Skip to main content

Anja Winikka - Pay Over Time For Weddings? - Alan Berg CSP - Wedding Business Solutions PodcastAnna Winikka – Pay over time for weddings??

I saw an article recently on The Knot that was talking about how couples are now asking for a pay-over-time feature for their weddings, similar to how they can get that for so many purchases these days. So, I started thinking about who I knew that had expertise in this area, and my friend from my days at The Knot, Anna Winikka immediately came to mind. Her company, Maroo, offers this (and other payment services for wedding & event pros), and on this episode she explains what Pay Over Time is, how it works, and it’ll give you some ideas on how you might make more sales having this in your toolbox. And… listen to the end for a very, very special offer Anna made for my listeners – it’s like free money! 

About Anja and Maroo: 

Anja Winikka is the CMO and Co-founder of Maroo, a platform designed to raise the bar on payments for the weddings & events industry. Think: payments processing plus Book Now, Pay Later 

Anja began her career in 2005 at The Knot and spent 10+ years with a bird’s eye view on the industry. From her vantage point, Anja couldn’t help but notice that the elephant in the room for our industry was money–a barrier that was affecting couples as well as industry professionals. In 2021, she co-founded Maroo, a free payments platform for wedding & event professionals with a Book Now, Pay Later payment method that gives couples interest-free payment plans on invoices up to 12 months. Businesses get the full upfront cash from day 1 and event cancellation insurance is embedded to protect from chargebacks.  

Meet Maroo: 

It’s easy to use (like Venmo) yet structured for business (syncs with Quickbooks). Maroo includes flexible payment options. You can process a credit card (flat 2.9%), debit card (free) or bank transfer (free). No daily limits and you always get paid in just 1 business day. 

But what’s really innovative and news-worthy is that Maroo has a new Book Now, Pay Later payment method designed exclusively for the weddings & events industry. Your client gets an interest-free monthly payment plan for up to 12 months and you get the full invoice amount transferred to your bank account the next business day. Event cancellation insurance is included to protect from chargebacks.  Maroo handles all the payments and takes on the liability. 

Want to check it out? Here’s a special offer for listeners of the Wedding Business Solutions Podcast: 

Sign up for a free account using the below link and Maroo will send you $100 

Schedule a Book Now, Pay Later with Maroo and we’ll top off your account with another $100 

 Sign up free here:  

https://maroo.us/alanbergpodcast  

Website: http://loveincmag.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoveIncMag 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loveincmag/ 

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site: 

Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at [email protected] or contact me viatext, use the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362 

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com 

– Pay over time for a wedding? Listen to this episode and find out. Hey, it’s Alan Berg. Welcome back to another edition of the “Wedding Business Solutions” podcast. I am so happy to have my friend Anja Winikka on with me. Anja, how are ya? 

– Hi, I’m good. Thanks for having me, Alan. 

– So the story behind this particular episode is I was reading an article and it was on The Knot. The Knot sent out this article and it said, couples are talking about pay over time for their weddings. And I’m thinking, gosh, pay over time, Square is all about pay overtime now with their buy now pay later stuff, you can buy the books on my website, which is funny because a $30 book you could pay over time. And I’m thinking for a wedding, that’s a really good idea, but I have no idea how this works. So I’m thinking like, who do I know that knows how this works and of course it’s you Anja because this is what you do, right? 

– Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So we launched the first ever buy now pay later solution for the weddings industry about a year ago, the summer of 2021 and the idea around it was just this. There were, you have couples on one hand who are stressed out about trying to figure out ways to pay for their wedding. Increasingly so now that we’re in this wedding boom. You have more than half of them turning to high interest credit cards to be honest. And you know the drill, it’s like, they think that they’re going to be able to afford the thing and then halfway through, they’re freaking out and they’re looking for solutions. On the other hand, you have business owners who are not necessarily looking on to take credit cards from people who maybe not be being protected from chargebacks and things like this. So you have two sides of the equation. And what we thought was we could build a wedge, like we could use this new financing lingo or solution or feature, tool, however you want to call it. But all the Gen Z millennials, all these guys are using to buy shoes and bags and we could actually apply it to our industry and tailor it specifically to the weddings industry. And so what we did was we built a payment method wherein the couple can come and pay for their first monthly installment so to speak. And at the same time they do that they’re agreeing to pay for their invoice over time. And at the same time they do that, we send the business owner the full upfront amount for the entire contract. 

