Flexirent's pilot program to deliver consumer financing to IT retailers has been a huge success with Harvey Norman during June and July and the company is now rolling out the plan to other selected retailers.
The joint promotion by Harvey Norman and Flexirent, which saw games consoles given away with all purchase plans over $1500, was so successful that Flexirent had to devote extra human resources to its call centre environment.
With momentum building and other retailers introducing the consumer finance solution, David Berkman, managing director, Flexirent, said: "We are very stretched coping with the additional business that is being generated and have so far appointed 12 extra staff with further recruitment continuing.
"The launch promotion was an outstanding success and we were getting 700 calls per day from people wanting information or applying," he added. "Initially, we didn't know how much demand there would be and were concerned about whether we could provide the level of service required to make this work on a grand scale.
"All those issues have been sorted now and we are very pleased with the uptake from consumers," said Berkman.
Berkman also stated there is a definite profile emerging for the type of consumers interested in purchasing their computers under rental agreement. "They are either people who are coming around to buy their second or third computer - who now appreciate a computer is something you only want to keep for a couple of years before getting a new one," he said.
"There is also a group who have really done their sums and homework in regards to the convenience monthly payments allow and the obsolescence."
The next step in developing Flexirent's consumer product and market sees rental plans being available from many more retailers. Apple Centre outlets will also have the option to sell Apple's new iMac home computer under a Flexirent plan and independent dealers can now apply to offer the product. Berkman warned, however, that not everyone would be immediately eligible.
"There are very strict criteria which need to be met by dealers who wish to offer consumers Flexirent because warranty and after-sales support liability transfers to Flexirent in the event of a dealer disappearing or going broke. For that reason, we need to be selective in the choice of resellers we accredit to sell the consumer finance plans," he said.
Harvey Norman's general manager, computers and communications, Tony Gattari, was also "very pleased" with the response from consumers and the up-sell opportunities offered by Flexirent.
"It has been a huge success and we saw results immediately," said Gattari. "It is still early days, but we are way ahead of budgeted expectations. Making monthly payments gives consumers the opportunity to buy the computer they really want rather than the computer they can afford because they don't have to have the capital up front."