The results from a global study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Association entitled ‘COVID-19 and E-commerce’ show that more than half of consumers surveyed across nine different countries rely on the internet, including online shopping, more frequently since the pandemic.
Within the ecommerce realm, 93 per cent of retailers shifted their attention to their websites throughout the COVID-19 period, with 81 per cent reporting a greater focus on personalising the digital experience for shoppers.
"Retailers must continue to pursue innovative strategies to humanise the digital experience and create memorable and meaningful interactions for shoppers," advises Nicolas de Rosen, CEO of iAdvize.
Launched in 2005, Swedish ‘shop now, pay later’ service platform Klarna is broadening its expertise – by acquiring HERO – in response to a growing number of consumers embracing social shopping, which is set to reach US$84 billion by 2024 in the US alone.
"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," explains Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna.
The news that more than 100 staff members from HERO, the pioneer of virtual shopping, will now be working for Klarna will enable the company to expand its reach to a greater number of merchants and customers worldwide. It aims to do this with a humanised online shopping encounter by fostering greater connection and communication between retailers and shoppers.
The platform facilitates this interaction through messaging, videos and chat rooms to help shoppers make informed decisions, much like browsing in a store, which in turn supports retailers to stand out from other online marketplaces through better customer service.
"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." – Sebastian Siemiatkowski
HERO’s video shopping products offer an enormous advantage to Klarna’s 250,000 retail partners and the opportunity to transform online shopping, with in-store staff taking their roles to new heights as a result of this bold move.
"With HERO, Klarna can support retailers in empowering their in-store colleagues to serve a global audience, enhancing ecommerce with the benefits of physical retail," says David Sandström, CMO at Klarna.
The recent acquisition not only suggests the power of joining forces for innovation and growth to compete in today’s marketplace, but also a better-quality experience for Klarna’s 90 million active users that could have otherwise not been achieved.