Klarna, a BNPL (buy now, pay later) specialist, has launched Virtual Shopping to «connect digital shoppers with physical store experts through video and live messaging to deliver a highly personalized digital experience that helps consumers shop online with confidence.»

 

This is a breakthrough and the company says that by putting human interaction at the heart of the digital shopping process, «virtual shopping enables retailers to create immersive experiences that are proven to increase customer engagement, reduce returns and drive loyalty.»

It has already been rolled out with more than 300 brands, such as Levi’s and Hugo Boss, and has now been extended to more than 400,000 retailers worldwide.

It is yet another innovation that helps link the online and in-store experience and make one more like the other.

For retailers, this technology should enable physical store teams to reach millions of digital shoppers. Thanks to the new Klarna Store App, retailers can share photos and videos of items and «do live product demonstrations from the store, from home or even from phantom stores.»

This is important because, despite the rise of e-commerce, in-store shopping is still the dominant channel and last year accounted for nearly 80% of retail sales worldwide.

Shoppers prefer physical shopping because of the social interaction and customer service they get, so the more digital shopping recreates that «real» experience, the better.

According to Klarna, consumers seek the same level of support when shopping online as they do in-store, and 80% believe retailers should invest in new technologies. Many of them also think that offering more personalized services (32%) and product recommendations (39%) needs to be a priority for retailers.

If retailers offer what consumers are looking for, they are more likely to buy. According to Klarna, shoppers are up to 21 times more likely to make a purchase after speaking with an expert at the e-retailer, compared to those who receive no help.

To access the experts, consumers have to click on the virtual shopping icon in the integrated stores from the retailer’s website. Once connected, they can chat, receive photos and videos, follow product recommendations and even hold a video call.

The offering is already underway in 18 markets, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Sweden. More markets will follow in 2022.

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