Klarna Teams With Retailers to Offer ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ in H&M, U.S. Stores

The U.S. launch follows a similar rollout in Europe.

By Arthur Zaczkiewicz and Tracey Greenstein on January 14, 2020

Klarna, the “buy now, pay later” solution provider for consumers shopping on mobile devices and online, is now offering the service in physical stores.

The company said today it is “now partnering with leading U.S. retail brands such as Good American and Planet Blue to offer customers a seamless, personalized and engaging shopping experience, no matter where, when or how they shop.” H&M said it will also offer the service, as well as Foot Locker, according to industry sources.

The launch of the service comes as retailers and brands focus on improving the overall shopping experience. The offering in the U.S. follows a rollout of the service in Europe. Klarna said it has launched 10,000 store activations across Europe “and is now launching its in-store solution in the U.S. to offer a simple, smart and flexible way for customers to pay using their smartphone when shopping in-store at partner brands.”

The company noted that while more than 81 percent of U.S. consumers own a smartphone, “mobile in-store payments in the U.S. have typically lagged versus other global regions.”

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, chief executive officer of Klarna, said the company is working with retailers to integrate “digital capabilities into physical stores to create an easy, inspiring and convenient shopping experience for customers.”

“Shoppers want to be able to move freely between channels and choose whether to shop in-store or online, but still have the same control over their buying experience and the same flexible payment options, including the option to purchase via their smartphone,” he added.

Siemiatkowski told WWD that while “conversational focus” is focused online commerce, “the reality is that 89 percent of total retail in the U.S. took place in a physical store in 2019.”

“U.S. shoppers want to be able to move freely between channels and choose whether they want to shop in-store, online or even via social media,” Siemiatkowski said. “Klarna, together with our retail partners, is integrating physical stores with digital platforms and smartphones in consumers’ pockets to close the gap, so shoppers can experience the same intuitive services and payment options centered on their needs, no matter the touchpoint.”

And H&M said that through its partnership with Klarna, the retailer developed a personalized payment solution tailored for its unique customer experience. Stefan Vos, chief financial officer of H&M North America, said, “Shopping at H&M should be convenient, relevant and inspiring and we are happy to now offer fashion fans in the U.S. a whole new way of paying for their fashion finds. Through the partnership with Klarna, we have developed an H&M-unique payment solution that offers our fans a truly modern shopping experience no matter where and how they choose to shop.”

Klarna said that when using the payment solution in participating physical stores, “consumers will be able to shop through the Klarna app. A custom QR code will allow shoppers to create a digital Klarna card to add to their Apple Wallet, which will enable them to pay for their items with Apple Pay.”

Siemiatkowski described 2019 as a “fantastic” year for the company, globally and in the U.S. He noted that the company has “strong momentum, with over 190,000 retail brands live, 60,000 of which joined in 2019 alone, and over 16 million new consumers using our services in the past year.”

The ceo said the focus for its U.S. retail partners and for consumers “is to deliver the best end-to-end shopping experience with the Klarna shopping app, rather than just the payment as a transaction.”

“We know that consumers love the service and we were delighted that Klarna was the number-one trending app among shopping apps in the U.S. Play Store in autumn 2019,” Siemiatkowski noted. “Over the recent holiday period, our app had over 200,000 more downloads in the U.S. than our closest competitor’s app did.”