Layaway is back! And now it’s easier than ever with online eLayaway.
With the ease of credit cards and increased usage in the 1990s and early 2000s, many retailers canceled their layaway services, but with the economy still struggling after the 2008 swoon, layaway is back in a big way this holiday season.
Layaway the Old-Fashioned Way
Although there are now some online alternatives, a number of stores are bringing back layaway the old-fashioned, in-store way for the holidays.
Box store giant Walmart announced in September that it would bring back layaway for the 2011 holiday season, after five years of discontinued service. Shoppers are limited to electronics, toys, and jewelry, and there are very specific pick and payment rules, but it has led to an increase in revenue for the Walmart empire.
Electronics superstore Best Buy will also offer its clients layaway options this fall. To make the process easier on shoppers, Best Buy is offering a Layaway Card which can be used to make biweekly payments online – although the initial purchase must be made in the store. Unlike some of the other layaway offers, Best Buy will charge a 5% layaway fee, which is still less than typical credit card interest.
Toy store Toys “R” Us got back into the layaway game in 2009, and is once again be promoting this payment option for the holidays. But not everything is fair game. There is a list of available items ranging from video game hardware to dollhouses, and most anything in between.
eLayaway – The New Way to Layaway
But not everyone has the time to shop in the store at these layaway retailers. For the shoppers that want the service but can’t make it to the store, there is eLayaway.com.
Boasting online layaway from retailers like the Apple Store, Bass Pro Shop, and the Disney Store, eLayaway has lots of options to help make this holiday season a success.
Although October, November, and December are traditionally the biggest layaway months, eLayaway also has products and services that could entice shoppers to use layaway year round.
For the romantics out there, eLayaway gives the option to put engagement rings and other major jewelry purchases on layaway.
Spinoff site eLayaway Sports allows sports fans to pay for season tickets in a more manageable way.
eLayaway Travel helps jetsetters to plan and pay for a dream vacation without the necessity of a lump sum of cash in hand.
And eLayaway Health gives shoppers interested in elective procedures the option to pay for them over time, allowing more people access to pricey cosmetic treatments.
eLayaway may be blazing a trail into online layaway, but old standby Sears is also getting into the action, offering customers the ability to use layaway services on purchases made in the store or on their website. Sears brought layaway back in 2008, and whether shoppers are looking for big ticket holiday gifts or a new microwave oven, layaway online makes the process very easy.
Problems with Layaway
Although layaway can really help people that don’t have the cash to buy expensive gifts for the holidays, there are downsides that customers should look into before making a layaway purchase.
Some retailers charge a cancelation fee if a customer decides they no longer want the item they have on layaway.
Because customers have to make the purchase months before the holidays to have it paid off in time, it is possible that holiday deals and sales could be missed. Shoppers should check to see if retailers are willing to honor sale prices for layaway items.
In addition, there are always some additional fees associated with layaway, which can make the cost of the items on layaway prohibitively high.
Also, limited selection of items that can be put on layafway could mean that shoppers are not able to get what they really want.
Although there are things to be wary of, and it’s always important to do the research before putting an item on layaway, it can make the difference between a hard holiday, and a season to remember.
Author: Brendan Purves