Carrying Christmas and holiday merchandise won’t be the only requirement for keeping merry customers and ensuring holiday profits this year. It’s true that wholesalers and the retailers they supply have been stocking shelves earlier and earlier each year, chasing the estimated $450 billion in holiday spending. However, since experiencing economic turmoil, increasing gas prices, and tight budgets, most U.S. consumers feel they have been sentenced for bad behavior, and are careful when spending a lot this holiday season. In an effort to make the shopping experience fun and affordable once again, retailers are listening to customer requests, innovating for convenience, and testing out new promotional tactics like increasingly popular layaway programs.
Layaway Programs Bring in Consumer Cash
With consumers fretting over additional debt and worried about maxing out their credit cards, many big box retailers and chain stores have implemented layaway programs. This is a good way to entice consumers who may have initially crossed items off their wish list because of price. One of the most recently talked about programs comes from Walmart, says news site, ABC15. “Walmart’s campaign began this year on Oct. 17, and is available only for purchases of $50 or more on electronics and toys. Each item must be worth at least $15, and shoppers will pay a $5 initiation fee, place 10 percent down, and pay off the debt by Dec. 16, or face a $10 cancellation fee,” says the news site.
Following are some other well known retailers, working for customers’ cash:
• Kmart and Sears: year round offer; a deposit of 10 percent of balance or $15, whichever is greater; an 8 or 12 week payment plan, with payments required every two weeks; a cancellation fee of $10.
• TJ Maxx and Marshalls: year round offer; a deposit of 10 percent of balance; a 30 day payment plan and a $5 cancellation fee.
• Toys “R” Us: year round offer; a deposit of 20 percent of balance; shoppers are limited to items that start at $29, with a $10 service fee; a 90 day payment plan, with 50 percent due after 45 days; $10 cancellation fee.
No one says your layaway plan needs to follow these structures or be a year round offer, but the word “layaway” has doubled in interest among U.S. shoppers, as they face the interest charges on their credit cards. Whether your customers are naughty or nice is of no concern to you, because this holiday season it’s all about what the customer wants. Are you giving customers what they want this holiday season?