E-commerce giant Amazon is making a deeper push into the Indian market by rolling out its flagship online marketplace in Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. The emphasis is clearly on bringing more Indian consumers to Amazon.in, especially from down south, ahead of the festive season.
“In a country where 80 per cent is non-English speaking and probably prefer to engage in the language of their choice, just making it [Amazon.in] available to them, something that they feel is integral to how we offer services,” Kishore Thota, Director, Customer Experience and Marketing, Amazon India, told indianexpress.com over a phone call.
By adding its site and apps available in the four dominant South Indian languages, the e-commerce giant eyes the next wave of 200 to 300 million customers. “One of the things that we hear is that they [ consumers] would engage in a language of their choice,” said Thota. “There are customers who are comfortable with English and prefer English and there are customers who are probably comfortable with English but prefer Hindi in terms of browsing. And when it comes to purchasing, they don’t want Hindi to be there – at least partially.”
Two years back, Amazon added a Hindi language option to its site and apps in aim to reach out to over 52.83 crore speakers or 43.63 per cent of the country’s population. “We have seen this live with the launch of Hindi language support, a big chunk of customers that initially moved to Hindi were existing English customers. And a large part of them were actually browsing before but not making transactions. But once they switched their language to Hindi, they started buying for the first time and also buying more frequently than they did before,” he explains.
Thota believes offering Amazon’s website and app in Hindi and other local Indian languages would give customers more confidence to browse products and shop. “Just in the last six months, we have seen 3x the number of people use the Hindi option to browse and purchase on Amazon.in,” he said.
Amazon has been betting big on India, the world’s biggest untapped internet market. The e-commerce market continues to thrive in the country, thanks to the smartphone boom. While millions of people now own smartphones in India, a large section still prefers to shop at nearby physical stores. One of the ways Amazon can reach out to those people by making its website and apps available in the language they speak, which could be Hindi, Tamil or Malayalam.
Thota says the company is closely monitoring the consumer’s purchase pattern when they shop in their own language. According to him, customers who are using the Hindi version of Amazon are buying everything from expensive iPhones to fashion speakers. He says it is not right to generalise that a Hindi speaking customer on Amazon would buy only affordable products or would be based in the Hindi heartland states.
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