Between the many projects I worked on at Klarna, I am proudest of what my team has done with marketing and transactional emails—a channel usually overlooked but frequently the first entry point for many new users.
I was the sole designer in a team of 12, working on CRM channels and parts of the Klarna app.
Framing the problem
Klarna is a payment and e-commerce platform with over 90 million active users worldwide, with an abundance of partnered merchants that uniquely positions it against its competitors. It leads the industry by offering flexible payments and shopping services but now aims to provide personalised content to its users through its consumer app.
My team wanted to revisit the primary entry point to the app for many new users: emails. So, we started to identify some of the challenges:
The visual language wasn't consistent across all markets as Growth Teams used different theming methods.
The differentiation between educational and marketing visuals was missing. Most assets were very similar and difficult to digest by users.
The email channel wasn't seen as a product. Typestyles, colours, grids, and other foundation elements varied between send-outs due to Growth Teams’ preferences.
As of 2021, Klarna's main eMarketing channel remains emails for its high conversion rates, proving over and over its R.O.I. and its informational utility.
With my arrival at Klarna in Aug. 2020, my team saw an opportunity and leaned into building a cohesive company-wide email look and feel. In Dec. 2020 our C.M.O. David Sandström briefed us on the company expectations for a cohesive U.I., a platform for Growth Teams to design, test and export their emails, and multiple Figma templates for marketing designers.
Initially, the core team was composed of Anna-Sara Kapanen (Project Manager), Ola Laurin (Design Lead), and me (Sr. Product Designer). For the V1.5 release, Viktor Ögren joined as Project Manager.
How we did it
For the planning phase, we audited all email automated user journeys by Growth Teams, and we collected their data and insights while conducting lighting talks to research their main pain points and goals. Afterwards, we drafted a plan for short-term and long-term goals that got us an organisational buy-in from all stakeholders.
In the production phase, we formulated some standards: accessibility, cohesion, and fast performance. It allowed us to create expectations and processes to review our work. Then we focused on two workstreams: producing the new design system (Figma toolkit) and creating marketing templates.
The key difference is that everything looks consistent now with an overall refresh. But, our work also impacted the way Growth Teams work. Today, they design their emails through a platform and populate them using the templates we created. Our platform saves Growth Teams an avg. of 1–2 hours for each review session, and decreased code weight by 30/25%.
By owning the platform in which emails are created, we tracked the number of uses of each component and how teams were measuring success through metrics. Next, we set up a system to receive contributions.
We set up a series of processes to support Growth Teams: different Slack channels, open office sessions, and a documentation platform. But mostly we focused on providing info in Figma and inside the platform used to build the emails.
Klarna has still a long way to go on automated user journeys. There are many improvements that Klarna can make to enhance performance and make it easier to work with the email design system. Fortunately, many talented people have joined since we started, and they're constantly elevating the quality of each CRM channel. Hopefully, the work we did will help them reach new standards.
I also worked on many more things. Here's some.
Special thanks: Anna-Sara Kapanen, Ola Laurin, Viktor Ögren, Jacob Westerberg, Taxi for Email’s team, Francesco Cutolo, and Emma Ragel.