– Hang on, hang on. So the couple pays over time, but the venue gets all the money right now minus, you were starting to say minus, because there’s got to be a cost, right? 

– Yeah. Minus our service fee. So the couples are paying in equal monthly installments at zero percent APR, right? It’s like a no brainer to them. The business owner is getting the full amount wired to their business bank account the day the couple signs, within a business day is when it comes to your bank account. Minus the service fee. From there on out, the business owner is no longer collecting payments from the couple and chasing them down and doing all this stuff. We are working with the couple on their monthly installments. The business owner doesn’t have to worry about that. And the entire thing is protected with wedding cancellation insurance, provided by eWed. So what that does and when we added it to the feature we thought, oh, this is kind of a cool idea for couples. But to be honest, the reason we added it in was for businesses. Because we wanted to create a conversation with couples where we said these are the things that you can get your money back for. Extreme weather accidents, job loss, military deployment. Hey, if it’s something else, that’s not covered, we will be collecting the full amount from you. And now as a venue, owner or a caterer or whatever, you are no longer having to worry about that piece of it. 

– So let’s give a little history here. First of all, you and I know each other from our days at The Knot, we were both at The Knot for a very long time. And the concept of giving people payments is not new. You and I’ve known this with venues for a long time, with vendors for a long time. And this is not just for venues, obviously this is for anybody. So the concept before had been either the business would give payments and then you’re taking all the risk on that. You have to go do the collections or process their credit card every month for X amount of dollars or whatever it is. And then you have a fee on that. And again, there’s a cost of use of money obviously, we cost on there and we can save on credit card fees. Sometimes you can do different things. ACH, you can do wire transfers and different things like that, debit cards, different fees. But this concept, so reading this article, it’s talking about couples with pay over time, but you brought up, I think, which is the biggest point here, which is Gen Y and Gen Z are already doing this, this is not a new concept. It’s new to the wedding industry. And it’s certainly a bigger purchase there. And I think it sounds like when you created this, the problems were chargebacks, doing the billing. These are the things that you were trying to solve. The chargebacks doing the billing, company gets the money right now and there you go. 

– And cancellations. 

– Cancellations. So if somebody, if they cancel the wedding for a covered reason, then the insurance pays it. If they cancel for any other reason, the couple still has to pay you, not the business. 

– That’s right. 

– Interesting. 

– And that’s the service fee. And the service fee just really depends on how long the extension is for, we’re talking months. So the typical scenario is that a couple is taking a 12 month extension. And if they’re booking six months out from their wedding, that means they be paying for their venue six months after their wedding. 

– And again, but not just venue, it could be the photographer, DJ. 

– It could be a caterer, could be a photographer, could be a photo album, to be honest. You could pay over time your photo album. 

– Just add-on services. 

– Yep. That’s right. I saw a caterer the other day who said the second payment is typically the most painful one for their clients. And he would be very excited about using pay over time for that second payment. Cause that’s the moment where the couple’s like, oh boy, they’re looking to solve for which payment methods they’re using in the last months leading up to the wedding. 

– So if people didn’t hear you said a word, you said upsell. Upsell, the concern for people is, do I have the money for that? Is the money in the bank? Do I want to put it on the credit card or whatever, but instead it could be, hey, add this on, pay this out over 12 months. And now that thousand dollar upsell is going to cost you $80 a month or whatever it comes out to. 

