How are Deko’s merchant clients best equipping themselves to not just manage in 2021, but to thrive? We talk with Zack Stone, managing director of luxury jewellers, Steven Stone, to find out how Deko’s platform is supporting them on their journey.
How has Covid-19 impacted business at Steven Stone?
We have been very lucky in comparison to many. Although we have seen sales slow down during the lockdowns, I’m pleased to say we have a strong website that generates daily sales for the business, along with a loyal customer base.
November’s lockdown didn’t impact us as much as the first one and the one we are currently in.
It’s just frustrating. We’re managing twice the workload when we are open and busy, versus a quarter when we’re not. I don’t think it has significantly impacted those in luxury and online with a solid customer base.
How has the business reacted?
We have made up every single one of the lost sales as soon as we were able to open. Last year, for instance, from mid-June right up until the end of October we were able to pick up on any lost sales from the months before.
The retailers that are new to the market and the more traditional businesses, in every industry I would imagine, are hurting.
Are there any lessons from lockdown in 2020 that are helping through 2021?
Utilising the quiet time to refocus, restrategise and work to improve the overall business. Our experience now tells us that things will once again be manic when we opened up again. So, we are using time to get organised.
Let’s talk retail finance. What attracted the business to Deko in the first place?
As soon as Covid-19 hit the acceptance criteria with our previous partner became very tight. We were getting lots of customers being declined finance and a lower maximum loan limit showed to me that there wasn’t a real interest for them in high- value jewellery transactions, which is what we do.
So, we looked to partner with a business that could help us and we started to talk with Deko. Since we started with Deko they have been there to help and think of different ways that we can improve – it’s that sort of tailored management that sets them apart.
What’s different, for you, about the Deko approach?
What Deko has focused on is the technology that enables users to go through the process quickly, efficiently, and entirely online.
It wasn’t long ago you had to sign a form to apply for credit. I would guess that there aren’t many others in the area that can provide this seamless customer journey. It’s all modern technology with Deko, which is very good, it’s the best in the market.
My message to retailers that haven’t yet integrated finance into their retail experience - focus on it now, while things are quiet.
Are there any clear indicators to suggest you made the right move?
Acceptance rates have risen by close to 25%, which is a healthy increase.
Is the acceptance rate something you are specifically looking to improve?
We look at the data with Deko a lot, so if acceptance rates are down we’ll want to understand whether there’s a direct cause - it could be a run of poor credit scores for instance.
We work with the team at Deko to tweak deposits as well, to find out what causes an uplift and help the business to stay competitive. We’re constantly reviewing APR, asking questions like: Does 0% get a higher accept rate? Can we change something to increase the acceptance rate?
It’s an important factor with Deko, that level of expertise and advice that is given based on the data they are collecting. These are things that a retailer wouldn’t necessarily know.
Want to find out more about our multi-product, multi-lender approach here at Deko? Explore retail finance options today. Also, you can read more about acceptance rates and how to drive them up by reading our recent article here.