Klarna Launches AI-Powered Image Recognition Tool

Key Takeaways

  • Swedish fintech company Klarna on Wednesday released a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered image recognition tool to improve users’ shopping experience.
  • The tool, called “Shopping Lens,” uses AI to translate images of products into a search term, and directs customers to the best deals on Klarna’s app.
  • With the new AI tool, Klarna is taking on big tech companies like Google and Amazon that have launched similar products, including Google Lens and Amazon Rekognition, in recent years.

Swedish fintech company Klarna released a new AI-powered image recognition tool Wednesday to improve users’ shopping experience, taking on big tech companies like Google (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN) that have launched similar products in recent years.

The new tool, called “Shopping Lens,” allows shoppers to upload a picture of any item they might be interested in buying. Using AI to translate the image into a search term, the tool instantly tells shoppers where to buy the product and directs them to the best deals on Klarna’s app.

Shopping Lens is trained using data from PriceRunner, a price comparison platform Klarna acquired last year.

David Sandstrom, Klarna’s chief marketing officer, said in an email the tool “not only identifies the product in seconds, but also gives [users] a ton of useful information, including price comparisons, reviews, and related products to help them make the best possible purchase.”

It’s designed to improve and personalize the shopping experience for Klarna’s roughly 150 million active users. Research conducted by Klarna earlier this year found eight out of 10 younger customers look forward to having an AI shopping assistant, while 65% said they want a more personalized shopping experience.

“Klarna has been investing significantly in AI over the last few months, from partnering with OpenAI on a ChatGPT plugin to building an AI-powered feed in the Klarna app,” Sandstrom said.

Taking on Big Tech

Klarna’s latest innovation draws parallels to similar image-recognition tools launched by big tech companies like Google and Amazon in recent years.

Google Lens, which came out in 2017, uses AI to decode images, labels, barcode, and text, and translate them into a search result on Google’s search engine. Unlike Klarna’s “Shopping Lens,” however, it doesn’t direct users to shopping queries.

Amazon, through its AWS cloud computing platform, also offers a host of AI-powered machine learning tools. Among these is Amazon Rekognition, an AI-powered facial recognition tool launched in 2016 that can analyze millions of images and videos, detect people and faces, and assist with human review tasks.

Along with corporate clients, some of Amazon Rekognition’s biggest users include government and law enforcement agencies, which use its facial recognition technology to track down suspects.

Klarna’s “Shopping Lens” tool could allow the company to better compete with these tech giants and potentially draw more customers to its app.

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