How Gem can take your business forward
A good finance offer can act as a lever that lets customers say “Yes!” to a purchase that they might otherwise avoid. Retail finance is associated with a larger basket size than credit cards or cash, and can also open up a retail store to a new pool of shoppers.
Gem, provided by Latitude Financial Services, is an enabler to help grow retailers’ businesses profitably with a payment structure that meets their needs, and allow customers to buy what they want, when they want it.
Latitude Financial Services commercial director Peter Newton says Gem increases average basket size by giving shoppers the option to not only buy what they want, but to upgrade to a better item or purchase add-ons at the same time.
At a furniture store, for example, a shopper might choose to upgrade from a fabric sofa to a leather one, or at an electronics store, they could buy a printer to go with the PC they came in to purchase.
Partnering with Latitude and Gem also opens a retailer up to the company’s pool of loyal existing customers.
On the Gem Visa programme, the company has a card base of over 400,000 customers in New Zealand and $1.2 billion of credit.
“We offer purchasing power and a pool of customers,” says Newton.
Gem charges new consumer clients a one-off establishment fee, after which they can access further credit without any further barriers. This means that the 400,000 shoppers with Gem Visa cards have an incentive to shop with retailers partnered with the company.
As well as its retail finance function, Gem Visa can be used like a standard Visa card on everyday transactions. Any transaction over $250 is automatically interest-free for a minimum of six months.
“It provides that flexibility for bigger purchases, and convenience for everyday,” Newton says.
Gem’s website also provides a level of transparency similar to internet banking. The date upon which consumers’ interest free period expires is clearly visible. By offering transparency, Gem encourages loyalty and repeat business, which is good for both the finance company and its retail partners.
This loyal customer base also means that Gem can market effectively and directly to its clients. Through its email newsletter database, it can share relevant, personalised offers from retail partners directly to the shoppers most likely to take up those opportunities.
This arrangement demonstrates the level to which Gem and its retailers are intertwined, says Latitude Financial Services national sales leader Joel Jeevaratnam.
“We’ve tried to stay in step with retail as it evolves, and be nimble,” he says. “The days of shouting a deal left, right and centre are gone.”
Gem also runs effective content marketing programmes in consumer-facing media, and works with social media influencers like stylist and retailer Alex Fulton, who runs the homewares-focused AFD Store.
Latitude has staff who are able to guide retailers in getting the best out of Gem retail finance, of which Jeevaratnam is one.
He says it’s important to Latitude to prioritise “being Gem partners, versus being suppliers.”
Part of his sales team’s due diligence when developing a partnership with a new merchant includes filtering questions designed to give them an idea of whether finance would benefit the merchant or be a hindrance to it. If it’s a good match, then his team will develop a tailored offer that suits the business, with merchant fees based on scale, volume and other factors.
Jeevaratnam has nine business development managers around the country who support merchants on the programme. There’s also a support team answering the phones and staffing a web chat service.
Gem looks forward to supporting retailers as the industry evolves, and will be changing as fast as retail does.