Klarna, the retail banking, payments and shopping service from Sweden with over 90 million active users worldwide and 2 million transactions per day, has acquired Hero, a social shopping platform founded in 2015 and based in London and New York. Hero aims “to provide consumers with inspiration, advice and immediately shoppable content produced directly from retailers’ physical stores,” creating a more personalized and convenient way to shop and bringing the concept of personalized customer service to e-commerce. Available on the retailer’s website, Hero connects online shoppers with in-store product experts who offer inspiration and advice at the touch of a button via messaging, video chat and social style content. Hero turns online shopping into an interactive experience with all the benefits of in-store service, allowing customers to shop from anywhere and however they want.
Hero’s customer list includes global brands such as Levi’s, rag & bone, Chloé and Harvey Nichols, and shares a number of retail partners with Klarna’s existing network such as Nike and JD Sports. Hero’s existing products will be immediately available to Klarna’s retail partners. In addition, Klarna will roll out Hero to its 250,000 retail partners, enabling their store teams to immediately become content creators, offering reviews, real-time advice and richer, more engaging and informative content around products. All of Hero’s 100-plus employees will move to Klarna. The Wall Street Journal said Klarna would pay about $160 million for Hero, according to people familiar with the deal.
Klarna says social shopping is currently most popular with Millennials but is gaining popularity across all demographics. An estimated 28 percent of the U.S. population will be social shoppers by 2022. In the U.S., social commerce retail sales are expected to reach $84 billion by 2024, representing 15 percent of the total estimated U.S. e-commerce volume.
More recently, Klarna acquired Shoptail, a shopping comparison service that ensures retailers can compete effectively in the online advertising market by giving consumers access to the best search-based deals, and Toplooks, an AI-powered styling engine that enables retailers to create shoppable content by suggesting complementary items to consumers across their web and social channels.