In order to reach a new set of customers in rural parts of India, Amazon has now started testing a Hindi website for its mobile interface. The new project consists of a website, where the interface features text in Hindi. With this new initiative, the company plans to target 100 million e-commerce users, emerging in the rural markets across the country. This will be the e-commerce giant’s first take on vernacular language.
The news was reported by Economic Times, who quoted a company spokesperson saying, “We work backwards from our customer needs and continuously explore and experiment with new ways of making the shopping experience convenient and easy for customers in India. As part of that, we have started piloting the Amazon.in shopping experience in Hindi.”
According to the IAMAI and Kantar IMRB report cited by the website, from the 481 million users in the country, about 70 percent prefer Indic languages. This accounts for 76 percent of the internet users in rural India and 66 percent in urban India. Additionally, a report by KPMG and Google also states that the number of people who use Indian Language will go up to 536 million by 2021, while the English users will be around 199 million. It also mentions that nine out of ten new internet users between 2016 and 2021 would use local Indian languages.
The change can be credited to the wide-scale internet penetration caused by Jio and other telcos in the country. It presents a big opportunity for e-commerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart to reach new internet users in rural areas through local languages. Up until now, both companies have pretty much stuck to an English interface. That said, Snapdeal was the first to introduce a multilingual interface on its mobile app in 2015.
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However, changing the language doesn’t seem to be enough to better relate with these markets. ET also quoted Rahul Chowdhri, Stellaris Venture Partners saying, “Language is only part of the interface and the user interface as a whole may have to be tweaked to suit the next online shoppers.” He believes that e-commerce companies should also experiment with adding voice to search and make overall visual changes to the interface to suit the needs better.