Amazon might have finally found a way to crack the vernacular puzzle and add the next 100 million customers in the country. Its plan of action is simple: Introduce new users to the platform in a language of their choice, precisely through short videos, rather than making them read a plethora of information in a foreign language.
The e-commerce giant will help the next wave of customers with 60-90 second videos that will have all information about products. The videos will have chat assistance from Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, in vernacular languages. So, users will be able to shop without reading or typing a single word.
Making it comfortable for the next 100 mn
Amazon might just be able to make it big, as the country has seen a boom of short-video apps such as TikTok, Vigo, Helo, Like. These apps have already managed to garner over 300 million users, mostly from tier-III and rest of India towns. WhatsApp voice notes have also become almost as popular as plain-old typed messages in these areas.
Last year, Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos launched a grand local language plan, aiming to turn things around in India. In sort of a giveaway, in his fifth anniversary congratulatory letter to customers, Bezos even referred to Amazon.in as ‘India ki apni dukaan (the country’s own shop)’. The idea was to reach out to the next 100 million customers who may be more comfortable conversing in their mother tongue. In the past one year, Amazon has been combining various elements to make its vernacular outreach a success instead of just converting English text to local languages.
A 60-second sales pitch
Codenamed DP60 or Detailed Product Page in 60 seconds, the idea is to squeeze in every information available on any given product in 60-90 seconds. This would include product description, reviews, how to buy it, how to avail a financing scheme, among other things.
“The next 100 million users are lot more into short videos, familiar with watching things, sending WhatsApp voice notes. So, this year, a heavy video penetration at the core of the buying experience would happen. Helping in searches, looking at products video would become a lot more integral part of the whole experience. In a whole lot of tier-III and tier-IV cities, voice-based messaging has gathered steam. Many people who have difficulty typing messages are heavily using voice features to send messages. A lot is happening through voice, it is an enabler that cuts through the need to type in English or any other local language,” said Kishore Thota, Amazon.in’s director of customer engagement.
Amazon has been working with around a dozen companies and has already started a roll-out of the project. These firms help Amazon produce content. Amazon, however, controls the final contours of how each and every video would be.
At the moment, videos are available in Hindi.
The roll out of other languages would happen in tranches over the next few years and would include Tamil, Kannada, and Marathi, among others. After it gets multiple languages on the platform, it would also get a language switcher option, which would allow a user to watch the same video in the language of their choice.
Servicing all 19,100 pin codes
Amazon claims to service almost 100 percent pin codes in India. The company said it was continuously investing on creating infrastructure in areas that might not be serviceable at the moment. There are almost 19,100 pin codes in the country.
Through its Amazon Easy initiative, the company has opened more than 10,000 stores in the country, where people can pay through cash and cards for products they buy online as well as collect them from there. Since the company launched the Hindi version of the app last year, Hindi traffic on the platform has trebled, Amazon said. The user base, the firm claimed, increased 5X.
The Alexa edge
“Almost 20 per cent of the users who have come through the Hindi version had been coming to the English website, trying things out, but just did not get the confidence to do a transaction,” said Thota.
And Amazon won’t stop at short videos. It is going beyond. It is planning to make Alexa talk in the mother tongue of a user, and it is planning a hyperlocal shopping experience for people who do not want to transact online.
As part of reaching out to the next 100 million users, it is also planning to give access to credit to new online shoppers. “As we go deeper into the country, some customers will not have same level of access to credit. That level of credit is not available. EMI through all debit and credit cards is available on Amazon,” said Thota.―Business Standard