Klarna is to launch a virtual shopping service, which will consolidate both the in-store and online experience.
The retail payments provider’s new service is set to enable consumers with heightened product advice and inspiration by connecting them with in-store experts via live chats and video calls.
The service will allow retailers and their in-store teams to bring their expertise beyond the walls of physical stores to shoppers online. By using the merchant-facing Klarna store app, shops can share photos and videos of items and demo products directly from the store floor. This B2C approach will hopefully in turn drive brand engagement and loyalty while reducing return rates.
The launch builds upon Klarna’s acquisition of the social shopping platform Hero, which took place last year.
While online shopping has risen to new heights in recent years, in-store shopping remains the dominant channel, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of global retail sales in 2021. Klarna’s previously published ‘Shopping Pulse‘ report indicated that consumers are still choosing to favour shopping in physical stores due to the level of social interaction and direct customer service on offer.
Unlike shopping in-store, the current online experience does not allow consumers to see a product up close, touch or try on items, making it hard to tell if products are true to size, fit or colour.
Consumers today are looking for the same level of assistance when shopping online, with 80 per cent of shoppers believing that retailers need to invest in new technology, while more than a third of those think that offering more personalised services and product recommendations is a priority for retailers; according to the report.
Klarna’s tools for virtual shopping have already been implemented by around 300 brands, including the clothing brands Levi’s and Hugo Boss, which has generated a more omnichannel experience on both ends of the sale.
Consumers can still receive guidance from in-store teams to help consumers in their purchasing decisions, without needing to head to the store.
Through live video and messaging, consumers are able to view photos and videos of items up close and watch live product demos directly from the store floor – demonstrating everything from how a piece of clothing fits off the rack to the colour of a cosmetic product or the size of a piece of furniture.
Klarna’s virtual shopping is now being made available to its partnered retailers across the world, something that is set to strengthen its global market footprint.
By giving consumers greater confidence in their purchasing decisions, the service markedly improves performance for merchants, with consumers being more likely to make a purchase after speaking with an in-store expert online compared to when left unassisted, while also increasing customer lifetime value.
“In the past, online shopping has been missing a key element: human interaction. With virtual shopping, we replicate the brick-and-mortar experience of receiving personalised advice from an in-store expert and bring it to the online realm,” expressed David Sandström, Klarna’s chief marketing officer.
“This will empower our partnered retailers around the world to bring their online stores to life and build customer relationships that last.”