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Should you be offering consumer credit in your store, and if so, through which provider?
We recently spoke to three Australian bicycle retailers who could hardly have been more diverse in terms of their geographical spread and business formats.
One business has been built around bike hire and hosting rides on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, another is a diversified store in a popular cycling area just south of Melbourne and the third is an e-specialist in one of Perth’s wealthiest areas.
Despite this diversity, they all have customers not only asking for, but even assuming, that their store can offer them a credit finance service for their purchases.
Here are their experiences…
Jakub Pszczola manages Bikemore located in the inner western Perth suburb of Subiaco. Located on the Swan River and Indian Ocean side of town, it is surrounded by some of Perth’s wealthiest suburbs.
“We’re in a transitional period,” Jakub explained when describing his business. “We started selling scooters many years ago. Then a couple of years later we heard about electric bikes and started importing them and they’ve now taken over the scooter business as our largest category.
“Now we’re becoming the first store in WA to specialise in any form of electric transport. We want to be the headliners of any type of electric transport solution.”
Even if this relatively upmarket area, Jakub sees demand for consumer credit. “A lot of people here can afford to pay cash for an electric bike. But some clients who want to buy a $3,000 bike might not have the cash,” he said.
“We’ve been using Payright for just over six months. Our customers like the fact that they can pay, say, $45 per week but take the bike straight away. Not like layby where they have to pay it off first, so it’s coming out of your bank account but you don’t have anything yet to show for it.
“The customer has two choices. We can do the application for them or they also have an online API that they can download and put the bike in the basket, choose their Payright option and apply. It takes about 20 minutes to verify their credit score and approve it and they can be riding that bike in half an hour.
“We’ve never had a client call us and say they don’t know how to use the Payright system, unlike some other options where we’ve had some consumer queries in the past.”
Jakub has also been happy with Payright’s support of his business. “They’ve been phenomenal,” he said. “Their back up support, I have to say that the amount of help I had when starting up, training, and feedback was top level, like an AppleCare experience, which I really liked.
“You can see that there is young blood in Payright. It’s all about the end user, the consumer and I like their focus on that.
“Their facility is seamless. I couldn’t be happier.”
Meanwhile, 4,000 kilometres away on the golden sands of Noosa and the Sunshine coast, a new company is offering a range of diverse services including e-fatbike rides along the beaches.
Just under four years ago, Darren Walters founded Ecotekk which hires and runs tours on electric bikes in the Noosa and Sunshine Coast regions. Once customers experience the fun of these rides, they’re often keen to buy a bike.
Darren’s business has been going through tumultuous times since Covid 19 with hires and tours at first plummeting but bike sales picking up.
Then as the nationwide lack of bike stock started to bite, bike sales fell. But lockdown started to ease and tourism resumed, so hires have been going even better than before.
“I’ve been using Payright for about a year an a half now, Darren recalled. “It gives people more choice. A lot of people don’t have the cash to buy an ebike outright. But they can put down a minimum 10% deposit then make weekly payments over a year.
“One lady had an old electric bike which broke down, so she was catching public transport. But it worked out cheaper for her to buy a new bike through Payright because her repayments were cheaper than her payments for public transport. She’s actually saving $10 per week and she’ll own the bike after one year.”
Customers can also choose to pay fortnightly or monthly. Darren continued, “There’s a lot of interest in electric bikes here. We start at $1,699 through to $4,000 but around about $2,000 is our most popular price point. We sell to everyday people who just want to get out and ride, but haven’t ridden for many years. Once they ride one, they realise how easy and fun it is.
“Most definitely Payright has helped get sales over the line when people didn’t have the cash.
My best friend was one of our first customers to use it. The approval process is very easy. They can do it at their own home. It’s private for the customer because I don’t have to ask them any questions. I put their contact details into the Payright system and they are emailed directly by Payright to complete the application in their own time.
“I’d highly recommend Payright,” Darren concluded. “I’ve tried another company, but they were a lot more difficult to deal with. Payright is an easy system with great service. It’s great for both the customer and the retailer.”
Of the three stores we spoke to, Chain Brain is the closest to a typical suburban diversified bicycle dealer, but with a new, dynamic duo who’ve recently taken over and expanded the business.
“Chain Brain is a premium bike retail and workshop on the Mornington Peninsula owned by my wife and myself,” said Scott Pimlott. “We bought the business 12 months ago. I’m a local rider and thought the area could benefit from a retail store so we bought the business and expanded the new bike sales, clothing and everything that goes with it.
“We’re at Dromana at the bottom of the Red Hill mountain bike park, plus we’ve got the iconic Arthur’s Seat road climb.
“We started looking into Payright after about six months. It was just a natural progression for our retail service to customers. Many people like the advantage of being able to pay things off rather than find the lump sum.
“Payright is a local business, that’s a key driver to us. The owners are local and support our store, so it was a no-brainer for us to support them.
“Usually the purchases are from the $4,000 mark and up. It’s across the whole board of road bikes, mountain bikes or ebikes. It’s not brand specific, it’s just down to the consumer.
Customers Want Service and Speed
Coming from a business background outside of the bike industry has given Scott a fresh perspective on what our sometimes hide-bound industry needs.
“These days consumer credit is a big part of retail,” Scott stated. “Your customers expect you to have it. In the early days when we weren’t offering this service, we definitely lost sales. But since then it has turned into sales.
“It also has to be quick and easy. The transaction needs to be swift. That’s probably the biggest thing for a retail store. My dealings with consumers when offering Payright to them are smooth and easy.”
Scott’s customers all use the Payright software to enter their own application details, which lets him focus on his core business.
“I’m a retail sales person,” he explained. “I don’t feel comfortable delving into customers’ personal financial details, so I encourage them to take the Payright application and do it in their own private space.
“Getting a hold of the Payright guys when we do need assistance, they’re always there to answer our questions, so from a B2B side of things it’s flawless.”
Given his positive experience, it’s not surprising that Scott was happy to recommend the Payright service.
“I would 100% encourage other bicycle retailers to do it. If not for the ease, but also to support a local Melbourne family business that has developed it. I think the more that local businesses support other local businesses, the better.”
For more information on Payright, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 338 496.