BNPL giant Klarna looks to bolster its role in e-commerce with its new HERO deal

Swedish FinTech Klarna acquired HERO, a social shopping platform that provides consumers with advice and shoppable content coming directly from retailers’ physical stores, with the aim to bring the best of in-store experience for its 90 million consumers. 

The acquisition will make online shopping an interactive experience with all the benefits of in-store service for retailers and shoppers. With HERO’s expertise, Klarna can assist retailers in becoming “global brand ambassadors” and give consumers a “new hybrid shopping experience,” Klarna said.

Hero’s existing products will be now available to Klarna’s 250,000 retail partners, allowing their in-store teams to become content creators instantly, offering reviews and real-time advice to bring the best of in-store shopping to the online experience for consumers. Hero’s 100+ employees will be absorbed by Klarna.

London and New York-based HERO was founded in 2015 to create a more personal and convenient way to shop. The company plans to bring the concept of in-person customer service to e-commerce. Its virtual shopping platform connects millions of shoppers with product experts via text, chat and video, all directly from a brand’s e-commerce store.

HERO’s clients include global brands such as Levi, rag & bone, Chloé, Harvey Nichols and shares a number of retail partners with Klarna’s existing network such as Nike and JD Sports.

Social commerce in the US is forecast to hit $84bn by 2024 and is gaining traction across demographics. Some 28% of the US population is anticipated to embrace social shopping by 2022, making it a sector ripe for innovation.

Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski 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.”

Speaking on the development, HERO founder Adam Levene said, “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.”

The acquisition is anticipated to cost Klarna an estimated $160m, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.

Klarna partnered last month with embedded business finance firm Liberis to offer merchants revenue-based loans and other financial services. Most recently, Klarna acquired Shoptail – a comparison shopping service that ensures retailers can effectively compete in the online ad space. It does that by providing consumers access to search-based deals, and Toplooks – an AI-powered styling engine that allows retailers to create shoppable content by suggesting complementary items to consumers.

In June, Klarna became one of the most valuable private tech firms in Europe after raising $639m led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.

Copyright © 2021 FinTech Global

Enjoying the stories?

Subscribe to our daily FinTech newsletter and get the latest industry news & research


The following investor(s) were tagged in this article.