Jun 21, 2024

With consumers spending on the rise towards the start of the year and the popularity of online shopping continues to increase across all demographic groups, merchants face both more potential and greater competition for the consumer's dollar. This means that they must find new ways to cater to the demands of customers as well as giving them additional opportunities to buy from your brand or site. A great place to start is the checkout process -- identifying opportunities to both make this process easier for customers to complete during the purchase and offer the option of payment to your customers that will enhance their customer experience.

One of the trends that has rapidly increased in popularity among online purchases includes the "Buy Now and pay Later" (BNPL) choice at the checkout. BNPL is an alternative payment option that permits shoppers to divide the cost of their purchase into affordable installments that are divided over time- in some cases over a few weeks, while in others, it's spread over several months.

Purchase now and pay later is on the rise

Many consumers are taking advantage of pay-over-time options when they are available. In 2023, merchants on the internet experienced a dramatic rise in the number of purchases that were made using BNPL which saw the volume rising 42.5 percent year-over-year. In the end, BNPL placed around $16.6 billion in sales onto merchant books in the last couple of months of the year alone and this trend Adobe expects to continue until 2024.

About 93.3 million people are expected to use BNPL in 2024 according to EMarketer and American Banker reported that the BNPL market in the US could reach as much than $8.3 billion in 2028. BNPL is being embraced increasing by the online retail giants like Amazon.com which is further speeding up its growth and making the choice more popular with consumers who buy online.

That means that BNPL an option merchants can't ignore as they compete in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.

Offer buy now and pay later: Things to take into consideration

Incorporating BNPL choices at checkout earlier instead of later provides retailers more opportunities to attract new customers and build a long-term relationship.

Merchants who don't have the BNPL option at check-out, this might be the ideal time to add one to the menu. If they do provide it by placing the BNPL option prominently displayed on their site, especially during checkout or by announcing its availability through marketing, may help further make their brands stand out and increase customer experience clients.

The more noticeable the BNPL option appears on the site of a retailer and the earlier they market the option through email and social channels and social media, the more likely they are to want to know more -- helping the merchant bring shoppers to their website to complete the sale.

BNPL will allow merchants to expand the appeal of their business to those who are looking to purchase items now, but want to control their cash flow, without credit. By allowing the possibility of splitting the total cost of a purchase into like, four payments that are interest free each two weeks, buyers are able to purchase what they want quickly. A few BNPL companies, like Affirm and Affirm, offer long term options of several months up to 3 years for carts with large sizes as well as expensive items.

Although adding yet another payment type on the backend of an online store may seem daunting for smaller merchants already pressed for time, there are options that are quick and simple implementation that can streamline the whole process for the retailer. In this case, they are often able to make use of pre-built eCommerce integrations, for instance the Affirm Payments extension for, to easily add BNPL options to their existing checkout page.

The upside of offering buy today, pay later your Woo store

What benefit does the BNPL integration offer? One benefit is that an integration will streamline the buying procedure for the increasing amount of consumers who would prefer to pay over the period of. In addition, keeping customers on your site and moving them towards the checkout process is essential, especially when it comes to younger customers who have grown up with online commerce. Actually it is reported by The National Retail Federation reports that almost half (46%) of Gen Z respondents consider a seamless checkout process critical to their buying experience.

A key aspect to think about when implementing the integration is how it will affect the shopper. It's important that the customer has the ability to see their payment options as well as go through the approval process without being required to navigate to a different website. By using an integrated system, retailers can make the procedure as simple and painless as possible to the customer, so they don't stand out of selling.

A seamless checkout experience can assist in reducing abandonment of carts. Recent Baymard Institute metastudy of 49 research reports revealed that the cart abandonment rate still hovers around 70 percent but hasn't drastically changed in a decade. The top reason to abandon carts: a checkout procedure that was either too long or complex (22% of cases) and the site didn't offer sufficient payment options (responsible for 13% of cart abandonments). Through the tightly-integrated BNPL solution, merchants can tackle both these issues with customers at the same time.

Which is the best buy now, pay later provider

Selecting the BNPL provider that aligns with your needs as a business and with customer requirements is a crucial aspect in determining the best solution. For example, Affirm provides custom payment options for merchants- these can include both long- and short-term options as well as zero-interest options. With payments that are in line with consumer needs and prices, retailers could increase their affordability to customers and possibly gain a customer over a competitor.

Another unique feature of Affirm is their Adaptive Checkout technology, which dynamically offers the most relevant choices for payment to your customers dependent on each product's price point and the total amount of the cart. The term "personalization" is a part of the game online, Affirm tailors the term length and the APR of each purchase -- delivering several relevant pay-over-time options to the customer, in an easy-to-use experience.

How do you let your customers, both current and future, know about the BNPL choice before they make their purchase? If you're targeting a specific market, you may want to promote it on social media sites. Retail Dive states that 85percent of customers' buying purchases are affected by social media, so advertising the presence of BNPL on these platforms could give you an edge. In case you're targeting Gen Z be aware that 45% of respondents named TikTok as well as Instagram as top apps in influencing their purchase decisions.

As summer can be a slow period for business, there's an opening for merchants to focus on bringing BNPL operational on their websites, ahead of the Back to School rush signals the beginning of the busy period leading up to holiday season. This gives merchants the chance to think carefully concerning vendors, eliminate the technical glitches, and ramp up an effective marketing campaign that announces the addition to BNPL as a new payment option that can be used at the checkout.

Giving the BNPL option when you checkout and publicizing it on social media could be a game changer for merchants looking to capture more online spend--and outplay other merchants.

Are you ready to include flexible payment options to your checkout? Apply for Affirm to begin and then use the Affirm Payments extension for pay-over-time through your payment process.


*Payment options offered by Affirm will be subject to an eligibility test and may not be accessible everywhere, and are provided through these lending partners: affirm.com/lenders.