Wow, what a ride! It’s now been over 15 months since Laybuy became a reality and it’s already taking us all over the world. As I write this, ready and waiting to do the latest time-zone hop - having snatched a few quiet moments in an airport lounge - I couldn’t think of a better time to look back at the story so far and how I got here; surrounded by travellers from all walks of life, as we wait to board.
For those of you new to the Laybuy story, this journey began with my son Alex and I identifying a gap in the market for a new payment model. A way to change how consumers pay for goods and services, in-store and online, that benefited the merchants as well. Combining Alex’s millennial mindset and my years as a retail-exec, we set the foundation for giving consumers a fresh new flexibility.
Laybuy gives shoppers the convenience of receiving goods or services immediately, from hiking gear and handbags to haircuts and singing lessons, while spreading payments over 6 interest-free weekly payments. We’ve found this is the real sweet spot for helping shoppers manage payments in line with their budgeting habits, whether paid weekly or monthly. There was an opportunity to shake things up and we took it.
Here are a few key things I’ve learned so far:
Innovation and agility will turn things around for retail
When it comes to the other side of the store-front, the merchants themselves, for years I experienced first-hand the pain points and the challenges they continue to go through.
When was the last time a week went by without a new story detailing the challenges facing retail brands? It’s from this place of understanding that we’ve built Laybuy into a service that helps solve those challenges - giving merchants more headspace to focus on creating innovative and exciting experiences for consumers. Our merchants receive payment within 48 hours, risk free, whilst sales grow thanks to making purchasing more convenient and aspirational products more accessible. Laybuy Merchants are experiencing average order value uplifts of up to 60% and conversion rate increases of 50% and more.
Be it the high rate of free returns or the constant discounting, that often devalues products and brands, retail is experiencing an unsustainable, challenging period. It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to change the game, just evolve the rules. We’ve seen compelling reductions in the returns rates plaguing the industry right now. Our merchants have experienced a 85% reduction in the returns %’s (on average) from 25% to just 3.75%.
By focussing on how consumers and retailers can both win, I believe we can strengthen the industry and improve the experience for consumers.
We’ve come a long way, but we’re just getting started
Laybuy is now available in over 2,750 online and physical stores across New Zealand, our original market, and we already count more than 5% of the voting population as our customers. We recently launched (quietly) in Australia and will be announcing some of Australia’s most recognized retailers as Laybuy Merchants soon. Not being a bunch to rest on our laurels, we’re showing no signs of slowing down: In fact, it’s highly likely you’ll be reading this on our newly launched global siteas we look beyond our Antipodean roots and continue to expand the Laybuy family into exciting new markets.
There’s real value (and joy) in taking time to reflect on progress
As I reflect on just how far we have come over such a short time, it’s all too easy to get excited about where this journey will take us next;but I’ve learned that with every step forward, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the experiences and successes as well as the lessons learned. To quote Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Your business is only as good as your team
The real highlight for me, so far at least, has been building a truly outstanding team. This diverse group of people has wholeheartedly embraced the fast-paced culture we’re developing, and the results are clear: At Laybuy we get sh*t done, love our customers and are never satisfied with the status quo. If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.
Last call for boarding. Until next time, whatever your destination, look around now and again and enjoy the journey.