The Layaway Module
In this step you will learn how to create and manage layaway orders for customers. Layaways allow your customers to make payments toward expensive items they might not be able to afford to pay for all at once. In our system, you can also take a deposit on a layaway.
The Layaway module can be a useful way to process different kinds of orders for your customers. For example, if you just need to take a deposit on an item and the customer will come and pick it up and pay for it later on, you don't have to do scheduled payments. Just click the Pick Up button, and they can pay for their item and they're done. You can also use a layaway to pre-order an item, taking a deposit to reserve it, contacting the customer when it arrives, and then when they come in they can complete the purchase and get their item. For most customers, this module is used to make smaller payments on an expensive item until it is paid off and they can take it home.
Layaways can be created from the blue Admin Toolbar at the top of the screen in POS > Layaways, or you can do it from the Register by adding the customer, clicking on the Customer Activities buttons, and finding the + button for Layaway.
Before you start working with your Layaways, it's a good idea to make sure you've configured the defaults you will usually want to use for your layaway transactions. To begin setting up this module, go to the gear button on the far right side of the blue Admin Toolbar and click Settings > POS Settings > Layaways.
The settings that you save in this panel are a starting point only for any Layaway you create. You will want to set these defaults to be what you would usually use for most layaways, and adjust them in the individual layaway as needed. Here are the settings:
- Set your default on how you take Deposits to be either a percentage (10% - 25% is standard, depending on your industry) or a set dollar amount.
- You can set a Minimum Purchase amount if you don't want to process layaways for less expensive items. Setting it to just the item price will use whatever the retail or sale price of the item currently is, or you can set it to be the transaction total, which would include tax and possibly shipping.
- How often will your customer be able to make a payment? You can set the Payment Interval Default to be either Weekly, Bi-Weekly (i.e. every other week), or Monthly.
- How soon will the customer be able to pay it off? Whatever your average answer to that question would be is what you should enter. Six months is a good average for many items for the Term you will set for the whole thing to be paid off.
- Do you want to apply a Service Fee? You are essentially managing the purchase of the item for the customer, so it is not unreasonable to apply a small service fee for the work you will put into it.
- If you wish to apply a Cancellation Fee, you can either set a dollar amount or just make it equal to the deposit on the item. Having such a fee in place will make sure customers are taking the process seriously and committing to the purchase, as well as discouraging them from backing out and wasting your time.
- Another way to make sure your customers are taking this process seriously is to add a Late Fee on their payments.
Make sure that you have explained any fees you will apply to a Layaway very clearly to the customer so they know going in what your terms and conditions are.
Creating a Layaway
There are two areas you can create new Layaways. The one you are likely to use most often will be from the Register.
First, you will need to add the Customer to the Register (1). Once they are in place, look to the far right of the Register to the icons displaying Customer Actions and click on any of them (2). If they already have an active Layaway, the box icon will be highlighted.
The Customer Actions panel will open and you can click the + button next to Layaways to start a new one. You can also use this area to make a single scheduled payment with the Pay button, or if they are ready to complete the purchase, click the Pick Up button and they can pay the remaining balance. When a customer has come down to their last payment in the series, the Pay button will no longer display, they will be ready to Pick Up.
When you create the Layaway initially you can adjust the following settings:
- The initial Pick Up Date will be based on whatever period you set in Settings > POS Settings > Layaways, but you can adjust it if needed by clicking on the date.
- You can adjust or remove a Service Charge, if needed.
- If you have set a Cancellation Fee, it will display here, and you are free to adjust or remove it.
- You can change the Payment Term as needed, your options are Weekly, Bi-Weekly, or Monthly.
- If you need to save some notes about the Layaway, click on the Description link and you can enter as much text as needed.
- Clicking on the Scheduled Payments link will allow you to show the customer the number of payments they will have and the amount of each, and you can make adjustments to the Pick Up Date if they need to spread the payments out more, or if they'll be able to pick it up sooner than they originally thought.
- You will want to Add the Item(s) Being Purchased as one of your first actions in this panel. Simply scan in the barcode or search for the item title. NOTE: You won't see scheduled payments and some of the fees you might have set until you have done this step!
- You can adjust the Item Price if needed.
- The Quantity of the items being purchased can be changed just like in the Register.
- If the item(s) in the Layaway are eligible, you can set a Discount for each line item as either a percentage off or a set dollar amount off.
The screen shot above is of a Layaway that has already been saved and opened from POS > Layaways, so we have the ability to click to Make Payment or to Pick Up the item. The Make Payment button will just load the next scheduled payment into the Register under the customer's name. The Pick Up button will load whatever the remaining balance owed on the Layaway is into the Register under the customer's name so they can pay it off and take the item(s) home.
At any point, you can Print the Layaway terms and payment schedule for the customer, and it is a good idea to print a copy for them to sign that you can keep and a second copy for their records. Click the Adobe PDF icon to the left to see a sample of a Layaway agreement.
You can manage all of your Layaways directly from the Layaway Module by going to POS > Layaways. Clicking anywhere in a line item will open the active layaway and allow you to see full details (as listed above). You can also use the Pay button to take the next scheduled payment, or the Pick Up button if they are ready to pay off the remaining balance.
In the far right side of the Layaway module is a small round arrow button pointing down. This allows you to stop showing columns that you might not use. For example, in the image above, there isn't really any need to display the Description column, so that item could be un-checked so it isn't taking up valuable space.