Buy now, pay later or BNPL has been making waves for quite some time, and for good reason: consumers are increasingly opting for alternatives to cash (which can be inconvenient to carry around) and credit cards (which puts many people in debt).
BNPL offers an attractive route, which enables shoppers to take home their purchases while paying a fraction of the cost upfront.
In this post, we’ll shed light on the ins and outs of buy now, pay later. You’ll learn what is, why it’s so popular, and how to implement it in your retail business.
Let’s dive in.
What is “buy now, pay later”?
Buy now, pay later is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a payment option that allows customers to purchase and bring home the products they want to buy without having to pay for the full amount upfront.
With BNPL shoppers only have to put up a fraction of the product’s cost and then pay the rest of their balance in monthly installments — interest-free.
And because people aren’t charged interest (unless they miss their payments), BNPL has grown to become an attractive payment option for consumers.
Buy now, pay later first hit ecommerce stores several years ago, but solution providers are increasingly expanding offline. This means that brick-and-mortar retailers can now get in on the BNPL fun.
Solutions such as Afterpay and Klarna are now enabling physical stores to offer the service to shoppers who’d like to bring home their purchases right away and for pay for them in installments.
Benefits of buy now, pay later
Now that you have an overview of what buy now, pay later is all about, let’s look at some of the benefits that retailers can get from offering the program in-store.
You’re paid upfront and in full
One of the best things about offering buy now, pay later is that you, the merchant, are paid upfront and in full. Your payment provider will shoulder the credit risk, so you won’t have to worry about chasing after late payments.
It increases your conversion rate
Fact: people are more likely to buy something if they can afford to take home their purchase on the spot. BNPL offers customers the ability to do just that, thereby increasing your conversion rates.
Industry data shows that merchants increase their conversion rates by 20-30% with the service.
It boosts your average transaction value
Shoppers also tend to buy more products plus spend more money when they’re given a buy now, pay later option. In addition to seeing a 68% increase in basket size, many merchants also boost their transaction values by 25% thanks to BNPL.
It grows your customer base
Offering BNPL will help attract shoppers who wouldn’t have visited your store otherwise. There are millions of consumers who are now using buy now, pay later solutions, and many are looking specifically for retailers who are offering the service in-store.
It increases repeat purchasers
Shoppers have higher rates of repeat purchases. Klarna has seen a 20% increase in purchase frequency from “pay later” customers. Meanwhile, Afterpay sees some of its users purchase more than 20 times per year.
How to implement it in your store
Looking to offer buy now, pay later in your brick and mortar store? The first step is finding a solution provider that supports the service.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing a payments partner:
Point of sale integration
Choose a provider that integrates with your existing POS system. This will ensure a smooth checkout process that reduces the need for manual work or double entry.
Like most payment solutions, BNPL companies charge a fee for processing payments. This typically comes in the form a percentage off the sale plus transaction fee. Be sure to do your research on these costs so you can make an informed decision.
Ideally, you’ll want to go with a trusted payment provider with a strong and growing userbase. This helps you get in front of more people and attract customers to your store.
Encouraging customers to use buy now, pay later
Once you’re all set up, take steps to spread the word! You want your customers to start using the service, so you can unlock all the fabulous benefits we talked about earlier.
Here are some ideas:
Make things official by formally announcing the program to your customers. If you have an email list, craft a message telling your subscribers about BNPL and encourage them to use it in-store. You could even include product mentions to give people an idea of what they could find and purchase in your shop.
Display in-store signage
Make sure in-store shoppers know about your buy now, pay later services by displaying informational signage in various areas of your shop. Some of these assets could include:
- Decals that you can stick on your front door or windows
- Mirror stickers or signs in your fitting rooms
- Countertop signs at the checkout area
Pro tip: Your vendor may have some downloadable and printable assets that you can use, so check their website or get in touch with them!
Get listed in your provider’s directory
Most providers have directories listing the retailers offering their services. Be sure to submit your store and get listed. This helps your business get found by customers who are looking to take advantage of your BNPL offerings.
Not offering buy now, pay later yet?
It’s safe to say that BNPL will continue to gain steam, so you should consider offering the service in your store. In addition to giving your customers more options at checkout, buy now, pay later paves the way for more traffic, increased transaction values, and a higher bottom line.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.