Last night, Klarna, the Swedish bank, which prides itself on being non-bank-like, kicked off its first Stateside “Smoooth Session” with a welcome message from chief executive officer Sebastian Siemiatkowski that included an effortlessly suave video of fur-clad Snoop Dogg — complete with “silky smooth” Afghan hounds.
The event was held at Manhattan’s Michelson Studio in the West Village and was ticketed as an “immersive experience designed to feed your senses and push you out of your fashion comfort zone.” More than 200 retailers, brands and influencers attended.
Accompanying throbbing music were cocktails and canapés served on elaborate, arched serving trays and an intimate panel discussion featuring CFDA’s director of strategic partnerships, Ashley Sandall; marketing commerce manager at Daniel Wellington, Allissa LaScala; cofounder of Shoes of NYC, Huston Conti and In the Style’s chief operating officer, Paul Masters. The panel was moderated by WWD’s Arthur Zaczkiewicz and discussed how to increase conversions at the checkout as well as the vital role of brand authenticity as a key in creating more authentic customer experiences.
Too Many Tabs, Not Enough Loyalty
The pivotal Millennial and Gen Z customer peruses the web and is inundated with choice, and more often than not consider many retailers online as referenced by their multiple open tabs. But few traditional retailers have the “secret sauce” to convert at the checkout moment while digital natives are born with higher conversion rates, the panelists acknowledged.
Discussing best brand examples, some key attributes included “reciprocal information sharing,” where personalization technology is mutually understood between customer and retailer, and how technology continues to mature.
“Technology is everything,” said Masters, capturing the theme of retail and every industry at large. For retailers to align their brands, they strive toward conveying authentic brand image, streamlining tech, so much so that Siemiatkowski believes it will smoothen to the point where retailers do “not have to worry about it.”
After the panel, the industry attendees snagged a shopping tote to take home branded candles, sunnies and beanies, as well as Emu brand slippers.