Klarna, the global payments giant, has acquired UK-founded social shopping platform Hero, which connects in-store teams directly with online consumers.
HERO was founded in 2015 in London by entrepreneur Adam Levene and now has bases in the UK capital and New York. It counts major brands, such as Harvey Nichols, Rag & Bone and Levi’s, among its customer base and shares a number of customers with Klarna including JD Sports and Nike.
HERO enables in-store sales associates to become content creators instantly, offering reviews, real-time advice and richer, more engaging and informative content around products bringing the best of in-store shopping to the online experience for consumers.
Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski, said the HERO platform would unlock growth for retailers. Commenting on the deal, he said: “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.
“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 Levene said the deal with Klarna, which has 250,000 retail partners globally, would enable the company to bring the HERO platform to a far wider audience. “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,” Levene said.
Looking ahead Klarna CMO Daniel Sandström said that HERO presented Klarna with opportunities to enable its 90m end users to use the platform to share their shopping expertise. “With HERO, Klarna can support retailers in empowering their in-store colleagues to serve a global audience, enhancing e-commerce with the benefits of physical retail. Longer term, we see opportunities for Klarna’s 90 million global consumers to share their shopping expertise as part of a social shopping ecosystem that defies physical and online boundaries, aligned to Klarna’s mission to ensure people can shop, bank and pay in ways that suit them and their lives today,” he said.
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.
The move is the latest strategic acquisition by Klarna. Most recently it acquired Shoptail, a comparison shopping service that ensures retailers can effectively compete in the online ad space by giving consumers access to the best search-based deals, and Toplooks, an AI-powered styling engine that allows retailers to create shoppable content by suggesting complementary items to consumers across their web and social channels.