Quirky Swedish bank Klarna has opened a week-long pop up in the centre of Covent Garden designed to give some of its online brand partners a showcase to connect with their consumers directly. The showcase, laid out over two floors, is divided into sections such as Sports and Wellness, Interiors, Contemporary Fashion and Beauty Bay.

Brands promoting themselves at the Shorts Garden unit include the ever-popular ASOS, Swoon, House of Holland and MyGymWardrobe as well as a comprehensive set of events (the opening night featured a well-attended ‘How to strut like a supermodel’ masterclass) that run alongside the normal opening hours.

Klarna took Retail Insider around the space, you really cannot call it a shop as nothing is for sale, and in fact many of the brands featured do not actually have a licence to sell in a shop at all. Consumers are not even able to try on clothing but items in each range have a QR code to scan which takes the user to the relevant website where that item can be added seamlessly to their basket. The team has been delighted with the pick-up of the brand-related events, the series of ASOS styling workshops, for example, sold out within 15 minutes of being promoted to users online while a session on wellness featuring a running influencer was completely packed.

Shoe-shi: Shoes on a sushi conveyor belt at Klarna’s pop up

The team at Klarna has successfully tried to involve different demographics in the experiential retail events, guests at the supermodel session were mainly young women with their mothers but an older clientele have come to the Finery-related events.

The bank, founded by Sebastian Siemiatkowski who came over to open the Shorts Garden project, is currently working with around 3,500 retail partners in the UK and interest has been high, according to Klarna, in being part of the showcasing pop up.

Klarna founder at the launch of the Shorts Garden pop up

ASOS had not done a pop-up for two years but jumped at the chance when approached by Klarna. Currently adding 25,000 new customers every week Klarna also has what it calls a “hefty pipeline” of new retail partners lined up.

In terms of more pop-ups like this the Klarna team hail the huge rise of such showrooms in New York which give consumers the enormous benefit of being able to see and touch items, use the QR code to scan, pay and order delivery without having to carry their purchases around with them for the rest of the day to the theatre, restaurant or bar that they intend to visit later on. The brands that Klarna chose to spotlight on this occasion were those with the best verticals for activation claiming they have all “been amazed at the interaction” it provided with their customers.

Some of the consumer samples available at Klarna

For Klarna the week long experiment has also been about saying thank-you to its loyal customers as well as a chance to see how they react with brands and how it affects their shopping habits. According to the company, in general women favour its Pay Later option while men will more often choose the Pay In Three option where one third of the amount is taken out at checkout, one third on day 30 and the final third on day 60.