Goal: Create a simpler in-store experience for both customers and employees while boosting sales.
Simply Mac is one of the best known Apple Premier Partners operating in the U.S. today. With 48 stores nationwide, they go beyond just selling new and pre-owned Apple products. They also offer repairs by Apple-trained technicians and on-site device training from their knowledgeable staff. It’s the closest a customer can get to the full Apple experience without stepping foot in an actual Apple Store.
And that’s exactly what their customers want, according to Tiffany Polmateer, director, purchasing & operations. Many Simply Mac stores are in places where Apple does not have a presence, giving those customers the opportunity to have the hands-on experience they would lack otherwise.
Simply Mac also has a set of core values, called their “S factors,” which are their guiding principles. One of Polmateer’s favorites is simplicity. “We define it as easy to do business with,” she said. “That concept and that feeling should carry out throughout our stores because it really does align with what Apple customers have come to expect.” Everything they do, including the companies they choose to do business with, must align with these core values. It’s a major reason they ended up partnering with Affirm.
Affirm solved a painful in-store experience for customers and employees
When Polmateer first joined Simply Mac in early 2017, she did an audit of their business operations, including their store-branded credit card backed by Synchrony Financial. The store-branded credit card she said, “stuck out as one of the biggest pain points I have ever seen.” She noted that everything was paper-based and manual, ultimately creating a frustrating process that caused more headaches than it solved. “It was a nightmare,” she added because there was no integration or API of any sort, meaning that there was no system that tracked applications between the approval process and the actual purchasing of products.
This lack of a dedicated integration wasn’t just an operational issue but also created a greater potential for fraud. More concerning, however, was that it also allowed for costly operational mistakes due to a confusing procedure for employees. That’s because when a customer, who had been approved for a store-branded credit card went to check out, there was no way to confirm the approval in Simply Mac’s point of sale system. So, When Polmateer learned that Affirm could solve this particular pain point, while also offering a better user experience for both their end customers and employees in addition to boosting their bottom line, she decided to introduce it into a few stores and test it against their current credit card.
Customers prefer Affirm leading to More approvals and larger average order values
It wasn’t long before Simply Mac decided to replace Synchrony’s credit card with Affirm in all of their stores. “It was just such a good flow,” said Polmateer, “that it was kind of a no-brainer.” Since introducing Affirm into their physical stores, they’ve seen a 20 percent increase in average order values above what they were seeing previously.
They’ve also seen better customer engagement with Affirm. Synchrony’s application, Polmateer noted, “looked like it was out of 1984.” The paper-based application wasn’t just a hassle for customers but for the employees walking those customers through it and, as mentioned above, the lack of an integrated system caused further frustrations. But Affirm’s simple, online-based application only asks for five simple pieces of information—name, phone number, email, birthday, and the last four numbers of their social security number— creating a streamlined experience for customers. In fact, Simply Mac has seen 63 percent more unique applications per store, validating the simpler application process. Even better, however, is that more customers are also being approved with 34 percent more unique approvals per store.
The switch to Affirm was about much more than these results but they certainly confirmed the decision. For Polmateer, it was also the fact that Affirm is just an overall better product. “[Affirm] solved all of our headaches in one simple technology solution that was good for everybody,” she said. “Not just us on the backend, but [for the] customers too.” She added that Affirm has also been integral in ushering in a younger customer demographic, which their sales team, in particular, has been excited about.
Leveraging Affirm for a true omnichannel experience
Simply Mac also launched their online store in 2017 and Affirm was there every step of the way. “Affirm, we can honestly say, has driven our online growth almost by itself,” said Polmateer. Currently, Affirm accounts for 81% percent of their total online sales. More than that, however, Affirm is supporting a comprehensive omnichannel solution. “Online needs to be an extension of our stores,” noted Polmateer. “Customers need to be able to buy online, ship to stores, and see the quantity in their local store.”
More importantly, “they need to know that they can use their [financing] account in our stores,” she added. With Affirm, customers can not only pay for their purchases over time in simple monthly installments, but they confidently do so with a single solution whether they’re in a store or online.
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