Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Layaway Plan

Wouldn't you love to layaway these Gabrielle Bruni Earrings and Necklace?


Wal-Mart has been advertising the return of their layaway plan which began on October 17th. Retailers are getting back into the self financing of their products. The premise is simple. The customer picks out something that they need or want and then the item is held at the store for 90 days. The customer makes bi-weekly or monthly payments over the next 90 days until the balance is paid. If the customer begins this process in a timely manner their items will be paid for in time for the holidays, simple.

Believe it or not, I’ve purchased art in this manner. I fell in love with an expensive piece of pottery that I did not have the total cash outlay for immediately. The gallery was willing to take my credit card and then charged it each month for the next 90 days. When the last payment was made the artwork was shipped. This gave me an opportunity to pay off the credit card balance at the end of the month, no interest, and I now own a piece of awesome artwork. According to an article by JCK magazine layaway is making a comeback. “An overwhelming majority (71 percent) of consumers are open to using layaway plans in the next six months, according to a survey released by ConsumerSearch.com, part of the About Group.”[1]

In these hard financial times consumers are looking at unique methods of acquiring needed merchandise or gifts for the holidays. Consumers are looking for an alternative to paying cash all up front or using a credit card with potential high interest rates. Consumers have less money to spend so they are carefully weighing their options. This leads to the question, if more consumers like the concept of a layaway plan, should I implement one for my website? This is a tough question.

 First off, a consumer may not want to layaway something on a website. When Wal-Mart implements layaway, consumers shop and browse just like they normally would in the store. They pick out the items that they want and then bring them to the customer service desk and sign up for layaway for those products. The experience is similar to a normal shopping trip except you go to customer service instead of checkout. I am not so sure this will work for an on-line store. Part of the fun of on-line shopping is the short wait for the item. You pick out something, order it, and then wait for the delivery guy to arrive with your prize. If someone has to wait 90 days for their product to arrive, it might be more anticipation then the average person can stand.

Since I have several trunk shows coming up in the near future I will try and take an informal survey of layaway. It might be different when the product is right there to be handled, tried on and admired. You never know, there might be people who love layaway and are willing to give it a try.


[1] JCK News Daily, Survey: Most Consumers Open to Using Layaway, October 17th, 2011.

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