Brands from Levi’s to Hugo Boss are using a virtual shopping service that connects online shoppers with in-store staff for service such as product demonstrations and advice on fit and colour.
The Virtual Shopping from Klarna service, which operates through live video and messaging, is already live with more than 300 brands including Levi’s, Hugo Boss and Herman Miller. Now it is making the service available to the more than 400,000 retailers that it works with.
The service builds on Klarna’s acquisition last year of social shopping platform Hero. Through it, Klarna promises services that will turn online shops into a true omnichannel experience, with advice on purchasing decisions, up close photos and videos of items and live product demos from the store floor.
David Sandström, chief marketing officer at Klarna, says: “At Klarna, we want to provide the world’s best shopping experience – whether that is online or in-store. In the past, online shopping has been missing a key element: human interaction. With Virtual Shopping, we replicate the brick-and-mortar experience of receiving personalised advice from an in-store expert and bringing it to the online realm. This will empower our partnered retailers around the world to bring their online stores to life and build customer relationships that last.”
Klarna says the service reflects the continued importance of in-store shopping, despite the fast expansion of online in recent years. It cites Statista findings that 80% of global retail sales were online in 2021. Its own Shopping Pulse Report suggests that shoppers prefer to go in-store to buy because of the social interaction and level of customer service they offer – such as seeing a product up close, touching or trying on items to see if they are true to size, fit or colour. Some 80% of 11,740 shoppers from 11 countries questioned via research agency Nepa said that retailers needed to invest in new technology, while more than a third think that offering more personalised services (32%) and product recommendations (39%) is a priority for retailers.
Shoppers use the service by clicking on a Virtual Shopping icon on retail websites in order to chat via messaging or a video chat. Retailers can add Virtual Shopping to their websites via their Klarna integration, and can also use a Klarna Store App for iOS and Android. The service is currently live in 18 markets including the US, UK and markets across Europe.