Wednesday 1 April 2015

E-com firms turn to local languages for better sales

Buyers on Snapdeal, an e-commerce website, will soon be able to read descriptions of goods and their prices in Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali.

They can already do so in Hindi, Tamil, and English.

E-commerce websites are developing online content in Indian languages.

“The aim is to reach a wider consumer base, making the site accessible to those who prefer regional languages. The motive for introducing a multi-lingual interface is to enhance customer experience, while reaching a larger section of shoppers across India,” said Ankit Khanna, senior vice-president, product development, Snapdeal.

Snapdeal says its multilingual platform is highly scalable and can manage any number of languages.

Close to 70 per cent of sales on Snapdeal come from Tier-II and -III cities.

The Nasdaq-listed eBay is another company looking at developing content in local languages.

“We feel in the long term, local languages will be a key requirement in our plans,” said Latif Nathani, managing director, eBay India.

Nathani refused to divulge details, but eBay, which completed a decade of operations in India this March, provides sellers education material in six languages.

While sources said Flipkart was planning to introduce content in other languages, the e-commerce company declined to answer a questionnaire sent last week.

“It is always convenient to use one’s local language when shopping. If one has to become relevant and attract buyers, customisation and localisation will be key. Through these measures, e-commerce companies can cover the depth and the breadth of the market,” said Sandeep Ladda, partner, IndiaTechnology Sector Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Internet users in India have gone up from 50 million in 2007 to 300 million in 2014.

With over one-third non-English speaking internet users, e-commerce players see capturing customers in this segment as a next logial step.

Local language Internet users are growing at 40 per cent per year. With online shopping gaining nationwide traction, there is a large population that would be more at ease shopping in their language. For Snapdeal, Hindi and Tamil versions of the platform has resulted in increased reach within the Hindi-heartland and Tamil Nadu.

Ecommerce players said content in local language would not only result in ease of shopping for customers but also aid in bringing the larger population of the country online. Browsing properties and product categories would be uniform across languages on the websites.

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