– Yeah. Yeah. I mean, to be honest, like when I co-foundered and I put together this product and idea, we were not imagining a way to make people spend more money than they couldn’t afford. We were really thinking very honestly and altruistically about how do you get people off of high interest credit cards and send them into this high revolving debt that they are in now when they’re newly married and trying to figure out how to pay off the wedding, they just had. So we weren’t thinking about that. That said it is a more responsible way in our eyes, in our opinion, to pay for this because there is no interest, they are not locking themselves into something that is going to completely crush them in two years into their newlywed lives. But also it’s giving them a map as to how much this is going to cost along the way instead of making them scramble at the end, and saying, hey, for the next six months, you’re signed up for $130 a month and that’s going to get you your venue. Isn’t that cool that you don’t have to throw that on a credit card? 

– Well, but even if they do add something on, it’s a fixed term of payments unlike a credit card, which they can keep kicking the can down the road, the interest just keeps accruing and accruing and accruing. So it’s still a more responsible way to spend more. I spoke about this on another episode. I don’t know if it’s going to launch before this or after this. But talking about the reason couples under-budget for their weddings is because they budget for a dollar amount, not for the results that they want. And when they find out the results that they want, this beautiful venue, that great caterer, this wonderful photographer, et cetera. And they say, well, but the average cost of a caterer is X, but they don’t don’t want average catering. They want above average catering. They have to spend more, this is definitely a more responsible way to do that where they’re not going to have 24% interest on top of that. And three years from now still be paying for their wedding. So they’re locked into that. 

– That’s it. 

– So again, the concept, which again, I saw this in the article, it’s not a new concept, it’s a matter of a how, so you’ve created a different how, because it’s always been available how to do it, but you’ve created a different how. 

– And also like before Afterpay and Klarna, there was layaway. Like, let’s be honest. This is sort of like the modern day layaway. That’s what Afterpay is. You’re paying over time for the product, now before you wouldn’t be able to take the coat home, now they’ll send it to you in the mail and you’re still paying for it. Personally I think it’s interesting that it’s become so popular and it’s certainly playing into this. But one of the things, I think big picture, having both our backgrounds have been The Knot, we were always thinking like, what’s coming down the pike? What is the expectation of customers right now? Well, if they can buy, A) they can finance their car, their house. These things are all financeable & they’re very easy to do. They can do them on mobile apps. Can’t do anything along those lines for a wedding. But then in addition, you have a checkout at every turn, Amazon, Nordstrom, all of these apps, you’re able to split up your payments. Why would you not give them the option? It’s a modern day. It’s just an added payment method in our minds. 

– And if you see a TV ad that says 0% financing, it’s zero to the customer, but somebody’s still paying that. 

– That’s right. 

– So what you don’t realize as a consumer, or don’t think about as a consumer is, is it the dealership or the manufacturer, but somebody is paying down that rate. So your service fee is basically the same thing. It’s the business paying so that the customer can have 0% and saying I get my money now, I have no recourse if they don’t pay, that’s not on me now, it’s on you guys, cancellation insurance, all that. So the protection, all of that now is worth it to you, the business to pay this fee, peace of mind, money’s in the bank, whew, I can sleep easy. 

– And it’s a differentiator, the guy down the street may not be doing it. That’s not to say that you can’t bake it right back into the price. So the typical, if you’re offering a 12 month extension on your deposit or the full amount, the fee is a flat 10% on the transaction. So the day that we’re wiring over the full amount, we’re doing it minus 10% if you’re offering 12 months. So in our minds, we have these discussions with businesses, we’re always very careful to outline exactly how much that’s going to be when we wire it to you. So let’s do the math together. Do you need to build 5% back into it to make it make sense because your sales conversion’s going to be pretty high using this. So make it make sense for you. Don’t don’t just eat 10%. 

