The Indian e-commerce giant ‘Flipkart’ enabled three more language interfaces along with Hindi and English on its mobile app yesterday. Users can now search and buy products online using Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada language. Flipkart is looking ahead to boost its customer base to smaller cities and towns where people prefer local languages over Hindi and English. According to Flipkart official, 58% of its users belong to Tier 2 cities. This new development may affect roughly 200 million people speaking the aforementioned three languages.
According to Flipkart Spokeswoman, the support for the Hindi language was overwhelming, since its incorporation in the app last year in September. “About 95% of consumers who opted for the Hindi interface continued using the interface is a testament of its efficacy”, said the spokeswoman. This immense response helped Flipkart to move ahead to its development of three more languages. Around 54 lakh words were translated in Tamil, Telugu, and Kannda into its product pages, banners, and payment pages, according to an official.
“We truly believe that language, if solved well, can be an opportunity rather than a barrier to reaching millions of consumers who have been underserved. As a homegrown e-commerce marketplace, we understand India and its diversity in a more nuanced way and are building products that have the potential to bring a long-term change,” said Kalyan Krishnamurthy, chief executive officer of Flipkart Group, in a statement.
Flipkart recently introduced voice assistant for online commerce and currently plays short-form videos, and on-demand video streaming service to welcome new users. Flipkart’s tough Rival Amazon has already enabled the Hindi language on its e-commerce platform since 2018. However, languages other than English and Hindi are not supported by Amazon’s platform.
India has still not explored its full potential for the e-commerce market. As per a report by the world bank, only 1.6% of sales occur through online platforms compared to total retail sales in India. This is significantly lower than 15% in China and 14% global average. This highlights that there is a big scope for e-commerce to reach local customers who speak languages other than Hindi or English.