Fabulous Optical receives up to 20 more customers a month with Acima.
“It’s not easy for most people to pay $500 to $1000 up front. But once they hear about Acima, they’re able to afford it” – Mariah Lopez, Manager
The credit card option wasn’t cutting it. That’s how Mariah Lopez, Manager of Fabulous Optical in Queens, New York puts it mildly. After nearly 17 years in the optical business, starting when she was just sixteen, Lopez has worked with a lot of people in getting fitted for and paying for contacts and lenses. But the customers frequenting her Queens store either preferred not to or simply couldn’t use credit cards to pay for their eyeglasses.
“For a while we tried to push a traditional credit service, but people either didn’t have the money or they’d get denied because they wouldn’t have that 600 to 650 minimum credit score,” says Lopez. “And having to pay one thousand dollars or even a few hundred dollars up front is really hard on most people.”
Paying for glasses on layaway is an option Fabulous Optical has always offered, she said, but there were issues with that, as well.
“We’ve let people who didn’t have the money right then pay us over a month or two, though not always the ideal way. What we really needed was a better financing option.”
Among Fabulous Optical’s several locations in the greater New York City area, a number of them had already been using Acima as their new lease-purchase financing service before the word finally got to Lopez.
“I asked my boss a few times, ‘How does this program work? Can you tell me more about it? I need it!’” Eventually Acima sales rep Allen Mustachi, who had helped the other Fabulous Optical stores successfully come on board with the service, came to visit Lopez. He explained how it worked and set her up in the Queens store. “What I liked right off was that it didn’t have anything to do with a customer’s credit,” says Lopez. “Instead, getting approved is all about having money in your bank account, and whether you currently have a job. That makes it so much easier for people to get approved.”
The sign-up process also impressed Lopez as being simple and straightforward. “Usually, I get on the computer and fill out the online Acima form for our customers, because most of the time they’d rather not do it themselves, and that’s fine,” she says. It takes her 10 to 15 minutes at most to fill out the application. “It’s fast and easy, and everyone likes that. And then they’re usually approved within five minutes, which makes them even happier.”
Lopez also likes Acima’s model of encouraging customers to pay off the lease within three months. “Based on how our customers usually pay, I knew Acima would be successful in this location, because that 90-day payment option is doable for most people.” And so far, so good, she says.
As for the customer service, Lopez was very impressed with how quickly the Acima staff would reach out to each new customer.
“Every time someone signs up, all I have to is say ‘call them’ and someone from Acima gives them a call, immediately. It’s great. I never have to wait more than a few minutes for them to call. That’s what I love about Acima.”
As store manager, Lopez oversees keeping Fabulous Optical growing, and appreciates the new business that Acima has been bringing their store. In just the first two months of using it for customer financing, Lopez says Fabulous Optical has brought in nearly 40 new customers.
Most of Fabulous Optical’s customers are buying lenses or glasses that cost between $500 and $1000, if not more, Lopez says. It’s not easy for most people to pay all that up front. But once they hear about Acima, they’re able to afford it. One example she shares:
“A lady walked in the other day and needed glasses but couldn’t afford them because the kind she needed cost $2,000,” related Lopez. “She was just about to leave empty handed, and then I told her ‘We’re running this 90-day financing option and it might be perfect for you.’ She had no idea. Once we explained it to her, she got approved right there and got her glasses. She was so grateful. She said, ‘If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to see!’ Can you imagine? She would have walked right out the door.”
“We have Acima's sign on the front of the store, and I tell all my customers about,” she says. “If I know they don’t have the money or they’re going to walk away without glasses, we’ll emphasize it even more. Acima is always in my mouth!”
Mariah Lopez, Store Manager
Queens, NY firstname.lastname@example.org