E-commerce game changer? Amazon tests Hindi interface on mobile site

Reports mentioned that 9 out of 10 new users from 2016 to 2021 would use local languages.

By BusinessToday.In  
Thursday, August 30, 2018

Targeting vernacular language users, Amazon is testing its Hindi interface for its mobile site. The interface that is piloting features text in Hindi. As of now, Amazon and rival Flipkart only have English text on their sites. This is going to change soon as these companies are targeting new users. Amit Agarwal, head of Amazon India, said their plan is to target 100 million users in the next five years. A company spokesperson also said that the company continuously explores new ways of making the shopping experience convenient for users. "As part of that, we have started piloting the Amazon.in shopping experience in Hindi," the spokesperson said, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times.

There are 481 million Internet users in the country, as mentioned in a report by IAMAI and Kantar IMRB. The report also mentioned that out of that 70% consumed Indic content. Furthermore, it showed that 76% of users in rural India used Indic content, while 66% in urban India consumed the same.

These translate to big numbers especially as Internet users are estimated to grow to 536 million by 2021, with only 199 million using English, as mentioned in a 2017 report by KPMG and Google. The report further mentioned that 9 out of 10 new users from 2016 to 2021 would use local languages.

With the increased Internet penetration with Jio, e-commerce companies are looking to tap in non-English users from the farthest corners of the country.

Experts believe that after the usage of Indian languages, the next frontier would be voice search and a more visual interface. Keeping this in mind, Amazon's rival Flipkart recently acquired Liv.ai that converts speech to text.

There were relatively smaller e-commerce companies such as Snapdeal that initiated a multilingual interface way back in 2015. However, it did not witness much of an impact then. With an increase in vernacular users, this move might be a game-changer in the e-commerce ecosystem.   

(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)

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