Independent retailers will be able to offer customers instant 0% finance on a range of purchases as part of a new app developed by the co-owner of Doncaster-based independent Robinsons of Bawtry, James Jones.
Retailers will be partnered with suitable credit suppliers to allow customers to make purchases on store credit. Shoppers will be able to spend up to £2,000 on purchases with no interest and repayment periods will range from two months to a year.
Customers apply online and, once approved, download the app to their smartphone or tablet. A credit limit is established and a direct debit is set up to collect re-payments on purchases.
Jones, who is also director of the Robinsons of Bawtry’s marketing and business development, said it will allow consumers to spread the cost of new-season products across the year, and will give retailers a modern alternative to old-fashioned methods of applying for store credit.
“The app is well suited to businesses which have seasonally changing stock and a loyal customer base,” he said. ”We want customers to come in at the beginning of a season, buy what they want and repay it at the end of the season, so they don’t have the upfront cost for their clothes or sporting equipment. A lot of retailers have a lot of customers who are loyal to them but don’t necessarily spend as much as they may be inclined to. Purchases with finance are up to 30% higher in value than normal store purchases.”
He added: “Different finance lenders have different criteria, which is a minefield for an independent retailer to meet. The app has a dynamic request handling function, so when a retailer signs up it is matched to a creditor’s criteria. The finance and transactions are handled by the app behind the scenes.”
Jones said Robinsons has a waiting list of 70 individual customers to use the service in its own store, and around 18 other retailers are currently in discussions.
The retailer will pay a fee of between 5% and 10% on each transaction using the service.
Jones said the previous finance options for independents were restricted: “At Robinsons of Bawtry, we have been looking for years for someone who could provide us with a store card. They simply don’t exist for businesses of our size. The only options require at least 10,000 new issuances a year. For all but the biggest retailers, that’s totally unachievable.”
AppToPay will launch for a trial period in October and will then be rolled out nationwide. It will operate on both Apple and Android phone operating systems.