The Current, delivered daily.
Klarna is launching a series of shopping-focused app upgrades that are designed to boost discovery with AI, provide personalized assistance and create new ways for retailers and creators to connect with users.
The improvements show Klarna tapping into rising currents in commerce, such as personalization, retail media, resale and creator commerce. Taken together, the rollout doubles as a look at where online shopping experiences are heading.
The expansion comes as Klarna is seeking to boost its standing as a shopping destination. It is well-known for payment services such as Buy Now Pay Later, but is seeking to grow tools that help consumers to find, browse and buy items. There’s a big base from which to build: Klarna’s app attracts 150 million consumers, and includes 500,000 retailers.
“Over the last 18 years, we’ve transformed into a global shopping destination with smart tools for consumers around the world,” said Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski. “The new tools we’re launching today will create richer, more enjoyable experiences for everyone along the shopping journey and create tremendous opportunities for retailers to grow their business.”
The launch, known as Spotlight Spring, follows a group of Klarna shopping updates that rolled out in the fall to introduce tools for search, shoppable video and a creator platform.
Here’s a look at the latest shopping features debuting from Klarna:
An AI-powered shopping feed
Klarna is putting its in-house AI-powered recommendation engine to work for shoppers.
A new feed on the app will provide personalized recommendations on products, as well as deals. The feed updates in real time, and is designed to become increasingly tailored as it learns more about the user’s preferences.
“Our new AI-powered discovery shopping feed is the next evolution of the Klarna app becoming the starting point for every purchase,” Siemiatkowski said. “This builds on a ton of initiatives we’re working on in the AI space, to provide a greater level of personalization to consumers that was once thought impossible.”
This builds on the fall launch of a search and compare tool that helped to curate the best prices and most efficient delivery options by comparing offerings across thousands of websites. Now, Klarna’s tools will provide recommendations that include product features specific to the user, right in a feed on the app.
Not all of the personalized shopping features in Klarna’s app will be tech-based. The new group of features also includes a personal shopping assistant that provides access to human experts through chat or video call.
Starting with the luxury sector, it’s designed to help shoppers find the right products across brands and retailers.
The capability to ask an associate a question is built-in to in-person shopping. Klarna said its recent research showed that 85% of US consumers would like a service where they can speak with experts to be able to access more information about a product while shopping online, as well. This new service is a direct answer to that feedback.
With this launch, Klarna has also redesigned its app into five distinct sections: Shop, Purchases, In-Store, Budget and You. This is designed to combine and streamline features for shopping and personal financial information, as well as delivery times, returns info and receipts.
Klarna Ads Manager. (Courtesy photo)
Along with tools for shoppers, Klarna is also rolling out features for retailers. The app is adding a self-service ad platform for retailers to an existing suite of ad offerings. Ads Manager is a new offering for retailers seeking to leverage the first-party data on Klarna’s platform to reach its high-intent audience of shoppers. Klarna said it offers brands more efficiency in areas including ad creation, audience targeting, and in-platform reporting for campaign optimization.
The Ads Manager reflects Klarna’s growing ambition to expand its foothold in retail media, which has grown rapidly as brands and retailers see increasing efficiency in advertising that appears on the platforms where consumers shop. Klarna said marketing revenue was up 131% in 2022, and additional tools designed for advertisers will help it double down on the opportunity to grow.
Creator Shops on Klarna. (Courtesy image)
Following the fall launch of a platform that provides a place for creators to connect with retailers, recommend products and share content, Klarna will now feature tools that allow creators to launch their own storefronts on its website.
This is designed to provide a space for shoppers to easily find and browse product recommendations from a creator. Along with the forthcoming ability to share content through the Klarna app, creators can also include links to every item from any social platform, offering the ability to boost revenue.
"The Klarna Creator Platform has opened up a new world of opportunities when it comes to affiliate content," said content creator Lydia Tomlinson, in a statement. "The transparency between what I link and what the brand can see has helped me establish new relationships with brands that I have loved and shopped at for years."
Creator Shops are not yet available in the U.S., but will roll out "soon" as part of a phased launch.
As consumers seek eco-friendly options, the market is moving toward resale. Over one-third of consumers are more likely to sell an item secondhand when compared to a year ago, Klarna said. Now, the app is seeking to provide a way to ease the process of getting a resale listing started.
The app will now include a “resell” button that enables users to start a listing on a secondhand marketplace beyond Klarna that contains an item previously purchased from Klarna. Then, the system pre-fills product details and images for the listing,.
The feature is now available in Sweden with the resale platform Tradera, and is set to go live with other partners around the world “soon,” said Klarna.
- With adoption and scrutiny, Buy Now Pay Later keeps growing ›
- Klarna launches price compare, shoppable video, creator platform ›
- How will ChatGPT integrate into the shopping experience? ›
- Klarna expands platform to attract creators | PYMNTS.com ›
- Klarna wants to bring the in-store experience to online shopping ›
Trending in Shopper Experience
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”