Swedish fintech giant Klarna has announced the acquisition of HERO — a social shopping platform that aims to provide consumers with inspiration, advice, and immediately shoppable content coming directly from retailers’ physical stores.
Klarna and Hero are joining forces to support the seamless convergence of physical and online shopping experience for retailers and shoppers. Also, with this acquisition, Hero’s existing products will be immediately available to Klarna’s retail partners, as well as all 100+ HERO employees will be absorbed by Klarna.
To make online shopping more human
London and New York-based HERO was founded in 2015 to create a more personal and convenient way to shop. The company plans to bring the concept of in-person customer service to e-commerce. Its virtual shopping platform connects millions of shoppers with product experts via text, chat and video, all directly from a brand’s e-commerce store.
The company aims to make online shopping an interactive experience with all the benefits of in-store service, while allowing consumers to shop from wherever, and however, they wish.
Speaking on the development, Adam Levene, Founder at HERO says, “Klarna is a company we’ve long admired. They have built an iconic brand and proposition, and a unique culture that makes it the perfect home for our team. By joining forces we are able to bring our technology to even more merchants and consumers across the world, making online shopping more social, interactive and ultimately more human.”
HERO’s clients include global brands such as Levi, rag & bone, Chloé, Harvey Nichols and shares a number of retail partners with Klarna’s existing network such as Nike and JD Sports.
Aim of this acquisition?
Klarna will introduce HERO to its 250,000 retail partners, allowing their in-store teams to become content creators instantly, offering reviews, real-time advice, and more engaging & informative content around products.
According to Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, “Immersive shopping experiences are now expected by consumers when shopping online and forward-thinking brands want to provide consumers with a rich, interactive way to shop for their products. With HERO we share an ambition to elevate the shopping experience through the convergence of online and in-store shopping experiences, supporting retailers to inform and engage consumers in new ways.”
He further adds, “We see a huge opportunity to leverage HERO’s existing platform and expertise to allow in-store retail professionals to become global brand ambassadors. This will unlock growth for retailers by creating a new hybrid shopping experience that enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions as part of an engaging and personalised shopping journey.”
According to Klarna, users are now embracing social commerce, with US retail sales expected to reach $84B by 2024, 15 per cent of total estimated US e-commerce volumes. Popular with Millennials, social shopping is gaining popularity across demographics, with an estimated 28 per cent of the US population expected to be social shoppers by 2022.
David Sandstrom, Chief Marketing Officer at Klarna says, “With HERO, Klarna can support retailers in empowering their in-store colleagues to serve a global audience, enhancing e-commerce with the benefits of physical retail. Longer term, we see opportunities for Klarna’s 90 million global consumers to share their shopping expertise as part of a social shopping ecosystem that defies physical and online boundaries, aligned to Klarna’s mission to ensure people can shop, bank and pay in ways that suit them and their lives today. We look forward to welcoming the HERO team to Klarna.”
Everything about Klarna
Founded in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, and Victor Jacobsson, Klarna is an e-commerce payment solutions platform for merchants and shoppers and is also a regulated bank known for its “buy now, pay later” model – offers shoppers interest-free financing on retail purchases over a period of instalments.
Moreover, consumers can browse and shop at any brand online with Klarna payment options, track spending and available balances, add favourite items to wishlists, access tailored discounts, receive price-drop notifications, track deliveries intelligently and join Klarna’s new loyalty program, Vibe. Besides, the company also offers direct payments, pay after delivery options, and instalment plans.
Most recently, Klarna acquired Shoptail – a comparison shopping service that ensures retailers can effectively compete in the online ad space. It does that by providing consumers access to search-based deals, and Toplooks – an AI-powered styling engine that allows retailers to create shoppable content by suggesting complementary items to consumers.
Last month in June, Klarna raised funding of $639M (approx €524.4M) led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, with additional participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group.
Last month, the company also launched its new Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) in 21 markets. The company claims, with this development, it will enable its partner retailers across Europe to increase customer reach, save budget for advertising spend, and drive traffic from high shopping intent consumers.
The company is backed by prolific investors such as Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake, Bestseller Group, Dragoneer, Permira, Visa, Ant Group, and Atomico, among others. It is also backed by celebrity investors such as rapper and artist Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, and A$AP Rocky.