Today’s retail checkout experiences can be frustrating, but Swedish-based payment provider Klarna aspires to change that with a system that gives consumers more ways to pay for their goods over a longer period of time. The brand has already made waves in Europe, so to introduce U.S. retailers to its offerings, Klarna hosted an event at a penthouse in New York City’s West Village neighborhood for more than 200 retailers, brands and influencers. Part of its Smoooth Sessions event series (“so smoooth it needs three o’s”), the Instagrammable Jan. 31 experience featured music, cocktails, interactive engagements and a panel discussion.
Upon arriving at the event, attendees were met with the brand’s name projection-mapped onto the façade of the venue, along with a clothing rack installation featuring a rose-covered mannequin, soft purple uplighting and shopping bags from some of the brands using Klarna’s payment system. Inside, the floral theme was met with nods to the brand’s quirky character, like “Jell-O” graphics plastering the walls (a reference to a Klarna ad promoting its—you guessed it—smoooth payment system).
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Klarna put its own unconventional twist on the food and beverages, too. An attendee favorite was a “mystery bartender” experience. As attendees mingled at a bar area hidden by a curtain of brown fur (more on that in a moment), colorful gloved hands spontaneously emerged from behind the drape holding glasses of complimentary champagne for attendees to take away. There was also a tequila cocktail pour-over station where attendees could add the spirit to a selection of colorful flavors and garnishes. As for the bites, each serving dish had a unique component for attendees to engage with, like dessert trays that floated through the space carried by balloons (and closely monitored by servers).
The share-worthy experience continued with a photo booth activation that mimicked a popular Klarna ad featuring a (very smooth) Afghan Hound, her fur blowing in simulated wind against a brown curtain, along with quirky music, a shopping bag and a gold telephone. The moment was replicated for a GIF-like photo op that included an oversized phone and shopping bag as props, a brown fur jacket that mimicked the dog’s coat and a brown curtain backdrop. The moment was captured and printed on-site, while a digital version featuring the music from the original Klarna ad was also sent to participants via email.
View the Original Klarna Ad Here:
The main attraction at the Smoooth Session, however, was an intimate panel discussion featuring Ashley Sandall, director of strategic partnerships at the Council of Fashion Designers of America; Allissa LaScala, marketing commerce manager at Daniel Wellington; Huston Conti, co-founder of Shoes of NYC; and Paul Masters, coo at In The Style Fashion. Moderated by Arthur Zaczkiewicz, executive editor at WWD, the panel discussed how to increase conversions during the retail checkout experience, as well as the critical role authenticity plays in creating more meaningful customer experiences.
Rounding out the event was a giveaway display that served as a “shop” where attendees could snag complimentary items like fuzzy slippers, branded sunglasses, pink tote bags, prayer candles featuring four Klarna patterns and branded beanies.
“One of our key goals with our Smoooth Sessions is for folks to get to know us,” says Alexandra Ivancevic, U.S. marketing director at Klarna. “We’re a really quirky, brave and fun brand and we make shopping and checking out fun, so we wanted to provide an opportunity for folks to get immersed in the Klarna experience and try to generate a more emotional and spontaneous connection for both retailers and influencers.” Agency: Sequence Events, New York City.
Spin Through Klarna’s Smoooth Session:
Photo courtesy: Christian Rodriguez