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Q&A with Rob Beattie, UK Partner Manager at Klarna

Ahead of his stint as an Ecommerce Unlocked masterclass host this September, we had the opportunity to chat with Rob Beattie, UK Partner Manager at leading ‘buy now pay later’ service Klarna, to delve deeper into the payment method that’s mesmerising millennials and merchants across the globe. Plus, Rob gave us his take on the hot ecommerce trends of the moment, and a hint about what his upcoming masterclass will cover ...

So Rob, to kick us off, please can you tell us a bit about Klarna and the services you provide?

Absolutely. Klarna was founded in Sweden in 2005 with the aim of making it easier for people to shop online.

Over the course of the last 15 years, technology has evolved, transforming the world around us. Klarna’s mission, however, remains just as relevant today as it did then - to make paying as simple, safe, and above all, as smooth as possible.

As the leading global payments and shopping service, Klarna is providing smarter and more flexible shopping and purchase experiences to 90 million active consumers across more than 250,000 merchants in 17 countries via direct payments, pay after delivery options and installment plans. Overall, Klarna offers a smooth one-click purchase experience that lets consumers pay how and when they prefer to.

According to Worldpay, buy now pay later (BNPL) schemes are the fastest-growing payment method in the UK! What do you think is behind their rising popularity amongst consumers?

Consumers are drastically changing their shopping habits! The way we shop, pay, save and engage with brands has transformed.

Shoppers are turning to BNPL for reasons beyond interest-free credit. For one, their integration into the online shopping experience makes it possible for consumers to “try before they buy,” enabling them to purchase items like clothing before paying for them. In addition, the ability to spread the cost of a purchase over time allows for consumers to consider more aspirational purchases.

In fact, a YouGov survey of BNPL users found that such services increase feelings of security in the minds of consumers when purchasing from smaller or less familiar retailers, whilst also helping shoppers to manage their finances.

Essentially, BNPL offers users all the benefits of credit, including flexible payments, try before you buy, loyalty programs and so on. With buy now pay later, you get all of this but without the sky-high interest rates from big banks. At Klarna we make sure that customers stay informed throughout the checkout and as a result, they always feel in control.

What sort of benefits does BNPL offer merchants?

Whilst consumers value the flexibility, convenience and security of BNPL, there are benefits for merchants too.

Merchants benefit from seller protection because they can transfer risks of late or non-payment to their BNPL providers. As well as this, through Klarna’s shopping app, shopping directory and media services (including our own Google Comparison Shopping Service), retailers and brands alike are presented with the greatest network of shoppers on the planet.

Are there any South West UK brands currently enjoying success with Klarna?

For sure!

Bristol-based brand Trunki has recently launched with Klarna. Cox & Cox, based near Frome in Somerset, is a good example of a homeware business seeing great results having implemented Klarna (in the first three months of launch, 50% of Klarna sales were new customers to the brand). The iconic footwear retailer Clarks, also headquartered in Somerset, have launched with Klarna in the last year as well.

What’s the most important bit of advice you’d give to a bricks-and-mortar retailer who’s just starting out with an ecommerce store?

Drive loyalty by offering your shoppers something that enhances their experience - online shopping should add value to their offline retail experience. You should work with partners who streamline your customer journey, limit clicks to buy and who can introduce you to new customers too!

We’ve seen a huge acceleration in the growth of ecommerce as a result of the Covid pandemic. What can retailers do to try and differentiate their brand from the competition in today's market?

Make every digital interaction count!

It's all about intelligently advertising to shoppers, without getting too close too soon, to encourage them to visit your brand's site, or store. We did a survey here at Klarna that found 33% of shoppers are encouraged by smart or humorous advertising to visit a site or store.

Are there any ecommerce trends you think we should watch out for during the rest of 2021?

BNPL obviously 😜.

Outside of that, I feel that sustainability will continue to be more of a focus for both merchants and consumers as we become more aware of the environment and the impact that retail is having.

What are you most looking forward to about Ecommerce Unlocked?

The opportunity to meet people face to face finally! It's been far too long!!

You’re hosting a masterclass all about holistic payment experiences. Why should people attend and what should they expect to learn?

You’d be amazed at what a payment method can do outside of just being a payment method!

You’ll have to attend to hear all about it 🤩.

Attend Rob’s masterclass at Ecommerce Unlocked!

If you want to learn more about BNPL services and what they can do for your business, join us for Rob’s masterclass at Ecommerce Unlocked, where he'll dive into the intricacies of payments and how you can utilise this feature to add value to your online store. You don't want to miss it!