The power of flexible payment terms – how eCommerce businesses can make the most of seasonal spending

Throughout the year, there are times when consumers are more likely to make a purchase from an eCommerce retailer or a brick-and-mortar store. Valentine’s Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Halloween are just a few of the obvious ones, driving an uplift in sales for businesses across lots of different sectors.

Then there’s the Golden Quarter – a time of the year when consumer spending goes into overdrive and many retailers take the majority of their annual revenue. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas all fall into this period, and it’s a time when shoppers are generally prepared to spend more on the things they really want and need across the festive season.

For eCommerce retailers, capitalising on heightened demand is crucial. The darker nights and colder weather between October and December make online shopping in the warmth and comfort of their home even more appealing for consumers.

Figures show that online spending from Christmas 2020 came in at £18.6m – an increase of 56.2% on the same period in 2019. Plenty of retailers are planning for a greater portion of their sales to come from eCommerce again this year too.

There are many different ways to make sure you can carve out more sales from seasonal increases in demand and purchase intent from consumers. With almost 10 million people saying they avoided buying from retailers that don’t offer Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options, having flexible payment solutions at the checkout is one of the top things to consider.

Here are four benefits of flexible payment terms and why adding more choice at your checkout has the potential to help you sell more than ever before.

 

1. Attract a wider audience to buy from your online store

 

Flexible payment terms can help your brand appeal to a wider range of people. Over time, your business might have built up an established customer-base, but the amount of disposable income each shopper has will ultimately determine if they can afford to buy from you or not.

The benefit of having flexible payment terms at the checkout is that they can very often encourage new customers to consider your products. This is especially important in the Golden Quarter because it’s a time when people are often shopping for friends and loved ones, so are much more likely to be looking in different places.

A survey from 2019 showed that the average person in the UK expected to spend £363 on Christmas gifts, highlighting how there is plenty of opportunity for sales from new customers.

 

2. Make the cost of a purchase more manageable for your customers

 

Knowing there is the option to spread the cost of a purchase over a longer timeframe has the power to put a new perspective on the cost of an item. Seeing the cost of a higher value item split into 12 monthly instalments appears much more manageable, even though customers are paying the same price overall. Similarly, for savvy shoppers who want to keep their money in savings, being able to make smaller monthly payments can be a lot more appealing.

It’s important to ensure that the flexible payment solution you offer at your checkout is something that gives your customers a choice in how they wish to pay. Some providers are rigid in their approach and may only offer a fixed option over a period of, for example, three months. For someone making a big purchase on Black Friday, this could mean needing to pay two further large instalments in December and January, which are typically months where cash can be tighter.

Interest free credit solutions like the one offered by DivideBuy provides greater flexibility, with consumers able to take up a Buy Now, Pay Later option over 12 months. Ultimately, this can make all the difference when it comes to that final checkout click.

 

Review from a customer reasding DivideBuy, what a great service, not only that you can spread your purchase price over a period of time, but the communication and flexibility is first class

 

3. Build loyalty and trust in your brand

 

All consumers have different payment preferences – they could be financial, social or just convenience factors. By considering all of them, your eCommerce site is moving beyond a simple one-off transaction and showing an appreciation of different customer needs, which helps build trust and loyalty.

Another important part of the process is ensuring a seamless User Experience (UX). With so many important calendar dates during the Golden Quarter, shoppers spend a lot of time preparing for Christmas. This survey suggested the average time spent doing Christmas prep is 66 hours and 44 minutes – the equivalent of almost two full weeks of work! Shopping for presents took an average of more than 10 hours, followed by shopping for food and decorations, which took up eight hours and 49 minutes.

The key point is that when it comes to seasonal spending, consumers are prepared to spend more time looking around for the things they want. But your online store only has one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure the flexible payment options you have integrate seamlessly with the rest of your site.

 

4. Overcome the perennial issue of online basket abandonment

 

Basket abandonment is a topic we’ve written lots about, but the fact remains that it can be one of the biggest single obstacles in the way of an eCommerce business hitting its revenue targets. Some studies put the figure as high as 75% and it’s probably no surprise to know that during the Golden Quarter, December is the month where cart abandonment is at its highest.

Customers now expect a variety of payment options and want to be able to use a payment method of their choice, so failing to offer any flexibility at the checkout can cause shoppers to click away to a competitor. In a recent blog, we covered all of this and more with a series of tips on how to reduce cart abandonment.

 

How to make flexible payments work for your customers

 

Flexible payment options can be an essential tool for online revenue growth, helping your eCommerce business to overcome objections from buyers, ensure that they don’t need to wait for pay day and to exceed expectations when it comes to customer experience.

If you’d like to know more about DivideBuy and how our interest free Buy Now, Pay Later solution can help deliver increased sales throughout the Golden Quarter and beyond, get in touch with our team today.

Page last updated: 02 November 2021

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