The Swedish fintech Klarna has an app that offers the buyer everything: shopping, checking accounts and payment methods.
Words like “revolution” are part of the normal vocabulary of Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the founder of Klarna. Klarna, is currently one of the most successful fintechs in all of Europe. Investors valued the start-up, which started as a payment service, at almost 50 billion euros. Today it is mainly known to young people because of its shopping app. Siemiatkowski calls it the “super shopping app”.
The Klarna app could actually have far-reaching consequences: for the start-up, for consumers, retailers and other payment service providers such as PayPal, because Klarna is emulating the big Chinese companies like WeChat and is offering consumers an app that they never have to leave because ideally they can find everything they need there.
For smaller businesses, on the other hand, the super app would have the appeal of being able to reach many more people than usual.
Many people today have an app for almost everything: for finances, for stocks, for the transport service, for photos, for chatting, for digital discount stamps, etc. In the past few years, the number of apps on smartphones has increased continuously and many users have their own account with their own access data for each application. Then there are the countless accounts that you have to set up on the Internet when you try to buy something off platforms like Amazon, on which many already have an account. Every time the website needs the access data for PayPal, the number of the credit card or the access data for online shopping. The number of downloads for retail apps alone has increased by more than 30 percent in the past two years.
While the implementation with PayPal’s super app is still not available, Klarna has delivered and now offers shopping, checking accounts, price comparisons and shipment tracking all in one app. One feature in particular is likely to cause headaches for competitors, but also retailers: Using the app’s own browser, people can now shop in any online shop in the world without leaving Klarna. The subsequent payment is also made via the app, which provides customers with a one-time credit card for purchases outside of their own partner network. This may be convenient for the customer because she no longer has to enter his account details as often.
Particularly tempting at Klarna is the option to purchase by invoice or in installments. Studies have shown that consumers love convenience. “In many countries, the app is now among the top ten shopping apps in terms of download numbers,” says Wedel. “However, we do not expect Chinese conditions with a predominance of a few super apps.” And digital surveillance like in the People’s Republic is not possible in this country.
What works in China could therefore also be worth trying in the rest of the world. Some have actually dreamed of the really big super app. PayPal boss Dan Schulman recently announced that the app will be expanded into a super app. In the future, users should be able to both invest money and shop. This should double the number of PayPal users from currently around 400 million active accounts by 2025.
Super apps for Media Companies
Media companies are in very good position for a super app: they already have an established user base. Users have an account in the Media App and have provided payment information. This allows for a seamless experiene when users buy from integrated super app stores.
Instead of selling advertising to their business customers, they can start offering services for businesses in the app. This opens a new and stable revenue stream for media companies.