With the vision to make online commerce more inclusive and accessible, homegrown e-commerce marketplace Flipkart has enabled vernacular language support for three more Indian languages. After introducing Hindi interface last year, Flipkart has now added Tamil, Telugu and Kannada interfaces, which are likely to help reduce the access barriers to e-commerce for native language speakers.
In line with Flipkart's aim of developing state-of-the-art innovations to solve various pain points of consumers transitioning to e-commerce, these new regional languages interfaces have been built on Flipkart's 'Localisation and Translation Platform'. According to industry reports, Indian language internet users are expected to account for nearly 75 per cent of India's internet user base by 2021. This new initiative will empower customers to comfortably undertake an end-to-end e-commerce journey in their local language, with ease.
"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. 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. 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 democratise e-commerce in India," says Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer of Flipkart Group.
Flipkart believes that this growing base of language users, primarily from smaller towns, makes it extremely important to enable e-commerce in regional languages to offer a more personalised experience. As 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.
"As a homegrown e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart understands the importance of having an expanded universe of vernacular interfaces to empower our Bharat users and ensure easy transition of new online users to e-commerce. Today, almost 58 per cent of our user base comes from Tier-II cities and beyond and with 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," says Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart.
Flipkart had also conducted an extensive ethnographic study spanning over several months to understand the importance of vernacular languages, customer behaviour and understanding customer perspective about using apps in their native language. Based on the outcome, to onboard the next 200 million consumers into the fold of e-commerce, it becomes imperative to offer native-language experience in the form of an interface to provide comfort and aid in decision making. The study suggested that the consumption of native language platforms for socialising was noticed to be higher as compared to other language platforms. Participants showed increased affinity towards using hybrid words that are a mix of English and a regional dialect. Respondents also showed a tendency to use a mix of translation and transliteration of words without realising in the same sentence. And lastly, while participants of Kannada and Tamil languages considered representation of categories on e-commerce in the native script and in a transliterated form, Telugu speakers preferred the same in English script.