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The e-commerce giant, which already has Hindi and English interfaces, said the new regional languages interface has been built on its ‘Localisation and Translation Platform’.
This will empower customers to comfortably undertake an end-to-end e-commerce journey in their local language with ease and is in line with Flipkart’s aim of developing innovations to solve for the various pain points of consumers transitioning to e-commerce, a statement said.
Flipkart had introduced Hindi interface on its platform last year as part of its efforts to tap into the next 200 million customers coming online to experience e-commerce.
Flipkart’s rival, Amazon offers English and Hindi interfaces to its customers.
Flipkart cited industry reports to say Indian language internet users are expected to account for nearly 75 per cent of India’s internet user base by 2021.
Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart, said almost 58 per cent of its user base comes from tier-II cities and beyond.
“…new language interfaces of Tamil, Telugu and Kannada along with Hindi (introduced last year) will further improve users’ e-commerce journeys by making it simpler and more personal,” he added.
Flipkart said southern states account for a significant proportion of Flipkart’s growing user base. Coupled with a higher adoption rate of native language script, regional language interfaces will help make e-commerce more inclusive, it added.
The company had conducted an ethnographic study – carried out over several months across cities including Salem, Visakhapatnam and Mysore – to get relevant insights that helped the team develop the platform.
The process included a large scale translation of over 5.4 million words across product specifications, banners and payment pages etc, in the three languages.
The study found that participants showed increased affinity towards using hybrid words that are a mix of English and a regional dialect.
Also, participants of Kannada and Tamil languages considered representation of categories on e-commerce in native script and in a transliterated form, while Telugu speakers preferred the same in English script.
Similarly, Kannada speaking users preferred to use Standard Units (SI Units) in native language as against English preferred by Telugu and Tamil speaking users, the study found.
“In the past year, we have introduced multiple solutions under Voice, Video and Vernacular to increase e-commerce adoption for millions of consumers. We truly believe that language, if solved well, can be an opportunity rather than a barrier to reach millions of consumers who have been underserved,” Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said.
He added that as a homegrown e-commerce marketplace, it understands India and its diversity in a more nuanced way and it is building products that have the potential to bring a long-term change.
“The introduction of Tamil, Telugu and Kannada interfaces, in addition to Hindi and English, is a meaningful step in that direction in line with our mission to democratize e-commerce in India,” he said.