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Is this the future of Retail Finance?




An interview with Dopple co-founder and Managing Director, Kurtis Shinner. Words by Darcy Green.


We Meet the Minds Behind Dopple, A Brand That’s BringingThe Power of Comparison to Consumer Finance.


In a world where technology is developing at a head turning rate, it seems as though consumer finance is struggling to innovate, despite there being no shortage of brands to drive change. Enter Dopple, the first consumer finance plug-in to give users the power of comparison at checkout.


In this exclusive interview we speak to the faces behind this game-changing tech, what makes Dopple different and their ambitions for the future.


The UK has used checkout finance in all sorts of formats for many years. Over the last decade lower interest rates and inflation saw an explosion of digitally sophisticated and brand-driven names coming into the market with BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) experiencing significant growth. Even now as this is reversing, and despite much needed tighter regulations, BNPL is thriving not just surviving.


Today, with consumer’s wallets stretched to the max, affordable consumer finance is a key offering for any retailer looking to provide as many ways to pay as possible for their customers. But, for Dopple, it needed to go further than “more payment options”, much further. They had ambitions to provide the very best customer experience and have a

very real impact on, the very real problem of, cart abandonment and more clarity for customers.


Around 72% of UK shopper's baskets filled never check out (Statista Research Department, Jan 29, 2024) and research shows that millions of UK shoppers opt out of purchasing from merchants that lack alternative payment methods at checkout, resulting in a hugely significant loss of sales. And despite there now being many payment solutions for online customers, the distinction between them is often unclear, causing unnecessary confusion during what should be a smooth final purchasing step.


 

There is such a thing as too much choice too much choice


“Having worked in this sector for many years, I knew there was more that could be done to make consumer finance more transparent and more accessible for everyone – and crucially, to give consumers greater control,” says Kurtis Shinner, Managing Director of Dopple. “This, along with the very best customer experience, coverage and better acceptance, all played an equal part in the inception of Dopple. I Imagined a world where customers could soft search finance options, where they wouldn’t be faced with a huge and bewildering choice of tiny finance icons at checkouts with no real difference between them. It was all too cluttered, too confusing, everyone shouting for business, multiple lenders fighting for the same basket.”


“And the situation for merchants wasn’t much better,” continues Shinner, who previously led the Commercial Team for over 4 years at Payl8r, the UK’s first regulated BNPL, “like their customers, they wanted a clean and clear checkout experience and had become jaded with the issues that come with managing multiple lenders; more and more contract negotiations, commercial discussions, lenders jostling for top position on checkout. Whilst lenders were faced with tech and cost barriers to access merchant’s web platforms meaning increased investment or, worse still, a lender-merchant relationship falling at the first hurdle.”


Like BNPL - but better


The worlds of insurance, utilities, banking and travel have all been transformed by comparison sites, bringing customer trust and transparency to every transaction. Dopple puts the same principles of the power of comparison, this time to find the right finance, into consumers’ hands. And then they super-charge it.


Dopple’s unique multi-lender plug-in solution cuts through the clutter faced by both merchants and consumers and rises above other identikit 'pay later' options. With one application customers, from prime through to near prime, can access Dopple's panel of lenders. Like a waterfall, Dopple cascades their application down against one lender at a time, giving the customer multiple chances for approval and the best offer, returning results in a matter of seconds. Customers can then filter and compare results like Lowest Monthly Payment, Lowest Interest, Shortest Loan Term and Lowest Payable Now and choose the one that works best for them.


“Seamless integration, cleaner checkouts, more chances for customers to get accepted, less carts abandoned – that's the power of Dopple. We like to say ‘point of sale finance has never moved like this’ and we mean it” says Shinner.

 

Meet the Dopplegang


With big-name merchants like Red Driving School, Baby & Child Store and Fabb Furniture already on board, it’s not just the tech that’s making an impression on the UK retail market, it’s Dopple’s people. Senior leaders from Virgin, Vanquis and Barclays have all helped shape the platform and their passion for Dopple is obvious.


Dopple’s Finance Director, Mark Kerfoot, is excited about being a key part of in the development of a product that’s truly different. “Having worked across a number of global banks I’m well aware of the slow pace new product development can take within larger financial institutions.” says Kerfoot, who helped build the fourth largest UK credit card business at Virgin Money. “Dopple is different. The ability to compare, to choose your best way to pay; we’ve identified customer wants and built a plug-in that responds to them. By being nimble, agile and directed by a clear purpose we’ve built in months what can take years. This brilliant team just makes it happen.”


Kash Darr, Head of Lender Partnerships, formerly of HSBC Group and Vanquis Banking Group, agrees “The thing that excites me most about being part of Dopple’s development is that we’re forging our own path. Our product has been created with passion to make retail finance the very best it can be for customers, retailers and lenders – it’s regulated, unique and provides a seamless customer experience."


Robert Knox, Sales Director at Dopple, adds “It’s adaptable too – working across online, in-store, telesales and in-home sales. And we’ve ensured that the right coverage is there, including those more niche sectors that previously may have felt a little underserved like health, mobility and training, as well as more traditional retail such as furniture, home improvements and electricals.” Knox, who joined the multi-lender platform from Barclays where he was Head of Existing and New Business sums up Dopple’s success so far, "we're saying yes, more often, to more customers than ever before.”


What’s next for Dopple?


The first 18 months for Dopple have clearly been about creating a best-in-class product with an extensive research and development stage and every consumer problem discovered, diagnosed, designed and delivered. Now into Phase 2, the business is focussing on providing the best possible service and bringing Dopple to as many merchants as possible – and they’re already seeing results compared to previous single lender integrations.


"We’re looking forward to a future of enabling more lenders and banks to enter the retail space with the power of Dopple. We’re talking to some exciting merchants right now, household names that are keen to give their customers the finance choices they deserve,” says Shinner, “The word from our clients is they’ve been waiting for a better way to do retail finance and we’re happy to say Dopple has arrived.”

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