Earlier this week, Klarna, the Swedish global payment provider, kicked off WWD’s BeautyVest with a breakfast event swathed in a pink motif — no “bank blue” here. It was an intentional part of “the experience,” which was also the theme of the session.
More than just another fintech option, Klarna refers to itself as a “consumer acquisition tool,” introducing consumers to new brands on its company channel and creating a seamless experience at a crucial moment in shopping: the payment transaction. Klarna is now the largest fintech payment firm in Europe and since coming to the U.S. has seen more than six million individual users. Users, the company says, who keep coming back for more.
Why? Because experience is the new loyalty. “We talk a lot about this phrase a lot,” said Matthew Suraci, head of commercial at Klarna. “We start thinking about what new experiences and what loyalty mean. No matter the brand, whatever the case may be, it’s the experience people are going there for, asking ‘does it fit in my lifestyle?’ because that’s what I’ll be loyal to.”
In the beauty space, brands must be authentic, transparent and purposeful, key traits that also describe Klarna’s relationship with the Millennial and Generation Z customer. “Today’s buyer is better informed, especially in the beauty industry,” said Jenna Potter, commercial manager at Klarna. “With the rise of social media and the do-it-yourself marketing campaigns [today’s consumers] are really showing that they have the power and influence, so it’s really going back into the consumer’s hand.” People are searching for transparency, more conscious now than ever of what is going in their body and on their skin.
Further, consumers are finding the power to do this in personal control of purchases and looking to buy from, and with, brands that relate to personal values and speak to their lifestyle. Shoppers are also willing to spend more for these products, said Klarna, especially when the transaction is seamless and personalized.
Payment is one of the most indisputable touchpoints of the shopping experience, and so with this more demanding consumer, a seamless payment experience not only desired, it is expected. “Loyalty is no longer driven by rewards and promotion,” said Potter. “Retail is really investing in the store and off-line experience and it’s important for them to engage with the customer not only on an emotional level, but also on a transactional level as well.”
Klarna’s large portfolio of brand partnerships in the U.S. includes beauty brands such as Pixi Beauty, Base Butter and Nira Skin, among others.
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