Klarna creates global ‘Consumer Council’

Image via Klarna

Point-of-sale lender Klarna, which has a banking license in Europe and partners with banks in other markets, is creating a new mechanism to acquire feedback as it evolves its products. The “Consumer Council” will take the form of in-person meetups three times a year in each market.

The Sweden-based fintech, founded in 2005 and currently valued at $5.5B, serves 85 million customers globally across 17 core markets. Aoife Houlihan, Klarna’s vice president of communications and policy, said the purpose of the consultations is to put a finger on the pulse of how customers interact with the product in different markets. Insights, which could be used to inform customer experience and product improvements, will be presented in a report at the end of the year.

“It’s to enable a better two-way conversation between ourselves and our consumers,” Houlihan said. “We are challenging [our] assumptions by making sure that we’re having really direct and open dialogue.”

The first meetups will take place in London on March 10, and in Stockholm on March 16, followed by Manchester, Berlin and New York this spring. Klarna joins other fintech startups organizing physical meetups with customers, a technique Monzo, Revolut and SoFi have used in the past.

See also: Bolstered by $460m, Klarna to ramp up investment strategy beyond the US

Houlihan noted that the company wants to hear from customers who have positive— as well as negative — experiences. Klarna offers point-of-sale financing products for both consumers and merchants, and currently works with 200,000 global merchant partners. For now, the meetups are for consumers, not merchants, but the company is exploring possibilities to consult merchants in the future. It’s also looking into opportunities to virtually consult customers who can’t attend the meetups in person.

While “buy now, pay later” payment models have been the subject of lawmaker scrutiny in Sweden, Houlihan emphasized that the meetups are designed to acquire customer feedback, not to “set the record straight” in the face of criticism. The company also plans to bring in guest speakers who aren’t affiliated with Klarna on topics that could include personal finance management.

A core objective of the initiative is to learn how customer behavior differs by geography.

“We’re not going to have a preconceived notion around this, but what constitutes a real pain point for a U.S. consumer could be quite different to German consumer,” she said.

Klarna, which last August secured $460 million in equity funding, is quickly growing its reach, with the launch of offerings for Australian consumers last month. The company this week acquired the Italian “buy now, pay later” startup Moneymour and set up a product development center in Milan.

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