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The Effect of COVID-19 on Customer Finances

Why Offering Alternative Payment Methods is Essential in the Current Environment

The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this year has been far-reaching. Beyond the immediate health crisis, we’ve seen national and regional lockdowns, temporary closure of non-essential businesses, furloughs and widespread economic uncertainty. The combination of all these resulted in the GfK’s UK Consumer ConfidenceBarometer dipping down to -31 in October. When consumer confidence is low, alternative payment methods build trust and revive sales.

Impact of COVID-19

The pressures of the pandemic are personal – some face redundancy, others the loss of their business or entire industry, whilst caregivers and parents face tough choices as to whether to reduce hours. In a period of economic uncertainty, though, even those whose finances are not directly impacted can feel unsure about making big purchases.

Here are a few of the reasons people feel wary of spending right now:

  • Fear of redundancy
  • Lack of savings
  • Desire to preserve savings
  • Uncertainty about the future/financial planning

Alternative payment methods

Providing your customers with access to finance shows that you recognize that individual circumstances vary, without compromising on the service you deliver. To become a trusted brand and stay competitive, you need to give your customers a great experience. In this day and age, that means providing flexibility – from the way customers engage with you (via webchat, social media, phone or email) to the way they pay.

A tailored approach

There are many different products available to help customers. They include:

  • Buy Now Pay Later
  • Interest-free
  • Interest-bearing 

Here at Shermin, we identified the need for customers to have quick and easy access to the various finance options and developed Trade-Quote

Trade-Quote 

Trade-Quote is our payment options and quoting tool web-app. Sales representatives can use Trade-Quote to explore personalised payment options for their customers at the point-of-sale. 

Easy to use and mobile- and desktop-friendly, Trade-Quote will calculate finance repayment figures, email a full list of payment options to customers for further consideration, or, if they prefer, link directly to the chosen lender to complete the finance journey there and then. 

The Benefits

There are several benefits of offering alternative payment options to both you (the retailer) and your customers. It’s win-win.   

Benefits to retailers

  • Boosts sales
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Builds trust
  • Gives you a competitive advantage

Benefits to your customers

  • Greater choice
  • Flexibility
  • Total transparency
  • Increased customer satisfaction 

The biggest win (aside from all that new business)? Trade-Quote is completely FREE for Shermin retailers. 

Key Takeaways

  • COVID-19 has negatively impacted consumer confidence
  • When people feel uncertain about their finances and the economy, they are often reluctant to make big/non-essential purchases
  • Offering alternative payment methods empowers customers to buy what they want now
  • Choice of payment options enables customers to pay when and how suits them best
  • Trade-Quote point-of-sale web-app is an innovative solution for retailers 
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