Coleman Furniture boosted sales through payment innovation

Goal: Make furniture purchases more manageable for shoppers.

Coleman Furniture’s mission is simple: offer customers high-quality furniture at the lowest prices possible. Since its founding in 1999, the company has continuously grown sales, winning over customers with perks like free shipping and White Glove delivery.

In 2016, Coleman was named to the Internet Retailer Top 1000 list and recognized as one of America’s 1,000 largest e-commerce brands. Coleman Furniture has also been ranked as one of the country’s fastest growing retailers.

Coleman Furniture Sales Manager Steven Smith attributes the company’s success, in large part, to its emphasis on simplicity and quality. These guiding principles reveal themselves in the company’s high-caliber product offerings, and extend through to its excellent customer service. Today’s customers, says Smith, are less willing to jump through hoops when making transactions. It is a transparent, hassle-free customer experience that helps Coleman attract new customers, drive conversions, and boast impressive repeat purchase rates.

By adding high-quality and hassle-free financing options to the mix, Coleman Furniture was able to take their customer experience to the next level, setting themselves apart from the competition—and boosting revenue by more than 20%. 

More payment options equals incremental sales

Despite the company’s dedication to offering the lowest possible prices, Coleman Furniture’s core products are, by nature, quite costly. To help customers better afford the furniture they want and need, Coleman Furniture decided to introduce Affirm. By allowing shoppers to break down an item’s cost into monthly installments over 3, 6, or 12 months, an otherwise out-of-budget sofa or kitchen table becomes suddenly within reach for many customers.

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Coleman Furniture, which also offers PayPal as a payment option, found that Affirm filled a gap that has attracted an entirely new consumer group. Because Affirm considers data beyond the traditional FICO score within its underwriting model, the platform is able to extend credit to significantly more responsible consumers. And Coleman is seeing the benefit—many of those checking out with Affirm may not have the cash on hand to pay for expensive furniture upfront or the payment history necessary to access traditional credit. This is also translating into a younger customer with one-third of Coleman’s Affirm users being under 34 years of age.

Yet Smith says that even customers who do have the funds for their furniture purchases are quick to take advantage of financing options. He frequently sees these shoppers upgrading to higher quality items after learning of the payment flexibility made possible by Affirm.

“By knowing they can stretch out [their payment] over a year, it gives customers the idea that, ‘I can spend another $3000 and buy this better set that I really want, as opposed to this $1000 that I’ll settle for if I have to,’” Smith explained. Today, Affirm makes up one-third of Coleman’s total sales.

Affirm is easing the purchasing process for customers

Coleman Furniture knew that partnering with Affirm made sense for their business. What they didn’t anticipate was just how much customers would love the financing tool.

The ability to spread out payments has been a gamechanger for shoppers, who no longer have to wait months to save up for a sofa for their new apartment, or settle due to cost. “They’re able to actually buy everything that they really want, so we’re getting happier customers,” said Smith.

Coleman Furniture has noticed a trend among customers who checkout with Affirm—they continue to buy again. In fact, 20% of Affirm shoppers return to finance another purchase. These shoppers, who see how simple it is to pay off their Affirm loan, grow eager to take advantage of the service to fund their next big purchase. They may even tell their friends to do the same.

“So far we’ve had absolutely zero problems. Nobody has called to complain,” said Smith, who notes the significance of this silence in an industry where complaints are commonplace.

Customers’ reception of Affirm has been so positive that Coleman Furniture’s sales team has made it a best practice to ensure every customer knows about the option. They find that learning about Affirm is often what makes customers feel empowered to take the plunge on a purchase they’ve long been contemplating.

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Coleman Furniture has also leveraged the power of Affirm through their social media channels and marketing emails, letting browsing shoppers know about financing options early on in the purchasing process. Smith said there’s a particular emphasis on highlighting Affirm in abandon cart emails, since it is often the high total price point that caused the consumer to abandon their cart in the first place.

“When we reach back out to them, we always include Affirm,” explained Smith. “That way, they’ll see the option to finance [their purchase], and can actually get the furniture they want without having to wait—or settle for something else.”

Says Smith of the company’s Affirm partnership, “It’s one of the best things we ever did.”