Klarna is best known for its ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ option that empowers consumers to make big-ticket purchases without having to cover the entire cost upfront. But that’s not all the global retail bank brings to the table as it evolves into a 360 shopping ecosystem and mecca for consumers and merchants alike. Klarna’s chief marketing officer David Sandstrom joined Adweek’s Lisa Lacy during our Elevate: Future of Shopping event to discuss the future of shopping and payments.
According to Sandstrom, like many ecommerce businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic took Klarna and BNPL as a whole to new heights.
“Since we are a big part of powering ecommerce and supporting ecommerce, it was a huge bump for our industry,” Sandstrom said. “We are now back to pre-pandemic levels, but the pandemic saw a huge shift in how people were forced to buy.”
Sandstrom describes BNPL as a digitized and modern way of buying and paying for things online and believes it’s how people will keep shopping well into the future. As more BNPL companies emerge, Sandstrom said Klarna differentiates itself by offering far more than a BNPL solution.
“We actually don’t see ourselves as a buy now, pay later company. We have a feature that is buy now, pay later—it’s a payment method,” he explained. “But we see ourselves much more as a shopping utility for consumers nowadays that solves for a number of different use cases and problems and issues that consumers have when buying things online.”
Sandstrom thinks it’s likely that inflation and a potential recession will cement buy now, pay later in consumers’ wallets forever.
“I’ve always seen Klarna as a financial utility, a shopping utility. I do think going into a recession, that thing is going to be more important than ever,” he said. “Usage of our budgeting tool that gives you an overview of your spending is more popular than ever right now.”
According to Sandstrom, this period of economic downturn will also help usher in the next wave of BNPL consumers and providers.
“I don’t actually and fully understand people saying the recession is bad for these products and services. I see it the other way around. I actually think Klarna and some of our competitors are very, very useful, and they can be a lifesaver,” he explained.