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Hair today, pay tomorrow: Toni & Guy introduces new-style PoS

Hairdressing chain Toni & Guy is now offering its customers a new payment option thanks to a recent point of sale (PoS) update.

More than 50 of the company’s corporate-owned salons are now offering buy now, pay later (BNPL) opportunities to their customers, after a link-up between its PoS software provider Salongenius and BNPL business Laybuy. Over time, the partnership could extend to Toni & Guy’s franchise operations in the UK too.

The introduction of Laybuy’s interest-free BNPL platform into the existing in-store software, which is used to process payments and take bookings, means Toni & Guy customers can spread the cost of purchases over six instalments. If a service costs £90, a client will pay £15 up front and then pay the same amount each week for five weeks.

Laybuy, which originates from New Zealand, where hairdressers and salons represent a big market for the BNPL provider, has also recently secured Footsasylum and Alexa Chung as retail clients. In these cases, the technology is integrated into online checkouts.

Integration

Salongenius is the only software company currently integrated with Laybuy across the UK, and the PoS provider’s managing director, Paul Jackson, says it offers Toni & Guy a chance to provide a better customer experience.

But Gary Rohloff, co-founder and managing director of Laybuy, argues the integration is beneficial to the salon too. He notes that salon staff have received training material to help them guide consumers through the sign-up process.

“It’s a better experience for the retailer from an account management perspective if we’re integrated,” he tells Essential Retail, adding that introducing BNPL over a six-week period aligns with the frequency by which many people get their hair cut or coloured. Paying in this way with Toni & Guy will encourage customer retention, says Rohloff.

BNPL movement

The last few years have seen an influx of BNPL providers enter the UK. Klarna has been making waves for several years now, signing up a host of online-only and multichannel retailers to use its platform.

Clearpay, Laybuy, Openpay and Splitit are among the other BNPL options, while some retailers – including AO.com, Shop Direct, and Next – offer their own finance arrangements for customers. Each version has its own proposition, terms and conditions.

“There are really only three players – ourselves, Klarna and Clearpay,” Rohloff suggests, although he acknowledges the market continues to evolve.

“It’s great to have competition because it helps educate the markets, and everybody has to stand on their own laurels. Those with the product that is the simplest for the consumer and the retailer invariably are those that rise to the top.”

Laybuy never charges interest, but a failed payment will result in a £6 penalty charge 24 hours after due date, and a consumer's account being temporarily frozen. A further £6 is charged one week later if payment still has not been received, while 30 days of no payment prompts a debt collection agency’s involvement and defaults are relayed to credit reference agencies.

Laybuy says less than 1% of sales are defaulted, and it sends reminder emails to customers 24 hours before each payment is due to be taken.

Rohloff attributes part of its recent success to its “transparent” approach, which involves credit and affordability checks as customers apply to use Laybuy. “We want to ensure that whatever credit we extend is responsible and based on consumers’ affordability scores that we get from Experian, our third-party provider,” he notes.

The Laybuy boss also says the service helps young people, who are perhaps reticent to use credit cards, to build a credit score.

The BNPL movement in retail and related high street services continues apace, and thanks to Laybuy it’s now alive and well in Toni & Guy salons across the UK.