Global payments network and shopping assistant Klarna is rolling out 13 new AI-powered products, including AI-powered image search.

This follows the launch last month of Klarna’s conscious shopping dashboard, which empowers consumers to make sustainability-driven shopping decisions.

Shopping lens, the “flagship” new feature, will allow consumers to take pictures of styles and apparel in their surroundings and find out where to buy them online, using artificial intelligence to translate the image into a search term.

Another new tool will allow high-street shoppers to scan items’ barcodes in-store to give them access to product information and customer reviews, as well as allow them to find more competitive prices and different colours and variants online.

Klarna, which boasts 500,000 retail partners and 50 million SKUs in its database, has partnered with a huge range of fashion brands, from high-end Ralph Lauren and Agent Provocateur to fast fashion brands Boohoo and H&M, in the deployment of its shopping tools.

Asked by Bloomberg TV about the risk of consumers returning to online shopping, Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said: “For a while during Covid, we thought that nobody was going to return to physical stores. Now, we’ve seen that they have to a large degree. You’ll have these fluctuations. I think that over time, more and more so, those two experiences will merge to some degree.”

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By GlobalData

“What we wanted to make sure of with Klarna is that whether you’re in physical stores and using our photo lens to scan the barcode or take an image of the item, or whether you’re looking at something on your screen, those two should lead to the same opportunity of comparing alternatives, understanding who can ship that product the fastest, etc.”

According to GlobalData’s job analytics, Klarna advertised for 17 job roles related to AI from January to mid-October this year, compared to none over the same period in 2022. This is reflective of Klarna’s drive to diversify beyond its buy now, pay later history into an “AI-powered” shopping assistant, as it feels the financial squeeze of higher interest rates on BNPL firms.

Allowing eco-conscious consumers to shop sustainably

In September, Klarna debuted a sustainability dashboard that allows consumers to access sustainability-oriented products, features and services. The tool spotlights brands with circular services to reduce waste and maximise product use, and it features a CO2e tracker.

The dashboard will also serve as a “repository” for editorial and educational content designed to enhance consumers’ understanding of sustainable practices.

“Klarna is dedicated to transforming shopping into a more circular and sustainable experience by facilitating more informed decisions and providing our 150 million consumers with tools to discover more environmentally responsible products,” said Salah Said, head of sustainability, Klarna.

Tools to help consumers make informed shopping choices reflect an increasing demand among consumers for increased information transparency.

In May, a digital consumer behaviour report by Avery Dennison, a leading materials science and digital identification solutions company, found that two-thirds of global fashion shoppers desire more transparency regarding the provenance of garments.

Meanwhile, GlobalData’s Q3 2023 global consumer survey found that the ethics, environmentalism and social responsibility of a product or service always or often influence product choice among 45% of consumers (compared to 47% in Q3 2022), while 43% said that low prices and affordability are an essential factor when buying goods (compared to 40% in Q3 2022).

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