The company quietly rolled out the price comparison service in the U.S. a few weeks back, and is now extending this into additional markets in Europe, including the U.K. and the Nordics.
The European “buy now, pay later” fintech has had a turbulent year, laying off 10% of its workforce in May followed by a second round of layoffs in September. Sandwiched in between, news emerged that Klarna had raised $800 million in funding, albeit at a valuation 85% lower than the previous year, a trend that has echoed elsewhere across the fintech sphere and beyond.
With today's announcement, Klarna is building on an acquisition that closed just six months ago, when it snapped up comparison shopping service PriceRunner in a $1 billion deal. At the time, it said that it would use the acquisition to power new features in the core Klarna app, including produce search and price comparisons -- and that is what it has been rolling out over the past few weeks.
It's a notable expansion for Klarna, which has hitherto been better known for a service that allows consumers to buy goods through third-party retailers in installments. Moving forward, the Klarna app will not only serve as a payment network, but a "single shopping destination" for finding the cheapest deals and paying.
Digging into the specifics, the new price comparison smarts allow customers to filter their searches by criteria such as size, color, ratings, availability, shipping options and more. On top of that, Klarna shows shoppers historical pricing data, which shows how the cost has fluctuated over time and whether they should buy now, or wait a little longer to see if the price goes down.
A 'credible alternative'
The company said that the tool is designed to serve as a "credible alternative" to other shopping services from the likes of Google and Amazon. Indeed, PriceRunner is in fact in the process of suing Google for more than $2 billion in Europe, alleging that the internet giant continues to breach a 2017 antitrust enforcement order against Google Shopping. The long and short of that case involves Google allegedly giving prominence to its own comparison shopping service in Google Search results. And this is why Klarna is pushing the message here that its own price comparison product is "unbiased" in the results that it serves up.
"You could spend the whole day comparing offers at conventional search engines or marketplaces, but you’ll always have doubts -- have I really found the best product at the best price?," Klarna co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said in a press release. "Klarna’s new search and compare tool does the hard work for consumers and compares thousands of websites in real time to ensure they have all the information they need to make informed and confident purchase decisions."
And perhaps more importantly from the perspective of Klarna's business in light of everything that has gone on this year, this rollout bolsters the company's existing affiliate marketing programs and enhances its potential revenue if it helps drive traffic and sales for its retail customers.
"For retailers, the search and compare tool becomes a key acquisition channel, boosting their visibility, traffic, and sales with an engaged audience," the company wrote. "This provides retailers with a clear alternative to Google and Amazon when it comes to attracting traffic to their websites, and provides Klarna with an important additional revenue stream."