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Only the smoooth survive

The biggest retail trends of 2019 are going to be driven by two key things: choice and convenience. Finding ways to keep shoppers interested in, and loyal to, your brand remains a pressing priority, but those that align to the Klarna mantra of smoooth (yes, so smoooth we need 3 o’s) will find a significant payoff.

The most successful online retailers — those that appear in the IRUK500 — know the dedication and customer-first focus that it takes to win. Here are our recommendations for retailers to boost sales and take your retail business to the next level in the coming year:

Expand the payments portfolio

Retailers can’t afford to ignore the more innovative payment options in the market. And the lack of flexible and fast payments is especially frustrating to online and mobile shoppers, who want to be in and out of a transaction swiftly.

Having more financial choice is proven to be beneficial for both retailers and shoppers alike. In fact, a recent study we carried out revealed that over half (53%) of shoppers want new and easier ways to pay online, while 56% would buy more online if there was more variation in payment options available.

Alternative payment methods such as Klarna – which lets shoppers pay later for their items after they’ve arrived on their doorstep – fulfils the shopper’s desire to “try before they buy.” Klarna seamlessly bridges the infamous offline-online gap, removing a key barrier to purchase.

Boost experience with exceptional basics

Retailers are increasingly realising that they need to offer consumers more than just an outlet to shop. They need to provide an exciting and convenience-centric overall experience, starting with the basics.

Many make the mistake of thinking that to make a real difference, they must roll out the latest buzzy tech tools and platforms to wow consumers — often at great expense. But the fact remains that no flashy technology can compensate for inconvenience in the customer journey.

It’s crucial that retailers consider the whole shopping experience — from browsing through to purchase, delivery and returns. This journey needs to be simple and frictionless, otherwise consumers will turn to a competitor out of frustration.

Perfecting the basics such as a fast checkout, mobile-optimisation, one-click repeat purchasing, easy returns and multiple payment options is fundamental to customer retention.

Only once retailers are confident that they have an exceptional foundation, should they consider enhancement via next-gen tech. Our research into the future of fashion technology revealed that half of fashion retailers want to invest in high-tech features such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), even though 4 in 5 shoppers say they wouldn’t be interested in using it.

Perfect the multi-channel journey

Multi-channel retailing isn’t new. Whether through catalogues or online, retailers have always had ways of reaching their customers outside of physical stores.

What is changing, however, is the heightened demand for a seamless shopping experience within and between the different channels. Our research revealed that 46% of shoppers think online shopping is more convenient than in-store, and that almost half (49%) miss the personalisation that online offers when shopping in-store — this rose to 69% amongst 16-24 year olds.

Retailers must take note that no one channel holds the key to success; diversifying the journey — and recognising and integrating the most attractive elements of both routes — is what matters.

Ultimately, the goal for retailers is to build a great experience that is convenient for customers, no matter how, where or when they are choosing to shop. And in 2019, only the smoooth will survive.

About Klarna

It’s all about smoooth (yes, with 3 ooo’s). Klarna is Europe’s leading payments provider and a newly-licensed bank, which wants to revolutionise the payment experience for shoppers and merchants alike. Founded in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2005, the fintech unicorn gives online consumers the option to pay now, pay later or over time – offering a trusted, frictionless and smoooth checkout experience.

Klarna now works with 100,000 merchants, including ASOS, Topshop, H&M and JD Sports in the UK, to offer payment solutions to users across Europe and North America. Klarna has 2,000 employees and is active in 14 countries.

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