Like a lot of retailers, providing credit to customers who wanted to purchase its products was a big problem for Sweet Deals Mattress and Furniture.
Over the years, the Indianapolis-based retailer tried multiple financing companies that did not work out. Some made the process of getting funded too complicated. Some even offered dubious plans where customers ended up paying four or five times more in interest than the cost of the furniture.
As a result, the company’s reputation suffered. Some customers never came back, says owner James Phillips, resulting in lower return business.
Then the company went with a finance program through Acima Credit that allows customers to apply online or at the point of sale. Acima CEO Aaron Allred calls the process “incredibly fast and friendly.”
Customers applying for financing are asked four basic questions about their income and finance history; there is no credit check. If a customer’s answers to the four questions are acceptable, they are automatically approved and can be signing the documents to purchase or lease furniture a minute or two later.
If customers pay off the loan within 90 days, Acima closes the account for the amount financed. If customers need 12 months or more to pay off the loan, a payment schedule can be set up to coincide with customer payroll dates.
Since starting the program with Acima, Sweet Deals’ financing has increased by more than 60 percent. Overall sales are up by about 25 percent since using the financing plan, the retailer’s executives say.
Minimal changes were required to set up the program. “The main thing was putting Acima on our website,” Phillips says. “Acima helped us with our website, our marketing programs and other things.”
Transitioning to the Acima program took less than 24 hours to implement.
When looking at finance options, Sweet Deals found several components of the Acima offering more attractive than others. “Two things about Acima caught my attention right away,” Phillips says. “One was the overall financing system and formula that was better than other systems we looked at. But it was the personal service that was up and away better than the others.”
Service is especially attractive. “They gave us a hotline, a chat bar and best of all, we have an account rep — Joseph — who gives us his personal phone number and we can call him any day of the week, any time of day,” Phillips says. “And he’s so easy to work with.”
The lower costs to consumers allow Sweet Deals’ customers to obtain the items they want to buy.
“This plan gives us better approval rates and is fast in funding,” Phillips says.
Lauri Giesen is a Libertyville, Ill.-based business writer with extensive experience in covering payment and finance issues.