As the e-commerce industry in India continues to become crowded with new names, it is becoming increasingly tough for these players to differentiate themselves. More importantly, the road to profitability is becoming a rather long one. We are yet to hear about India’s first profitable e-commerce company. Bottom lines continue to stay negative as revenues are burnt to acquire new customers.
With so many names to choose from and discounts to be had, the consumers is indeed the king.
Contrary to general perception reveals, most e-commerce players see their volumes come from smaller cities and towns. On an average, over 60 per cent of revenues come from tier-II and tier-III cities for dominant players. And these consumers are mostly shopping through their mobile phones, their only access to the Internet. With this, online players are slowly shifting their focus from the saturated urban hubs to tier-II and tier-III cities.
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However, language continues to be the biggest hurdle for etailing to entry some of these markets in the hinterland. That is why brands like Quikr and Yempe have collaborated with LinguaNext for delivering their mobile apps in multiple regional languages.
“We initially started with a couple of regional languages on our website but soon we realised the need for having support for local languages on our mobile app as well. This is something that will be adopted by all e-commerce players in a matter of time as the industry has realised that the real growth will now come from smaller cities. Mobile phones allow Internet access at very cheap rates and consumers in smaller cities are mostly interacting through it. It is easier for them to interact in a language that they are comfortable in. This is a simple effort to be more user-friendly,” said Krishna Iyer, AVP & Head of Sales, Quikr.com.
To begin with, LinguaNext’s language platform Linguify.Mobile will help Quickr and Yempe to deliver content in Hindi on their mobile apps. The Pune-based start-up offers its language management solution to government organisations, banks and have major partnerships with SAP, Ramco and SAGE.
“About 60 per cent of our sales come from mobile phones. Going forward we are going to focus more on mobile phones to increase our foothold. We were planning to personalise our mobile app and deliver content in local languages to establish better connection with our consumers, especially in smaller cities. We went for LinguaNext’s solution, as it does the language translation with without requiring access to the application’s source code or database,” said Avinash Parhi, General Manager – Operations Excellence, Yepme.com.
Jagdish Sahasrabudhe, CEO, LinguaNext said Linguify.Mobile works completely on the client front-end and applications into global languages by overlaying a ‘language layer’ to the existing app. “Only the screens, reports and files at the end-user’s point of operation get translated. Underlying enterprise application and its data remain untouched and unmodified. It consists of a number of components that make it easy to translate, manage and support the app and all translations happen real-time,” he said.
Integrating support for regional languages might appear to be a small development in the online space. However, in a country that is home to multiple regional languages, mastering the local language is crucial for reaching the prospective buyer and retaining them. To be more competitive, e-commerce players have to ensure that there is not even the slightest barrier in any form which would force consumers to look somewhere else.