Studies show that most Americans aren’t in a position to take on a surprise $500 expense in an emergency. And if that’s the case, imagine how few consumers will likely make impulse purchases at or near $500.
Offering customer financing options to your customers allows them to plan for their purchase and take on the cost of your product a little at a time. And it works—evidence shows that offering to finance can increase customer spending. But with so many different consumer financing products on the table, how do you know which ones to offer?
The Most Common Customer Financing Options
Financing is like a payment plan for your customers. Although you receive the money upfront, they only have to pay a little at a time. It’s a win-win scenario. There are two different ways to offer customer financing. One way is to collect your customers’ credit information yourself, lend them the money out of your business’s funds, and allow them to repay over time.
However, this can be problematic because it forces you to lend money to your customers and chase that money down if it doesn’t get paid on time. You’ll also have to deal with your state's usury and debt collection laws and need your own in-house loan office to make this work.
The more popular choice is to sign up with a third-party lender. You can evaluate countless lenders and decide which one or ones you’re willing to use with your customers. Each loan company has its own policies on the minimum amount your customers have to spend, repayment schedules, interest rates, and any fees the company may charge your business.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Options for Your Brand
With so many customer financing options on the market, it can be difficult to narrow your choices down. Several factors should be considered when deciding.
If your customers are low-income, very young, or very old, they may not have good credit. In these cases, you’ll want to prioritize lenders willing to work with customers with low credit scores. On the other hand, if you work with Fortune 500 companies, credit probably might not be an issue for you. In this case, you can work with lenders with a high credit threshold.
The next thing you’ll want to consider is what products you offer and what products customers will ask to finance. Some lenders require a minimum spend. If they won’t lend to customers who spend under $1,000 and your products are all in the $500 range, your financing offers won’t help customers who purchase fewer than two items.
Look at the average amount of money customers spend with you at a time, and use that average to help determine what minimum your customers who finance should be held to (if any). Then, make your choice accordingly.
If you have an established business, you may be able to survey your existing customers to see which lenders they have a good history with. Sometimes, customer preferences can help you identify factors you may not have otherwise considered.
Pros and Cons of Offering Multiple Financing Options
Of course, you can offer multiple financing choices to your customers. This may be important if you sell both directly to consumers (B2C) and directly to businesses (B2B). But before you sign up for ten different customer financing options and let your customers decide which one they want to use, you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of offering multiple formats.
Offering One Financing Option
One upside to offering a single financing format is that your staff can become experts at that product and its rules. It’s also relatively easy to advertise one financing plan on your website, either at the checkout screen or beforehand. This helps reduce sticker shock by letting customers know they can choose to finance their purchases.
The biggest downside with offering one financing choice is that if a customer doesn’t get approved for financing, there’s no recourse to help them out.
Offering Multiple Financing Options
The advantage of offering multiple financing options is that it can benefit different types of buyers. Customers with good credit can use low-interest financing options, while those with low credit scores can still find a way to finance their purchases. This approach is also useful if you work with individual customers who make relatively small purchases as well as businesses that may put together larger orders. You can offer different customer financing options based on their estimated spending total.
The biggest drawback to this method is that it could lead to decision paralysis, which happens when people have too many choices, or the choices they have are too complicated. When this happens, people tend to procrastinate on making any decision. By offering multiple financing options, you could turn your customers away from using any financing at all.
Another downside is that your customers may get declined for one form of financing and then apply for another. While this could allow them to get approved with one of your suggested lenders, it also means multiple credit checks in a short period of time, which can have negative ramifications for your customers.
Skeps Turns Financing on Its Head
Choosing good customer financing options to offer through your business can be a headache. But Skeps turns that process upside down. Working with the top lenders, Skeps can help your customers find the best lender for them with a single application and credit check. The only thing your brand needs to keep track of is how easy it is to work with Skeps.
Offer One or More Customer Financing Options With Skeps
Skeps offers a comprehensive, end-to-end consumer financing program that helps businesses modernize their entire payment process. We go above and beyond one-click payment, also offering a one-click application process for several different types of consumer financing, including:
- Buy now, pay later (BNPL)
- Consumer loans and leases
- Branded credit cards
If you’re looking to partner with a forward-thinking fintech company that will keep consumers' eyes on the purchase while offering best-in-class financing, Skeps is the perfect fit.