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Partner Perspective: The thriving European ecommerce sector

Online retail in Europe is maturing quickly. New technology is launching all the time and, for us at Klarna, the overarching trend is the rise of new and flexible payment solutions. With competition hotting up across Europe, ensuring that consumers are attracted to a retailer they want to stay loyal to is vital.

Getting the basics right

Despite retailers currently focusing more than ever on their online offering, and the high street facing challenging times, we continually hear from retailers that some of the basics of online are not where they should be. For example, many retailers are still not optimised for mobile, despite this having been a growing channel for years. The headlines around online retail often centre on future technologies such as delivery by drone. But sound advice for retailers is not to get distracted and forget the basics. Quality product, UX, stock management and a slick checkout experience are must-haves for success.

Customer experience and customer service are both key battlegrounds among online retailers – this is where the fight to stay on top of the high street and battle online behemoths like Amazon will be won. Retailers must resist implementing technology for the sake of it. We find that customers want frictionless tech – things like easy payments – that make their shopping smoother and more convenient. Consumers need technology that works seamlessly behind the scenes to make the buying process more enjoyable.

Fortune favours the brave

When it comes to technology, it’s true that fortune favours the brave. Innovation requires bravery – it means making the first move by recognising the need or future need for change. The advantage of implementing something first is huge, yet retailers need to make sure that they’re focusing on areas that shoppers will value.

When it comes to doing something new, there is an inherent risk. Retail leaders must ensure that, at every level of the organisation, there is a focus on the areas that are important to the business, and an understanding that new things can take time to be established. Successful retail leaders inspire others within the company to get excited about innovation and are consistent with pushing boundaries for the benefit of the shopper.

Advice for retailers

Increasingly, shoppers are expecting to be able to pay however and whenever is most convenient for them. There is still an issue with consumers abandoning baskets in the checkout and being frustrated with online payments, which really chimes with what we hear from retailers. Improving the customer experience will be key in the future for retailers looking to improve their sales. Streamlining steps to purchase, enabling one-click purchases and providing multiple payment options, will all be vital to keep pace with the high expectations of consumers. For example, take the common issue of wanting to see, touch and try out goods before parting with your cash when shopping online. Klarna’s Pay later solves this by giving consumers up to 30 days to pay for online purchases, meaning they only have to pay for what they love.

The future of payments

Now is an incredibly exciting time for the industry, with Europe a hotbed of new financial technology. This is partly due to a culture of fintech innovation but it’s also down to customer demand. As retailers integrate this tech into their customer journey, we’ll see a payments revolution. We predict we will see greater collaboration between the new wave of fintech, retailers and banks. Once this connection is made, we believe that the industry can reach its potential. The focus should always remain on how we can solve problems for consumers and for us, that’s what our proposition is all about.

About Klarna

It’s all about smoooth (yes, with three ‘o’s). Klarna is Europe’s leading payments provider and a newly-licensed bank. It wants to revolutionise the payment experience for shoppers and merchants alike by giving online consumers the option to pay now, pay later or over time – offering a trusted, frictionless and smoooth checkout experience. Klarna works with 89,000 merchants, including ASOS, Topshop and JD Sports in the UK, to offer payment solutions to users across Europe and North America. It is active in 14 countries.

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