Retailers jump on ‘buy now, pay later’ trend as holidays approach

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology

Leading retail chains including Neiman Marcus, Saks Off 5th, GameStop, and Express are adopting various omnichannel flex payment platforms.

With industry experts such as the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicting increasing online sales will drive overall holiday sales growth compared to 2019, retailers are scrambling to ease their digital purchase process. As Black Friday weekend approaches, Neiman Marcus, Saks Off 5th, GameStop, and Express have all launched or expanded flex payment solutions that enable online (and in some cases, in-store) shoppers to divide payments into interest-free or low-interest installments.

Following is a brief overview of each retailer’s efforts to offer digital installment payments to shoppers this holiday season – and beyond.

Neiman Marcus Group 
Neiman Marcus is partnering with financial products and service company Affirm to enable eligible customers to split the total cost of any online purchase over $50 into simple payments with terms from six weeks to 36 months, depending on the cart size, for as low as 0% annual percentage rate (APR). Customers are shown the total cost of their purchase upfront and will never pay more than they agree to. Affirm never charges customers any late or hidden fees.

"Neiman Marcus was founded on the principle of building long-lasting and meaningful relationships with our customers. We are committed to providing all shoppers with access to leading luxury fashion and high-end products, paired with superior service," said Katie Mullen, chief digital officer, Neiman Marcus Group. "Partnering with Affirm not only allows us to reach customers who need payment flexibility and price transparency in the way they pay, but also increases our sales and average order value."

Saks Off 5th
Saks Off 5th is providing online shoppers access to the Klarna buy now, pay later omnichannel payment service at checkout. Customers will have the option of splitting their purchases into four interest-free payments via the Klarna platform. 

"At Saks Off 5th, we continue to see great opportunity ahead with our digital business and are focused on identifying innovative ways to enhance our online experience for our customers," said Paige Thomas, president & CEO, Saks Off 5th. "Our partnership with Klarna enables us to offer a more inclusive and convenient digital shopping environment, so our customers have easy access to the designer brands they love and trust with greater financial control." 

GameStop Corp.
GameStop Corp. is making the Sezzle buy now, pay later platform available at its more than 3,300 U.S. retail stores, as well as its e-commerce site and mobile app. The video game retailer has already been offering an installment payment option to brick-and-mortar and digital customers via the Klarna platform since late October 2020.

"We recognize the continued growth of the gaming community and its influence on today's culture," said Sezzle president Paul Paradis. "Sezzle is thrilled to offer GameStop's buyers a safe, financially responsible way to build good credit as they spend this holiday.”

Express Inc.
Express is also partnering with Klarna to enable online customers to purchase items with four equal, interest-free payments via its platform. Earlier in November, Express and Klarna kicked off the "Express Cheer" holiday campaign. Each week through Dec. 21, the companies are awarding 100 prizes of $100 gift cards to customers who use Klarna when checking out at - for a total of 700 winners, including one grand prize winner who will receive a $1,000 Express gift card.

"Partnering with Klarna allows us to offer our customers the ease and flexibility of alternative payments this holiday season," said Brian Seewald, senior VP, e-commerce at Express. "You might say it's our way to help make the holidays a little happier."

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