For Retailers, Consumer Financing Is A Critical Component of the Holiday Season

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By Bob Lovinger

August is when cash strapped consumers begin thinking and stressing about the holiday season. Brick and mortar and ecommerce retail businesses better start worrying as well.

For us, this is the time of year we really get to shine and feel important.

The holiday season can account for as much as forty percent of a retailer’s annual sales, so it’s critical that they manage it right. Too many business owners fail to reevaluate what is most important to their business. They assume what worked last year, will work this year.

As we all know, a lot can happen in  year.

When it comes to financing, it is my job to make sure that our clients have their finger on the pulse. I want to give them the competitive advantage they need.

And it’s not always easy for the small to medium size retailers. They don’t have the marketing clout. Nor are they able to absorb some of the loss leaders often utilized by the big box change.

What they are able to do is be light on their feet and try harder. They can go the extra mile to make that sale. Financing is just one aspect of that, but it is an important one. The right financing product can even make the consumer less sensitive about price.

There are still many retail businesses that do not offer financing at all. Most don’t think they can offer it because perhaps they have been declined by one of the BIG lenders.

Stores that rely solely on a consumer’s own spending power, better beware. They are losing sales to their competitors and leaving revenue on the table. Given a choice, many people would rather spend “other people’s money” than deplete their own resources. That is particularly the case on large ticket items.

Fortunately, this year there are more choices than ever for retail businesses. Our retail clients are often able to offer prospective customers a choice of competitive credit based financing options as well as no credit check lease purchase programs. Many, come with a 90 same as cash option or a reduced pay back window. Even consumers that have money will often elect to take advantage of a 90 day promotion and hold onto their funds just a bit longer. And consumers that utilize financing will typically spend 20 to 30 percent more than those paying with cash.

For a business, the power of offering financing often begins well before they are even aware of the prospective customer. Today, savvy consumers will research their options and decide where they will go long in advance of the sales visit. Often, the decision will not come down to the price of the product they are interested in purchasing, but the financing options. In many cases, financing may be the only option.

As most of us sweat out the balance of summer, retailers are well aware that Black Friday is just 90 or so days away. And the decisions they make in the coming weeks may mean the difference between a successful 2015 holiday season and jump start to 2016, or rough times ahead.

Bob Lovinger is the President of Flexxbuy. Flexxbuy’s mission is to help businesses grow by providing them with the optimum financing options for their customers. Flexxbuy currently utilizes over twenty lenders and reaches businesses through it’s network of over 300 independent sales representatives nationwide.