Let’s call it – we are officially in Ecommerce enablement overload. It’s a noisy and crowded market with promises of massive trajectories: Increase AOV! Reduce CAC! Improve Retention! The fevered pitches are intense. And that’s because stakes are at a seemingly all time high for both ecomm retailer and enabler. With the change in trajectory of ecommerce, there is an urgency for survival.
But, what makes a retailer or brand pay attention to one solution over another?
Answer: Bring Friends. Don’t arrive empty handed.
What does this mean? Just like you were taught – never arrive to a party empty handed.
B2B is simply not enough anymore in the crowded SaaS ecommerce enablement space. If your solution is to engage a customer in any way such as, for example, retargeting, engagement, loyalty, subscribing then you have a DUAL job. What does this mean? This means that if you are only relying on the retailer and brand to tell customers about this great engagement tool (check out here, partial payments there, subscribe here, sms sign up there) then you will not grow, you will not win and outcompete, and you will have churn. If a B2B SaaS ecommerce enablement solution expects adoption by brands and retailers to cultivate customer engagement with their solution – it’s a lose lose.
Saas enablement solutions need to “come to the party with friends” meaning THEY have done the work to communicate to the customer the what, why and how of their solution.
A perfect example of this is Klarna.
Buy Now pay later was but a mere glimmer in a few founders’ eyes known only to insiders in the B2B space and then, suddenly, there were a plethora of strong options. It turns out, they aren’t really distinguishable to the customer so what happens next?
So who wins when there are so many, seemingly, similar options? The winner is the one who plays a dual role to sign up businesses AND cultivate the consumer. As such, business, when evaluating each offer, all things being somewhat similar with CHOOSE the one that has the most CUSTOMER facing engagement.
Klarna has arguably had the most prevalent B2C digital campaign with snazzy colo- popping campaigns with on-trend (at the time) millennial pink leaning heavily into Instagram ads. In contrast, other buy now pay later options such as Sezzle, Afterpay, Affirm and Split-it have had less impactful, if any, customer-facing marketing and media.
According to Pathmatics (see link), Klarna’s top 10 creatives from March 2020 through February 2021 feature a millennial pink and light purple color scheme, which ironically highlights the audience that Klarna is trying to reach, and offers a bit more creativity than Afterpay’s straightforward ads. In fact, Klarna has invested a significant amount more into Instagram than Afterpay. Sixty-eight percent of Klarna’s digital spend since March has gone to Instagram ($10.6M), with Facebook ($2.2M), desktop display ($1.3M), and desktop video ($973K) ad spend lightyears-away. While, Affirm’s ad campaign tried to distinguish itself with humor according to Adweek, the social media presence of Klarna has had a bigger impact.
And the proof is in the numbers. Currently available in 45 countries, Klarna recorded more than 147 million active users and 400,000 partner merchants in 2021. With the company’s intensive penetration of the US market, they closed the year with 20 million active accounts in the country.
According to Payments Dive,
On the global stage, Klarna’s market share (44.5%) and that of Block-owned Afterpay (22.6%) were dominant as the two most downloaded BNPL apps during the quarter, although Affirm (19.6%) wasn’t far behind. Klarna lost share (falling from 58.5% in Q2) while Afterpay and Affirm gained market share, compared to the second quarter.
A Francisco-based buy now-pay later provider Affirm saw an app download surge in the U.S. during the third quarter, giving it more consumer downloads in the U.S. than Swedish market leader Klarna for the first time since the second quarter of 2019, according to Bank of America data. Nonetheless, Klarna still had more than twice as many downloads globally during the quarter, the data showed.
Klarna also remains the biggest BNPL provider globally based on monthly active users, averaging 8.2 million during the third quarter, followed by Afterpay, with an average of 3.4 million, Jason Kupferberg, equity research analyst for Bank of America Securities, wrote in a Wednesday note to investor clients.
While, Affirm has been the most frequently used BNPL app in the U.S. for eight consecutive months and saw the largest growth in that measure during the quarter. The company’s gains “came at the expense of Klarna,” Kupferberg wrote. Affirm averaged about 2.9 million monthly active U.S. users in Q3, compared to 2.6 million in Q2, and 1.6 million in the third quarter of 2021.
In the U.S., Afterpay was used second most often, with about 2.5 million active users in the quarter, while Klarna had 2.1 million.
Your job has a dual role because times have tightened fin ecommerce saas solutions and there is a lot of duplication of services. If you want to stand out – do like your mom said, Don’t show up empty handed! Saas solutions will gain more traction when customers are fans.