– Well, and if you had done credit card, it was going to cost you maybe 3% thereabouts. So a couple more to get the money now, it does make sense. Or another thought, and I see signs all over and I know different jurisdictions around the country have different rules where just build it into your price automatically. And then if they pay cash, let them do a cash discount. And this way, either way you’re okay. Which by the way will prove to you you could have raised your rates already, just saying. So the key then is there’s different ways to… So the key now is it’s just another way for people to do what they’re already used to doing, which is buying something, getting that item right now, paying over time. It’s like you said, keeping an eye on what’s going on around you. This is a good lesson. I know I’ve spoken about this on the podcast as well. Inspiration comes from everywhere. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily come from your competitors. It comes from everywhere. What do you see around you? And again, Afterpay all this stuff, every place I go now, no matter whether it’s a $30 book, although I did see that Square is going to let me set a limit, like only offer that on higher amounts. Because it’s kind of ridiculous. 

– Well, yeah. 

– Splitting the $30 purchase is a lot. 

– Nobody’s done it yet. Nobody’s done it yet. But you know, hey, why not? Let’s offer it. 

– And what we discovered early on, because listen, we were experimenting with a lot of different ways you could do pay over time. Like originally we were like, is this an online thing? Well, no, the cool thing about our industry and the reason it makes sense to build its own product is because we’re so heavily offline. And because we have these services and they’re buying so much more than the product or the thing on the website. And so that is why we wanted to be really careful about the way in which it’s presented. That’s why we went straight to businesses, not to couples. That’s why we built it the way we built it. And put the wedding cancellation insurance in there. So when you’re doing Afterpay or Klarna, those things aren’t part of the equation because they don’t really have to be, but in our industry we needed to tailor it. We needed to make it make sense for us. 

– So again, protection for the couple, protection for the vendor. Again, I want to say venue, because this could be for anybody. So your company is Maroo, maroo.us. But is this all you do? You don’t just do this. 

– No, no. Pay over time is a feature, it’s one of the payment methods. So our mission is really just to simplify and streamline the entire payments process for the weddings and events industry. So we designed a payments platform exclusively for our industry. Our intention was to make it as simple as a Venmo or a Zelle yet sophisticated enough for our industry. So you can request invoices and payment request from your clients and you can have them pay you via debit card, bank transfer, credit card, or pay over time. So you make the decision there. We also have a B2B side, which is really cool. It allows you to pay other businesses, maybe a second shooter, an editor, maybe a florist that you’re working with. And we do it. If you’re doing a bank transfer to another person, we’re doing it for free. There’s no processing fees attached to that. Same with debit cards. 

– Wait, wait, wait, wait. Same with debit cards? 

– Yeah. Yeah. 

– So there’s no fee? 

– Processing is free on Maroo, yeah. 

– And then what about bank transfers, ACHs? 

– Bank transfers, ACHs are free on Maroo to process both ways whether your client is paying you for the event or another person or you’re paying another person because they helped you on the event at 1099 so to speak, that’s all free to do. And at the end of the year, we send out the 1099 again for free. 

– So interesting on that because Square, I think charges 1%. 

– Yes, they do. 

– And then how soon does somebody get, if somebody does an ACH, how soon do they get their money? 

– So you get your money in one business day, no matter how the person is paying you. 

– Oh wow. That is a feature of Maroo. Maroo is pushing that money into your account in a day. And we’re waiting on the ACH on your behalf, again, just one more way to modernize and streamline and be beneficial to business. 

– Because I was using Square for ACH and it was taking like three days to get the money and them charging 1%. 

– So it’s lightning fast and you’re not being charged 1%. 

– So I’m signing up. There we go. No, seriously, no fee on a debit card and no fee on an ACH and getting the money the next day and pay over time is actually interesting for me. People to bring me in for sales training is a big number. And I can definitely, somebody’s like, hey, I don’t have the money now, I need you now. That’s an interesting thing as well. So if anybody listening wanted to know more through you, because if you want to find out about pay over time, you can just Google and you can do pay over time. You can find the ones that you said there are Afterpay and stuff, which are charging a fee as well. But if they wanted find out more about Maroo, how would they do it? And what do you need them to know? 

