As buy-it-now, pay-later provider Affirm reaches its tenth year of business, the company is looking to expand its merchant base.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it was extending its partnership with second-hand market platform Poshmark for two years. The company has also partnered with a crafts retailer michaels last December and January, the company launched a Google Chrome browser extension this would allow consumers to use Affirm on essentially any retailer’s website.
Founded in 2012, Affirm was one of BNPL’s pioneering solutions in the US – Casper, Wayfair and Peloton were among its first partners. Now partnered with nearly 170,000 active merchants, Geoff Kott, Affirm’s chief revenue officer, said Affirm plans to not only continue to add more merchants to its list, but also expand its partner relationships. existing. Affirm’s revenue in its fiscal second quarter results rose 77% year-over-year to $361 million, as growth in its new merchants and revenue was largely driven by Amazon and Shopify partnerships.
Affirm has taken several steps to introduce new products and features to its ecosystem. In January, the company launched the Affirm SuperApp which consolidates its purchases, payments and financial services in one place and allows consumers to search for exclusive offers from their favorite merchants. Affirm also completed its acquisition of Returnly, a return solutions provider, in May, which allows eligible customers to receive instant merchant credit when they initiate returns. Together, these moves are designed to position Affirm as more than just a buy now, pay later provider.
Even in an inflationary environment and an increasingly crowded category, Kott believes the company is well positioned for growth. Kott told Modern Retail how the company views growth in this environment and how it stands out from its competitors. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The BNPL space is booming right now with so many players establishing themselves in the space. How does Affirm plan to stand out?
When you think about what has always made Affirm special – or in this case, differentiated – in what is an increasingly crowded market…I underscore what I have believed since day one has been unrivaled technology. Here we are talking about technology that not only allows us to have a seamless and faster experience with the consumer, but also to be able to introduce things like exclusive subscription.
Our ability to process a wide range of transactions – coupled with the idea that we never hit consumers with hidden fees later – really makes us a partner of choice when you think of any merchants looking to integrate Affirm into the point of sale.
We could… [help merchants] avoid the need for discount and that’s really important. We know how important it is for our merchant partners to retain and maintain brand value.
Last year, you completed the acquisition of Returnly. What have been your biggest takeaways?
As we continue to grow, [we think of] the ways in which we can accelerate the introduction of new and innovative products and, frankly, top quality people into the Affirm ecosystem, and in turn, deliver results to merchants and consumers.
What we’ve seen with Returnly is that there’s been a lot of genuine interest…in terms of our ability to effectively maintain the sale with the merchant, and for the funds to not leave the ecosystem.
We’re continually providing – and we’ve talked about Returnly as an example – merchants with more tools to support their growth.
Are there certain categories in which Affirm sees potential right now?
We are always reviewing the ways consumers spend and determining how best to introduce Affirm into these categories. I will differ [revealing] all of the potential short-term segments we’re looking at here.
But certainly we’ve seen material strength and growing strength in our travel verticals, for example, where we have very strong partnerships with American Airlines and Delta Vacations.
Connected fitness continues to be a strong segment for us when it comes to Pelotons and Tonals around the world.
As inflation rises, how does this change people’s use of buy now, pay later?
We believe Affirm is in a very strong position, certainly to continue to grow as retailers continue to grapple with challenges related to inflation and issues such as supply chain delays.
When we think of inflation, it is certain that it could, by definition, reduce the purchasing power of consumers. But…we really believe Affirm can help them get it back.
Along with rising rates, this actually makes our 0% APR financing option much more attractive and user-friendly when you think about the potential risks to the consumer when thinking about rising rates. We expect… to stand as a real differentiator certainly as these macro inflationary pressures continue to emerge.