BUSINESS Buy Now, Pay-Over-Time Helps Expedite In-Store Eyewear Purchases By Marge Axelrad Thursday, March 17, 2022 1:28 AM RELATED CONTENT New Ways to Pay Financing Options Help Patients Access Specialty Clinical Eyecare and Quality Eyewear One of the more pronounced trends to emerge strongly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rise of digital and online shopping and along with that, the rise of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) approaches to retail payments. Accompanying a range of retailers using new flexible payment options has been the advent of companies like Sunbit, which has specifically targeted the need for flexible payment and fast credit approval options for business sectors where physical store customers also need more varied flex payment options. As Sunbit’s Tal Riesenfeld, co-founder and head of sales pointed out, the company specifically set out to strategically focus on certain types of business (auto service centers) and, then, specialty health care (vision/eyewear/optometry providers) where purchases considered to be a necessity also required pay-over-time choices. Today, Sunbit is gaining traction in the optical/vision care retail space, serving such regional optical players as Dr. Tavel Eye Care, Henry Ford Optimeyes, Eyemart Express and many smaller independent practice offices, too. Riesenfeld said, “We recognized that the vast majority of Americans are looking for new ways to extend payments in several situations. Sometimes it’s the auto service dealer where they have a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP so they can get to work and they’re looking to manage a more flexible payment approach. In an optical location, they want to have new flex pay options for an eyeglass purchase—or an additional pair purchase—and ‘pay-over-time’ just gives them so much more flexibility.” The Sunbit website offers demos of how it works and Riesenfeld pointed out, “The process from an on-site or online application, with a scan of their driver’s license, takes about 30 seconds to approve them for a certain overall dollar amount with a ‘soft’ credit check—some 90 percent receive approvals that quickly. “And then they can make the choice of the number of payments they’d like pay for that particular purchase amount. The practice location staff loves the process because it’s so quick, intuitive and easy that it’s something they can confidently bring up to patients right on site.” Kent Iglehart, general manager of Indiana’s Dr. Tavel Optical Group stated, “The results were jaw-dropping for us—the patients using Sunbit spent 123 percent more than they spent during their previous visit. It is overwhelmingly clear that Sunbit unlocks additional spending that patients would not otherwise have.” Dr. Athena Brasfield, owner and optometrist of Coachella Valley Optometry in Indio, Calif., added, “Since bringing on Sunbit technology less than three months ago, we’ve increased our revenue by $95,000 and doubled our capture rate. Sunbit has increased our multiple pair sales by 66.5 percent. I only wish I found this tool sooner.” Riesenfeld said, “People often think that BNPL ideas work best online, but we have seen that they are super effective when offered in-store or in-office when patients are making decisions about how much to spend. It’s important to remember that today, about four in 10 Americans have enough savings to cover an unplanned expense of $1,000, meaning more than half would need to find other means to pay for an unexpected car repair or emergency room visit, according to a Bankrate survey.” Sunbit’s Riesenfeld said, “Today’s inflation concerns are also impacting household finances tremendously. And holding back many Americans’ ability to save for unplanned expenses. You know, today, our average transaction in eyewear is probably $400. And dentistry is $1,200. “The way we train the associates is that ‘this is an amenity, offered to all customers. Your financial circumstances are not our concern but this is an easy, quick process. It’s Buy Now, Pay Later, like you’re seeing online and we have the option for you.’ That conversation is pretty easy to have. If they have insurance plans, they might cover some of the purchase, but Sunbit enables them to pay for the remaining amount."