Klarna, a leading global retail bank, payments and shopping service, recently announced the acquisition of HERO, a social shopping platform designed to provide consumers with inspiration, advice and immediately shoppable content produced directly from retailers’ physical stores. The financial terms of the acquisition deal have not been announced.
Klarna, which is headquartered in Stockholm, 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 richer, more engaging and informative content around products to bring the best of in-store shopping to the online experience for consumers.
HERO, based in London and New York, was founded in 2015 to create a more personal and convenient way to shop that reflects how consumers interact today, bringing the concept of in-person customer service to e-commerce. HERO’s client roster now includes 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. All of HERO’s more than 100 employees will join Klarna.
Consumers are embracing social commerce, with US retail sales expected to reach $84 billion by 2024, 15% of total estimated US e-commerce volumes. Social shopping is most popular with Millennials, but is gaining popularity across demographics, with an estimated 28% of the US population expected to be social shoppers by 2022.
Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna commented: “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. 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.”
HERO founder Adam Levene stated: “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.”
Available from the merchant’s website, HERO connects online shoppers with in-store product experts to provide inspiration and advice via messaging, video chat and social-style content at the click of the button. HERO makes online shopping an interactive experience with all the benefits of in-store service, while allowing consumers to shop from wherever, and however, they wish. Hero’s existing products will be immediately available to Klarna’s retail partners.