Drs. Foster and Smith Signs on with Bill Me Later

Drs. Foster and Smith, a provider of pet supplies and information, is now offering its customers the ability to pay for Website and catalog purchases with Bill Me Later, a secure alternative payments system which allows online shoppers to purchase items without the use of a credit card and pay for them later.

With Bill Me Later, customers can purchase items and then receive an email “bill” which can be paid electronically, or by regular mail, in increments. Customers can also opt to have their checking account automatically debited. Customers with good credit scores can apply for and receive a secure line of credit instantly through a fast, easy-to-use online application process. The new alternative payments system has already been deployed by major online retailers and catalog companies, including Amazon.com, Cabela’s, Ross-Simons, Walmart.com, eToys.com, Brookstone, Orvis, Petco.com and Continental Airlines.

Gordon Magee, head of Internet marketing and data analysis at Drs. Foster and Smith, said in a press release that his company considered many factors when evaluating alternative payment options, including ROI, ease of implementation, flexibility and marketing opportunities. He said Bill Me Later was selected because of the benefits it brought to the table.

Privately-owned and venture-backed Bill Me Later claims its proprietary technology allows retailers to “simplify the payment experience to capture lost sales, increase customer loyalty and maximize profits.” Merchants who sign up for the program have acess to the Bill Me Later product suite, which also includes a private label credit card program as well as integrated marketing programs and consumer offers.

The Timonium, MD-based company also recently inroduced Bill Me Later Business, which provides a secure credit facility to small businesses and gives them instant buying power and deferred payment options. The purchase financing technology combines instant credit with integrated marketing tactics to increase sales for B2B suppliers, while lowering operating costs. With Bill Me Later Business, a small company can eliminate the cost and effort of credit review, invoicing and collecting on in-house credit programs.

As part of a promotional effort to get customers to use the new service, Drs. Foster and Smith is offering no payments for 90 days on purchases of $150 or more made with Bill Me Later.

“Drs. Foster and Smith is admired for delivering veterinarian-selected products and information discerning customers have come to rely on,” said Vince Talbert, vice president of marketing at Bill Me Later, Inc. “Bill Me Later complements this experience, allowing Drs. Foster and Smith to extend the quality and convenience of their brand through to the checkout process.”

Privately-owned Doctors Foster and Smith, is a catalog and online seller of pet supplies and pharmaceuticals. The company serves millions of pet owners by providing extensive veterinarian-supported advice, information and quality pet products.

Earlier this month, AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc., announced a new promotion offering special savings to customers who book their spring and summer travel using the Bill Me Later feature on its Website. This will allow Airtran customers to pay for their travel purchases online without providing credit card information.

Alternative payment and marketing technology systems are a new trend in e-commerce and represent the first new payment methods since credit cards to be broadly available within the U.S.

According to the recently-released 2008 Alternative Payments Survey, sponsored by TrialPay (a Bill Me Later competitor), 54% of online shoppers actively look for alternative payment methods when shopping online. The study also finds that 75% of online shoppers have used an alternative payment method to purchase an item online. Fifty-nine percent of online shoppers say they are more likely to make a purchase online if there is an alternative payment method available. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent agree that they are more likely to purchase an item online if there is an incentive associated with that purchase.

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