several reasons, for instance, to increase conversion rates and average order values, or because shoppers request the feature.
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