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12/07/2021

Belk brings ‘buy now, pay later’ to stores and e-commerce site

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Belk
Belk is partnering with a major ‘buy now, pay later’ provider.

Shoppers at Belk now have the option to divide their payments into four interest-free installments.

The Southeastern regional department store chain is partnering with buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform Afterpay to give customers the opportunity to have flexible payment options when shopping, both in-store and online. Belk customers using Afterpay can make purchases and pay for them in four interest-free installments, due every two weeks.

Shoppers will receive their products upfront just like any other purchase method, but have the option to pay over time without taking out a traditional loan or paying any upfront interest. The service is completely free for consumers who pay on time. 

Afterpay uses a one-time card to facilitate the purchase. The payment details are automatically populated at checkout, helping to ensure a seamless checkout experience. Eligible customers can choose these retailers in the Afterpay Shop Directory and then pay with Afterpay. According to Belk, it is already seeing a 50% increase in average order values for customers using Afterpay.

BNPL continues to grow as a popular omnichannel payment option. Financial payments company Square recently acquired Afterpay in a $29 billion megadeal. Square made that significant purchase as Afterpay has been adding a number of major retailers to its platform.

Retailers including Petsmart, Amazon, CVS, Dell, Kroger, Macy's, Nike, Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Sephora, Target, Victoria's Secret, Walgreens, and Yeti now all offer the Afterpay flexible payment option via the Afterpay mobile app to pay in four interest-free installments. Retailers including The Container StoreGap Inc., and Urban Outfitters have also rolled out Afterpay flexible payments in the past few years.

More broadly, 45.1 million U.S consumers ages 14 and older will use a BNPL platform this year, up 81.2% over last year, according to eMarketer. This represents more than one-fifth (21.5%) of digital buyers in the United States. By 2025, the figure will grow to more than one-third. Younger consumers are driving adoption of flexible payments, eMarketer said. Millennials account for 42.7% of BNPL, followed by Gen Zers, which account for 30.3%.

"We always strive to give customers the best and most convenient options for their shopping experience, and they've really responded to the Buy Now, Pay Later model, especially younger customers," said Nir Patel, Belk CEO. "Afterpay gives them peace of mind when making purchases, knowing they'll have flexible terms when they buy from Belk."

"We know that consumers are using Afterpay for everything they want and need in their daily lives, which is why expanding to a retailer like Belk is so important," said Zahir Khoja, Afterpay GM of North America. "Consumers can shop a variety of brands while avoiding extended debt, interest and hidden fees, and from the response so far, it's clear that Afterpay customers are seeing the value in Belk as a one-stop shopping destination for holiday gift-giving and beyond."

Belk, whose roots date back to 1888, is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and operates nearly 300 Belk stores in 16 Southeastern states. It filed for bankruptcy on February 24, 2021 with an expedited “pre-packaged, one-day” reorganization. Its plan was approved by the court the next day. The company did not close any stores as part of its plan.