Ease Consumers' Holiday Season Sticker Shock with Sezzle

Sep 29, 2020
Written by CJ

Alternative payment methods are here to stay.

With all the economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, flexible payment methods like Buy Now Pay Later will become an integral part of the holiday shopping season this year and beyond.

To hear more about the role these publishers will play during this years' Q4 shopping rush, we sat down with Reid Bork, VP of Enterprise Growth at Sezzle to discuss the mission behind their Buy Now Pay Later model, what they're doing to ease consumer anxieties, and how ecommerce merchants can prepare for a surge in traffic this holiday season.


CJ: Tell us a little about Sezzle.

Reid: Sezzle is a rapidly growing fintech company on a mission to financially empower the next generation. Sezzle’s digital payment platform increases purchasing power for more than 1.6 million active consumers by offering interest-free installment plans at online stores and in-store locations. Young generations are straying from traditional credit due to the fear of interest and debt. Because of this, Sezzle created a solution by bridging the gap between the desire to stretch payments and the lack of credit— building a safer way to put purchasing power back into the hands of young consumers. Our buy now, pay later option allows consumers to take control over their spending, be more responsible, and gain access to financial freedom.

When consumers apply, approval is instant, and their credit scores are not negatively impacted. This increase in purchasing power for consumers leads to increased sales and basket sizes for the more than 17,600 active merchants that offer Sezzle in the US and Canada.


CJ: What are your predictions for Cyber Week/Black Friday 2020 as it relates to consumer spending or otherwise?

Reid: This year, we have two more days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than the 2019 holiday season. Admittedly, this may not sound like much, but this means there are an extra 48 hours in the biggest consumer spending occasion of the year. This gap of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the notorious hot spot for retailers—so given an extra 48 hours of shopping potential, stores should use this to their advantage. I expect we'll see shopping increase this year, albeit on lower ticket items than previous holidays as many are still worried about finances and income due to COVID19—and for good reason.

Yet as we have seen, ecommerce has picked up dramatically, and people are sitting around at home looking for ways to find enjoyment—often through online shopping. Given the current situation, a macro trend we will see is the traditional period of holiday shopping stretching out this year, as people find the time to shop sooner and faster online. However, I do think it is safe to assume that as many still worry about income, job stability, and essential needs—the desire for high-ticket items may be somewhat subdued this season.


This is not the time to force marketing ploys down peoples’ throats—it's a time to provide a product that can ease current anxieties.


CJ: How has your upcoming holiday strategy changed this year due to the shift in consumer purchase behavior as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Reid: Our biggest shift in strategy stems from understanding the range of perspectives that consumers have right now. Everyone is affected by this pandemic differently, and many are left without jobs or income. This is not the time to force marketing ploys down peoples’ throats—it's a time to provide a product that can ease current anxieties.

Receiving consumer testimonials with outpouring of gratitude towards Sezzle and the ability to split up payments for necessary purchases (and fun ones) has been the main driver in our team’s dedication throughout this pandemic. Because of this—hearing both our consumer’s economic worries and thankfulness towards our product—our marketing strategy this holiday season is fun, gamified, and lighthearted; rather than an intense mentality that a majority of shoppers find off-putting in today's economic climate. Understanding the broad range of perspectives, anxieties, and opinions that people have right now will be the most vital aspect of holiday marketing strategies for 2020.


CJ: What are some strategies that online retailers should consider for Q4 planning?

Reid: Online retailers should be prepared for perhaps more traffic than one would expect in this climate. With a general consensus of unrest towards in-store shopping, the majority of shoppers will do 100% of their holiday shopping at ecommerce sites. In a recent survey with over 1,500 Sezzle users, we saw that over 60% of shoppers plan on doing all of their 2020 holiday shopping online. This means that ecommerce owners should be ready for a higher amount of traffic this year as shoppers deter from in-store retail, and prepare for this by perfecting the user experience and checkout process.

The stickiest part of the checkout process tends to be payments. Especially when holiday shopping, the sticker shock once shoppers reach checkout can impede their entire purchase decision. This is why having an interest-free installment option like Sezzle for shoppers looking to budget is an important key to this year's holiday shopping. Overall, online retailers should be focusing on the tone of their marketing strategy and the ease of both user experience and check out to best handle customers amid a pandemic in Q4.


If you're interested in partnering with Sezzle this holiday season, contact for more information.

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