– The easiest thing to do is go to maroo.us and take a look around, poke around. But for anyone listening, what we wanted to do is just set up a special affiliate link type of thing for you, all listeners to take advantage of. So if you are using maroo.us and we’ll put the link on in the podcast notes, I think, if you are listening and you want to sign up because you heard this, take advantage because if you use that link, we’ll send you $100 to your business bank account. Just by virtue of signing up and using this special link, and then we are full transparency, a lot of people ask, how does Maroo make money? Well we make money on the pay over time feature in particular. So we’re very motivated to have you check it out and discover it. So if you also were to sign up and do a demo with us on pay over time, just for your listeners here, we would add another $100. So just sign up, do a demo and we’ll give you $200. 

– You see the free money? Anja’s just making it rain, Anja just made it rain. Here you go. That’s it, that’s it. On brand, that’s it. So if you just sign up for a free account, you got $100 and then you said it was no fee for debit card transactions. So those companies that don’t want to take a deposit on a credit card, because the fee can take it on a debit card and there’d be no fee or an ACH and they get them under the next day. Get $100 just for signing up for that. And then you offer credit card processing as well, which is competitive. 

– 2.9%, which you can, depending on where you live, you pass it on to the client. 

– And then if they also do a demo of the pay over time feature, they’ll get another hundred. So you get $200 free for listening to this podcast. 

– Just for this podcast. 

– Just for this podcast. “Wedding Business Solutions”, we will put into the show notes the information and the links. Go to maroo.us. If you don’t see the link or whatever, just go and tell them you saw me or you heard me on Alan Berg’s podcast, “Wedding Business Solutions” podcast. And Anja will make it rain for you there done. So thank you so much. I knew you were the person to talk to about this. When I read that article, I was like, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. I need to talk about this, but I’m not the expert on this. You’re the expert on this one. Thank you so much, my friend. So good to see you and thanks for that generous offer. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. 

– You got it. You got it. 

– Thanks everybody for listening. Sign up. Get your free account. Get a free $100. Oh, is this just in the USA? 

– Yeah, yeah. We have a waitlist going internationally. So if you want to sign up and you’re international, we put together a waitlist. We can’t wait to go international. 

– Okay, so I just wanted to say that, because I do have people in many countries listening. So if you’re in another country, contact them, sign up, get on the waitlist and then you’ll get your $100 when it comes there. There we go. All right. Thanks everybody for listening.  

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is [email protected]. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks. 

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site: 

©2022 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com 

If it were easy, everyone would do it! - Alan Berg CSP, Wedding Business Solutions Podcast

If it were easy, everyone would do it! – Podcast Transcript

| Blog | No Comments
If it were easy, everyone would do it! I saw this phrase and it inspired me to do this episode, because so many of you are doing things at a…
Rod Baker - Networking for Introverts - Alan Berg CSP, Wedding Business Solutions Podcast

Rod Baker – Networking for Introverts – Podcast Transcript

| Blog | No Comments
Rod Baker – Networking for Introverts When I had Rod Baker on the podcast to talk about his pivot, we were chatting during a break about how so many DJs,…
Are you playing nice with the other wedding/event pros? Alan Berg CSP - Wedding Business Solutions Podcast

Are you playing nice with the other wedding/event pros? – Podcast Transcript

| Blog | No Comments
Are you playing nice with the other wedding/event pros? A Facebook post inspired this conversation about how wedding and event pros do, or don’t work well with others on the…
Can you Uberize Your Business? Alan Berg CSP - Wedding Business Solutions Podcast

Can you Uberize Your Business? – Podcast Transcript

| Blog | No Comments
Can you Uberize Your Business? Every time I travel, I have a choice between a cab and an Uber (or Lyft). Often the cabs are sitting right outside and yet…
 

Want to talk? Call/text 732.422.6362

Share via