Newegg and Klarna are among the companies that are developing and refining new, tech-enhanced approaches to shopping, and getting recognized for innovation, taking advantage of the online universe to entice shoppers afresh.
For its part, Klarna, a fintech and buy now pay later program operator, has been expanding to include shopping services. It has introduced its Virtual Shopping offering, according to the company, to bring the best of in-store to the online experience. Virtual Shopping by Klarna gives consumers the ability to browse and buy online by connecting them directly to in-store experts through live chats and video calls where they get product advice and suggestions. For retailers, Virtual Shopping gives in-store teams the chance to apply their expertise beyond the walls of physical stores to millions of shoppers online. By using the new merchant-facing Klarna Store App, in-store teams can share product photos and videos and demo merchandise live directly from the store floor, from home or even from emerging dark-store concepts.
In doing so, retailers can drive brand engagement and loyalty while reducing return rates, Klarna asserted. The service launch builds on Klarna’s acquisition of Hero, a social shopping platform, last year.
In-store shopping remains the dominant channel despite e-commerce gains, Klarna noted, accounting for about 80% of global retail sales in 2021. The recent Klarna Shopping Pulse Report suggests consumers favor shopping in physical stores because of the social interaction and level of customer service they offer. Consumers today are looking for the same level of assistance when shopping online, 78% of shoppers in the United States say that online retailers need to invest in new technology.
Klarna maintained that more than 300 brands from Levi’s to Herman Miller are using its Virtual Shopping tools and transforming online store settings into a true omnichannel experience. As such, consumers can shop anything from sneakers to sofas without ever stepping foot in a physical retail location but still receive expert guidance from in-store teams that can help them make purchasing decisions.
David Sandström, Klarna chief marketing officer, said in introducing the shopper service. “At Klarna, we want to provide the world’s best shopping experience, whether that is online or in-store. In the past, online shopping has been missing a key element: human interaction. With Virtual Shopping, we replicate the brick-and-mortar experience of receiving personalized advice from an in-store expert and bring it to the online realm. This will empower our partnered retailers around the world to bring their online stores to life and build customer relationships that last.”
In contrast, Newegg’s approach is a regularly scheduled visit with company presenters who do the demonstrations but in a context that encourages immediate purchasing.
With several episodes airing per week, Newegg Live demonstrates products at exclusive sale prices typically available only for the duration of the livestream, the company pointed out.
Hosts produce and write their own scripts. Programming emphasizes interaction between the brand and customers, who type questions or comments in a chat that allows the host to respond in real-time. So viewers can ask questions about the products and make informed buying choices. Hosts provide a three-dimensional product perspective, in-depth descriptions and the ability to showcase features. As they watch the videos, viewers can purchase directly in the Newegg mobile app or on TikTok. If they choose, consumers can check out the videos after the live feed on social media platforms.
“Our customers are tech-savvy and already watching videos on their phones,” stated Drew Roder, Newegg director of studios. “Newegg Live is a fun way for audiences to see and learn more about our products while also asking questions and interacting with our host. Shoppable live video has worked well for our customers.”