After releasing a debit card earlier this year, the online installment payment service Klarna unveiled its new virtual shopping feature on Thursday, according to a press release.
Virtual Shopping by Klarna lets consumers browse and purchase online as well as ask for product guidance from in-store employees via video call or live chat. Retailers can add the tool to their online stores and use the Klarna Store App to connect their staffers with virtual shoppers.
The feature is currently available in 18 markets, including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, and Sweden. Klarna plans to offer it in more markets this year, per the announcement.
From its loyalty program to its Wix and browser integrations, Klarna is further enmeshing itself into consumers’ shopping habits. In February, the buy now, pay later platform tapped Visa and WebBank to issue a card with a “Pay-in-4” option. The company released the card in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, and Sweden.
Klarna first turned its attention to virtual shopping last summer when it acquired the social shopping platform Hero for an undisclosed sum. The move allowed Klarna’s partner retailers to create content and advise customers. The BNPL platform touted higher conversion rates for online shoppers who used the Virtual Shopping via Hero feature.
“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,” David Sandström, CMO at Klarna, said in a statement. “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.”
Klarna’s release of its virtual shopping tool comes on the heels of Snapchat unveiling its own AR commerce features earlier this month. Snap’s 3D Asset Manager enables brands to generate 3D models of the products they want to highlight on the app, and its AR image processing tool allows them to use their product photography to create AR assets for the app’s AR try-on lens.
Besides vying for market share in the virtual shopping space, Klarna and its other BNPL competitors have had to invest more in their infrastructure as installment payment services grow in popularity. Meanwhile, regulators are closely watching the space to determine whether these tools are driving consumers deeper into debt.