Customer Financing: Will it convert those on the fence?

Customer Financing_ Will it convert those on the fence_

4 min read

Customer Financing is a facility wherein customers choose a pre-defined payment plan options rather than paying the full price of a product upfront. Customers choose to pay in easy weekly or fortnightly or monthly installments. Customers get to use the product right away but pay in easy installments. Retailers promote customer financing as it helps to improve their sales. Simultaneously customers enjoy immediate use of the product while they pay in future.

Customers find products affordable when they can pay through a payment plan. Retailers, in turn, provided multiple financing plan options, so that customers can choose the plan that best suits their requirements. Customers are also able to plan small installment payments in their weekly or monthly pay checks, and their personal budgeting becomes much more comfortable and manageable.

Anyone who does customer financing, be it Retailer by themselves or through a third-party financier, takes the credit risk into its books. If the Retailer is financing, then it becomes a trade-off between increased sales versus delinquency that they need to handle for bad debts. Making Customer financing through third party finance has the benefit of increased sales while not taking any delinquency risk. However, the service and customer relationship are at the discretion of a third party, which might affect long term customer loyalty. One another smart way to handle this situation is for Retailers to finance customers by themselves to keep service and customer relationships at a high degree but securitize the receivables at the back end to reduce their credit risk.

While building Retail ViVA, the 26 modules integrated Retail Management System; we integrated a full-fledged Ready Finance module to provide Retailers the option to provide customer financing. The module covers score track, credit limit generation, credit disbursement, portfolio monitoring, re-aging, tele-caller follow-up, bailiff, repossession, and re-sale as an end-to-end credit management module. It also facilitates third-party financing and portfolio securitization as well. Giving the benefit of commencing customer financing any time is the key objective behind the incorporation of this relevant module into our Retail ERP product.

I have the first-hand experience of involving in over 200,000 customer financing accounts per annum for the last 20 years and have seen the dominant role customer financing plays to enhance sales. I have seen the ratio of customer financed sales nearing seventy percent and delinquency ratios well under two percent. Securitization is an ideal situation of double benefit where a Retailer builds strong loyalty by believing in customers to advance credit while simultaneously reducing the risk of delinquency. We have seen several customers availing repeat financing which demonstrates true customer loyalty. Customer financing pushes customers to Retailers rather than Retailers struggling to pull customers inward.

We are slowly moving to an era of subscription economy where every capital item or service is becoming a small monthly or yearly payment plan. In the new trend of capital spend turning to monthly service subscription, the Retailers providing customer payment plans will be the thoughtful winner and sustain long term customer loyalty.

Written by
(Ragu)nathan Kannan

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