Walmart-owned Flipkart on Wednesday launched audio-based navigation feature in Hindi and English languages on its app to help first-time e-commerce users navigate through the app to shop online. The feature called Flipkart Saathi, said Flipkart, is similar to a salesperson assisting shoppers in the physical environment by combining text and audio based instructions to help first-time users shop on its app. Flipkart said the feature focuses on enabling users in tier-II and III cities, and rural India in its effort to get next 200 million users online. India’s internet population hit 451 million monthly active user mark by end of FY19, second to China, according to a report by Internet and Mobile Association of India.
90 percent of upcoming internet consumers speak native languages, Flipkart said even as it stresses on giving a native online shopping experience to these users. Flipkart would enable search for products and seeking information about products in Hindi. This comes at a time “when an increasing number of consumers from smaller cities are getting access to data. This personalisation of technology is a key element of our vision for Bharat and all our innovations are centred around this,” Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Group CEO, Flipkart said in a statement. The company claimed Hindi language internet user base will likely outgrow the English language by 2021. According to 2011 Census data, Hindi is spoken by over 52 crores or 43.63 percent of 121 crore population while only 2.6 lakh or 0.02 percent speak English.
The feature comes nearly three months after Flipkart introduced Hindi interface ahead of its festive sales. Flipkart said the company did ‘extensive research’ for almost a year talking to possible internet users to gauge how such technologies resonate with them. “While new users are able to skim through some products on their own, filtering options and choosing brands or variants is where they required assistance and hence, audiovisual guided navigation becomes essential,” it said. “It will bring us closer to our goal of democratizing e-commerce, bringing inclusivity, and onboarding the next set of consumers,” said Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Product and Technology Officer, Flipkart.―Financial Express