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Q&A: How Klarna is making its mark in online shopping

As Black Friday recently showed us, online shopping is continuing to grow in popularity and it is a trend that is unlikely to disappear any time soon.

Companies are in a race against time to get their digital payments solution to the top of the pile before the market becomes saturated and one firm making its mark is Klarna, based in the heart of Stockholm's growing tech scene.

We recently spoke to Klarna's CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski, to learn more about the company and the online shopping industry in general.

1. Klarna seems to be a bit of a Swedish success story. What are you doing differently to other companies in the industry?

Klarna makes it simple and safe for consumers to shop online by having the most seamless checkout in the world, and by separating buying from paying. We can do that through integrating credit into the checkout which is completely unique. With our checkout solution, consumers enter only top-of-mind information like an email address and zip code to buy an item. Klarna then assumes the risk from the transaction and pays the retailer immediately.

2. What are the main barriers/difficulties you've faced in the online shopping industry?

The main challenge for merchants still is mobile conversion. But what our results show is that as long as the solution is simple enough, retailers are able to get same conversion rates on mobile as on desktop.

3. How to you ensure user information stays secure?

Klarna was born in an online environment, with the pure focus of handling payments. That means that everything we've ever built has been constructed to be as safe as possible. In addition, we have a team that works full time on data protection.

4. What's been the company's biggest success story so far?

The single biggest success of Klarna so far is the high rating we get in our customer satisfaction scores. If we keep building solutions and products that keep our customers happy, then that trumps everything.

5. How has Stockholm's tech scene developed since Klarna started?

To quote Peter Thiel: "it has gone from Zero to One." When we started there was no scene, today there is an eco-system with a third and fourth wave of new startups.

6. How do you see the mobile shopping industry changing in the next few years?

Two mega trends will continue to dominate: mobile and global. It's up to companies like us to combine them, so that consumers can shop on their mobiles from anywhere in the world, in a simple and safe way.

7. Do you see smartwatches as having a big impact in the industry?

Not at this point, but I’m hoping to be proved wrong.

Image source: Shutterstock/mtkang