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Creative payment plans and how Canadian e-commerce retailers can cash in on the Holiday shopping spree
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Creative payment plans and how Canadian e-commerce retailers can cash in on the Holiday shopping spree 

In a rapidly changing retail environment, merchants are looking for an edge to win customers during this make-or-break part of the year, and ultimately to drive sales growth.

At the same time, retailers that sell larger-ticket items (typically over $500) have long known that offering payment plans is a key driver of sales. Allowing the cost of an item to be spread over time increases affordability for customers and helps them complete their purchases. If you’ve ever shopped for furniture, appliances, or electronics at major brick-and-mortar retailers in Canada, you will be familiar with in-store financing offers.

Successful financing programs tend to have three key characteristics: they’re fast and easy for customers; they have attractive terms, such as 0% promotional financing; and they’re smooth and simple for retailers to implement. Done right, financing offers help customers and the retailer.

Until 2017, however, there has been a conspicuous gap in the Canadian marketplace. Most of the growth in retail sales is in e-commerce, yet Canadian retailers and consumers have not had access to instant financing for online purchases.

This is in contrast to the U.S. and Europe, where fintech financing providers such as Affirm and Klarna have provided instalment payment solutions for e-commerce merchants and customers for several years. In Canada, retailers and consumers have been at a disadvantage. A Canadian shopper visiting the site of an international retailer is often presented with fewer payment options than a U.S.-based shopper on the same site.

When it comes to online instalment payments, Canadian merchants are looking for three things:

  • A fast and easy process for customers: After arriving at checkout, customers need a seamless payment process where they can finalize their purchases in a matter of seconds.
  • Attractive terms: After buying, customers should be able to pay for their purchases in affordable monthly payments over time, with interest rates as low as 0%.
  • Smooth and simple to implement: After a sale, merchants must be able to receive their funds directly from the solution provider the next business day with no credit risk. Merchants also need access to activity and settlement reports in real time, and should not have to handle customer inquiries regarding the payment plan.

A Canadian-made solution has been long overdue. We’re excited to say that with the launch of our instant e-commerce financing platform for the Canadian market in the summer of 2017, this gap is now being filled.

Only three months after the launch of our three-month pilot, and after integrating directly with partners like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce and Solidus, we’re approving more than $5 million per month in new credit for online shoppers. We’re also welcoming more retailer partners to our platform. One of the first was Endy, a Canadian online mattress retailer. Mike Gettis, CEO of Endy, says the company has seen “a very positive impact on sales” as a result of the partnership.

The Canadian marketplace was overdue for more flexible payment options. Giving retailers this kind of capability in time for the holiday season provides another way to help their customers and drive sales.

                                                 

Wayne Pommen is president & CEO at PayBright, a Canadian consumer lender focused on instant financing at the point-of-sale, whether at bricks-and-mortar locations or in e-commerce transactions.

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