Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, enabled three new languages on its platform – Tamil, Telugu and Kannada as part of its vision to make online commerce more inclusive and accessible for Indian language users. This launch will help reduce the access barriers to e-commerce for native language speakers. Following the launch of Hindi interface last year, the new regional languages interface have been built on Flipkart’s ‘Localization and Translation Platform’ that will empower customers to comfortably undertake an end-to-end ecommerce journey in their local language, with ease.
The introduction of 3 vernacular interfaces, is in line with Flipkart’s aim of developing state-of-the-art innovations to solve for the various pain points of consumers transitioning to e-commerce. According to industry reports*, Indian language internet users are expected to account for nearly 75% of India’s internet user base by 2021.
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. This will also enable millions of consumers across the country to have an engaging online shopping experience in their native languages. 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.
The new language interfaces use a judicious mix of translated and transliteration of words to make shopping more engaging for consumers. This follows an ethnographic study that was conducted over several months to get relevant insights that helped the team develop a platform that enables consumers to interact with the platform in their own language and encourage independence in purchase decisions.
The ethnography study involving meetings with participants across cities including Salem, Visakhapatnam and Mysore helped gather insights about consumers’ distinctive language behaviour across these regions and brought forward interesting insights to be implemented. This included a large scale translation of over 5.4 million words across product specifications, banners and payment pages etc., in the three languages.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Chief Executive Officer of Flipkart Group, said, “In the past year, we have introduced multiple solutions under Voice, Video and Vernacular to increase ecommerce 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 & English, is a meaningful step in that direction in line with our mission to democratize ecommerce in India.”
Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Flipkart said, “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% 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’ ecommerce journeys by making it simpler and more personal.”
The three new language interfaces on Flipkart, are developed post the introduction of Hindi interface 9 months ago which has witnessed impressive adoption. Flipkart’s team of engineers worked on multiple tech challenges in terms of UI and platform architecture, as each language has its own nuanced characteristics.