Retail finance: The fundamentals, by the ACT

In this month’s advice for cycling retailers, Jonathan Harrison from the Association of Cycle Traders explains how sector expertise and user experience counts when it comes to retail finance

This piece first appeared in the January edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

As the economic outlook darkens, retail finance schemes remain a more preferable route for retailers to boost sales during recession than the financial hit required by heavy product discounting.

“We all know that household budgets are under increasing pressure, and many consumers who want to purchase will be looking for the opportunity to spread the cost rather than outlay a lump sum payment.

“On the high street all retailers are competing for consumer spend and the demand for finance options is at record levels as it always is in similar economic conditions.”

That’s the message from the Association of Cycle Traders, the UK’s largest cycle trade association, which has urged retailers to be savvy in their choice of retail finance partner to ensure that they get the best deal for their business as well as their customers.

Best value for your business
“It’s easy to be seduced by headline numbers and big financial brand names but there’s more to it than that,” explained Jonathan Harrison from the ACT.

“Retailers should look for the finance package that represents the best value for their business – which finance partner understands the cycling sector best, which offers optimum acceptance rates, the most efficient integration and onboarding process and is trusted by their customers.”

The ACT’s 13-year partnership with V12 Retail Finance currently enables over 400 retailers to take advantage of a market-leading range of finance products, with competitive rates, high levels of service and proven sales results.

The company specialises in financing all types of bicycles and can encompass the whole consumer purchase including accessory add-ons purchases. ACT and V12 work in partnership to provide the only cycle industry-specific scheme in the UK.

“We remain convinced that retail finance is the best option to help retailers and brands to move the overstocks and commitments resulting from the market buoyancy during the busy peaks of Covid, without damaging retail price points and brand values,” continued Harrison.

“We are confident that V12 is at the forefront for bringing retail finance technology to market quickly and efficiently, with features that improve security, continuity and ease of operation for both the retailer and the customer,” said Eleanor Richards, marketing and communications manager at V12 Retail Finance.

Customer experience
In addition, V12’s system stability coupled with their innovative online journey and customer recognition, eases the purchase process for the customer and retailer. V12 recognises the importance of online customer experience which is why they are the number one provider for retail finance in the cycle sector in the UK.

They are trusted by their customers, evidenced by their 4.9/5 Trustpilot score, and they are part of the only bank in Britain to achieve a Customer Service Excellence award, meaning both customers and retailers are in safe hands.

So, what does this mean for cycle retailers? “Cyclists like to keep up with the latest models and often go back to their favourite independent retailer every couple of years to purchase their next bike, increasingly so from the experience seen in lockdown and very often on finance,” said Harrison.

“Coupled with the already popular V12 finance calculator, not only can you understand your customer’s budget to let them make an informed decision in paying for their perfect bike, but the new application form will guide them more efficiently through their finance application in no time at all.”

V12 has also made system integration more widely available. “We have all seen the ever-increasing importance of online retailing and those retailers without an online presence may have missed out on hard to come by sales.

V12 integration is market-leading and if you are unsure about the benefits and even the knowhow on how to quickly set up a transactional website then you need to speak to us at ACT or the team of experts at V12,” Harrison concluded.

The ACT encourages retailers to take ACT’s Retail Finance Training, an online learning course delivering an informed insight into retail finance that can be completed anywhere, any time.

The course, coupled with in person training retailers receive from V12, will educate your staff how to effectively promote retail finance, encouraging customers to maximise their spending through techniques such as financial promotion, Point of Sale (POS) and bundling.

This is invaluable for retailers with surveys showing that consumers are more likely to spend more if retail finance is sold correctly, and increasingly, for many customers, having the option to spread the cost is the main reason a purchase is made.

ACT Members can access a retail finance course from £75, just see: indieretail.training

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